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Archives - January 2014

Author Talk: Nancy Horan, author of Under the Wide and Starry Sky

Jan 24, 2014

Journalist Nancy Horan follows up her New York Times bestselling debut, LOVING FRANK, with a much-anticipated second novel, UNDER THE WIDE AND STARRY SKY. It tells the improbable love story of Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson --- author of TREASURE ISLAND and THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE --- and his tempestuous American wife, Fanny. In this interview, Horan opens up about what drew her to the Stevensons (who she knew immediately would be “good company”), including their unconventional romance and their loyalty to one another despite less than accommodating circumstances. She also talks about how Fanny and Louis (as friends called Stevenson) shaped each other’s artistic lives, as well as what she hopes readers will take away from UNDER THE WIDE AND STARRY SKY.

Interview: Wendy Webb, author of The Vanishing

Jan 24, 2014

Wendy Webb’s first two books, THE TALE OF HALCYON CRANE and THE FATE OF MERCY ALBAN, were both winners of the Minnesota Book Award for genre fiction. Now she follows up these successes with THE VANISHING, a gothic horror tale about a woman who accepts a job offer that she begins to suspect is too good to be true. In this interview with’s Sarah Rachel Egelman, Webb talks about what inspired the old haunted house (including “Downton Abbey” and séances gone wrong), which itself is almost a character in the novel. She also considers why people are so intrigued by horror stories and reveals some of her own favorites.

Author Talk: Julie Klassen, author of The Dancing Master

Jan 21, 2014

Three-time Christy Award winner Julie Klassen certainly knows her way around 19th-century romance. Her latest novel, THE DANCING MASTER, is also her first to offer a strong male perspective. In this interview, Klassen discusses writing from that particular point of view, as well as writing for a female who is more complicated and flawed than your standard romance novel heroine. She also talks about all the fun ways she researched 19th-century dancing, and why dancing in Regency England was such a torrid affair.

Author Talk: Artis Henderson , author of Unremarried Widow: A Memoir

Jan 17, 2014

In UNREMARRIED WIDOW, 26-year-old Artis Henderson loses her husband 20 years after her own mother was widowed, and overcomes two generations of tragedy to discover that both hope and love endure. In this interview, Henderson discusses the painful process of retelling her story, her relationships with fellow army wives, and her plans for the future.

Author Talk: Sue Monk Kidd, author of The Invention of Wings

Jan 9, 2014

Sue Monk Kidd is the bestselling author of three novels: THE SECRET LIFE OF BEESTHE MERMAID CHAIR and, most recently, THE INVENTION OF WINGS, the new pick of Oprah's Book Club 2.0. Her latest is the story of Sarah Grimké, one of the first female abolitionists and early feminist thinkers, and her slave, Hetty “Handful” Grimké, as they both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies. In this interview, Kidd discusses what she initially found so captivating about the Grimké sisters, and all the interesting new things she learned about them while researching the book. She also opens up about why it’s more challenging to give voice to a character who really lived as opposed to a fictional one, the different challenges women face in pursuing freedom, and why she plans to continue writing stories of courage and daring for women.

Interview: Sonja Condit, author of Starter House

Jan 9, 2014

Debut author Sonja Condit received her MFA from Converse College, where she studied with Robert Olmstead, Leslie Pietrzyk, R. T. Smith and Marlin Barton. Her novel, STARTER HOUSE, is a promising start, to say the least. It’s about Lacey and her husband, Eric, who discover shortly after moving in that something sinister lurks within the walls of their dream house. To save her family --- and her unborn child --- Lacey must discover the truth about the house and confront an evil that has lingered in wait for years. In this interview with’s Kate Ayers, Condit opens up about the real-life house (which she and her husband didn’t buy) that inspired the spooky one in her book and whether or not she believes in ghosts. She also talks about writing her most challenging character, why she enjoys hearing other people’s ghost stories, and, in plenty of tantalizing detail, what she’s working on next.

Interview: Averil Dean, author of Alice Close Your Eyes

Jan 9, 2014

In 2012, after spending 20 years working in an office, Averil Dean decided to pursue her dream of writing full-time. Her efforts, it seems, have paid off with her buzzworthy debut novel, ALICE CLOSE YOUR EYES. It’s an erotic psychological thriller about Alice Croft, whose lust for revenge becomes complicated the night she breaks into Jack Calabrese’s house --- and starts lusting for darker and more dangerous things. In this interview with’s Norah Piehl, Dean talks about her obsession with all things noir, as well as how her fascination with “the interplay between deviant minds” led her to write the book. She also explains how she was able to successfully give life to an unlikable protagonist, why her personal blog is like a “lifeline,” and the reason that more women --- especially after the success of FIFTY SHADES OF GREY --- are jumping on the erotic fiction bandwagon.