Award-WinNING Game–YoU’RE PULLING MY LEG–PROVIDES multiple generations a glimpse into one another’s life, creates memories, bonding, more and can be played in-person, on-the-road, or virtually

By Leslie Lindsay 

Interactive list of questions from the thought-provoking to quirky encouraging in-person or virtual fun, discussion, and storytelling skills. 

YPML Junior Book

 

~FUN FRIDAY|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~

AWARD-WINNING! 

Created by award-winning game creator Allen Wolf, YOU’RE PULLING MY LEG: JUNIOR (August 2020) lets you test your bluffing skills with completely new questions that range from thought-provoking to zany. We did something similarly with my father-in-law and teen daughters…and it was such fun to hear his responses, how they are different from the girls, combining multiple generations, and learning a little about each other, too. Plus, the laughs and shared memories will be something to always treasure.

“Knowing your audience, playing to that audience and selling your ideas are some pretty heavy things to find in a simple game, but that is just what testers reported witnessing in their children as they played this game over and over. Along the way you’ll be surprised how much you learn either about your own kids or about others.”

Here’s how it works:

Have you ever eaten too much pizza? Gotten gum stuck in your hair? Surprised a friend? You’ll laugh out loud as you and your friends and family try to fool each other with hilarious stories from your lives as you play this storytelling game. When you read a question from a card, the secret flip of the coin tells you if your answer should be true or made up.

When you hear a story, vote points on if you think a player is telling the truth or pulling your leg. You’ll win points if you’re right but lose them if you’re wrong. Think you can bluff your friends and family? Don’t let them fool you! Score enough points, and you win!

YPML Books Both

 

This game book features cards with over 600 questions and instructions on how to play this game in person or over a video call with two or more people. Also available as an ebook!

SO many fabulous educational benefits, including: 

Develops Positive Relationships
 

• Players learn to interact and get to know each other

• Players track reward

Develops Storytelling Skills

• Players create imaginative, compelling, and believable stories.

Promotes Positive Self-Esteem

• Players feel listened to and valued because of their life experiences

“Challenges Children to Understand What Makes an Interesting, Compelling and Believable Story.”

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Artistic cover image designed and photographed by me, Leslie Lindsay. Follow on Instagram for more like this @leslielindsay1 #alwayswithabook #bookstagram. 

For more information, to connect with Allen Wolf via social media, or to purchase a copy of YOU’RE PULLING MY LEG: JUNIOR, please visit: 

ORDER LINKS: 

Allen_Wolf_V2_High ResABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Filmmaker • AuthorGame CreatorSpeaker

Allen Wolf is an award-winning filmmakernovelist, and game creator based in Los Angeles. His debut novel Hooked was described as “Entertaining, well-paced, and highly visual,” by Kirkus Reviews. Allen wrote, directed, and produced the movie adaption of Hooked that will be released in 2020. The screenplay won numerous awards and the film will bring awareness to human trafficking and autism. His previous film, In My Sleep, won multiple festival awards and is available on iTunes. Allen has also created five board games that won 38 awards and is also a speaker.

 
 

IMG_1175ABOUT YOUR HOST:

Leslie Lindsay is the award-winning author of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA (Woodbine House, 2012) and former Mayo Clinic child/adolescent psychiatric R.N. She is at work on a memoir. Her writing has been published in Pithead ChapelCommon Ground ReviewCleaver Magazine (craft and CNF), The Awakenings Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Ruminate’s The WakingBrave Voices Literary MagazineManifest-Station, and forthcoming in The Family Narrative Project (FNP) and Semicolon. Her photography was featured on the cover of Up the Staircase Quarterly in May 2020, other photography in Another Chicago Magazine (ACM) and Brushfire Literature & Arts Journal; poetry in the Coffin Bell Journal. The 2nd edition of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA will be available this fall. Leslie has been awarded one of the top 1% reviewers on GoodReads and recognized by Jane Friedman as one of the most influential book reviewers. Since 2013, Leslie has interviewed over 700 bestselling and debut authors on her author interview series. Follow her bookstagram posts @leslielindsay1.

~UPDATED, 2nd EDITION OF SPEAKING OF APRAXIA coming soon from WOODBINE HOUSE!~

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#family #games #familyquestions #Q&A #kids #parents #trivia #fibs #justforfun #storytellinggame #autism #apraxiaofspeech  

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[Cover and author image courtesy of PRbytheBook and used with permisison.Artistic cover image designed and photographed by me, Leslie Lindsay. Follow on Instagram for more like this @leslielindsay1 #alwayswithabook #bookstagram]. 

IN DEAR CHILD, a woman and her children escape their captor, but can they ever really be free? Plus a writing prompt

By Leslie Lindsay 

Darkly disturbing psychological thriller about a woman’s kidnapping and the aftereffects.

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~WRITE ON WEDNESDAY|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~

Bustle Best Books of Fall 2020
Publishers Weekly Top 10 Mysteries & Thrillers of Fall 2020
She Reads Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2020

I loved ROOM (Emma Donoghue) and GONE GIRL (Gillian Flynn) and so when I heard DEAR CHILD (Romy Hausmann, October 6 2020 Flatiron Books) was being compared to BOTH of those books, I knew I had to get my hands on it asap.

A woman flees her windowless shack in the woods, where she and her two children, Hannah and Johnathan, have lived in secret under the rule of a twisted man. Together, Lena and her daughter, Hannah, are in a hit-and-run car accident (though no causalities) in a rare opportunity to escape, found by the local authorities and taken to the hospital. Here is where DEAR CHILD starts, at the hospital, after the fact.

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Photo by Spencer Selover on Pexels.com

Meanwhile, Matthias Beck has been tirelessly searching for his daughter for nearly fourteen years since her disappearance. He’s run into roadblocks and naysayers, including, at times, his own wife, the mother of Lena. But now, he receives a call: she’s been found. He and his wife, Karin, get in the car, they go to the hospital, only to discover that the woman in the hospital bed, though she resembles Lena, is not, in fact, Lena. But Hannah, she looks just like Lena, she must be her biological child. Something is amiss, but what?

“Dear Child is one of the best thrillers I’ve read this year. I finished it in one sitting. It’s flawlessly plotted with a pace that refuses to let the reader come up for air—not that you’d want to.”
—Stephanie Wrobel, bestselling author of Darling Rose Gold

A good deal of plot points, twists, is fine, but the execution in DEAR CHILD felt a bit disjointed, leading to reader confusion and not in a thriller sort of way. I feel the narrative could have been stronger, more precise had the story unfolded in ‘real time,’ rather than a recounting of events that had already occurred. Also, Lena isn’t as young as you might expect. She was abducted as a 23-year old college student. It’s been nearly 14 years, putting the present-day Lena at about 37 years old. I think the story might have had more emotional pull if the protagonist had been younger. But that could just be me.

Here we work backward, puzzling the pieces together, from the POV of multiple, all slightly unreliable characters, culminating in a predictable end, with the exception of one breathless last statement that made me sit up a little straighter.

~WRITING TIP & PROMPT: 

Think about the structure of DEAR CHILD. It’s told from an after-the-fact POV. Lena has been found. She’s at the hospital following her escape from her captive life in a shack in the woods. She’s injured because she was struck by a vehicle in a hit-and-run. What are the benefits of telling a story this way? What might the pitfalls be? Does this lean toward pantsing or plotting? What about momentum and pacing? Try re-writing the premise with the abduction, rather than the find. 

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Artistic cover of book cover designed and photographed by me, Leslie Lindsay. Follow on Instagram for more like this @leslielindsay1 #alwayswithabook #bookstagram

For more information, to connect with Romy Hausman via social media, or to purchase a copy of DEAR CHILD, please visit:

Order Links: 

~BOOK CONCIERGE~

I was reminded of several titles as I read, but stand by ROOM and GONE GIRL as leading titles in psychological thrillers involving a kidnapping. But also, Mary Kubica’s THE GOOD GIRL is a superb choice. Others titles that may fall in this warped category of kidnappings gone wrong and psychological turmoil are DARLING ROSE GOLD (Stephanie Wrobel) and THE GIRL BEFORE (Rena Olsen). But in all reality, I think DEAR CHILD rings of a true-crime kind of tale.

200083112ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Romy Hausmann lives with her family at a remote house in the woods in Stuttgart, Germany. Dear Child is her English-language debut.

