All posts filed under: Fiction Friday

GHOST WEEK: Doireann Ní Ghríofa’s A GHOST IN THE THROAT is a tremendously dark and varied and authentically raw exploration of contemporary motherhood married with archaic morals, plus a writing prompt, more

By Leslie Lindsay ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS~ GHOST WEEK ALWAYS WITH A BOOK|FICTION FRIDAY Featured Spotlight: A GHOST IN THE THROAT by Doireann Ní Ghríofa Doireann Ní Ghríofa is a poet and essayist. In addition to A Ghost in the Throaf, she is the author of six critically acclaimed books of poetry, each a deepening exploration of birth, death, desire, and domesticity. Awards for her writing include a Lannan Literary Fellowship, the Ostana Prize, a Seamus Heaney Fellowshop, ad the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. ABOUT A GHOST IN THE THROAT: “When we first met, I was a child, and she had been dead for centuries.” So writes Doireann Ní Ghríofa in A GHOST IN THE THROAT, a “…female text, a chat, a keen, a lament, and an echo,” and I love everything about it. On discovering her murdered husband’s body, an eighteenth-century Irish noblewoman drinks handfuls of his blood and composes an extraordinary lament. Eibhlin Dubh Ni Chonaill’s poem travels through the centuries, finding its way to a new mother who narrowly avoided her own …

WITCHES WEEK: What is the psychogeography of a region? C.J. Cooke talks about this and writing about trauma, the subconscious, motherhood, limpets, carving yourself into a place that ‘fits,’ and more in THE LIGHTHOUSE WITCHES

By Leslie Lindsay A chilling tale set on a remote Scottish island, THE LIGHTHOUSE WITCHES has suspense, supernatural elements, and historical references for a delicious fall season of reading. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS~ ALWAYS WITH A BOOK|FICTION FRIDAY Leslie Lindsay & C.J. Cooke in conversation CJ Cooke grew up on a council estate in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She started writing at the age of 7 and pestered publishers for years with manuscripts typed on her grandparents’ old Remington typewriter and cover notes written on pages ripped from school notebooks. Her debut, The Guardian Angel’s Journal, was an international bestseller. She has published two poetry collections, a creative anthology (Writing Motherhood) and her sixth novel, The Lighthouse Witches, published October 5 2021 in the U.S. ABOUT THE LIGHTHOUSE WITCHES: A spellbinding read about witches, mother-daughter relationships, folklore, and even the human impact on nature, THE LIGHTHOUSE WITCHES by C.J. Cooke is an exploration of reinvention and what it means to be a family. One of PopSugar’s “10 New Books About Witches Are Utterly Spellbinding” Traversing several time periods …

Savannah Johnston talks about how RITES: Stories initially began as a longing for home, but also the realities of life in Oklahoma, being Indigenous, how watching TV helps with ‘episodic’ writing, more

By Leslie Lindsay In sparse, biting, yet eloquent and compressed prose, Savannah Johnston reveals the truths, sorrow, and joys of the mundane and extraordinary in this collection of stories featuring Indigenous people of Oklahoma. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS~ ALWAYS WITH A BOOK|FICTION FRIDAY Leslie Lindsay & Savannah Johnston in conversation Savannah Johnston is an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma living in NYC. Her work has appeared in Gulf Coast, HTML giant, and Gravel, among others. Rites: Stories is her debut collection of fiction, published by Jaded Ibis, a feminist press committed to sharing literature from voices of people of color, those with disabilities, and culturally marginalized voices. ABOUT RITES: Stories: Each of the stories in RITES presents a rich, complex interior life, encompassing the lives of a man newly released from prison as he attempts to reconnect with his family, a young well-endowed girl who becomes a sex worker, drunken feuds at motels, a son who must bury his father, and more. They are struggling, echoes and penumbras of society, and yet we …

Bruce Cameron chats with my family about A Dog’s Courage, forest fires, Best Friends Animal Society, and so much more in this timely & topical read

