All posts filed under: Write On Wednesday

Mckenzie Cassidy talks about his debut coming-of-age, Here Lies a Father, a fabulous 1970s playlist featuring songs about dads, the hero’s journey, upstate NY as a character, the catharsis of writing about family secrets, more

By Leslie Lindsay A coming-of-age tale featuring a young man dealing with the death of his father, the secrets he attempted to hide, truth, reconstruction, and more WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS ALWAYS WITH A BOOK Leslie Lindsay & Mckenzie Cassidy in Conversation Writer, professor, Floridian, and Dad, Mckenzie Cassidy delves into dark secrets and a sorted past to discover who–and what–shapes us in his debut coming-of-age, loosely based on a true story. About HERE LIES A FATHER: This an astute and poignant debut from McKenzie Cassidy (Akashic Books, Jan 2021), about fathers and sons, uncles and nephews, and the universal odyssey of family secrets, lies, and revelations. Ian Daly is fifteen when his wayward father dies; they are a bit estranged, he and his mother having recently returned to New York state after a stint in Florida. The parents are separated and leaning toward divorce. Ian has an older sister, Catherine, who is at college. HERE LIES A FATHER opens at the man’s funeral and backtracks through the somber, dysfunctional realms of his life, peeling back layers while juxtaposing …

Helen Cooper talks about fragmented conversations, hidden histories in families, peering in windows, &other dark truths in her debut, THE DOWNSTAIRS NEIGHBOR–plus miniatures and driving!

By Leslie Lindsay How well do you really know your neighbors? How well do you know yourself? These are the overarching questions explored in this fiction debut by Helen Cooper. WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS ALWAYS WITH A BOOK Helen Cooper & Leslie Lindsay in conversation From the U.K., Helen Cooper’s background in teaching with an emphasis on Academic Writing. Her creative writing has been published in Mslexia and Writers’ Forum; she was shortlisted in the Bath Short Story Prize in 2014, and came third in the Leicester Writes Short Story Prize 2018. The Downstairs Neighbor is her first novel. For more information, to connect with Helen Cooper, or to purchase a copy of THE DOWNSTAIRS NEIGHBOR, please visit: Website Facebook Twitter Instagram ORDER LINKS: Support your local in-person bookstore or order through Bookshop.org This title may also be available through other online sellers.  YOU MIGHT LIKE: THE DOWNSTAIRS NEIGHBOR reminded me a bit of Claire Mackintosh’s work meets Louise Candlish’s THOSE PEOPLE and OUR HOUSE. If you loved this interview, please consider sharing it on social media. Reviewing books and talking about them with …

Elizabeth Brundage discusses her fabulously dark and mysterious new novel, THE VANISHING POINT, how she enjoys investigating conflict from several angles, stylistic choices, existential questions & more

By Leslie Lindsay A spare, unflinching, gorgeously rendered tale of intersections and cross-sections of our lives, the memories, jealousies, secrets, and more. I am swooning over THE VANISHING POINT (Little, Brown May 18 2021) by Elizabeth Brundage. It’s eerie, evocative, entangling and pulls at a knotted thread of mystery. Here it has all of the hallmarks for gorgeous prose: it’s emotionally resonant leaving the reader with residual feelings and thoughts while at the same time generating forward momentum, it’s stunning. Julian Ladd and Rye Adler are photography students–and roommates, briefly—during a time while attending an exclusive workshop, mentored by Brodsky, a photography great. It’s mostly men, but there’s a woman, too, Magda, a Polish immigrant who has spent most of her life in the U.S. Both men are fascinated and captivated by her, but no one can seem to ‘have’ her. Julian and Rye’s lives diverge; they take different paths. Julian becomes ensconced in the pharmaceutical industry and Rye pursues photography. In fact, he’s at the top of his game, snapping photographs of celebrities and the like. But now someone’s …

