Tag Archives: Staff Pick

E109: Interview with Allegra Goodman, author of SAM



“One of the most evocative and tender examinations of youth that I have ever read.” ~ Kevin Wilson, author of Nothing to See Here

Sam, the latest by Allegra Goodman knocked me sideways with how good it is. For this episode, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to sit down with Allegra Goodman herself to talk about her incredible new release. We talk about writing as a performance, establishing Sam’s voice through the years, the coming-of-age genre, and so much more. Sam is book club gold, so please don’t miss it! Thank you Allegra!

Allegra Goodman recommends: T.S. Eliot: An Imperfect Life by Lyndall Gordon; Haven by Emma Donoghue; Women Talking by Miriam Toews; This Boys Life by Tobias Wolfe; Boyhood directed by Richard Linklater; Lady Bird directed by Greta Gerwig

Click here to read Allegra Goodman’s piece in Vogue Magazine. Follow Allegra Goodman on Instagram: @allegragoodmanwriter and on Facebook: @allegragoodman

Place your hold here for all these wonderful Allegra Goodman titles.


E108: Interview with Scott Blackburn, author of It Dies With You



It Dies With You is a satisfying gut-punch of a story. Gritty and surprising, the small-town Southern mystery is populated with big characters that make this novel truly special. I can’t wait to read whatever Scott Blackburn writes next.” —Tiffany Quay Tyson, award-winning author of The Past is Never.

In Scott Blackburn’s debut, It Dies With You, protagonist Hudson takes over his dad’s salvage business after his father is murdered. But Hudson gets more than he bargains for and must join forces with two unlikely accomplices. It Dies with You is a timely story about the long shadows cast by sins of the past.

I also can’t wait to read what Scott Blackburn writes next and he talks about that and more in this episode! Scott also shared a few book recommendations to get you ready for the holiday season, and you can find those below. What a great interview, thank you so much Scott!

Scott recommends: The Past is Never by Tiffany Quay Tyson; After the Lights Go Out by John Vercher; Every Hidden Thing by Ted Flanagan; the work of William Boyle; Kill the Prince by Dan Fogarty; The Devil Himself by Peter Farris; Living the Gimmick by Bobby Matthews; In the Lonely Backwater by Valerie Nieman; Something Bad Wrong by Eryk Pruitt; Hemlock Hollow by Culley Holderfield; and The Nightmare Man by JH Markert. That ought to get y’all started!


Episode 106: Interview with Gary Goldstein, author of The Mother I Never Had



“Nate’s morning began like any other. So how could he possibly know that well before the day was over his life would never be the same?” ~The Mother I Never Had by Gary Goldstein.

Hook set! I loved talking with former Long Island native Gary Goldstein about his latest book, The Mother I Never Had featuring protagonist Nate Cronin. When Nick discovers that his father kept a life-changing secret from him, he has the daunting task of reevaluating everything he thought he knew about his own life. Gary details Nate’s journey of self-discovery in such sensitive and comprehensive ways, I couldn’t put the book down. As bestselling author Iris Rainer Dart says, “There are so many surprises and joys in this beautiful, human, well-told, emotionally rich story, that you won’t want it to end.” And how could you possibly disagree with the bestselling author of Beaches?

Gary and I could have spoken for hours, and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to host him for this episode. Don’t miss this book and don’t miss Gary’s debut, The Last Birthday Party. Both are perfect for book discussions!

Gary Goldstein recommends: Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan; The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles; Oh WIlliam! by Elizabeth Strout; The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin

Click here for Gary’s interview with Marilyn Simon Rothstein 

Don’t miss Gary Goldstein’s latest Hallmark Channel production: Lights, Camera, Christmas!


Episode 105: Interview with author Louise Kennedy for her debut novel, Trespasses



I had the absolute pleasure of hosting author Louise Kennedy for her debut novel, Trespasses. Set in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, Trespasses is a shattering novel about a young woman caught between allegiance to community and a dangerous passion.

We talk about the inspiration for Trespasses, a possible movie treatment, her award-winning short stories, and yes, her glorious orange cake. Thank you so much for joining me Louise, I loved every minute!

Luisa Smith of Book Passage says that Trespasses is, “the knockout debut of the fall season – a gritty depiction of Northern Ireland during the period known as The Troubles. Kennedy does a masterful job of bringing this period to life.”  Do not miss this book!

Louise Kennedy recommends: My Fourth Time, We Drowned: Seeking Refuge on the World’s Deadliest Migration Routeby Sally Hayden; These Days by Lucy Caldwell (has not yet been published in the US).

 


Episode 102: Interview with Bruce Holsinger author of The Displacements



“Hypnotic.” ~ NYT

“Cinematic.” ~ USA Today

“A gripping, full-throttle page turner.” ~ Miranda Cowley Heller

The Displacements by Bruce Holsinger is an adrenaline-fueled story of lives upended and transformed by an unprecedented catastrophe. Holsinger weaves the story of a well-to-do family around a catastrophic hurricane that strips them of their privilege and exposes their humanity.

This episode we talk about how The Displacements shatters the complacency of every day life, we get into the mechanics of writing suspense, the book cover, and more. Thank you so much Bruce!

Bruce Holsinger recommends: Appleseed by Matt Bell; How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue; The Children’s Bible by Lydia Millet; How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu

Reserve the books of Bruce Holsinger here. 

Look for Bruce Holsinger on Twitter @bruceholsinger and on Instagram @bruceholsingerauthor


Episode 101: Interview with Hayley Scrivenor author of Dirt Creek



“I’m very interested in how we define ourselves to other people…” so says  author Hayler Scrivenor about her amazing debut Dirt Creek. Dirt Creek is a suspenseful police procedural about a missing girl that takes place in a very small, rural, Australian town and it is riveting stuff!

For this episode we talk about the origin story of Dirt Creek, what Hayley is working on next, we even discuss Iced Vovos, TimTams, Twisties, and other Australian confections.

I was so fortunate to once again join forces with Cindy Burnett host of Thoughts From a Page podcast, to bring you this special episode and we just had a blast. Thank you Cindy, and thank you so much Hayley!

Hayley Scrivenor recommends: A Little Life by Hanya Yanigahara; The Year of the Horses by Courtney Maum


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 84 : Interview with Katy Regan author of How To Find Your Way Home



From Katy Regan, the author of Little Big Love (a huge favorite of mine) comes her latest, How to Find Your Way Home, a warm, life-affirming novel.  When a sister discovers that the brother she hasn’t seen in more than a decade is homeless, she learns the true meaning of belonging when she tries to reconnect. How to Find Your Way Home is not to be missed.

I enjoyed this conversation about the book so much, thank you Katy Regan! Keep an eye-out Roger…I’ll see you soon.

Katy Regan recommends: Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave; Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers; Attic Child by Lola Jay. 

     

 


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 82 : Interview with Edward Ashton author of MICKEY7



The Martian meets Dark Matter in Edward Ashton’s high concept science fiction thriller, in which Mickey7, an “expendable,” refuses to let his replacement clone Mickey8 take his place.

I sat down with Ed Ashton in November of 2021 to talk about his fabulous third novel, Mickey7. We talked about the Ship of Theseus, quantum physics, and yes, even some Cthulhu. He also mentioned that Mickey7 has been optioned by Plan B Entertainment with quite the stellar director and lead actor.  Do not miss his website which has Ashton’s many short stories and please do not miss this terrific novel.

Great big thanks to Ed, I had a blast!

Edward Ashton recommends: The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie; and Shakespeare’s Planet by Clifford D. Simak  

Ed & Carol Ann both recommend, Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @edwardashtonwriting