IMG_1175ABOUT YOUR HOST:

Leslie Lindsay is the award-winning author of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA (Woodbine House, 2012) with second, updated edition coming fall of 2020 and former Mayo Clinic child/adolescent psychiatric R.N. She is at work on a memoir, about growing up with a mentally ill interior decorator mother and her devolve into psychosis. Leslie’s writing & prose poetry has been published in Pithead ChapelCommon Ground ReviewCleaver Magazine (craft and CNF), The Awakenings Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Ruminate’s The WakingBrave Voices Literary MagazineManifest-StationCoffin Bell Journal, and forthcoming in Semicolon Literary Magazine and The Family Narrative Project. Her cover art was featured on Up the Staircase Quarterly in May 2020, other photography in Another Chicago Magazine (ACM) and Brushfire Literature & Arts Journal and shortlisted for the Manhattan Review. Leslie has been awarded one of the top 1% reviewers on GoodReads and recognized by Jane Friedman as one of the most influential book reviewers. Since 2013, Leslie has interviewed over 700 bestselling and debut authors on her author interview series. Follow her bookstagram posts @leslielindsay1.

~UPDATED, 2nd EDITION OF SPEAKING OF APRAXIA coming soon from WOODBINE HOUSE!~

Querying MODEL HOME: Motherhood &  Madness 

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LOVE IT? SHARE IT!

#alwayswithabook #writing #prompts #bookrecommendations #psychologicalthriller #kidnapping 

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[Cover and author image retrieved from Macmillian Books. Artistic cover of book cover designed and photographed by me, Leslie Lindsay. Follow on Instagram for more like this @leslielindsay1 #alwayswithabook #bookstagram]

Darling children’s book TOLD IN HIGHLY IMAGINATIVE ILLUSTRATIONS SUPPORTS THE VALUE OF OBSERVATION, SMALL THINGS, CREATIVITY, CULTURE, PLUS EXPAND YOUR READING EXPERIENCE WITH AN ACTITIVITY

By Leslie Lindsay 

Delightful children’s book about a little mouse who comes to stay and leaves the family with a delightful array of treasures. 

Eric_Cover

~A LITTLE LITERACY|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~

Kid Lit Monday

When a foreign exchange student comes to live with a typical suburban family, he brings with him a boundless sense of curiosity — and a stream of unexpected questions (which his hosts are never quite sure how to answer). But when the moment comes to say good-bye, a beautiful surprise awaits, and a gift the family will never forget.

Here, this darling story of a little mouse who comes to stay with a family, we are introduced to a new way of looking at the world. All of the ‘big’ things in life are underwhelming to Eric. He doesn’t care about them, but is more intrigued with the scraps–the tin foil, a gum wrapper, a bottle cap. The family finds this strange, unsettling, but decide it must be his way. Here is where the real magic happens. Could it be that the small things–the garbage–is what truly fascinate? Is it about finding the hidden value in things that appear to be insignificant?

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This new stand-alone edition of one of Shaun Tan’s most beloved and inviting stories is perfect for sharing with readers of all ages who appreciate stories of wonder, exploration, and life’s everyday mysteries.

EXPAND YOUR READING EXPERIENCE:

What if you and a little person in your life read ERIC together and then went about your day with the small things in mind? Can you spot them on your daily travels? On a walk, you can look for acorn tops, rocks, (nut) shells, sticks. In parking lots, you might discover a (clean) gum wrapper, a plastic bottle top. You may have to do this over the course of a few days or week. Children will relish in collecting these pocket-sized objects, and if you’re comfortable with it, allow them to take them home, sanitize them and create something like Eric did. Talk about what you’ve found: shapes, sizes, colors, textures, more. 


“Stunningly original  … most illustrations in books are reactions to the text, but here the pictures inspire the stories.  They are all strange and beautiful.”

~Anthony Browne, Children’s Laureate


~UPDATED, 2nd Edition of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA coming soon from WOODBINE HOUSE~

Pre-order now!

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Artistic image of book cover designed and photographed by me, Leslie Lindsay. Follow on Instagram for more like this @leslielindsay #bookstagram #alwayswithabook #CAS #SpeakingofApraxia.

For more information, to connect with Shaun Tan, or to purchase a copy of ERIC, please visit: 

Order Links:

~BOOK CONCIERGE~

I was reminded of the Kevin Henkes book, MY GARDEN.

Shaun Tan (by Inari Kiuru)ABOUT THE AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR:

Shaun Tan is the New York Times bestselling author of The ArrivalTales from Outer SuburbiaTales from the Inner CityRules of Summer, and The Singing Bones. He received the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2011 and won an Academy Award for the adaptation of his picture book The Lost Thing (from Lost & Found: Three by Shaun Tan). Shaun lives in Melbourne, Australia.

1B6B942E-E2D9-4517-9773-73A6A5162188ABOUT YOUR HOST:

Leslie Lindsay is the award-winning author of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA (Woodbine House, 2012) and former Mayo Clinic child/adolescent psychiatric R.N. She is at work on a memoir. Her writing has been published in Pithead ChapelCommon Ground ReviewCleaver Magazine (craft and CNF), The Awakenings Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Ruminate’s The WakingBrave Voices Literary MagazineManifest-Station, and others. Her cover art was featured on Up the Staircase Quarterly in May 2020, other photography in Another Chicago Magazine (ACM) and Brushfire Literature & Arts Journal; poetry in the Coffin Bell Journal, and CNF in Semicolon Literary Magazine; the 2nd edition of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA will be available this fall. Leslie has been awarded one of the top 1% reviewers on GoodReads and recognized by Jane Friedman as one of the most influential book reviewers. Since 2013, Leslie has interviewed over 700 bestselling and debut authors on her author interview series. Follow her bookstagram posts @leslielindsay1.

~UPDATED, 2nd EDITION OF SPEAKING OF APRAXIA coming soon from WOODBINE HOUSE!~

LOVE IT? SHARE IT!

#alwayswithabook #kidlit #readingwithchildren #foreignexchangestudent #creativity #culture #apraxia #speech #CAS

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[Cover and author image courtesy of Scholastic and used with permission. Image of Eric arriving retrieved from Shaun Tan’s website on 10.15.20. Artistic image of book cover designed and photographed by me, Leslie Lindsay. Follow on Instagram for more like this @leslielindsay #bookstagram #alwayswithabook #CAS #SpeakingofApraxia]

COMING SOON IN PAPERBACK–THE SUNDOWN MOTEL, set in the 1980s and today, a run-down roadside motel teeming with ghosts, mysteries of the past, more

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. 

NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK! 

The+Sun+Down+Motel+cover+small

~WEEKEND READING | ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~

THRILLER SPOTLIGHT

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 Bestseller

USA Today Bestseller 

NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK

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 soon finds herself ensnared in the same mysteries that claimed her aunt.

Fell is an out-of-time small town in upstate NY where girls grow up being warned by their mothers to be careful or they will end up like Cathy Caldwell, the girl who was murdered and found under an overpass, or Victoria Lee who was killed and dumped on a jogging trail on the edge of town. There are a lot of dead girls in Fell.

But why does Carly Kirk seem so haunted by this town? Why does she leave her hometown in Illinois to relocate to Fell? visit to town. Before Carly was even born her aunt Viv worked the night-shift at the Sun Down motel. And then went missing.  Using a small inheritance from her deceased mother, Carly leaves college for Fell in the hopes that she will figure out what happened to her aunt thirty-five years ago.

powered on red motel signage
Photo by Pedro Sandrini on Pexels.com


“Deliciously creepy. A chilling blend of mystery and ghost story that will thrill fans of both.”

—Riley Sager, New York Times bestselling author of Lock Every Door


As Carly uncovers more about the mysterious happenings at the motel and Fell’s secrets, she discovers that Viv had been trying to unravel mysteries of her own—including a possible serial killer working in Fell targeting women. If Carly can find the answers Viv was searching for, she might be able to solve the mystery that has haunted her family for years. But as Carly digs deeper, she puts herself in front of the same dangers that faced her aunt all those years ago.

THE SUN DOWN MOTEL (Feb 18 2020, Berkley/PRH) is scary and propulsive; you’ll find yourself connecting the dots while simultaneously never wanting the ride to end.

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Artistic cover image of book designed and photographed by me, Leslie Lindsay. Follow on Instagram @leslielindsay1 #alwayswithabook #alwaysreading for more like this.

