Dean Karayanis was born a day after Theodore Roosevelt, but the same day as Hillary Rodham Clinton and the shootout at the OK Corral. An avid animal lover, Dean earned an Animal Science degree from Rutgers University. He was attracted to his state university because it’s one of the nation’s oldest near the New Brunswick campus, and a church in town hosted one of the first public readings of the Declaration of Independence.
Rutgers is also home to the second-oldest collegiate newspaper, The Daily Targum, which provided a great opportunity for writing. But veterinary medicine left little time for anything so regular as a column, and newsrooms tend to frown on people who smell like the pigsty or arrive to work on a horse.
Dean graduated from the farms of Rutgers to a series of veterinary positions, including at Manhattan’s prestigious Animal Medical Center. Between flea baths, spays, and the occasional gunshot wound (the unofficial, “Welcome to New York City,” for rural internists) he continued to pursue writing opportunities and read a ton of history. Perhaps his favorite patient was a rabbit belonging to the Shah of Iran’s daughter, a rare confluence of his passions.
After years in medicine, Dean dedicated himself to writing full time, working with the people inside the radio, television and Internet boxes. His resume includes a stint working for President Bill Clinton’s White House political adviser, writing and appearing in comedy opens on Rush Limbaugh the Television Show, web production, and authoring Regional Greek Cooking with his wife — a professional genealogist. He’s had one literary agent die and another retire, but continues to work on novels of historical fiction.
Dean’s favorite historical figures are William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and anarchist Emma Goldman. As his mother was a child in London during the Blitz, he’s always been fascinated by the Battle of Britain.
Dean currently lives in New Jersey on Washington’s Retreat Route, near a Liberty Pole that played a key role in the Revolution.
Amanda Read was born in Texas the same day as John Hancock and is at least as obsessed with calligraphy as was he. She grew up across the States and overseas as an Army brat before her family settled in their home state of Alabama. Amanda graduated from Troy University Magna Cum Laude in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in History and a minor in Political Science. She wanted to be a scientist until she found it more interesting to write about scientists instead – especially Isaac Newton and Harvey Wiley. She wanted to minor in Drama until she figured politics was where all the drama was anyway.
Amanda’s passion for the past, love of the written word, one too many Your Story Hour tapes at bedtime and childhood enjoyment of a miniseries on the life of Leonardo Da Vinci led her to an interest in writing history for the page and screen. At this time she is in the process of writing several books and screenplays, including a biography of Wiley.
Somehow Amanda has opposing Civil War generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee both in her lineage. Not quite so far back, World War II paratrooper, medic, and POW Keith Argraves is there too. Amanda is the eldest of 9 children, all of whom are home educated on a 22-acre homestead. They have often been a source of writing inspiration and camaraderie in her creative projects. Amanda has a love of old fashioned things, from dipping pens to vintage dresses. She even dresses her horse in historical tack (she’s an animal lover too).
Amanda currently lives on land that then-General Andrew Jackson reportedly used as preparation for the Battle of Talladega during the War of 1812.
Van Bryan is a contributor for the History Author Show and the host and narrator of Classical Wisdom Wednesday. He was born 2390 years after the death of Socrates, but hey, who’s keeping track?
When he was a boy, he was read the classical tales of Greek mythology as bedtime stories. He was reciting the Olympian deities by the third grade. By the seventh grade, he was skimming his first copy of Homer’s The Iliad.
Van attended school at the University of Central Florida where he continued to study the classics, looking specifically at the classical Greek philosophers like Plato and Aristotle. After graduating, he moved to the Big Apple and began working for Classical Wisdom Weekly, an online publishing house devoted to sharing the wisdom of the ancient classics to a new generation of modern readers.
What started as a part-time gig penning philosophy articles in a series of dive bars on 3rd Ave turned into a busy career in classical writing. Van is currently the Associate Editor of Classical Wisdom Weekly and, among other things, publishes a weekly newsletter devoted to sharing unique and interesting lessons from the works of the classical figures.
Van’s favorite historical figures, predictably, are Socrates and Aristotle. He has small statues of both men affixed permanently to his desk overlooking 23rd and Lexington. Occasionally, he still converses with these old teachers, looking up at the Aristotle figurine and saying, “What does it all mean, Artie?!” Aristotle has yet to say anything.
You can hear more from Van Bryan and learn more about the classical age by tuning in to Classical Wisdom Wednesday every Wednesday morning.