Tag Archives: debut author

Episode 87: Eli Cranor author of Don’t Know Tough



You may not know tough but author Eli Cranor sure does in his debut, DON’T KNOW TOUGH, a book that S.A. Cosby calls, “…a searing and stunningly poignant study in what makes us and what breaks us and ultimately what brings us to a place of peace. Eli Cranor is that rare writer who can make you gasp, cry and cheer often in the same paragraph.” There’s not a single a lie in that review.

Sarah Weinman, of the The New York Times Book Review and true-crime writer says, “Eli Cranor’s top-shelf debut, DON’T KNOW TOUGH, is Southern noir at its finest, a cauldron of terrible choices and even more terrible outcomes . . . There is a raw ferocity to Cranor’s prose, perfectly in keeping with the novel’s examination of curdling masculinity.”  All I can say about DON’T KNOW TOUGH is, think Friday Night Lights with a much darker edge. Speaking of the edge? I was on the edge of my seat for this incredible debut. For this episode, we talk football, Arkansas, recording his own audiobook and more. Thank you Eli! 

Eli Cranor recommends: Razorblade Tears and Blacktop Wasteland both by S.A.Cosby; Shoot the Moonlight Out and all of the novels by William Boyle; The Turnout and all of the novels by Megan Abbott; all the work by Ace Atkins; The Devil Himself by Peter Farris;

     


Episode 83 : Interview with Jennifer Fawcett, author of BENEATH THE STAIRS



“OH MY GOD!”  That’s what author/director/actress Leslie Zemeckis says about BENEATH THE STAIRS the debut by Jennifer Fawcett. And author Wendy Walker, author of Don’t Look for Me says, “In Beneath the Stairs, Jennifer Fawcett explores the lasting impact of childhood trauma in this metaphysical story about a house with buried secrets. An enthralling debut by a gifted storyteller!”

BENEATH THE STAIRS is a story about the trauma that follows us from childhood to adulthood and returning to the beginning to reach the end. I was on the edge of my seat. Jennifer and I talked about her inspiration for the book, writing something scary in the deep woods, and how building up to writing a novel is very similar to running a marathon. Great interview – especially the part about her playwriting which was fascinating. Thank you Jennifer!

Jennifer Fawcett recommends, Catch Her When She Falls by Allison Buccola


Episode 78: Interview with Ethan Joella, A LITTLE HOPE



“It’s all here—community, family and friendship, how we love, grieve…a story of ordinary moments that connect and eventually transform us in extraordinary ways.”
—Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of Lucia, Lucia and The Shoemaker’s Wife

I mean that quote right there says it all about A LITTLE HOPE by Ethan Joella. It was an absolute delight to sit down with him to talk about this remarkable gem of a book. A LITTLE HOPE gives us hope and it’s exactly what I needed as an end of year read. The book is book club gold. Ethan Joella also gives listeners some holiday cheer in this episode – to find out what those gifts are, you’ll have to listen to find out. It may involve actress Jean Smart…  Thank you Ethan for joining me!

Ethan Joella recommends Damnation Spring by Ash Davidson.

You can follow Ethan Joella @joellawriting on Instagram and Twitter!

 


E74: Interview with Naomi Krupitsky



They say you can’t go home again but I sure did, right back to Brooklyn, NY with author Naomi Krupitsky’s debut novel The Family.  Set in early 20th century Brooklyn, The Family is a captivating debut novel and coming-of-age story about the tangled fates of two best friends, Sophia and Antonia, who are both daughters of the Italian mafia. My copy of The Family is covered in sticky notes, Krupitsky’s prose is beautiful, and I can’t wait for you to read it. Thank you so much for joining me Naomi!

The Family is a November 2021 Read With Jenna Pick and a NYT Bestseller!

Naomi recommends: Matrix by Lauren Groff; and Beasts of a Little Land by Juhea Kim


Episode 67: Interview with Claire Luchette



Claire Luchette is so wildly talented that I would follow them anywhere. Here, it’s to Woonsocket along with four women who are searching for meaning and a sense of belonging from each other and the world beyond. The result is a novel that’s blazingly original, wry, and perfectly attuned to the oddness―and the profundity―of life.”
―Cristina Henríquez, author of The Book of Unknown Americans

What a pleasure to sit down with Claire Luchette to talk about her gorgeous debut, Agatha of Little Neon. The book offers a view into the lives of women and the choices they make. It is a novel about female friendship and devotion, the roles made available to us, and how we become ourselves. I loved this absolute gem of a book…thank you so much for joining me Claire Luchette!

Claire recommends:  Afterparties by Anthony Veasna So ; Something New Under the Sun by Alexanda Kleeman


Episode 66: Interview with Byron Lane



Author Julia Claiborne Johnson, the bestselling author of Better Luck Next Time, and our guest on Top Shelf E56, says this about A STAR IS BORED by Byron Lane:

“I didn’t go into this expecting a love story, but the one here between a Hollywood assistant and his famous, hilarious and deeply lonely boss came very close to breaking my heart.”

A STAR IS BORED by Byron Lane is also a love letter to Carrie Fisher paved with heartbreak, humor, and love. What a special episode, I loved every minute…thank you so much Byron!

Byron Lane recommends: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon; Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole; Heart of Junk by Luke Geddes; Bath Haus by P.J. Vernon; Yes, Daddy by Jonathan Parks-Ramage

 


Episode 62: Interview with Steven Rowley



Get your beach towels and picnic blankets ready because Steven Rowley has given us a perfect summer read. I am over the moon to have had the chance to sit down with him for his third book, The Guncle! Rowley tackles modern-day family issues with love and humor and this book is not to be missed. Think Auntie Mame for 2021, and you’ve got The Guncle.

FYI, Guncle’s Day is the second Sunday in August, so you have plenty of time to prepare!

Steven Rowley recommends: A Star is Bored by Byron Lane; Less by Andrew Sean Greer;  Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris; Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead By Emily Austin


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 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