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Archives - May 2019

On Saturday, May 18th, the city of Gaithersburg, MD (suburban DC) hosted its TENTH annual book festival; I can hardly wait until next year. The festival is a little bit of Americana. Here’s a little about its history. It is great every year, and it gets better every year: that is a good trick!
David P. Wagner is the author of the Rick Montoya Italian Mystery series, the sixth installment of which, ROMAN COUNT DOWN, is now in stores. Wagner’s nine years in Italy as a Foreign Service Officer, along with a tourism business he started upon his retirement, helped inspire him to become a crime fiction writer. Read on to learn more about his foreign service career and his love of all things Italian.
Michael Brandman wrote three Jesse Stone novels following the death of Robert B. Parker in 2010, all of which became New York Times bestsellers. With his longtime partner, Tom Selleck, he produced and co-wrote nine Jesse Stone movies and three westerns. His latest book, WILD CARD, is the third installment in his Buddy Steel series of mysteries (following MISSING PERSONS and ONE ON ONE). In this amusing essay, Brandman recalls his first meeting with Parker, some of their subsequent film and television collaborations, and Parker’s memorable cameo appearance in Small Vices, a Spenser movie starring Joe Mantegna.
We wrap up this year’s Mother’s Day Author Blog series with a lovely piece from Melanie Benjamin, whose new historical novel, MISTRESS OF THE RITZ, releases on May 21st. Melanie recalls the day that her mother drove her to their local Bookmobile, a big RV that was filled with books from floor to ceiling. She was fascinated by the experience and resolved to be a Bookmobile driver when she grew up. Although that didn't happen, Melanie has enjoyed a life full of books and reading --- and she owes it all to her mom.
Kaira Rouda follows up the success of her 2017 thriller, BEST DAY EVER, with THE FAVORITE DAUGHTER, another gripping novel of psychological suspense set in an upscale Southern California community, which releases on May 21st. Kaira’s mother was a preschool teacher who “knew the power of creative play and learning.” She encouraged young Kaira to engage in all kinds of fun (and sometimes messy) activities, like finger-painting, building block towers and getting her hands in Play-Doh, but she also made sure to read to her at night. Kaira believes that this early exposure to arts and crafts, along with constant access to age-appropriate books, power her imagination to this day --- and she has proudly passed that creativity on to her four children, all of whom are successful and gifted twentysomethings.
Armando Lucas Correa, the internationally bestselling author of THE GERMAN GIRL, recalls a time when his then-eight-year-old daughter started to ask him questions about her heritage. She attends a progressive private school where, according to Armando, “it had become fashionable to create mandatory racial and ethnic affinity groups among students from ‘minority’ backgrounds.” This tendency to attach labels to others and the fear we have of those who are different served as the inspiration for Armando’s new novel, THE DAUGHTER’S TALE, which is now in stores. This unforgettable family saga explores a hidden piece of World War II history and the lengths a mother will go to protect her children.
Sarah Blake’s long-awaited new novel, following THE POSTMISTRESS in 2010, is now in stores. THE GUEST BOOK revolves around three generations of a well-bred family who summer on an island that they own off the coast of Maine. In this heartwarming and moving blog post, Sarah explains how her mother influenced her to become such a voracious reader. She recalls some of the books published in the 1930s and ’40s that her mother read as a child and then passed along to her --- and the enormous impact these titles have had on her as a writer of historical fiction.
In Wendy Wax’s new novel, MY EX-BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING (which releases May 14th), a wedding dress passed down through generations unravels the tangled threads of three women's lives. Although Wendy can’t recall her mother ever reading bedtime stories to her, it’s clear that her mother (and the other women in her family) helped inspire her to read --- and her weekly trips to the library as a child gave her great joy. Wendy, in turn, has passed down that love of reading to her two now-grown sons, whose book choices are just as varied and eclectic as hers.
Chris Pavone is the New York Times bestselling author of THE EXPATS, THE ACCIDENT and THE TRAVELERS. His fourth thriller, THE PARIS DIVERSION, releases on May 7th and marks the return of American expat Kate Moore, who discovers that a massive terror attack across Paris is not what it seems --- and that it involves her family. When Chris quit his job in publishing to become a full-time writer, he found himself holding down the fort at home while his wife, Madeline, forged ahead with her own publishing career. But despite her countless professional responsibilities at all hours of the day (and sometimes on other continents), Madeline always found time to read to their two young sons at night.
We are kicking off the 10th(!) year of our Mother’s Day Author Blog series with New York Times bestselling author Kate White, whose latest novel, SUCH A PERFECT WIFE, releases on May 7th and features true-crime writer Bailey Weggins in another page-turning mystery. For years, Kate thought that her longing to write suspense fiction was due in large part to her childhood obsession with Nancy Drew books. However, as she set out to write this piece for us, she came to the realization that the poem “The Highwayman” --- which her mom frequently read to her and her brothers --- played an even bigger role.