For more information, to connect with Simone St. James via social media, or to purchase a copy of THE SUN DOWN MOTEL, please visit: 

Read an excerpt!

Order Links: 

NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK! 

~BOOK CONCIERGE~ 

You may also like THE CHILL by Scott Carson, also set in upstate New York with supernatural elements and a ‘retro’ feel. Stephanie Wrobel’s debut DARLING ROSE GOLD offers many similar elements of mystery and dread. Also check out: I’LL BE GONE IN THE DARK, a dash of BATES MOTEL.

FBprofilepicABOUT THE AUTHOR: After years of writing and collecting rejections, Simone St. James’ debut novel, THE HAUNTING OF MADDY CLARE, won two RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America and an Arthur Ellis Award from Crime Writers of Canada. AN INQUIRY INTO LOVE AND DEATH was nominated for another Arthur Ellis Award, and SILENCE FOR THE DEAD was shortlisted for a Goodreads Choice Award.

Simone spent twenty years behind the scenes in the television business before leaving to write full-time. She lives just outside Toronto, Canada, with her husband and a spoiled rescue cat. She is addicted to sushi, old 1970’s gothic novels, rainy days, coffee, and My Favorite Murder. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and Pinterest (though not all at once). 

You can connect with me, Leslie Lindsay, via these websites: 

I hope you do!

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ABOUT YOUR HOST:

Leslie Lindsay is the award-winning author of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA (Woodbine House, 2012). Her work has been published in Pithead ChapelCommon Ground ReviewCleaver Magazine (craft and CNF), The Awakenings Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Ruminate’s The WakingBrave Voices Literary MagazineManifest-Station, and others. She has been awarded as one of the top 1% reviewers on GoodReads and recognized by Jane Friedman as one of the most influential book reviewers. Since 2013, Leslie has interviewed over 700 bestselling and debut authors on her author interview series. Follow her bookstagram posts @leslielindsay1.

~updated, 2nd edition of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA forthcoming from Woodbine House this fall~

Querying MODEL HOME: Motherhood & Madness

LOVE IT? SHARE IT!

#fiction #mystery #domesticsuspense #paranormal #supernatural #motels #missinggirls #serialkillers #coldcases #NewYork #alwayswithabook 

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[Cover and author image courtesy of PRH and used with permission. Author photo cred: Lauren Perry. Artistic cover image of book designed and photographed by me, Leslie Lindsay. Follow on Instagram @leslielindsay1 #alwayswithabook for more like this]

Ravishing bold & meaty memoir focusing on mothers, mental health, grief, but also trauma, the female body, traditional ‘womanhood;’ plus writing structure, more in WIVING

By Leslie Lindsay 

Ravishingly bold and haunting memoir about growing up Mormon, ‘wifely’ expectations, mental illness, and sexual abuse.

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~Writers Interviewing Writers |ALWAYS WITH BOOK~

I was immediately taken with this compassionately visceral and lyrical memoir by Caitlyn Myer. 

WIVING (Arcade Books/Skyhorse Publishing, July 2020) is so brave, so bold, all things laid bare account of the author’s upbringing, but also abuse and personal sexuality.

Raised Utah in a traditional Mormon family, Caitlin Myer’s life had an expected trajectory: she would attend church-related activities, hold on to her virginity, learn to be sweet and compliant, keep a hope chest, and then when the time was right, she would marry and enter ‘full womanhood.’

I read with such an urgency a worry and an impending sense of doom–things do not go to plan. As much as I loved WIVING, it’s a challenge to summarize it in terms of plot–it comes to the reader in a fragmented, spiraling thread, and I love this structure. It’s much like life in that sense, and in what I think encompasses the entirety of the narrative: grief. Myer grieves her childhood (or lack thereof), her womanhood, her marriages, her other relationships, her mother, her uterus, her religion, her mental health. And yet–it’s all stitched together into a cohesive whole.

Here, we dive into the depths of such controversial and universal motifs of femininity (and feminism), religion, creativity, trauma, sex, depression, love, illness, and more. WIVING is meaty, clotted with strong visual images that will stay with you long after you turn the last page.

But first, please join me in welcoming the lovely and talented Caitlin Myer to the author interview series:

Leslie Lindsay:

Oh my gosh, Caitlin—this book! It’s so raw and yet so elegantly told. I am in awe. I always think we are sort of haunted into writing something…an urgency we can’t shake. What was it for you in WIVING?

Caitlin Myer:

There was an urgency, but I couldn’t name it for a long time, and countless drafts before I found the heart of the book. I did not want to write about trauma. I wanted to write a quirky, witty memoir, but these stories kept noising inside me. At a certain point, I engaged in a lightweight self-deceit, writing certain parts of the book under the assumption I would cut them out before the final draft. But with each draft, each culling, I realized those parts that most terrified me were essential.

I only ever learn what needs to be written in the process of writing it.

Leslie Lindsay:

I love the meandering, spiraling structure of WIVING. In the real world, nothing happens in a perfectly linear trajectory. I started thinking about this—why you chose to tell your story in this nonlinear manner, how you connected varied facets—I think it’s grief. The connective tissue here is grief. Can you talk about that, please?

Caitlin Myer:

I started playing with a fragmentary structure in a previous (unpublished) novel called Beautiful Men, which was my way of flirting with memoir without admitting I was writing a memoir. The organizing principle in that book was a spiral, and the fragments were love stories with men (as you might guess from the title), circling ever inward. In WIVING I got to hone a fragmentary structure, eventually using color coding to visualize how the pieces fit together.

The overarching structure for the memoir snapped into place for me in the same moment as the title, WIVING. That was when I understood I needed to organize these stories around twin spines: one was the cultural expectations of women, and one was the love story with my mother. In Beautiful Men I thought my love stories with men belonged at the center of my story, but that idea was a function of our culture.

The primary grief for me was how those cultural expectations came between my mother and me, and how they crippled us both. One great heartbreak is that I didn’t fully appreciate the depth of our love story until after her death.

Love your sideways reference to Meander, Spiral, Explode by Jane Alison! I only just read that book and it’s always a thrill to read somebody who shares my obsession with structural play.

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Photo by Irina Iriser on Pexels.com

Leslie Lindsay:

I am completely intrigued with your mother. Although she was a very traditional wife—perhaps given the time period or being Mormon, or maybe something else—she was also quite progressive. Many of her ideas were very feminist. She was creative. She was mentally ill. I know we could talk for hours about our mothers, but how might you summarize your mom without complete sentences?

Caitlin Myer:

Poet. Mormon believer. Mystic. Lover. Martyr. Intellectual. Feminist, not-quite-willing to carry the label. Charismatic and sexy for days. Never a homemaker. Passionate in her loves: husband, children, words, clothes, ideas, sunshine, ocean. Adopter of fringe ideas, ready to try any cure for her various illnesses. Hilarious when not depressed. A would-be adventurer.

Mom dyed her hair purple in the eighties. I know, that’s a full sentence.


“Haunting . . . disturbing . . . Myer writes beautifully and with a sense of humor, even about traumatizing events. . .  Be prepared to reflect on feminism, family, fertility, solitude, and mental health with this record of one woman’s dramatic life.” 

— Booklist


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Leslie Lindsay:

In terms of the craft of writing—what do you feel keeps the saw sharp? When the page is blank do you think of that as a fallow period—necessary for growth—or something else?

Caitlin Myer:

When I was married I had to steal time to write. It still feels like a treat to be able to sit down with the words. Even if I have nothing to write, I write. When the well is dry, I write bullshit. I have half-finished essays, random poems, barely formed ideas for books, scraps all over my computer. So much bullshit. There are absolutely long periods when the inspiration takes a break, but I still try to show up to the page. Even if I write only one sentence in a day.

Right now something is going on with my brain that makes it painful to read, so I am learning to work with different dictation apps. Yesterday I sat in a park and talked into the voice memo app in my phone, pretending I was talking to a friend. It sucks, feels awkward in a hundred ways, but my heart needs to make words.

Leslie Lindsay:

What do you hope others take-away from WIVING? Why this book, why now?

Caitlin Myer:  

I want readers to find permission to tell the truth about their lives, and find new freedom from the stories that have limited our imaginations.

I feel like there are so many more interesting ways to tell a story beyond the traditional hero’s journey, that straightforward arc. I want to read stories that shatter that structure. I want to read more stories that are not about cis white men. I mean, I love cis men. I wrote WIVING with love, but it’s time for different stories.