By Leslie Lindsay  ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author W. Bruce Cameron Since the publication of #1 New York Times and #1 USA Today bestseller A DOG’S PURPOSE over a decade ago, Cameron’s books have earned praise from the likes of Alice Walker “amazing…wise” and Temple Grandin, “I could not put it down,” inspired three hit movies (which Cameron and his wife, Cathryn Michon, co-wrote the screenplays for). Cameron has also become involved in animal charity work, which has become a passion project of his wife. He frequently partners with Best Friends Animal Society, a leading national animal welfare organization dedicated to ending the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters, to raise money and awareness for the organization.That said, I was super-thrilled to learn that Bruce Cameron had a sequel to A DOG’S WAY HOME, which became a hit movie in 2019. A DOG’S COURAGE (forthcoming from Forge Books, May 4), is the follow-up to dog Bella’s story, but also her people, Lucas and Olivia, now …

Warmth, Passion and Coffee…how Zibby Owens does it all, plus her Quarantine Anthology, essays by contemporary writers in MOMS DON’T HAVE TIME

By Leslie Lindsay  A force to be reckoned–Zibby Owens chronicles the myriad emotions, experiences, more in this historically and personally challenging year; an anthology of essays written by authors from her podcast. “The patron saint of books.”“The Great Connector.” ~Writers Interviewing Writers|Always with a Book~ WeekEND Reading A little burst of joy to your bookshelf during a rather bleak and troubling time. MOMS DON’T HAVE TIME TO: A Quarantine Anthology (Skyhorse Press, February 2021) will spark interest, validate this challenging year, and more. It’s filled with anecdotes on the reading life, food, family, mental health, exercise, mindfulness, sex/intimacy, more.Here, we delve into over 60 short essays from contemporary writers exploring all of these aspects of life–but during quarantine, which makes MOMS DON’T HAVE TIME TO even more timely and topical. I don’t know about you–but as a mom myself, I found that I actually had *less* time once we were shut down at home. It sounds counterintuitive, but true. “The perfect reminder for every mom that nn of us have it all together, all of us are doing our best and, …

Beloved UK Author Ruth Hogan delights with her newest release QUEENIE MALONE’S PARADISE HOTEL with vibrant characters, tackling issues such as estrangement, mental illness, and chosen families

By Leslie Lindsay  An uplifting novel of mothers and daughters, secrets and the astonishing power of friendship, from the wildly popular bestselling author of The Keeper of Lost Things. ~FICTION FRIDAY|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ WINNER OF THE ROMANTIC NOVELISTS’ ASSOCIATION AWARD 2020 SELECTED FOR WORLD BOOK NIGHT 2020 A PRIMA BOOK OF THE YEAR Tilly was a bright, outgoing little girl who liked playing with ghosts and matches. She loved fizzy drinks, swear words, fish fingers and Catholic churches, but most of all she loved living in Brighton in Queenie Malone’s magnificent Paradise Hotel with its endearing and loving family of misfits. But Tilly’s childhood was shattered when her mother sent her away from the only home she’d ever loved to boarding school with little explanation and no warning. Now an adult, Tilda has grown into an independent woman still damaged by her mother’s unaccountable cruelty. Wary of people, her only friend is her dog, Eli. But when her mother dies, Tilda returns to Brighton and with the help of her beloved Queenie sets about unravelling the mystery …

Colette Sartor talks about her sublime collection of linked stories in ONCE REMOVED, but also how she never intended to write a collection; the grittier side to L.A., a study in storymapping and so much more

