Coming June 5 from
Atlantic Monthly Press
The Comeback chronicles the life of one of America’s greatest athletes, from his roots in the windswept hills of Nevada's Washoe Valley to the heights of his global fame at the Tour de France. With a swift narrative drive and a fierce attention to detail, Daniel de Visé reveals the dramatic, ultra-competitive inner world of a sport rarely glimpsed up close, and builds a compelling case for LeMond as its great American hero.
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So, Who am I, and why have I written a book about Andy Griffith and Don Knotts?
I am a native Chicagoan and a career journalist. I entered the news business at age 23, along with my wife, moving down to Florida and taking a reporting job at the now-defunct Boca Raton News. I progressed from there to daily newspapers in Long Beach, San Diego, Miami and Washington, D.C. A story I wrote for The Washington Post became a book, and while co-writing that book, I left the field and turned my attention to book-writing.
In fall 2012, I took my family to Mayberry Days, the annual celebration staged in Mount Airy, North Carolina, birthplace of Andy Griffith. My work on the first book was nearly done, and I was thinking of writing a chronicle of that annual festival. I bought two legal pads and set to work.
The Andy Griffith Show was one of my favorites in childhood, and I continued to watch the program sporadically as an adult. But that wasn't why I wanted to write a story about Mayberry Days. The reason was my family connection to Don Knotts.
Don was in a relationship with and then married to my wife's sister, Francey, from the mid-1980s until his death in 2006. I first met Don on one of their trips to Disney World, around 1991. When my wife, Sophie, and I moved to L.A. in 1992, we began to see a lot of Don. I won't reiterate everything that's in the acknowledgement section of the book; suffice to say that Don became a fixture at family get-togethers, and I took every opportunity to ply him with questions about his wondrous career. I am a writer, and I had always wanted to write something about Don. But he was busy, and I was busy, and I never got around to asking him, so it never happened... until fall 2012, when suddenly I had some time on my hands.
The writing project quickly evolved into a book, and I spent the next two years writing it. Along the way, I had the enormous pleasure of interviewing many of my heroes, including Ron Howard, Joyce DeWitt, Billy Bob Thornton, Lee Grant, Jim Nabors, Tim Conway, and Lee Meriwether - - yes, TV's Catwoman.
There's a lot more to tell, but I don't want to give away the entire story in one blog post. Ask me a question in the comments section, and I'll do my best to answer it. And I hope you enjoy the book!