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Leslie Lindsay:

Caitlin, this has been so enlightening, so eye-opening. I so appreciate you taking the time. Is there anything I should have asked, but may have forgotten? Or something you’d like to ask me?

Caitlin Myer: 

Leslie, Thank you so much. I’d love to tell you about my next project. Truthfully, I don’t know whether it will be memoir or fiction. It will draw on the seven years that I spent traveling around the world. It plays with genre, men are supporting characters at most, and I think it wants to be horror. We shall see.

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Artistic image of book cover designed and photographed by L.Lindsay. Follow on Instagram for more like this @leslielindsay1 #alwayswithabook #bookstagram

For more information, to connect with Caitlin Myer via social media, or to purchase a copy of WIVING, please see: 

ORDER LINKS:

~BOOK CONCIERGE~

I was reminded, in part, of THE GLASS CASTLE(Jeanette Walls) meets EDUCATED (Tara Westover), and WHAT WE CARRY (Maya Lang).

CMyer author photoABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Caitlin Myer grew up in a half-finished mountainside house in Provo, Utah, the youngest of a chaotic family of six children, a poet mother, and an artist father. A lust to go as far and as fast as possible was born when she was nine years old and her father directed a six-month study abroad in France. She was a kid from the righteous nucleus of Mormonia, dropped into the middle of Paris with only a few words of French, a metro card, and vague directions for finding her way home. She fell in love and never recovered.

Myer left home and Mormonism at sixteen, returned at eighteen, left the church again at twenty, and moved away from Utah for good at twenty-two.

In 2009, Myer founded the San Francisco literary reading series Portuguese Artists Colony and its publishing spinoff,  PACBooks, where she served as editor. She emceed most of the Colony’s shows and performed at other literary events such as Litquake, Literary Death Match, Writers With Drinks, Why There Are Words, and Quiet Lightning.

In 2011, Myer attended the Disquiet International Literary Program in Lisbon on a scholarship. While there, she hosted a Portuguese Artists Colony reading in the historic Grémio Literário, 150-year-old literary club that did not admit women until the Carnation Revolution in 1974. In the same year, she participated in the Squaw Valley Writers Workshop with a George Pascoe Miller Scholarship. In the spring of 2012, Myer completed a residency at MacDowell Colony, where she was recipient of a fellowship from the Rona Jaffe Foundation. Her memoir/essays “Positive I Don’t Have a Uterus” and “Unforgettable: Becoming an Amnesiac’s Memory” were published in The Butter and Electric Literature, respectively. Her short story “Everything a Woman Should Have” appeared in Cultural Weekly, the poem “Bus Story” in No Tokens, and the story “God Time” in Joyland. Other short stories, poems, and essays have been published in literary magazines, online journals and anthologies.

She has appeared in storytelling series such as Porchlight and The Moth, and was featured on NPR’s The Moth Radio Hour with her real-life story, “Near Mrs.” She has also been featured in podcasts, including Nocturne. These performances have won her fans around the world, from India to Portugal to New Orleans.

For seven years, Myer has lived out of a suitcase, but she now has a lease on a 400-year-old apartment in the north of Portugal. At least once a week, she climbs the hill to what was once a 12th century Augustinian monastery, and writes.

1B6B942E-E2D9-4517-9773-73A6A5162188ABOUT YOUR HOST:

Leslie Lindsay is the award-winning author of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA (Woodbine House, 2012) and former Mayo Clinic child/adolescent psychiatric R.N. She is at work on a memoir, about growing up with a mentally ill interior decorator mother and her devolve into psychosis. Leslie’s writing & prose poetry has been published in Pithead ChapelCommon Ground ReviewCleaver Magazine (craft and CNF), The Awakenings Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Ruminate’s The WakingBrave Voices Literary MagazineManifest-StationCoffin Bell Journal, and others. Her cover art was featured on Up the Staircase Quarterly in May 2020, other photography in Another Chicago Magazine (ACM) and Brushfire Literature & Arts Journal; CNF in Semicolon Literary Magazine; the 2nd edition of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA will be available this fall. Leslie has been awarded one of the top 1% reviewers on GoodReads and recognized by Jane Friedman as one of the most influential book reviewers. Since 2013, Leslie has interviewed over 700 bestselling and debut authors on her author interview series. Follow her bookstagram posts @leslielindsay1.

~Updated, 2nd edition of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA available late fall 2020 from Woodbine House~

Recently completed: MODEL HOME: Motherhood & Madness

LOVE IT? SHARE IT!

#alwayswithabook #memoir #literary #religion #Mormon #Utah #mothers #mentalillness #femininism #creativity #wives #marriage #loss #grief #writingcraft #structure 

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[Cover and author image courtesy of Arcade Books/the author and used with permission. Author photo credit: Ian Tuttle. All other images, including artistic image of book cover designed and photographed by L.Lindsay, unless otherwise noted. Follow on Instagram for more like this @leslielindsay1 #alwayswithabook #bookstagram]

Jenny OfFILL’s WEATHER IS SEARINGLY BRIGHT, yet gloomy, and might resonate with the current climate, plus a writing prompt

By Leslie Lindsay 

Strange, but insightful little book told in fragmented realities, almost like a memoir, but let’s call it experimental literary fiction.

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~WEDNESDAY WRITING & READING|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER 


From the beloved author of the nationwide best seller Dept. of Speculation—one of the New York Times Book Review‘s Ten Best Books of the Year—a “darkly funny and urgent” (NPR) tour de force about a family, and a nation, in crisis

WEATHER is my first Jenny Offill book, but it probably won’t be my last. In fact, I have her national bestseller DEPT. OF SPECULATION on my TBR pileWEATHER (Knopf, February 2020) is such a book for our times. I mean, I read this and thought there was a precision to Offill’s words and perception.Obviously the book was written long before this ominous year of 2020, but the insights are searingly sharp and bright.


“Brilliant… Offill’s writing is brisk and comic, and her book’s format underlines her gifts. “Weather” is her most soulful book…  [Her] humor is saving humor; it’s as if she’s splashing vinegar to deglaze a pan.”
—The New York Times


If you’re looking for something traditional in scope, you won’t find it here. WEATHER is told in fragmented shards, some razor-sharp, others with a strange brand of humor, but they all flow into free-form literary tour de force. Is there a plot? Not exactly. But there are characters (who seem almost real in a memoir sense). Lizzie is a mother and wife and works in a library at a university. She was once a promising grad student and now does some kind of work for her former mentor, answering letters.

But she’s obsessed with disaster psychology, her recovering-addict brother, her divorced mom, and parenting is weird, too. She’s also concerned the world is coming to an end.(Sound familiar?). It does and it is. Draped in the background is the 2016 election and political social strife, but it’s not what you might think.

I love the vignettes, the snippets of prose that triggered another idea or generated a writing prompt for me. WEATHER is not going to be for everyone. It’s metaphorical at times, literal at others. It’s fragmented and free-form and written in an exercise in brevity, but astute readers and those looking for something a bit out of the mainstream, will complete appreciate.

WRITING PROMPT & TIP:

Find a passage you relate to in WEATHER and expand on it. For me, I loved the epigraph: Notes from a Town Meeting in Milford, Connecticut, 1640 and wanted to find something similar for a writing project of mine. I’m still searching, but  it’s ephemera like this that ignite a spark. 

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Artistic photo of book cover designed and photographed by me, Leslie Lindsay. Follow on Instagram @leslielindsay1 #alwayswithabook #bookstagram for more like this.

For more information, to connect with Jenny Offill, or to purchase a copy of WEATHER, please visit: 

Order LInks:

712HHiUZ-AL._US230_ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jenny Offill attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Offill teaches in the MFA programs at Brooklyn College, Columbia University and Queens University.

IMG_1175ABOUT YOUR HOST: 

Leslie Lindsay is the award-winning author of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA (Woodbine House, 2012) and former Mayo Clinic child/adolescent psychiatric R.N. She is at work on a memoir, about growing up with a mentally ill interior decorator mother and her devolve into psychosis. Leslie’s writing & prose poetry has been published in Pithead ChapelCommon Ground ReviewCleaver Magazine (craft and CNF), The Awakenings Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Ruminate’s The WakingBrave Voices Literary MagazineManifest-StationCoffin Bell Journal, and others. Her cover art was featured on Up the Staircase Quarterly in May 2020, other photography in Another Chicago Magazine (ACM) and Brushfire Literature & Arts Journal; CNF in Semicolon Literary Magazine; the 2nd edition of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA will be available late this summer. Leslie has been awarded one of the top 1% reviewers on GoodReads and recognized by Jane Friedman as one of the most influential book reviewers. Since 2013, Leslie has interviewed over 700 bestselling and debut authors on her author interview series. Follow her bookstagram posts @leslielindsay1.

