Mark Willen

MARK WILLEN

Author of Hawke’s Point and Hawke’s Return

10/7/13 — THE ENDURING APPEAL OF LEE CHILD’S JACK REACHER

It takes a special kind of a protagonist to carry a long series of books.

Lee Child

Lee Child

Our heroes have to be characters we can root for and identify with.  We don’t expect to ever do what they can do, but we have to share their values and dreams and appreciate their finer qualities. (Think Robert Parker’s Spenser, whose sense of right and wrong comes along with his devotion to the woman he loves, a friend who’d die for him, and gourmet cooking skills).

They have to be unique, with special talents and characteristics that make them stand out in a crowd, as well as a weakness or two to make them human. (Think Sherlock Holmes, with his unmatched brain power and his almost fatal addiction).

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Terra Ziporyn

TERRA ZIPORYN

Author of The Bliss of SolitudeTime’s Fool, Do Not Go Gentle, and the new novel Permanent Makeup as well as many nonfiction works including The New Harvard Guide to Women’s HealthAlternative Medicine for Dummies, and Nameless Diseases.

 10/4/13 — INTERVIEW WITH LINDA MARIANIELLO, LITERARY TRANSLATOR 73627_100398236696948_340397_n

Life takes us funny places. Decades ago I played in the Yale Symphony Orchestra with Linda Marianiello, who had transferred to Yale and had the reputation – more than well-deserved – as a phenomenal flautist. I recently learned that Linda has turned her musical training, liberal arts education, and other considerable skills to literary and book translation, a field that constitutes 3% of all book publishing in the US today. I grabbed the chance to catch up with Linda to find out not only how her life took this turn but also learn something about what exactly literary translation requires of a writer. (Continue reading)

Carolyn Sienkiewicz

CAROLYN SIENKIEWICZ

 Our 10/1/13 Guest Blogger from the Washington Independent Review of Books

First, let’s get this out the way: Stieg Larsson, Stieg Larsson, Stieg Larsson. There, I have evoked his name so no one can say I overlooked him.

Mr. Larsson’s successful works notwithstanding, everyone loves a good mystery and I’m no exception. Humans are hard-wired to try to solve puzzles and problems, a survival skill basic to understanding one another and trying to get along so we don’t kill each other. (Continue reading)

Gary Garth McCann

GARY GARTH MCCANN

Author of the novel The Man Who Asked To Be Killed and five stories, most recently “Incorrigible,” Erotic Review and “The Yearbook,” Mobius

Carolyn Sienkiewicz does the extraordinary. Last night I heard the Peabody-trained oboist play with the American Balalaika Symphony.CarolynSienkiewicz I’ve read her articles in Cruising World, Living Aboard, Chesapeake Bay Magazine and SpinSheet about living with her husband, Mark, aboard a sailboat for eight years—although from talking with her I know that she and Mark both got seasick the first time they sailed. When you next visit the “Charm City” of Baltimore, if you treat yourself to a visit aboard the sailing ambassador, the Pride of Baltimore II, know that Carolyn was among the volunteers who worked over a recent winter to keep the swift clipper shipshape. And she is a reviewer, editor, and member of the editorial board of the Washington Independent Review of Books. (Continue reading)

M L DOYLE

Author of mystery and memoir with a military theme

D. J. Molles

D. J. Molles

An interview with the author of The Remaining, D. J. Molles – and a big announcement

After reading and frankly, becoming obsessed with the four-book series of The Remaining, I had to talk to the author and find out more about…well, everything. I reviewed the series a few weeks ago, but couldn’t resist the urge to toss a few questions at D. J. Molles.

First, if you’ve not heard about The Remaining, I strongly believe that soon, you will. It’s a captivating look at a post-apocalyptic world, with a strong military protagonist and a realistic look at what could happen to survivors as they attempt to eke out a life amongst all hell breaking loose, government collapse and fight-to-the-death power plays.

The success of the series is another example of how self published—what we now like to call indie authors—are creating amazing stories and going around the big publishing house obstacles to bring their stories to readers.

I sent a message to the indie author and was thrilled when he agreed to the interview.

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Sonia Linebaugh

SONIA LINEBAUGH

Author of At the Feet of Mother Meera: The Lessons of Silence, and the (unpublished) novels The Wisdom Project, The American Year, and the Hardest Thing.

