Articles tagged "interview"

Celadon Interviews JOCO Library’s Gregg Winsor

First things first: if you haven’t checked out Celadon Books‘s gorgeous new website, do so NOW. They’ve got all sorts of interesting things there, particularly in the TBR (To Be Read) section, where we saw this great interview with Johnson County Library’s Gregg Winsor!

“Good librarians are like ninjas – we come in every day expecting the unexpected, and must be prepared for anything that the day can throw at us. Great librarians do all that, make it look easy, AND look fabulous while doing so.” — Gregg Winsor

Read the full interview here and find out what Gregg’s been #bookpushing, what he loves best about Kansas City, and who his book twin is.


PW Spotlight on Araminta Hall

We know you love Araminta Hall—her new book, OUR KIND OF CRUELTY, is a May 2018 LibraryReads pick (available now from MCD/FSG and Macmillan Audio), and so does Publishers Weekly.

In a fascinating interview, Hall discussed her decision not to tell both sides of the story between her two young lovers…

“Switching perspectives almost would have been the easy thing to do, and then I just thought, what I’m writing about is how society judges women, and we still live in a very male society.”

…her unusual sources of inspiration—the Amanda Knox case and the 2016 presidential election…

“It really spurred me on because Hillary was judged so harshly, while Trump was caught on tape literally bragging about sexual assault. It’s that disparity between how women are expected to behave and be perfect, and men can be so much less than perfect.”

…and on writing a first-person male narrative. readmoreremove

Library Journal Debut Spotlight – L. Penelope

L. Penelope, author of SONG OF BLOOD & STONE (available now from St. Martin’s Press), was interviewed in last month’s issue of Library Journal.

In the interview, Penelope discussed her writing process…

“I’m a plotter, but my road map is very loose and allows for plenty of detours along the way.”

…her favorite books from when she was a child…

“Growing up I read widely. My favorites ranged from Frances Hodgson Burnett’s THE SECRET GARDEN and A LITTLE PRINCESS to Virginia Hamilton’s ‘Justice Trilogy.'”



Last year Anna-Marie McLemore broke out on the literary YA scene with her debut novel, THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS, which was a finalist for the 2016 YALSA William C. Morris Award.

Now McLemore is back with WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS, a second stunning novel tinged with magic, about a girl with roses that grow from her wrist who happens to be hiding the truth, a boy with past secrets who paints moons and hangs them in trees, and four sisters rumored to be witches, who could ruin them both.

WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS is on the 2016 National Book Awards Longlist for Young People’s Literature and has THREE starred, rave reviews:

Love bests every opponent in this surreal exploration of familial bonds and sexual identity. Amid the ordinariness of the small-town setting, McLemore winds arabesques of magical realism. Readers who stick with this novel will be rewarded with a love story that is as endearingly old-fashioned as it is modern and as fantastical as it is real.” School Library Journal, starred review

“With luminous prose infused with Latino folklore and magical realism, this mixes fairy-tale ingredients with the elegance of a love story, with all of it rooted in a deeply real sense of humanity. Lovely, necessary, and true.” — Booklist, starred review

“McLemore mesmerizes once again with a lush narrative set at the thresholds of identity, family, and devotion. Luxurious language infused with Spanish phrases, Latin lunar geography, and Pakistani traditions is so rich it lingers on the tongue, and the presence of magic is effortlessly woven into a web of prose that languidly unfolds to reveal the complexities of gender, culture, family, and self. Readers will be ensnared in this ethereal narrative long before they even realize the net has been cast. ” — Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Read the Booklist interview with Anna-Marie about WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS.

Barbara Taylor Bradford on Secrets from the Past and Audiobooks

SFTP audiobook#1 New York Times bestselling author Barbara Taylor Bradford has written everything from contemporary suspense to historical intrigue covering class, friendship, and forbidden love.

In her latest and in many ways most intimate novel, SECRETS FROM THE PAST, thirty-year-old American photojournalist Serena Stone is working on a biography of her celebrated father when she discovers that a former lover is in trouble overseas. Her travels take her back into her own past and into the past of her mother where she'll uncover family secrets long buried. 

Barbara was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about SECRETS FROM THE PAST (the book that is, not her personal secrets from the past... I'm not publishing an exposé here!).

BTBAli: You’ve been publishing with us for about 10 years and you’ve written almost 30 novels, what makes SECRETS FROM THE PAST special for you and your readers?

