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Deborah Goodrich Royce is the author of two psychological thrillers: FINDING MRS. FORD and her latest, RUBY FALLS. As a former story editor at Miramax Films, it is not surprising that she has gone on to write her own novels. A celebrated actress, she has starred in dozens of television series, feature films and TV movies, including "All My Children," Remote Control and Return to Peyton Place. Deborah has had many memorable moments, or markers, in her life --- the most important of which involve raising her children and witnessing their various milestones and achievements. Here, she reflects on the significance of those markers and how they can come when you least expect them.
Andrea Lee is the author of five books, including the National Book Award–nominated memoir RUSSIAN JOURNAL and her latest novel, RED ISLAND HOUSE. Andrea enjoyed a number of private reading moments with her mother, Edith, but she is especially fond of the time they shared in the classroom. Edith was the only Black teacher at a Quaker elementary school, and Andrea had the pleasure of being taught by her mother as a fifth grader. Her dramatic readings of books like TREASURE ISLAND and THE CALL OF THE WILD captivated her students, but it wasn’t until years later that Andrea was able to fully comprehend where that passion came from and the sacrifices she was willing to make for her family.
Elizabeth Brundage is the author of five novels, including the literary thrillers ALL THINGS CEASE TO APPEAR (the basis for the new Netflix film Things Heard & Seen) and THE VANISHING POINT, which releases on May 18th. With Mother’s Day just around the corner, Elizabeth reflects on the two people in her life who helped influence her to become a writer by nurturing her creative soul at a very young age. As she points out in her wonderful blog post, “Both my mother and my grandmother instilled in me the importance of reading and sharing stories --- funny ones, sad ones, tales of woe and struggle. Because, from the beginning of time, storytelling is how we learn about who we are.”  
Lea Geller, recipient of the 2019 Kathryn Gurfein Writing Fellowship at Sarah Lawrence College, is the author of two novels: TROPHY LIFE and her latest, THE TRUTH AND OTHER HIDDEN THINGS, which is about one woman’s secret life, the stories she tells, and the thrill and notoriety of being noticed. When her two sons were younger, Lea would read to them at night to ensure that they would get into their beds and cause as little trouble as possible. However, when it came time to read them A LITTLE HISTORY OF THE WORLD by Ernst Gombrich (a book that she highly recommends), the reaction she got from her boys wasn’t quite what she had hoped for or expected, as she explains in her hilarious blog post.
We are kicking off this year’s Mother’s Day Author Blog series with Laura Munson, the New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author of the novel WILLA’S GROVE (which recently released in paperback) and the memoir THIS IS NOT THE STORY YOU THINK IT IS. Laura hasn’t been able to see her mother, Virginia, in over a year due to the pandemic, but they talk on the phone all the time. She loves hearing Virginia reminisce about her childhood and tell stories about her mother, grandmothers and great-grandmothers. These memories have helped strengthen the bond that Laura has with her mother, especially during these tough times, and have made her feel closer to other members of her family, many of whom she never had a chance to meet.
In her essay collection MADNESS, RACK, AND HONEY, the poet Mary Ruefle entitled one entry “Someone Reading a Book is a Sign of Order in the World.” That optimistic title came to mind as I scanned the list of a dozen favorite books I compiled this year, as I do each December, from the 70 or so I reviewed as a freelance reviewer in 2020, the year that order in the world took a sabbatical.
We wrap up this year’s Holiday Author Blog series with John Hart, whose upcoming thriller, THE UNWILLING, releases on February 2nd. John’s parents read to him all the time when he was a kid, but the book that he remembers the most is DIVERS DOWN! by Hal Gordon, which his father gave him for Christmas when he was six years old. The book was not his favorite, and it took his father a month to read it to him, even though it was a little over 200 pages. So why does John have such fond memories of it? Read on to find out why!
Sharon Virts is a successful entrepreneur and visionary who, after more than 25 years in business, followed her passion for storytelling into the world of historical fiction. Her debut novel, MASQUE OF HONOR, releases on February 9th. In this coming-of-age tale set in early 19th-century America, two sons of the Virginia aristocracy risk it all to defend their dreams and determine their own destinies. Sharon was a voracious reader from a very young age, so the Christmas present that meant the most to her growing up was a box of used books that she would find under the family tree each year. This treasure trove was lovingly assembled by her mother, whose visits to their local Goodwill store would yield an embarrassment of literary riches. But there was one book from that first box that turned out to be her favorite story of all.
Deborah Goodrich Royce was an actress in film and television for 10 years. Her first psychological thriller, FINDING MRS. FORD, was published in 2019 to rave reviews. Her second, RUBY FALLS, will release on May 4th and revolves around a fragile young actress, the new husband she barely knows, and her growing suspicion that the secrets he harbors may eclipse her own. 1978 was a difficult and challenging year for Deborah, but she was fortunate to have a close friend in her life, Nicky, who made her “feel lifted up from the world we inhabited.” That winter, he gave her a book that helped get her through those dark and uncertain times. It’s a novel that she cherishes to this day as it transports her to another world --- and serves as a powerful reminder of Nicky and his gift that will last a lifetime.
Liese O’Halloran Schwarz is the author of the acclaimed novel THE POSSIBLE WORLD and the forthcoming WHAT COULD BE SAVED. Alternating between the past and the present, the book, which releases on January 12th, is about a family shattered by loss and betrayal, and the beauty that can exist even in the midst of brokenness. Liese has so many wonderful childhood memories of giving and receiving during the holidays, but what she remembers most fondly are the books that were gifted to her on Christmas morning. While shopping in bookstores may not be possible for many of us these days, Liese is hopeful that books will continue to be an important part of our holiday celebrations this year.