TAuthor Austin Camachohe Ice Woman Assignment by Austin S. Camacho has all the excitement and tension a reader of thrillers could want. Morgan Stark, a black, well-muscled former mercenary, is a partner in a security business with red-haired former jewel thief Felicity O’Brien. Their cunning opponent is Anaconda, (Continue reading)

Gary Garth McCann

GARY GARTH MCCANN

Author of the novel The Man Who Asked To Be Killed and five stories, most recently “Incorrigible,” Erotic Review and “The Yearbook,” Mobius

9/20/13 – BOOK REVIEW OF ROB ROSS’s FANTASY NOVEL, JUGGLER’S BLADE

I usually don’t read fantasy but watched for Juggler’s Blade to be published because I knew it had won the fantasy silver prize in the Maryland Writers’ Association novel contest. Not only does the book jump off fast, but the beginning is worthy of literary fiction. The plight of Ian, the young protagonist, brings to mind Oliver Twist, Dickens’ lad born into a life of crime. (Continue reading)

Mark Willen

MARK WILLEN

Author of Hawke’s Point and Hawke’s Return

9/17/13 — INTERVIEW WITH NANCY HARTNEY, AUTHOR OF WASHED IN THE WATER library close head shot

In my review of Washed in the Water earlier this month, I suggested this debut collection of short stories made Nancy Hartney an important new voice of the South. That was very much on my mind when I got a chance to talk to Hartney about her roots, how her upbringing influenced her writing, and how she feels about the region she grew up in.  Here is our interview, slightly edited and condensed:

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Jill Morrow

JILL MORROW

Angel Cafe (Simon & Schuster 2003); The Open Channel (Simon & Schuster 2005); Newport (HarperCollins/William Morrow 2015)

9/13/13 – SUSPENDING SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF

In 1817, Samuel Taylor Coleridge coined the expression “willing suspension of disbelief.” Suspension of disbelief is a wonderful thing. It allows us to enjoy and accept premises in our reading that we might never believe otherwise. As originally conceived, it was the author’s job to inject enough impression of truth into an unrealistic tale that a reader could suspend judgment of the improbability of the story. But over time the responsibility has shifted from how well an author creates a fictional world to how willing a reader is to lose herself in it. In short, the onus falls on readers to believe. (Continue reading)

Sally Whitney

SALLY WHITNEY

Author of the novel Surface and Shadowplus short stories appearing in journals and anthologies, including Best Short Stories from The Saturday Evening Post Great American Fiction Contest 2017.

 

9/10/13 – INTERVIEW WITH AMY FRANKLIN-WILLIS, AUTHOR OF THE LOST SAINTS OF TENNESSEE

When Amy Franklin-Willis’s debut novel, The Lost Saints of Tennessee, wAmy Franklin-Willisas released, The New York Times Book Review noted “the main characters are agreeably imperfect, their stories sensitively told.” The Christian Science Monitor said, “…she excels at making readers care about her characters, especially the ones who have made the biggest mistakes.”

I couldn’t agree more that characters are the soul of The Lost Saints of Tennessee, although the sense of place is powerful, too. (Continue reading)

Mark Willen

MARK WILLEN

Author of Hawke’s Point and Hawke’s Return

9/7/13 – BOOK REVIEW: WASHED IN THE WATER BY NANCY HARTNEY

Nancy Hartney doesn’t just create a sense of place in her stories; she actually takes you there, lifting you out of your reading chair and virtually transporting you to the South as it was fifty years ago. In Washed in the Water, her debut collection of short stories, Hartney writes with such authority and realism about the white underbelly of the region during that era that she immediately establishes herself as an important new voice of the South, with a style and tone reminiscent of Carson McCullers, Erskine Caldwell, or Flannery O’Connor. You certainly don’t need to read the book jacket to know where Hartney comes from. (Continue reading)

Terra Ziporyn

TERRA ZIPORYN

Author of The Bliss of SolitudeTime’s Fool, Do Not Go Gentle, and the new novel Permanent Makeup as well as many nonfiction works including The New Harvard Guide to Women’s HealthAlternative Medicine for Dummies, and Nameless Diseases.

9/4/13 – DISCUSSABILITY: THE KEY TO A GOOD BOOK CLUB BOOK

Book clubs are often maligned as places where people do just about everything except discuss books. But when I asked members of my own book club for reading recommendations, they confirmed what I had always suspected: book clubs not only discuss books, but “discussability” trumps literary merit.