Memoir Monday May Roundup with an emphasis on Motherhood & Mental Illness

By Leslie Lindsay May is all about growth. Spring is in full bloom; and it’s a time for recognition and celebration, but it can also be a loaded month. Over thirty years ago this month, my mother devolved into psychosis. We were estranged starting in my tweens, until her suicide over six years ago. How does that leave me to mother my own daughters? Would I fall victim to the same genetic legacy? Could I break the cycle of poor mother-daughter relationships? And how do I celebrate Mother’s Day with no mother? How did I celebrate my mother when she was alive and not capable of being much of one? “I am so grateful to have this conversation with you. It means a great deal respond to someone who has so carefully read my work and I’m thankful to have this opportunity to reflect in this way.” -Vince Granta, EVERYTHING’S FINE For the entire month of May, I’ve featured some really wise and thoughtful authors–they’ve courageously shared their relationships with their mothers, opened up about …

Nicole Bokat talks about her gorgeously written THE HAPPINESS THIEF, motherhood & careers, the happiness movement, thriving vs surviving, grief, being an empty-nester, how writing fiction is a privilege, more

By Leslie Lindsay  Edgy, smart, and propulsive blend of literary thriller meets family dysfunction. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Spotlight: Motherhood & Mental Illness A masterful tale of family dysfunction, enmeshment, interconnected twists, the infallible effect of memory and emotion, lies, and so much more in Nicole Bokat’s THE HAPPINESS THIEF (SWP, May 18 2021). Natalie Greene is a 41-year old recently divorced woman raising a 15-year old daughter. Even now, she still believes she caused the car crash that led to her mother’s death when she was thirteen. But did she? Haunted by this, her dissolving marriage (and the fact that her ex has so easily moved on), Natalie is trying to make ends meet while being a freelance food photographer when strange emails, the death of her stepfather, and a large FedEx package appears and then disappears, catapulting her back to those earlier days. But there’s more: a recent trip to the Cayman Islands where her stepsister, happiness guru, Isabel’s, conference was held, an eerie similarity to the car crash that happened to Natalie’s mother nearly 30 years prior. Could the two …

Tori Starling talks about her debut, CRAZY FREE, traversing three generations of women, postpartum depression, anxiety; plus a defunct mental health institution, how we need more resources, the healing power of energy medicine, more

By Leslie Lindsay What if the story you had always been led to believe about your family was shaken with a new, devastating truth? ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Spotlight: Motherhood & Mental Health What if the story you had always been led to believe about your family was shaken with a new, devastating truth? That’s the overarching question in CRAZY FREE (Juniper Ray Publishing, April 20th), a debut by Tori Starling. I was immediately entranced with this stunning cover, but what’s more: CRAZY FREE focuses on issues that are near and dear to my heart: motherhood and mental illness. Emily Sharp has always known there were holes in her family history. Her mother, Pam, a high-strung attorney, rarely speaks of her father she despises and her mother died when she was a baby. Emily is a journalist with an assignment from Southern Speaks, a local magazine, to investigate a defunct mental institution known as Hamilton Meadow. While there, Emily discovers more about the institution and Pam reluctantly opens up about her sordid family …

The fabulous and down-to-earth Mary Kubica talks about her new domestic suspense, LOCAL WOMAN MISSING, her fascination with true crime, writing ‘the big twist,’ old houses, how even idyllic places have their dark stories–plus, a question for me, too.

By Leslie Lindsay  An explosive page-turner from Mary Kubica will have you looking over your shoulder–and your neighbors–differently. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ SPOTLIGHT: MOTHERHOOD Mary Kubica has done it again. Every one of her books is a treat and I so glad I had the opportunity to dive into this one a bit early. LOCAL WOMAN MISSING (Park Row Books, May 18 2021) is her seventh (!!) domestic thriller and it’s so, so good. Shelby Tebow is the first to go missing. This is unusual, she has a newborn, she’s relatively new to town, what reason would she possibly have to leave…or for someone to kidnap her? Not long after, Meredith Dickey goes missing, and her 6-year old daughter. But it’s a close-knit, suburban town outside of Chicago, neighbors are concerned but there’s only so much that can be done, even after a search party is formed. The case(s) eventually goes cold and Meredith’s husband, Josh, and son, Leo, continue with their lives. Now, eleven years later, the 6-year old daughter shockingly returns. She’s traumatized, must wear sunglasses at all times …

