Tag Archives: Author Interview

Episode 58: Interview with Flynn Berry



Talk about thrillers! Flynn Berry’s debut, Under the Harrow, won the 2017 Edgar award for best first novel. That book and Berry’s follow up, A Double Life, were both NYT Editors’ Choices.  Berry’s latest, Northern Spy, takes readers to Northern Island on a journey you won’t soon forget. It’s a heart-pounding story of the contemporary IRA and a moving portrait of sister- and motherhood, and of life in a deeply divided society.

For this episode, we talked about the surprising things she learned while researching the book, writing habits from book to book, her playlist and more. Flynn Berry, thank you so much for joining me for this episode!

Northern Spy is a Reese Witherspoon Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick, and an Indie Next Pick.  The NYT Book Review says Northern Spy is  “…a chilling, gorgeously written tale…Berry keeps the tension almost unbearably high.”

Author Elizabeth Wetmore, New York Times bestselling author of Valentine (E49) says, “Tense, terrifying, and briskly paced, Flynn Berry’s Northern Spy is not only a thrilling tale of espionage and conflicting loyalties in a deeply divided Northern Ireland, it is also a tender and honest portrayal of those fierce, all-consuming early days of motherhood and the complicated bonds between sisters, mothers, and daughters. A stunning story, beautifully told. I couldn’t put it down.”

Flynn Berry recommends: Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason; Intimacies by Irish author and playwright, Lucy Caldwell is not available in the US yet, but Caldwell’s book, Being Various, can be reserved right here.

Twitter | @flynnberry_   Instagram | @flynnberryauthor


Episode 57: Interview with Jess Montgomery for The Stills



Oh my gosh, Jess Montgomery can come back any old time she wants. We talked about the third book in her Kinship series, The Stills.  Here is the series in order: The Widows, The Hallows, The Stills, but the beauty of these books is that you don’t have to read them in order.

Family, friendship, kinship. That’s what this historical fiction mystery series is all about…well, that and the terrific character of Sheriff Lily Ross. Sheriff Lily’s love for her family and the residents of Kinship makes this series both compelling and comforting. And yes…once again, there’s the edge of your seat stuff we know to expect from Jess Montgomery! We talked about writing the third in the series, prohibition, and more.  Jess is a joy and honestly, don’t miss this episode and don’t miss The Stills.

Click here to find Jess Montgomery on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Bookbub and more!

Jess Montgomery recommends: Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell; A Million Reasons Why by Jessica Strawser; The Overstory by Richard Powers; Pachinko by Min Jin Lee 

Thank you Jess Montgomery!


Episode 56: Interview with Julia Clairbone Johnson



Hold on to your hat folks, this fabulous and wonderful interview with Julia Claiborne Johnson is not to be missed! Gosh, we talked about the real-life inspiration for Better Luck Next time, the writing process, her debut, Be Frank With Me, friends, family, and more. We really had a blast speaking with each other and I cannot thank her enough. #newbestfriend

You can follow Julia Claiborne Johnson on both Instagram and Twitter: @juliaClaiborneJ. On Facebook:  JuliaJohnson

Julia Claiborne Johnson recommends these books: anything by Steven Rowley including his soon-to-be-released, The Guncle; A Star is Bored by Byron Lane , Perestroika in Paris by Jane Smiley; The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donohue; and Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

 


Episode 55: Interview with Chris Whitaker



What a pleasure to sit down with best-selling author Chris Whitaker to discuss the book that is taking the reading world by storm, We Begin at the End

Chris Whitaker’s debut novel, Tall Oaks, a striking blend of tragedy and offbeat humor, was awarded the U.K. Crime Writers’ Association New Blood Dagger Award in 2017. He followed that up with All the Wicked Girls published in 2017 and here we are in 2021 with his latest, We Begin at the End.  Already optioned by Disney, We Begin at the End became an instant bestseller on the NYT Bestseller list the first week of publication.

I am so lucky to have been able to sit down with Chris. He spoke about the very personal inspiration for Duchess Day Radley, and seeing  We Begin at the End splashed all over Times Square as part of the GMA Book Buzz. We shared more than a few laughs and talked about his part-time gig at a library.  Working part time at a library certainly has it demands, doesn’t it Chris, lol? Listeners, please tune in to this conversation…it’s terrific.

I’ll never forget his honesty and generosity as we spoke. Thank you so much Chris for making Top Shelf a stop on your book tour.

Follow Chris Whitaker on Twitter: @whittyauthor and on Instagram: chriswhitakerauthor

Chris Whitaker recommends, The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward (out 9/21)and any book by the terrific John Hart.