LOVE IT? SHARE IT!

#alwayswithabook #literaryfiction #vignettes #experiementalfiction #parenting #librarian #insights #WEATHER

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[Cover and author image retrieved from the author’s website on 10.03.20. Artistic photo of book cover designed and photographed by me, Leslie Lindsay. Follow on Instagram @leslielindsay1 #alwayswithabook #bookstagram for more like this]

Gilly MACMILLAN chats about her serpentine new domestic suspense TO TELL THE TRUTH; a missing child, WWII bunkers, how truth can be so vastly interpreted, the love of her town, more

By Leslie Lindsay

Gilly Macmillan is back with a chilling tale set in the Stoke Woods of England about a writer, and a missing child. 

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~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK

I’ve read and loved ALL of Gilly Macmillan’s troubling and twisty domestic thrillers–and TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH (WilliamMorrow September 22, 2020) is another serpentine thriller that delivers a potent blend of atmosphere, tarnished memories, and stunning family secrets.

In TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH, bestselling mystery writer Lucy Harper’s talent for invention has given her fame, fortune, and an army of adoring readers. But her private life isn’t all that it seems. Her hapless husband Dan has unfulfilled writing ambitions of his own creating tension in the marriage. When he surprises Lucy with a home near the Stoke Woods, the wood where she once played as a child, she is undone by a dark foreboding. What could have happened at that spot to evoke such a strong reaction in her so many years later?

When Dan suddenly goes missing, Lucy can no longer suppress her memories of the past. His disappearance forces her to confront dark memories that take her back more than thirty years to the day her three-year-old brother Teddy vanished without a trace. The police investigation into her brother’s disappearance revealed few confirmed details, so young Lucy began conjuring stories—creating scenarios to fill in the gaps to explain what happened that day—when as a little, nine-year-old, she was the only witness.

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Now, under intense media glare, Lucy’s past and present collide. A bestselling author skilled in telling stories is losing control of her own narrative while coming under increasing scrutiny about the disappearance of her husband. With the entire world seemingly watching, guided by her omnipresent alter ego, Eliza, Lucy fights to solve the mystery surrounding her brother and clear her name regarding her husband—knowing there’ll be no redemption for her until she does.

Is Lucy, the brilliant mystery writer—an expert in devising red herrings and hidden clues—revealing all she knows about both disappearances? Even with Eliza’s guidance, can she trust her own memory?

Please join me in welcoming the lovely and talented Gilly Macmillan back to the author interview series.

Leslie Lindsay:

Gilly! Welcome back. I always feel we are sort of haunted into our stories—that there is something (or someone?) sort of tugging at us to put pen to paper. What were the initial origins for TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH?

Gilly Macmillan:

Thank you for having me on again! I’m so pleased to be back. TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH was born out of an urge to write a story with an unreliable narrator at its heart. When I began to think about the type of person who might make a good unreliable narrator, I kept circling back to fiction writers, because we spend so much of our time escaping reality and creating other worlds. I wondered what it would be like for a writer for whom the boundaries between reality and fiction became blurred and I realized it could get them into a lot of trouble.

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Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Leslie Lindsay:

Your stories are always so atmospheric and I believe they are all set in Bristol, where you live, which I love. I think this might help bring the story to life because you are intimately familiar with the details around you, but also does it ever get tiresome? Do the houses of Charlotte Close exist? How about the bigger homes where Dan and Lucy Harper move?

Gilly Macmillan:

Setting my novels in Bristol began mostly as a practical choice because it saves me time in research, but it was also something I wanted to do because I believe some of the best crime writing successfully treats location as a character in its own right and Bristol is a fascinating and diverse place. It’s been interesting to set the novels in different areas of the city and consider what it means to the characters who live contrasting lives within it. To make a story work, I’ll take liberties with Bristol’s geography if I have to, though I keep it within the realms of believability. There are some mansions just across the Clifton Suspension Bridge where Dan and Lucy live, and also some smaller streets with more modest homes, but Charlotte Close doesn’t exist exactly as I wrote it. I based it on a street that’s situated somewhere else in Bristol and airlifted the location to the woods for the book. I wouldn’t say that I get tired of writing about my city, because it is endlessly fascinating to me, but the novel I’m currently working on is partly set in Northumbria, a wild and remote area of the UK, which is making a nice change.


“TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH is a spellbinding book about a missing child, and about the life of a writer. Bold, suspenseful, and impossible to put down. This one will stay with me for a long time.”

Samantha Downing, Sunday Times and USA Today bestselling author of My Lovely Wife


Leslie Lindsay:

Of course, there’s the WWII connection with the bunkers, which I know exist. I think for children, this would have ignited such fantasy. Because don’t we all dream of discovering hidden passages? It’s about obscuring and revealing, a theme which seems to run through the narrative. Can you talk more about those bunkers, please?

Gilly Macmillan:

The bunker in the novel is based on a secret network of bunkers built for what were known as Auxiliary Units, which were formed during WWII in Britain. Effectively, they were part of what would have been an organized British resistance unit, should the country have been occupied by the Nazis. The units were teams of just six men who would base themselves in their hidden bunkers, which also stored explosives, and they would operate independently, with the goal of disrupting enemy occupation. Their life expectancy was very short, projected to be just twelve days. It’s a fascinating and little-known aspect of Britain’s WWII history. More here

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Photo by Fernando Makoto on Pexels.com

Leslie Lindsay:

There’s this beautiful epigraph in TO TELL THE TRUTH, written by your character, Lucy Harper, who is a thriller writer. It’s about fiction not being just in books, but about the lies we tell ourselves. And sometimes, they aren’t exactly lies, but the truth as we believe it. Is there really anything to this concept of ‘truth?’

Gilly Macmillan:

I’m no philosopher, but as I wrote TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH and my previous novel, THE NANNY, I thought a lot about how we understand ‘truth’. I’m intrigued by the unreliability of memory, how it can be massaged by photographs, and other people’s recollections or assertions. I’m also fascinated by the bias people can bring to situations and how that might affect their memory of them. Even something as simple as a conversation can be recalled after the fact very differently by the individuals involved. I wanted to draw attention to that: how fluid truth can be, both our own and other people’s, how our version of ‘truth’ might unknowingly more resemble fiction than reality.

Leslie Lindsay:

Gilly, this has been so lovely, as always. Thank you! Before we go, one last question: What three things are keeping you awake at night? And what’s propelling you from bed in the morning? It doesn’t have to be literary.

Gilly Macmillan:

There is so much to keep people awake at night currently. I’m sure I’m not alone in worrying about the health of my friends and family, in thinking about all of those who have lost loved ones during this pandemic and all the frontline workers who have done so much to save lives. If that’s not on my mind, climate change and the horrific loss of wildlife globally are both gnawing issues for me.

The cup of tea my husband brings me gets me out of bed in the morning – once I’ve drunk it. It’s a simple pleasure that reminds me that I’m loved and that it’s time to get up and make the best of my day and my life.

Thank you again for having me. It’s always such a pleasure.

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Artistic image of book cover designed and photographed by me, Leslie Lindsay. Follow on Instagram for more like this #alwayswithabook #bookstagrammer.

For more information, to connect with Gilly Macmillan via social media, or to purchase a copy of TO TELL THE TRUTH, please visit: 

Order Links:

~BOOK CONCIERGE~

I was so enthralled with the setting of TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH, and so what came to mind is a bit of a hodgepodge of titles. For the houses and homes connection, particularly the Charlotte Close descriptions, I was reminded of Carrianne Leung’s THAT TIME I LOVED YOU (although this is a different type of story). ALso, the work of Lisa Unger came to mind, particularly UNDER MY SKIN and also IN THE BLOOD. Of course, all of Gilly’s other books will entice as well. 

 

gilly-thumbABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Gilly Macmillan is the internationally bestselling author of six novels including WHAT SHE KNEWTHE PERFECT GIRLODD CHILD OUTI KNOW YOU KNOW and THE NANNYTO TELL YOU THE TRUTH is available now.