Barbara: What makes SECRETS special for me and my readers is that I've used the first person narrative. But this is only the third time in my writing career that I have done so. However, I believe writing in Serena Stone's voice gives great intimacy to the book, and therefore to the reader. I always give my female protagonist a job and I've never written about a war photographer before. So this is something else that's new. I am told by my earliest readers that the book has an enormous amount of immediacy and is very NOW.

Ali: Speaking of "now"... when a library patron returns SECRETS FROM THE PAST to his or her local branch and inevitably says, "I loved it! What do I read now?" Which books, audiobooks, and films would you want Readers' Advisory librarians to recommend?

Barbara: Of course I would always recommend A WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE as a book, an audiobook, and a movie. The movie stars Liam Neeson, Jenny Seagrove, Deborah Kerr and a cast of other great actors. It is available now on DVD from Acorn Video. The miniseries runs for 6 hours. Also available are the two sequels, HOLD THE DREAM and TO BE THE BEST. Other books I would recommend of mine are HER OWN RULES, REMEMBER, THE WOMEN IN HIS LIFE and LETTER FROM A STRANGER.

Ali: Fantastic. That sounds like a formidable stack of excellent stories. You mentioned audiobooks so let's talk briefly about the audiobook for SECRETS FROM THE PAST. The narrator Stina Nielsen has narrated everything from Chuck Palahniuk's RANT to Sarah Dessen's KEEPING THE MOON to Shannon Hale's MIDNIGHT IN AUSTENLAND. She did a particularly wonderful job with SECRETS FROM THE PAST (listen to a clip from chapter one here!). Tell us a little bit about your relationship with audiobooks. What's your ideal situation for listening to books read aloud?

Barbara: I always enjoy listening to the audiobooks. It's a wonderful way to relax, just sitting on a sofa and imagining all of the characters enacting the story.

Ideal, indeed! Thank you so much for your time, Barbara!  readmoreremove

The Wisdom of James Patterson

Mark Sullivan, the internationally bestselling author and bestselling co-author with James Patterson, tells all! 

...Or at least he tells us a lot of really great stuff, like what he learned about commerical fiction while working with Powerhouse Patterson.

Sullivan told Publishers Weekly,

"I thought I knew what I was doing when it came to commercial fiction. Working with Patterson, however, I discovered quickly that I didn’t. [...] What I’ve learned from the global bestselling author could fill a book, but here are some of the lessons that have changed my writing life." 

Read about those lessons at!


Starred Reviews for The Survivor

In Gregg Hurwitz' own words, his latest thriller, THE SURVIVOR, is the story of "a man forced to step up, willing to do anything to protect those he loves, even as his body begins to betray him." More specifically... 

One morning Nate Overbay—a divorced former solider suffering from PTSD and slowly dying from Lou Gehrig’s disease—goes to an eleventh-floor bank and climbs out a window onto the ledge, ready to end it. But when a crew of robbers bursts into the bank viciously shooting employees and customers, Nate confronts the robbers, taking them out one-by-one. 

Nate is then kidnapped by Pavlo, a savage Russian mobster who planned the failed heist. Pavlo gives Nate an ultimatum—break back into the bank and get what he needs or watch Pavlo slowly kill the ex-wife and teenaged daughter Nate lost when he came back from Iraq.

"Hurwitz’s writing is crisp and economical, and he steers clear of hackneyed phrases and one-dimensional characters. [...] A fine thriller that succeeds on every level." 
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Surely Hurwitz can’t keep this up forever. Lately, each new book he publishes is his best so far, and this one’s no exception. [...] Nate is the kind of character who, if not handled just right, might quickly become unbelievable, but there’s no danger of that with Hurwitz at the controls. It’s hard to imagine that he can top this one, but, based on past performance, don’t bet against it." —Booklist (starred review)

Publisher's Weekly ran an interview with Gregg in June. Read their Q&A here.


An Interview with Debut Author Lydia Netzer!

Let's cut to the chase: I loved this book. I had no idea what I was getting into when I cracked the pages of SHINE SHINE SHINE and here I am a month later still processing all of the wonderfully full and flawed characters—some of who are on their way to the moon(!), others of who feel alienated right in the suburbs of their own planet.

Debut author Lydia Netzer was kind enough to answer a few questions about her terrific first novel for us. Read on, readers!

Q: You cover a lot of ground in SHINE SHINE SHINE from Burma to Virginia to Pennsylvania to the Moon (not to mention the past and the future)! Which setting did you have the most fun writing?