Episode 54: Interview with author Kate Hope Day



“Feminist and thrilling, this novel centers around a precocious, brilliant character named June. I happily followed June into deep space, but I would have followed her anywhere. What a wonderful story—I highly recommend this novel.”
—Ann Napolitano, bestselling author of Dear Edward

Do I have your attention with that review for the fabulous In the Quick by Kate Hope Day? This is the story of one woman’s persistence despite many obstacles and the costs of human ingenuity. #TeamJune

For this episode Kate Hope Day and I talk about the book, space camp and Charles Dickens…how we get there is absolutely worth the listen. Just a great conversation, thank you so much Kate!

Kate Hope Day recommends: Wintering: the power of rest and retreat in difficult times by Katherine May; Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart; and We the Animals by Justin Torres

Please check out Kate’s website right here.

Follow her on twitter: @katehopeday and on Instagram: katehopeday


Episode 53 : Interview with author Sarah Penner



“How had I only just learned that happiness and fulfillment were entirely distinct things?”  ~The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

That’s only one of the many gems in this fascinating debut by Sarah Penner,  and I simply cannot thank her enough for joining me.

I was transported to 18th century England to a time where some women had no choice but to seek out revenge with the help of The Lost Apothecary. I could feel the cobblestone streets beneath my feet and was absolutely spellbound. We spoke about crime and forensics in the 1700s and a whole lot more.

Listeners, you’re in for a treat!

Readers? Even more than that… I’ll quote Sarah Penner with this synopsis of her debut:

“It’s perfect for readers who love:
-secret, hidden alleyways in London
-apothecaries, herbalists, witches, poison
-magical tinctures & spells
-antiquated ephemera like old maps/manuscripts
-unlikely friendships among women
-women exerting control in clever ways.”

So, yes.  Raise your hands, listen to the interview and order this book!


Episode 52: Interview with author Julie Carrick Dalton



“Reading a novel is an act of empathy because you are choosing to give over your world view to somebody else’s world view.” ~ Julie Carrick Dalton

What an incredible conversation with the equally incredible Julie Carrick Dalton.  We could have spoken for hours about so many different things, but most important? Her terrific debut, Waiting for the Night Song.

Julie Carrick Dalton owns a small farm in New Hampshire which serves as the inspiration for this book. She shared her 13-year journey of bringing the story of Cadie and Daniela to fruition.  There are some surprises here as well and it’s such a pleasure for me to be able to bring this interview to all of you.

Synopsis: Cadie returns to her childhood home to confront her estranged best friend and the dark secret they both share and must decide what she is willing to sacrifice to protect the people and the land she loves.

Kim Michele Richardson, bestselling author of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek calls Waiting for the Night Song, “Smart and searingly passionate…an illuminating snapshot of nature, betrayal, and sacrifices set in the evocative New Hampshire wilderness.”  A review that says it all.

Julie Carrick Dalton recommends, The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler and Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse


Episode 51: Interview with author Chang-rae Lee



“But at some point, we’re all extra hungry, aren’t we, if not necessarily for grub.”  ~ Tiller Bardmon

Yes, this is just one of the many gems in Chang-rae Lee’s latest, MY YEAR ABROAD. I cannot thank him enough for getting up so early to talk with me about this incredible new book, and the origins of Tiller Bardmon and Pong Lou.

Synopsis: “An everyday American college student, Tiller Bardmon, finds his life transformed by a Chinese-American businessman who unexpectedly takes him under his wing on a series of whimsical, heartbreaking and darkly shocking adventures throughout Asia. An exuberant and entertaining story of a young American on a global adventure.”   ~from Riverhead Books

What a journey is MY YEAR ABROAD, thank you so much Chang-rae Lee!

 

 


Episode 50! Interview with author Sarah Langan



What better way to celebrate the 50th episode than with Long Island native, author Sarah Langan for her latest book, the page-turning suburban thriller,  GOOD NEIGHBORS.

A riveting and ruthless portrayal of American suburbia, GOOD NEIGHBORS excavates the perils and betrayals of motherhood and friendships and the dangerous clash between social hierarchy, childhood trauma, and fear.

This is such a special episode… Sarah Langan and I talked local LI establishments that appear in the book, suburban living, sink holes and yes, even Godzilla. Man did we pack alot into 32 minutes. Please join me for this episode-it was a total blast.

Sarah Langan recommends Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix


Episode 49: Interview with author Elizabeth Wetmore



I have wanted to host debut novelist Elizabeth Wetmore on Top Shelf for so long, and when it finally happened, I could barely sleep the night before. This episode was such a delight and I could have spoken to her all day. We talked about her amazing debut, VALENTINE, the strong and determined women in the book and maybe, just maybe there is something new in the works. You’ll have to listen here to find out.  VALENTINE made my “Best of list” for 2020, so please, like I always say: give a listen, read the book!

Thank you SO much Elizabeth. The pleasure was all mine.

Elizabeth Wetmore recommends: Memorial by Bryan Washington, Lot by Bryan Washington, and Last One Out Shut Off the Lights by Stephanie Soileau