Deborah Shepherd on unearthing a 30-year old manuscript, re-writing it, character development, mental health, gardening, first loves, being creative at all ages and more in SO HAPPY TOGETHER

By Leslie Lindsay  Completely engaging and totally immersive read about a woman’s journey to find her long-lost love, but what she finds is completely different from what she imagined. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ May Spotlight: Mothers & Mental Health/Illness  When Carolyn Tanner flees her unhappy marriage for a cross-country trip to find her long-lost ‘true love’ Peter, she’s in for a bumpy ride. I loved SO HAPPY TOGETHER (published by SWP April 20 2021). I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one–would it be sappy? Sad? Mysterious? Too light? I was completely gobsmacked with SO HAPPY TOGETHER, which is told from the POV of a smart, feisty, and instantly likable wife/mother/writer. Carolyn Mills-Tanner’s stultifying marriage and life as a harried mother is wearing thin. Her three children–ranging in ages from 8 to 14, are heading to summer camp and Carolyn now has the opportunity to travel cross-country to find her first love, Peter MacKinley, from her days as a drama major at the University of Arizona. She leaves a ‘Dear John’ note for her …

Sally Hepworth on her fabulous new THE GOOD SISTER, featuring twin sisters, mental health elements, a baby, and so much more, plus the books she’s raving about.

By Leslie Lindsay  A neuro-atypical librarian decides to have a baby for her (fraternal) twin sister, but the story is so gorgeous, perceptive, and multi-faceted. The Most Anticipated Book of 2021: CNN.com • E!Online • Bustle • Goodreads • PopSugar • SheReads • Parade.com • Bookish ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ April Spotlight: Siblings I have been a fan of Sally Hepworth’s writing since the beginning, so when I discovered her new book, THE GOOD SISTER (St. Martin’s Press, April 13), I knew I had to get my hands on it–not only does it deal with adult fraternal twin sisters, but it also touches on mental health issues, family dysfunction, and mystery. Rose and Fern Castle are fraternal twins, and as different as night and day. Rose is the ‘responsible one,’ and rounder, called “Rosie Round,” by their mother, a nickname she detests (understandably). Rose marries, is an interior decorator. Fern, tall and willowy, slightly quirky, she hasn’t been formally diagnosed, but is likely on the spectrum, with sensory issues and an almost very literal interpretation of the world. What’s …

Kelly Simmons on her newest domestic thriller, NOT MY BOY, how parenting boys is different than parenting girls, her three most-recommended books, procrastination, more

By Leslie Lindsay  ~WRITER’S INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ April Spotlight: Siblings A missing child, a mother-son new to a neighborhood, multiple suspects, an entangled family, and more in NOT MY BOY. I loved Kelly Simmons’s ONE MORE DAY and when I learned she had a new one out, I knew I needed to get my hands on it. NOT MY BOY (Sourcebooks Landmark, January 2021) is a bit of family drama meets domestic suspense with touches of Lisa Unger’s IN THE BLOOD meets Gilly Macmillian’s TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH. Hannah Sawyer is a writer–she’s working on various things, but mostly ghost-writing a woman’s memoir–but she’s also a divorced mother of a young boy, Miles. They have recently moved into a cozy carriage house on the property of a larger, more established home in a neighborhood where Hannah’s sister, Hillary, and her husband and daughter live. It’s within just days (maybe even hours) that a little girl goes missing. Suddenly, everyone in the neighborhood is captivated by this case. Secrets abound in NOT MY BOY, in which everyone becomes a …