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Sonia Linebaugh

SONIA LINEBAUGH

Author of At the Feet of Mother Meera: The Lessons of Silence, and the (unpublished) novels The Wisdom Project, The American Year, and the Hardest Thing.

Austin Camacho9/1/13 Austin Camacho interviewed by Sonia Linebaugh. What does the writer experience as the words flow onto the page? That’s what I wanted to find out when I interviewed  Austin Camacho, author of five detective novels and four thrillers.

Q. Austin, what are your moments of ecstasy in writing?

A. There’s a kind of ecstatic moment when I find just the right line of dialog to express what a character needs to say, or write a bit of description that tugs at my heart when I read it the next day. In Damaged Goods [page 81], Hannibal asks the slave girl where her collar is: “For a frozen moment, (Continue reading)

Terra Ziporyn

TERRA ZIPORYN

Author of The Bliss of SolitudeTime’s Fool, Do Not Go Gentle, and the new novel Permanent Makeup as well as many nonfiction works including The New Harvard Guide to Women’s HealthAlternative Medicine for Dummies, and Nameless Diseases.

9/1/13 – THE BOOKS I MISSED READING LAST YEAR

I’ve been so submerged in the process of writing a new novel that I’ve missed pretty much every one of my monthly book club meetings over the past year—and, alas, many of the books that went with them. When I finally came up for air, I found myself gasping for fresh reading material, and I figured the ladies of my longstanding book club could rescue me.

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M L DOYLE

Author of mystery and memoir with a military theme

9/1/13 – THE REMAINING – A REVIEW

I don’t wear combat boots anymore, but in my heart, I’m still a soldier. Perhaps that’s why I’m forever drawn to stories about ordinary people who, through heroic efforts, overcome impossible odds.

That’s exactly the kind of story I found in D. J. Molles’ series, The Remaining. I haven’t been this enthralled, this transported by a series of books since…EVER. I dare anyone, especially anyone who ever served in uniform, to read these books and not be affected by them. (Continue reading)

Jill Morrow

JILL MORROW

Angel Cafe (Simon & Schuster 2003); The Open Channel (Simon & Schuster 2005); Newport (HarperCollins/William Morrow 2015)

9/1/13 – VISITS TO TARA

Millions of books were published last year. (Yes, really!) There’s a literary smorgasbord out there filled with more tasty stories than anyone could possibly devour in a single lifetime. Why, then, do we still make time to reread certain titles? (Continue reading)

Sally Whitney

SALLY WHITNEY

Author of the novel Surface and Shadowplus short stories appearing in journals and anthologies, including Best Short Stories from The Saturday Evening Post Great American Fiction Contest 2017.

 

9/1/13 – FINDING HONOR IN THE LOST SAINTS OF TENNESSEE

Aptly named, The Lost Saints of Tennessee by Amy Franklin-Willis is a story about loss—both the losses that are unavoidable and the ones we inflict on ourselves. But despite their losses, and there are many, the characters in this novel have a ragged nobility that comes from trying to do the right thing, even when the consequences turn out all wrong. That may not be enough to qualify for sainthood, but it was enough to keep me involved with these characters from start to finish. I enjoyed this book as much as any I’ve read in a long time.  (Continue reading)

Gary Garth McCann

GARY GARTH MCCANN

Author of the novel The Man Who Asked To Be Killed and five stories, most recently “Incorrigible,” Erotic Review and “The Yearbook,” Mobius

9/1/13 –INTERVIEW WITH ROB ROSS, AUTHOR OF JUGGLER’S BLADE

Rob Niccolini 1Rob Ross’s fantasy novel, Juggler’s Blade, was published during summer. I’ll review it on the 20th of the month on this site. Meantime I met the author for coffee in downtown Washington to ask him about his writing roots and about his reading taste. I find one of the best ways to discover good books to read is to ask authors of books I like what they recommend. (Continue reading)

Mark Willen

MARK WILLEN

Author of Hawke’s Point and Hawke’s Return

9/1/13 —  TALKING ABOUT BOOKS WITH THE WASHINGTON POST‘S RON CHARLES

Courtesy Washington PostNext time you feel overwhelmed by the number of books on your to-read list, think of Ron Charles, the fiction editor at the Washington Post. Charles and his colleagues at the newspaper get 150 books a day to choose from, with a lot  careers depending on their decisions. I chatted with Ron recently about his job and how he approaches it.  Here is the transcript of our phone conversation, edited and condensed.

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