Tag Archives: Staff Pick

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 61: Interview with May Cobb!



“In moving here, I thought I could become someone more wholesome, more grounded. Someone I could admire…as it turns out, you can’t outrun who you are.” ~ Sophie O’Neill, The Hunting Wives

“Margot is totally fiction, but she could be real…” ~ May Cobb

Yikes!  Folks, pour yourself a martini, hold onto your hats and get ready for THE HUNTING WIVES.  I sat down with the absolutely fabulous May Cobb to talk about her equally fabulous second book, THE HUNTING WIVES.  This spoiler-free interview was a delight and I could have spoken with May all darn day. We talked about East Texas, the character of Sophie O’Neill, a bit about Margot, and I will say no more. This book is a knockout.

Thanks so much May Cobb for sitting down with me, I really hope you’ll visit again!

May Cobb recommends: River Sing Out by James Wade; The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean; The Girls Are All So Nice Here by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn; and Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto


Episode 60: Interview with Katherine A. Sherbrooke



Katherine A. Sherbrooke sat down with me for our 60th episode to talk about, Leaving Coy’s Hill, an unforgettable story about the triumphs and travails of a woman unwilling to play by the rules, based on the the remarkable life of pioneering feminist and abolitionist Lucy StoneLucy Stone was news to me until the gift of Leaving Coy’s Hill arrived in my mailbox.  I cannot wait for you all to discover Lucy and her incredible journey. Thank you so much Katherine Sherbrooke for joining me on this episode!

Katherine Sherbrooke recommends books by:  Jenna Blum, Rachel Barenbaum, Crystal King, Marjan Kamali, Christopher Castellani  

Get more information about Grub Street right here!


Episode 59: Interview with Elon Green



A “terrific, harrowing, true-crime account of an elusive serial killer who preyed upon gay men in the 1990s.” ~ New York Times (Editor’s Pick)

It was great to sit down with author, Elon Green to talk about about his true-crime bestseller, Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New YorkThis book presents a compelling and important look at the victims of the killer before they became victims: Fred Spencer, Peter Anderson, Tom Mulcahy, Anthony Marrero, Michael J Sakara. It’s an incredible and heartbreaking true story that is not to be missed. I spoke with Elon Green about his focus on the victims, investigative techniques, fingerprinting, and more. This episode is our first foray into the non-fiction genre, with a focus on true-crime in particular, and I am so grateful to Elon Green for taking the time.

“Using meticulous research and engaging prose, The Last Call tells the complete stories of the men who died in these killings, giving them dignity after death and shining a light on the issues queer people faced several decades ago that still ring true today.” ~ Stephen Ashley, Booklist 

Elon Green recommends: The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel that Scandalized the World by Sarah Weinman;  The Man From the Train: The Solving of a Century Old Serial Killer by Bill James and Rachel McCarthy; and We Keep the Dead Close: A Murder at Harvard and a Half Century of Silence by Becky Cooper 

 


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!