A former art historian and photographer, Gilly studied at Bristol University and the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. She lives in Bristol, UK, with her husband and three children.

IMG_1175ABOUT YOUR HOST: 

Leslie Lindsay is the award-winning author of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA (Woodbine House, 2012) and former Mayo Clinic child/adolescent psychiatric R.N. She is at work on a memoir, about growing up with a mentally ill interior decorator mother and her devolve into psychosis. Leslie’s writing & prose poetry has been published in Pithead ChapelCommon Ground ReviewCleaver Magazine (craft and CNF), The Awakenings Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Ruminate’s The WakingBrave Voices Literary MagazineManifest-StationCoffin Bell Journal, and others. Her cover art was featured on Up the Staircase Quarterly in May 2020, other photography in Another Chicago Magazine (ACM) and Brushfire Literature & Arts Journal; CNF in Semicolon Literary Magazine; the 2nd edition of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA will be available late this summer. Leslie has been awarded one of the top 1% reviewers on GoodReads and recognized by Jane Friedman as one of the most influential book reviewers. Since 2013, Leslie has interviewed over 700 bestselling and debut authors on her author interview series. Follow her bookstagram posts @leslielindsay1.

LOVE IT? SHARE IT! 

#literarythriller #domesticsuspense #Bristol #England #woods #thrillerwriter #missingchild #bunkers #WWII

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[Cover and author image courtesy of WilliamMorrow and used with permission. Author photo cred: Céline Nieszawer. Artistic image of book cover designed and photographed by me, Leslie Lindsay. Follow on Instagram for more like this #alwayswithabook #bookstagrammer]. 

INSTANT NYT BESTSELLING AUTHOR christina baker kline talks about her ravishing new historical fiction, THE EXILES, women convicts, mothers, writing, TREES & asks me a question, too

By Leslie Lindsay 

A powerful, emotionally resonant novel that captures the hardship, oppression, opportunity and hope of four women’s lives—three English convicts and an orphaned Aboriginal girl—in nineteenth-century Australia.

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~ALWAYS WITH A BOOK|WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS~

HISTORICAL FICTION SPOTLIGHT

Gorgeous, sweeping historical novel about women convicts seeking refuge and freedom set in the nineteenth century England and Australia.

AUTHOR OF THE PHENOMENAL #1 NYT BESTSELLER ORPHAN TRAIN

Instant New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Indie Next bestseller

SEPTEMBER 2020 “20 Great Reads” List, Indie Next

THE BEST BOOKS OF 2020, REAL SIMPLE

Optioned for television by Bruna Papandrea/Made Up Stories (“Big Little Lies”)

…and more…

I fell in love with THE ORPHAN TRAIN and felt the anxiety and inner turmoil in A PIECE OF THE WORLD, and when THE EXILES was published (WilliamMorrow/CustomHouse, August 25 2020), I dove head-first into the lucid prose. THE EXILES absolutely swept me away. 

Kline takes a trio of young women and makes them so whole, so flawed, so authentic, it feels like they are right there with you, an extension of your own family. We closely follow the story of young Evangeline, a London governess who is seduced by her employer’s son, becomes pregnant, and is (wrongly) accused of theft and murder … but there’s also Mathinna, a young, displaced Aboriginal girl, as well as Hazel, a skilled midwife from Ireland. But there are other, tertiary characters who endear themselves to the reader as well, including Dr. Dunne, Olive, and Ruby.

THE EXILES is a breathtaking, highly immersive tale and I loved every minute. Mind you, some of the descriptions–while gloriously done–are hard to stomach. Evangeline is sent away to the infamous Newgate Prison and her existence there is anything but luxurious. She, along with 192 other female convicts, are put on the Medea, a repurposed slave ship–‘a floating brothel’–but more aptly, a prison en route to Australia, where they will serve their time as convict maids, colonizing the island.

This story is a beautiful and ravishing as it is challenging.

It’s about oppression, women’s rights, opportunity, motherhood, sisterhood, and more.  Kline’s obvious copious research is integral to the story and comes through organically. You can taste the salty brine on your lips and I am sure my fingers began to bleed as characters were forced to pick oakum from rope.

THE EXILES is richly imagined historical fiction with so many unforgettable characters; it will be one that stays with me for a long time.

But first, please join me in welcoming the lovely and talented Christina Baker Kline back to the author interview series: 

Leslie Lindsay:

Christina, Wow! I tore through THE EXILES. I felt so worried and invested in the characters, but the pacing is relentless, and the plot is unlike anything I’d read before. I always ask what the inspiration was for a piece, but I know you mentioned reading an article in the Mother Lode column about women convicts. So was that really the impetus?

Christina Baker Kline:

Sometimes ideas build slowly over time, and sometimes they come to you in a whoosh. This one came in a whoosh: when I read a short New York Times article about British convict women and children sent to Australia on ships in the 19th century, I knew immediately that I wanted to write about this little-known period in history. But it wasn’t until I’d finished THE EXILES that I understood why. My six-week immersion in Australian life and culture as a Rotary Fellow many years earlier, my experience writing a book on feminist mothers and daughters, and my stint teaching creative writing in a women’s prison all led me to this subject.

Leslie Lindsay:

I’m also curious if this was the first thing you thought about writing after finishing A PIECE OF THE WORLD? For me, as a writer, I often think I’ll write about ___, only to find that when I sit down to do that, another story pours forth, or something else whispers, “that’s not the right one now.” Can you talk about that, please?

Christina Baker Kline:

I read that “Mother Lode” column while I was writing A Piece of the World; I started a file and began throwing notes into it. But it doesn’t always work that way. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that I need to wait for a really big idea, something that grabs me by the throat. Writing a novel is such a long, immersive process; I have to be absolutely passionate about the subject. At the moment I’m embarking on a new novel that excites me greatly, but I don’t know what I’m doing for the one after that. I am always afraid I won’t have another big idea. But eventually I always seem to.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Leslie Lindsay:

There’s such a wealth of description in THE EXILES and it’s beautifully done. You’ve tapped into all five (six?) senses here and as readers we can truly relish in your research. Can you talk a bit about the behind-the-scenes work you did on THE EXILES and maybe a few fun facts that you uncovered in your research, but didn’t include?

Christina Baker Kline:

My father is a historian, so I come by my love of research naturally. In many ways, research is the most exciting part of the process. It’s all about discovery. But it’s the job of a novelist to use only the details that matter and discard the rest (or use them for background, for verisimilitude and nuance). I delighted in many aspects of convict and colonial culture that were not, alas, directly relevant to my story. For example, I loved learning about the so-called “Flash Mobs” of proto-feminist convicts who protested inhumane conditions at the Cascades Female Factory and intimidated the guards. I mention them in the novel – my character Olive is swept up in their activism – but because my central characters weren’t involved, I had to leave a lot of that on the cutting-room floor. I was also fascinated with bushrangers, renegade settlers (mostly ex-convicts) who lived in the bush and survived by their wits. They were notoriously rough and hard living, a more threatening version of the American cowboy, I suppose.

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Photo by Sascha Thiele on Pexels.com

“Monumental. This episode in history gets a top-notch treatment by Kline, one of our foremost historical novelists. This fascinating 19th-century take on Orange Is the New Black is subtle, intelligent, and thrillingly melodramatic.”

 Kirkus (starred)


Leslie Lindsay:

One theme that I love reading (and writing) about is displacement and reinvention. That’s what I think it going on here. These women have all been displaced. They are trying to recreate themselves. But it’s not easy. At all. What more can you add to that?

Christina Baker Kline:

The convict women were typically given sentences of seven years, 14 years, or life – but being exiled to “the land beyond the seas,” as the British courts called Australia, was essentially a life sentence. Very few convict women ever made it back to Britain. Like the children in my novel OPRHAN TRAIN, these women underwent a terrible ordeal, only to confront the stigma of shame for the rest of their lives. (In Australia, this was called the “convict stain.”) It’s amazing to me how many of these women went on to lead productive, fruitful lives. It tells you something about the resilience of the human spirit.

There’s another aspect to this, and that is that Australia’s social hierarchy was much more fluid than Britain’s. With luck, determination, and hard work, you could rise to heights unimaginable to those on the bottom rungs of Britain’s social ladder.

