David Rothman grew up in Alexandria, Virginia, on the outer fringes of the D.C. elite—a future Watergater lived almost next door.
A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he worked as a reporter for the Journal in Lorain, Ohio, where he covered poverty and public housing and was a feature writer. Rothman chronicled the aftermath of the Kent State massacre, which actually comes up in The Solomon Scandals, even though this is by far a Washington novel.
Related distantly to the late Hollywood scriptwriter Arnold Belgard, Rothman is the author of six nonfiction books on technology-related topics and lives with his wife, Carly, in Alexandria. He founded TeleRead, the world’s oldest English-language site devoted to general e-book news and views (as well as library-related matters) and is now working on his second novel.
He is a Georgetown Dish columnist and has appeared in other places ranging from Computerworld and an MIT Press/ASIS information science collection to the Nation, the Washington Post and the online version of Publishers Weekly. The cause of well-stocked national digital library systems is dear to him, and you can read his thoughts here and here on the Atlantic’s Web site, as well as his essay in The Chronicle of Higher Education. He runs LibraryCity, a digital-library advocacy site.
Not so coincidentally some library mentions—and a few reflections on the future of books—show up as part of the plot of The Solomon Scandals.
See The Jonathan Stone-David Rothman Q. & A. for more about Rothman’s real-life adventures investigating the General Services Administration and Sen. Abraham Ribicoff’s secret investment in a GSA-leased building housing some CIA activities. Ribicoff was a close friend of Charles E. Smith, a major GSA contractor.
In Scandals as a Northern Virginia Jewish novel, you can read Rothman’s reflections on growing up Chosen in the Old Dominion. And in Scandals’ origins, you can learn how Scandals came to be written as fiction.
Jonathan Stone, Scandals‘ not-so-shy protagonist, has requested that the spotlight be on him for now, so we’ll stop.
Update, Sept. 2, 2009: Psst! Don’t tell Stone, but a UK Web site recently ran a 3,000-word interview with Rothman covering topics ranging from literary influences to his thoughts on Scandals as movie fodder, which a Golden Globe judge believes it should be.
Update, April 18, 2010: On learning that Scandals would be required reading in a history course at George Washington University, Stone relented somewhat and actually did a second Q & A with Rothman: Henry Adams and the Education of David Rothman.