I grew up in Detroit, but we spent all our summers in the hills of western Pennsylvania, living in a decrepit old farmhouse on a dirt road. Of course, I loved this old farm, and I still do -- it’s June now and I’m answering these questions from the dining room -- panelled in wormy chestnut and full of weird antiques! The valley where Sunny and Maxon played as children is my valley, their creek is my creek, and the stump that’s shaped like a throne -- that was my mossy old stump throne. It was very satisfying to bring that setting into the book and put into words the way I felt about this place as a child. As an only child, I spent a lot of time dangling from the tire swing by myself, and often imagined a playmate arriving magically out of the woods, just as Maxon did for Sunny. 

lydiaQ: Many of the characters in SHINE SHINE SHINE struggle to project an air of "normalcy," did you have any challenges writing scenes with such offbeat people?

I have yet to meet a person who is absolutely normal. I think normalcy is a construct. There are some people who do a pretty excellent job at burying their weirdness, but that doesn’t mean the weirdness isn’t there. These skilled social creatures, practiced at fitting in, collectively create a definition of what “normal” looks like and then others strive to match it. Or else they don’t. Some of us are less committed to passing for normal, and we let our weirdness out a bit, peel the lid off the crazy, off the angst and the exuberance. I’m sure people have good reasons for wanting to pass as normal and have others see them as acceptable. In fact, parenthood can really drive you in this direction -- toward stuffing down all your crazy and packing it away, presenting a very peaceful, unremarkable face to the world. No one sets out wanting to be the weirdo mom or the freak dad. It’s a status you have to come to grips with over time, sometimes after all attempts to disappear into normalcy have failed. 

So to answer the question, I think there are offbeat people all around, and imagining what strange fancies lurked under the apparently normal skin of apparently average people was a very interesting project. 

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Q: If a Reader's Advisory librarian wanted to compare SHINE SHINE SHINE to a couple of other books or even movies on their shelves, which would you want them to pick?


At Home in the Stacks: An Interview with Amber Dermont

Earlier this week, I was lucky enough to steal a few minutes with debut author Amber Dermont whose novel, THE STARBOARD SEA, comes out this month! She opened our conversation with a word about what librarians mean to her. 

"I grew up in a library," she said. "My parents are rare book dealers and our house was floor to ceiling bookshelves and first editions. To this day, I still feel most at home lost among the stacks. During high school and college, I worked as a library proctor and apprenticed myself to a series of world-class librarians. These super heroes taught me how to research my stories, check my facts and compile the necessary details that lead me to write my own novel. I am forever in their debt."

And now, on to the interview! 

Ali: I would guess that every debut author takes inspiration from other artists, be they authors, musicians, painters, or, say, typographers. Does anyone stick out as a particularly important part of your process? 

Amber fun photoAmber: Great question! Writers are like magpies thieving for shiny objects, eager for any charm that will help build a better nest. As I began writing THE STARBOARD SEA, I sought inspiration from the painter John Currin and the photographers Tina Barney and Anthony Goicolea. All three of these artists helped me envision the physical and emotional landscapes of the novel: the listless suntanned faces, the splendor of Manhattan penthouses, the caprice of adolescence and the brutal beauty of youth. John Currin often paints society women in sexy, outlandish poses. His portrait of his wife, "Rachel in Fur," served as the muse for my character Brizzey and the redheaded starlet in his masterpiece, "Heartless," helped me bring Diana and Aidan to life. Currin's intimate depiction of two nude sailors, "Fishermen," became a touchstone for Jason's tender and fraught relationship with Cal. 


Starred Reviews for Children of Wrath

In CHILDREN OF WRATH, Willi Kraus, the celebrated WWI veteran and detective, returns with the case that made him the most famous Jewish Detective in Germany in the days of the Weimar Republic. In this prequel to THE SLEEPWALKERS, Kraus tackles the case of the Kinderfresser, the vicious Child-Eater of Berlin (I know! It gives me the hebejebes, too!).

Both Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews gave this book a starred review. Here's what they said:

"Grossman's brilliant second historical featuring Berlin policeman Willi Kraus finds Kraus already feeling the isolation of being a Jew in an overwhelmingly Aryan environment. [...] Fans of cerebral murder mysteries will look forward to the next installment." -Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"'s terrifying and worthy. Human nature has never looked so raw." -Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Publishers Weekly interviewed Paul Grossman back in December and he offered some interesting insight into the research for CHILDREN OF WRATH, such as, "One major influence in my decision making was the works of German psychologist Alice Miller and her ideas on how German child-rearing practices of the 19th century became a key component in the rise of Nazism." He also hints at what's up next for the series: "France." Read the full interview here!