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Photo by Jacub Gomez on Pexels.com

Leslie Lindsay:

As a motherless daughter, I felt so strongly connected to all of these characters, and I absolutely love how you tie things together in the end. We are all nurtured and loved and shaped by all the women in our lives, not just our mothers. The metaphor of rings in a tree spoke to me, also there’s the concept of a ‘family tree,’ but also because of roots and growth, and a community…a forest of trees, if you will. Can you elaborate on that, please?

Christina Baker Kline:

A metaphor like that is so multifaceted. I thought about all of the aspects you describe: the idea of a family tree, of putting down roots, of new growth, of community and resilience, even the way that bark is a kind of armor that protects the wood underneath. It’s exciting when you find a metaphor that resonates throughout the book in different ways for different characters. It’s one of the joys of the writing process.

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Photo by Felix Mittermeier on Pexels.com

Leslie Lindsay:

I could probably ask questions all day about THE EXILES, but is there anything you want to share that perhaps I didn’t think to ask? Or a question you’d like to ask me?

Christina Baker Kline:

Sure, thank you! Reading about your memoir, MODEL HOME, which details your experience as the daughter of a woman with mental illness, I thought about your words above: “We are all nurtured and loved and shaped by all the women in our lives, not just our mothers.”

                 Q-Christina Baker Kline: Did another woman nourish and sustain you when your mother was unable to do so? I hope you had someone like that in your life.

                  A-Leslie Lindsay:

          It has taken time and much self-discovery (and acceptance) to seek a nurturing and supportive community of mothers. That adage, ‘it takes a village to raise a child,’ rings true. I have a group of collective mothers. Some of them don’t even realize they mother me. It might be the grandmotherly person at the craft store who compliments my selections, the woman at the clothing store who advises or directs me to something that may work with my body style or complexion; it might not be a woman at all! Sometimes it’s my father, who was truly a Mr. Mom before it was vogue. It might be a grandfatherly man who says, “Class is starting soon,” and then holds the door open and says, “Someone’s gotta look out for you.” [he is not aware of my history]. It’s my yoga instructor, my fellow yogis who say ‘hello’ and ask how I am; it’s my book club friends; the older woman who cared for my daughter when she was a baby. My grandmothers are gone, but they mother me, too. I feel their energy, their love. I think it’s important to remember, that we may not always understand–or even like–our parents, even if they are still living. Family isn’t about blood relations, it’s about surrounding oneself with the people who make you feel loved, nurtured, protected, and worthy. 

Leslie Lindsay:

Thank you, thank you, Christina for taking the time. I so enjoyed!

Christina Baker Kline:

Thank YOU, Leslie. It was an honor.

 

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Artistic photo of book cover designed and photographed by me, Leslie Lindsay. Follow on Instagram @leslielindsay1 #alwayswithabook #bookstagram.

For more information, to connect with Christina Baker Kline via social media, or to purchase a copy of THE EXILES, please visit: 

Order Links: 

~BOOK CONCIERGE~

I was reminded, of course of Christina Baker-Kline’s earlier works, particularly THE ORPHAN TRAIN, but also this one brought to mind Emma Donoghue’s newest book, THE PULL OF THE STARS (especially for the midwife/herbalist connections) meets the descriptive writing of Margaret George and also, perhaps THE OUTLANDER series with a touch of Lily King’s EUPHORIA for historical/anthropological/’native’ connections.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Christine Baker Kline by Beowulf Sheehan
The writer Christine Baker Kline (USA), New York, New York, January 28, 2020. Photograph © Beowulf Sheehan

A #1 New York Times bestselling author of eight novels, including The ExilesOrphan Train, and A Piece of the World, Christina Baker Kline is published in 40 countries. Her novels have received the New England Prize for Fiction, the Maine Literary Award, and a Barnes & Noble Discover Award, among other prizes, and have been chosen by hundreds of communities, universities and schools as “One Book, One Read” selections. Her essays, articles, and reviews have appeared in publications such as the New York Times and the NYT Book Review, The Boston Globe, The San Francisco Chronicle, LitHub, Psychology Today, and Salon.

1B6B942E-E2D9-4517-9773-73A6A5162188ABOUT YOUR HOST:

Leslie Lindsay is the award-winning author of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA (Woodbine House, 2012) and former Mayo Clinic child/adolescent psychiatric R.N. She is at work on a memoir, about growing up with a mentally ill interior decorator mother and her devolve into psychosis. Leslie’s writing & prose poetry has been published in Pithead ChapelCommon Ground ReviewCleaver Magazine (craft and CNF), The Awakenings Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Ruminate’s The WakingBrave Voices Literary MagazineManifest-Station, Coffin Bell Journal, and others. Her cover art was featured on Up the Staircase Quarterly in May 2020, other photography in Another Chicago Magazine (ACM) and Brushfire Literature & Arts Journal; CNF in Semicolon Literary Magazine; the 2nd edition of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA will be available late this summer. Leslie has been awarded one of the top 1% reviewers on GoodReads and recognized by Jane Friedman as one of the most influential book reviewers. Since 2013, Leslie has interviewed over 700 bestselling and debut authors on her author interview series. Follow her bookstagram posts @leslielindsay1.

Querying MODEL HOME: Motherhood & Madness a Daughter’s Memoir. Available soon: 2nd edition of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA from Woodbine House. 

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[Cover and author image courtesy of WilliamMorrow and used with permission. Artistic photo of book cover designed and photographed by me, Leslie Lindsay. Follow on Instagram @leslielindsay1 #alwayswithabook #bookstagram]

Mom and Speech-language pathologist talks about how you can make the most of the morning routine with your kids, speech devlopment, more

By Leslie Lindsay 

Super-cute board book for use with toddlers in a home or clinic setting to help with early language development, plus kids will delight in the lift-the-flap feature.

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~Books on Monday, Part 2|Always with a Book~

Last week, we chatted with Dr. T. about her hands-on, practical, and FUN board book for kids–and their caregivers to read and manipulate. Today, she presents some fab ways to use your morning routine to increase your child’s language skills. I love these ideas because they are accessible, plus children will delight in collaborating with you. The key here is to make it feel natural, as if it’s part of your normal day-to-day routine, not a ‘sit and learn’ or another ‘chore’ on your to-do list. Kids are smart, they pick up on this stuff. Best to ‘sneak it in’ in a way that makes it feel like fun and play. 

5 ways to use your morning routine to increase your toddler’s language skills

by Tinita Kearney, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

As a wife, mother of two children under 2 and a business owner, I am all too familiar with just how busy each day can get! There are a million things to check off of the daily ‘To-Do’ list and not a million hours in which to do it all. But, like any parent, my children are always at the very top of my priority list, and this means that I am purposeful about finding creative ways to fit them into my hectic schedule. And since I just happen to also be a speech-language pathologist, this often takes the form of games and activities that are designed to build language and communication skills (in super fun ways!).

Mornings at my house are typically fast-paced and very routine. It’s very easy to get caught-up in the automaticity of it all in the effort to make sure that everyone gets out the door on-time. But morning routines are also a great way to get in regularly scheduled language-building practice. If you’re anything like me (and I’m betting you are), then preparing your children to achieve their very best is your ultimate goal as a parent. Growing their language and communication skills is the greatest way to set them on the road to success and this list of five quick and easy ways to use your morning routine to build these skills will help you navigate the way!

Sing Songs (or make them up!)

Songs are a great tool to help grow vocabulary and to teach basic concepts. Pair a song with a routine morning activity and feel free to get silly with it!

Try: Sing a ‘brushing teeth’ song during this part of your morning routine (e.g., “This is the way we brush our teeth, so early in the morning.”).

Tips & Tricks: Add words/lines to the song to teach specific vocabulary (e.g., “This is the way we brush our tongue”) and basic concepts (e.g., “This is the way we brush up top/on bottom”).

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Photo by nappy on Pexels.com

Tag Team Dressing

You’re probably already familiar with the growing independence of your toddler! Encourage this important development and also build language skills by getting your toddler involved in the dressing process.

Try: Play “I choose, you choose,” where your child gets to select one clothing item that they would like to wear for the day, and you select another until a complete outfit is created.

Tips & Tricks: Present your child with only 2 clothing item choices at a time to speed things up and keep your morning on track. Also, try giving your child 1 ‘silly’ option (e.g., a thick sweater as a choice in the middle of summer) and encourage your child to tell you why it’s a silly choice (e.g., Parent: “Is this sweater a good choice? No, it’s silly! It’s too hot outside! Tell daddy why this is silly.”).

toddler girl wearing long sleeved top reading book while sitting on bed
Photo by Kha Ruxury on Pexels.com

Mirror Time

Increase your little one’s vocabulary and expressive language skills by having them take a look in the mirror and describing what they see.

