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Archives - February 2014

Interview: Susan Mallery, author of Evening Stars: A Blackberry Island Novel

Feb 27, 2014

With more than 25 million books sold worldwide, New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery is known for creating characters who feel as real as the folks next door and for putting them into emotional, often funny situations readers recognize from their own lives. So it’s not surprising that her latest book in the Blackberry Island series, EVENING STARS, is a poignant story about two sisters --- complete opposites in every way --- who are on the verge of claiming their dreams…if only they can decide what they want!

In this interview with’s Terry Miller Shannon, Mallery opens up about how lucky she is to actually enjoy the writing process (instead of wrestling with it), her own road to publication --- starting with an adult-education class on romance novel writing --- and advice she would give to young or struggling writers. She also talks about what inspires her (everything!) and why having “the attention span of a gnat” has played a significant role in her prolific career.

Interview: Deanna Raybourn, author of City of Jasmine

Feb 27, 2014

New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn’s books have been set all over the globe, from Victorian London to the foothills of the Himalayas. Her latest, CITY OF JASMINE, takes place in the lush and mysterious streets of Damascus, where nothing is as it seems. Set during the 1920s, it’s about famed aviatrix Evie Starke, who is shocked to receive a recent photo of her dead husband, a clue she feverishly tracks --- with her eccentric Aunt Dove in tow --- to the ancient City of Jasmine.

In this interview with’s Amie Taylor, Raybourn talks about how she pulls off setting her books in such exotic locations, despite never having visited them --- including plenty of research (“armchair travel,” as she calls it) and spot-on sensory details. She also opens up about her predilection for writing about strong, independent women, having an inexplicably British writing voice, and why having taken a college seminar on mechanized warfare tactics in WWII was tedious but ultimately rewarding.

Interview: J.T. Ellison, author of When Shadows Fall

Feb 27, 2014

Before becoming a bestselling author, J.T. Ellison was a White House staffer, so she’s been able to work extensively with the Metro Nashville Police, the FBI, and various other law enforcement organizations to research her novels. Which, of course, comes in handy when writing about forensic pathologist Dr. Samantha Owens. In WHEN SHADOWS FALL, the third and latest installment of Ellison's series, Sam receives a disturbing letter from Timothy Savage, a dead man imploring her to solve his murder. The investigation takes her into the shadows of a 20-year-old mystery that must be solved to determine what really happened to Savage.

In this interview with’s Ray Palen, Ellison goes into detail about her protagonist’s complicated internal life as Sam recovers from the loss of her family, and how that tragedy affects her decisions in WHEN SHADOWS FALL. She also talks about her own fascination with cults and cult leaders, as well as how much fun it was to write a story with an “unreliable victim.”

Author Talk: Leslie Gould, author of Minding Molly: The Courtships of Lancaster County, Book 3

Feb 21, 2014

Leslie Gould knows a thing or two about love and faith in Amish country. COURTING CATE, which marked the beginning of her Courtships of Lancaster County series, was an ECPA bestseller, and now she returns with MINDING MOLLY, the third book in the series (following ADORING ADDIE). It’s about Molly Zook, who is struggling with her mother's wish that she marry Mervin Mosier to save the family farm, especially after she meets tall, muscular and confident Leon Fisher. In this interview, Gould opens up about why she started writing Amish fiction to begin with, and the beauty that Lancaster County has always held for her. She also talks about her writing process, adapting her novels from Shakespeare plays, and working with soccer games buzzing in the background.

Author Talk: Emylia Hall, author of The Swiss Affair

Feb 14, 2014

Emylia Hall's debut novel, THE BOOK OF SUMMERS, was a Richard and Judy book club pick in 2012 and was translated into eight languages. Now she returns with her highly anticipated second book, THE SWISS AFFAIR. In it, Hadley Dunn decides to shake up her predictable life by spending her second year of college abroad in the glamorous Swiss city of Lausanne. But when tragedy strikes, a guilt-ridden Hadley resolves to find the truth about what really happened that night. In this interview, Hall talks about her own time abroad in Lausanne and how her “golden year” there (loosely!) influenced THE SWISS AFFAIR. She also reveals her fascination with the way people behave on vacation, why she keeps revisiting the theme of identity, and what she wants readers to take away from her fiction.

Interview: Leila Meacham, author of Somerset

Feb 7, 2014

Leila Meacham is a writer and former teacher who lives in San Antonio, Texas. Now, she returns with SOMERSET, a prequel to her 2010 bestseller ROSES. Here, we learn of Mary Toliver's ancestors, including a couple married under unusual (possibly curse-inducing) circumstances who set out in 1836 for promising new land in Texas. In this interview, Meacham opens up to’s Terry Miller Shannon about what inspired her to write a prequel to her beloved debut novel --- against her initial instinct --- and how that inspiration matured into a book. She also addresses the frequent ROSES/GONE WITH THE WIND comparison, why she’s grown to love researching novels rather than following the “write what you know” guideline, and how her characters sometimes decide their own fates, often much to their author’s surprise.