By Leslie Lindsay  Stunning collection of interlinked stories featuring strong, yet vulnerable women, exploring fears, desires, earned raw emotion, and so much more. ~FICTION FRIDAY|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ FLANNERY O’CONNOR AWARD FOR SHORT FICTION I am literally swooning over this collection of interlinked stories by Colette Sartor. ONCE REMOVED: Stories (University of Georgia Press, September 2019) and winner of the Flannery O’Conner Award for Short Fiction, shimmers with radiant, but unsettling characters in authentic situations. It’s mostly about intimacy–and I’m not talking about sex here–it’s the voids and turns of life brimming with emotional complexity. It’s about babies and meals, traditions, and customs. It’s about houses and homes; leaving and going; about love and grief, fierce natures and grudge-holders. It’s about disillusionment and estrangement. The prose is pounding with pulse, and yet, there’s a lyrical restraint here, too. Sartor strips away the facade we fallible humans hide behind, revealing the (sometimes) crumbling foundation. She excavates the fears, desires, secrets in ways that are surprising and while troublesome, are also delightful. The emotion here is raw, but it’s …

Simone St. James returns with a dank and creepy roadside motel in upstate New York, a cold case, and dual timelines, plus its loose connection to Bates Motel, murder, ghosts, and serial killers

By Leslie Lindsay  An atmospheric and troubling mystery set in upstate New York at a run-down roadside motel teeming with ghosts–both literal and figurative.  ~FICTION FRIDAY | ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Something hasn’t been right at the roadside Sun Down Motel for a very long time, and Carly Kirk is about to find out why in this chilling new novel from the national bestselling and award-winning author of THE BROKEN GIRLS.  New York Times  USA Today Bestseller  Upstate New York, 1982. Viv Delaney wants to move to New York City, and to help pay for it she takes a job as the night clerk at the Sun Down Motel in Fell, NY. But something isn’t right at the motel, something haunting and scary. Upstate New York, 2017. Carly Kirk has never been able to let go of the story of her aunt Viv who mysteriously disappeared from the Sun Down before she was born. She decides to move to Fell and to visit the motel, where she quickly learns that nothing has changed since 1982. And she …

OMG! This book–y’all have GOT to read SUCH A FUN AGE, about race, class, and how everything can be misconstrued

By Leslie Lindsay  A striking, surprising debut from from an exhilarating new voice, SUCH A FUN AGE is a compulsive page-turner.  AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A REESE’S BOOK CLUB x HELLO SUNSHINE BOOK PICK “The most provocative page-turner of the year.” –Entertainment Weekly “A great way to kick off 2020.” –Washington Post   ~FICTION FRIDAY: SPOTLIGHT!~ You guys! I cannot stop thinking about–or talking about–this book! It’s a bit like Jennifer Weiner meets the pacing of a psychological thriller meets Kim Brooks’ SMALL ANIMALS, but there’s so much more, too. SUCH A FUN AGE (Putnam, December 30 2019) is compulsively readable; it’s like a bad car accident you just can’t take your eyes from. And I am so grateful to G.P. Putnam’s Sons for this review copy. Emira Tucker is a 25-year-old attractive black babysitter trying to make ends meet between her part-time jobs. She out at a friend’s 26th birthday party when the mother of her young charge calls–it’s nearly eleven p.m.–requesting her babysitting services–NOW. She doesn’t look like a babysitter at the moment. She’s …

Mary Beth Keane tackles mental illness, estrangement, family, and more in her searingly good family saga, ASK AGAIN YES, spanning generations

By Leslie Lindsay  What does it mean to forgive? That’s the overarching question of this blistering good family saga encompassing friendship, love, mental illness, violence, estrangement, and more. I love this book, ASK AGAIN, YES (Scribner, May 28 2019) by Mary Beth Keane, a stunningly ambitious novel of epic proportions, spanning the lives of two families over 40 years. Plus, oh, my gosh—that cover—which could be just about Anywhere, USA. Or Anywhere, Period. Mary Beth Keane is a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree and author of the highly acclaimed novels THE WALKING PEOPLE and FEVER (optioned for screen by Elisabeth Moss)—and also one I happened to love. In ASK AGAIN, YES, Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope are rookie cops in the NYPD. They live outside the city in cozy suburban area in the 1970s where they’re married and starting young families. But—each home has different stories. There’s the Gleesons—fresh from Ireland and the Stanhopes with a bit of instability, grief, and more, setting fertile ground for an explosive neighborly connection. This is a …