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How do you kill someone underwater? And how do you make the best whoopee pie? If these questions even vaguely pique your interest, then William Morrow’s Book Club Girl “Night Out” event, which took place on Wednesday, June 19th at the HarperCollins offices in New York City, would have made your night, as it did for me, a longtime reader of The evening featured authors Joshilyn Jackson and Meg Mitchell Moore being interviewed by Carol Fitzgerald, the president and co-founder of The Book Report Network.
Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip, collectively known as Michael Stanley, have been writing the Detective Kubu mysteries set in Botswana for the past 15 years. About five years ago, they decided to take a break from their long-running series to pen a stand-alone thriller that focuses on rhino poaching and rhino-horn smuggling in Africa. In this fascinating essay, Michael and Stanley talk about their research for the book, titled SHOOT THE BASTARDS, and the numerous challenges they faced as they were getting to know their protagonist, investigative journalist Crystal Nguyen.
Randall Silvis is the author of the Ryan DeMarco Mystery series, the third installment of which, A LONG WAY DOWN, is now available. Although these books are classified as mysteries and thrillers, Silvis would prefer not to be called a crime or mystery writer: “I write stories about the relationships between people, some of whom might be engaged in actions that include murder or another crime.” He emphasizes that one of the most important things people can do for themselves is to “court and cultivate the silence that speaks…. DeMarco is learning to listen to that silence.” In this very thoughtful piece, Silvis ponders the meaning of “the silence that speaks” and explains why it is so essential to our growth as human beings.
Nancy Sharko, one of our longtime readers, attended the Third Annual Maplewood-South Orange Book Festival in South Orange, NJ on Saturday, June 8th and was kind enough to share her experiences with us. According to their website, the festival “brings together readers and authors in celebration of the joy and diversity of the written word. Our informative author panels highlight the major artistic, social and political issues of the day, while our vibrant and fun-filled children’s area allow our youngest readers to discover the importance and delight of books --- and meet many of their favorite authors!”
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.