Try: After dressing, have your child stand in front of a mirror and describe 1 or 2 things that they are wearing. Introduce them to new vocabulary words when describing (e.g., colors, textures, patterns, shapes, materials, etc.) and encourage them to use these new words each day.

Tips & Tricks: Lay the foundation for more mature sentences and teach new vocabulary by restating and adding to what your child says (e.g., Child: “Ooh, pretty shirt!” Parent: “Yes, your polka dot shirt is pretty!”).

funny boy brushing teeth in morning
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

Assign a Job

One way to use your toddler’s “I-can-do-it-by-myself!” spirit is to assign a job that they can in fact complete by themselves, while simultaneously helping you to keep your morning routine running smoothly! This is also a good way to grow your toddler’s following directions and comprehension skills.

Try: Keep your child’s shoes in an easy-to-access area and instruct them to put on a specific pair each morning a few minutes before you’re ready to head out the door (e.g., “Go put on your red sneakers.”).

Tips & Tricks: Grow your child’s skills even more by giving a two-part instruction (e.g., “Go get your red sneakers and bring them to me.”).

crop little girl swinging on swing
Photo by Tatiana Syrikova on Pexels.com

Play-by-Play Commentator

The easiest way to build your tot’s language skills is to model good language yourself! You are their first (and best!) teacher, and how YOU communicate is how they will learn to communicate.

Try: Talk-out every action that you take involving your child throughout the morning (e.g., “It’s time to wash your face! Let’s get a washcloth and dip it in the water. Now we have to wring it out. Look at all that water coming out! Squeeze, squeeze, all done! Let’s wipe your face now. Ok, nice and clean!”).

Tips & Tricks: Talk-out your actions even when your child is half-asleep and you’re convinced that your play-by-play commentary is 100% useless — you’d be surprised how much actually gets through!

For more information, to connect with Dr. Tinita Kearney via social media, or to purchase a copy of LOLA THE KOALA, please visit: 

Order Links:

headshot2 (1)ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Dr. Tinita Kearney (Dr. T) is a speech pathologist who wants to empower kids and their parents by teaching foundational language skills in a way that is fun and interactive. With the first book in her new lift-the-flap Lola Koala Travel Adventures series, Dr. T and Lola Koala teach kids to answer WHO, WHAT, WHERE and YES/NO questions. Kids will be delighted and enchanted as they help Lola pack her suitcase and find clues to mystery destinations.

ABOUT YOUR HOST:

IMG_1175Leslie Lindsayis the award-winning author of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA (Woodbine House, 2012) and former Mayo Clinic child/adolescent psychiatric R.N. She is at work on a memoir. Her writing has been published in Pithead ChapelCommon Ground ReviewCleaver Magazine (craft and CNF), The Awakenings Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Ruminate’s The WakingBrave Voices Literary MagazineManifest-Station, and others. Her cover art was featured on Up the Staircase Quarterly in May 2020, other photography in Another Chicago Magazine (ACM) and Brushfire Literature & Arts Journal; poetry in the Coffin Bell Journal, and CNF in Semicolon Literary Magazine; the 2nd edition of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA will be available this fall. Leslie has been awarded one of the top 1% reviewers on GoodReads and recognized by Jane Friedman as one of the most influential book reviewers. Since 2013, Leslie has interviewed over 700 bestselling and debut authors on her author interview series. Follow her bookstagram posts @leslielindsay1.

~UPDATED, 2nd EDITION OF SPEAKING OF APRAXIA coming soon from WOODBINE HOUSE!~

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#lolakoala #alwayswithabook #prbythebook #speech #speechdevelopment #kids #parents #receptivelanguage #SLP #speechdevelopment #morningroutine #toddlers #songs #play #parenting #SpeakingofApraxia

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[Cover and author image courtesy of PRbytheBook and used with permission.]

Serpentine Literary Historical suspense inspired by the classic ‘rebecca,’ THE TWO MRS. CARLYLES is about the bond between women, but also manipulation

By Leslie Lindsay

A twisty literary thriller set in the wake of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

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~Wednesdays with Writers|Always with a Book~

Historical Fiction Spotlight

San Francisco, 1906. Violet is one of three people grateful for the destruction of the big earthquake. It leaves her and her two best friends unexpectedly wealthy — if the secret that binds them together stays buried beneath the rubble. Fearing discovery, the women strike out on their own, and orphaned, wallflower Violet reinvents herself.

When a whirlwind romance with the city’s most eligible widower, Harry Carlyle, lands her in a luxurious mansion as the second Mrs. Carlyle, it seems like her dreams of happiness and love have come true. But all is not right in the Carlyle home, and Violet soon finds herself trapped by the lingering specter of the first Mrs. Carlyle, and by the inescapable secrets of her own violent history.

“If you loved Rindell’s THE OTHER TYPIST, if you adored Jane Eyre, if you were riveted by Rebecca, you will be enthralled by THE TWO MRS. CARLYLES . . . Eerie and suspenseful . . . Rindell reminds her readers how quickly trust can be shattered.”

AMY POEPPEL, author of Small Admissions

I flew through THE TWO MRS. CARLYLES (G.P. Putnam & Sons, July 2020)–which isn’t exactly ‘short,’ but the tension propelled me. I loved the time period, the atmospheric details. Once I thought I had everything figured out, there were still a few surprises. A duplicitous and cunning tale about the bonds between women, manipulation, and more. 

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Artistic cover of book cover designed and photographed by me, Leslie Lindsay. Follow on Instagram @leslielindsay1 #alwayswithabook #bookstagram.

For more information, to connect with Suzanne Rindell via social media, or to purchase a copy of THE TWO MRS. CARLYLES, please visit: 

Order Links:

~BOOK CONCIERGE~

This was such a fabulous read, combining elements of both literary thrillers and historical fiction. I was reminded of the work of Fiona Davis, especially THE DOLLHOUSE meets THE ADDRESS, with touches of Erik Larsen’s DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY mostly for the time period details, and also touches of THE HOME FOR ERRING AND OUTCAST GIRLS (Julie Kibler).  

 

Suzanne+Rindell+Author+Photo+copy+3ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Suzanne Rindell earned her PhD in English literature from Rice University. She is the author of the historical mysteries THE TWO MRS. CARLYLES (2020), EAGLE & CRANE (2018), THREE-MARTINI LUNCH (2016) and THE OTHER TYPIST (2013). THE OTHER TYPIST has been translated into 17 languages and optioned for TV by Fox Searchlight Pictures, Keira Knightley, and Hulu.

 

1B6B942E-E2D9-4517-9773-73A6A5162188ABOUT YOUR HOST:

Leslie Lindsay is the award-winning author of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA (Woodbine House, 2012) and former Mayo Clinic child/adolescent psychiatric R.N. She is at work on a memoir, about growing up with a mentally ill interior decorator mother and her devolve into psychosis. Leslie’s writing & prose poetry has been published in Pithead ChapelCommon Ground ReviewCleaver Magazine (craft and CNF), The Awakenings Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Ruminate’s The WakingBrave Voices Literary MagazineManifest-Station, Coffin Bell Journal, and others. Her cover art was featured on Up the Staircase Quarterly in May 2020, other photography in Another Chicago Magazine (ACM) and Brushfire Literature & Arts Journal; CNF in Semicolon Literary Magazine; the 2nd edition of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA will be available late this summer. Leslie has been awarded one of the top 1% reviewers on GoodReads and recognized by Jane Friedman as one of the most influential book reviewers. Since 2013, Leslie has interviewed over 700 bestselling and debut authors on her author interview series. Follow her bookstagram posts @leslielindsay1.

Querying MODEL HOME: Motherhood & Madness a Daughter’s Memoir. Available soon: 2nd edition of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA from Woodbine House. 

f361308f-8e47-46bd-ab06-5662fe502b14

LOVE IT? SHARE IT!

#alwayswithabook #historicalficiton #SanFrancisco #earthquake #women #thriller #literary

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[Cover and author image retrieved from author’s website. Artistic cover of book cover designed and photographed by me, Leslie Lindsay. Follow on Instagram @leslielindsay1 #alwayswithabook #bookstagram]