All posts tagged: family drama

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 …

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 …

Are we a work-in-progress? Absolutely! Liese O’Halloran Schwarz talks about this, how success is elusive, her childhood in Thailand, the healing power of connection, and more in WHAT COULD BE SAVED

By Leslie Lindsay Enthralling family drama set in two distinct time periods–and places–about the bonds of siblings, a mystery, and more. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ APRIL SPOTLIGHT: SIBLINGS A January 2021 Indie Next Pick People Book of the Week Real Simple Best Books of 2021 Starred Publishers Weekly Review…and more Is it possible to be a good person even when you’ve done something reprehensible? This is the overarching question of WHAT COULD BE SAVED (Atria Books, January 12, 2021) by Liese O’Halloran Schwarz. This is an ambitious novel both in scope and length, combining dual-timelines of 1972 and 2019, a large cast of characters, a mystery, a drama, societal class, plus it takes place alternatively in Washington, D.C., and Bangkok. It’s a lot. Laura Preston is a reclusive artist/painter in 2019 who finds herself at odds with her older sister, Bea. Their mother, Genevieve is slowing devolving into dementia. When a stranger connects with Laura via email, saying he’s their long-lost brother, she’s quick to believe it. She ignores Bea’s warnings and travels to Bangkok to learn the truth. …

Debut literary thriller about a family man grappling with his sense of self, a downward spiral, plus true-crime inspiration, character development and so much more in A GOOD MAN

By Leslie Lindsay  Debut thriller about a man grappling with his sense of self after his life spirals out of control.  ~WEEKEND READING|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Ani Katz will have readers on edge the entire time they are immersed in her riveting debut, A GOOD MAN (Penguin Books Original, January 14 2020). Katz plays with the dysfunctional family dynamic, an unstable/unreliable male narrator, and the picture-perfect family. Thomas Martin is a devoted family man with a beautiful wife, a sweet daughter at a private school, a home on Long Island, a job as an ad man. He has an eccentric family of origin he’s running from–but sheltering–at the same time. In a sense, A GOOD MAN is a fairy tale, complete with flittering glimmers of dysfunction. Thomas Martin is a devoted family man with an enviable life: a beautiful wife and daughter, a well-appointed home on Long Island, a job at a prestigious Manhattan advertising firm. He’s also a devoted brother and son, yet this family of origin is disturbingly sheltered. What happens when Thomas’s life—and ego—are rocked to …

Wednesdays with Writers: What happens when you sleep? Could you be capable of murder? Chris Bohjalian explores this and more in his latest novel, THE SLEEPWALKER, plus rising early, following characters onto the page, being a teen magician

By Leslie Lindsay  From the New York Times bestselling author of The Guest Room comes a spine-tingling novel of lies, loss, and buried desire–the mesmerizing story of a wife and mother who vanishes from her bed late one night. Psychologically astute rift with family secrets, mystery, and a terrifying sleep disorder, THE SLEEPWALKER is at first a family portrait swallowed in the throes of grief. With an author like Chris Bohjalian, you’re in good hands; expert hands, in fact. When I learned about THE SLEEPWALKER, I knew I had to read it: missing people, mothers especially, are a fascination of mine. So too is sleep and dreams. Toss in a lovely flawed family portrait and I am putty in your hands. When Annalee Ahlberg goes missing, her children fear the worst. Annalee is a sleepwalker whose affliction manifests in ways both bizarre and devastating. She once spray-painted the front hydrangeas silver, and yet…things always work out just fine. But this time it’s different. This time, she can’t be found. Days turn to weeks. An investigation ensues. Speculation swirls. What happened …

Wednesdays with Writers: Family Secrets, dark mysterious English Forests, Battered Cardigans, ‘The Crown,’ Roman Remains, and so much more in Kate Hamer’s next novel, THE DOLL FUNERAL

By Leslie Lindsay  After reading Hamer’s 2016 bestselling debut, THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT, I was eager to get my hands on her forthcoming title, THE DOLL FUNERAL (due out February 16 2017 by Faber & Faber). Ms. Hamer indicates she’s, “Mostly completely happy, but write dark,” and yes, that’s exactly how THE DOLL FUNERAL reads, a little slice of mirth mixed with darkness. Plus, isn’t that cover (and title!) just deliciously creepy?! There’s a lot going on in THE DOLL FUNERAL, and Hamer’s writing is so poetic, so poised, and yet so imaginative; for that reason, I adored reading her words. She’s truly a gifted writer.  Plot-wise the story is quite simple: 13-year old girl learns she’s adopted and goes on search for her ‘real family.’ Alternating between Ruby in present-day (1983) and also her birth year (1970), the two timelines are braided together in a mostly first-person POV. Note: most of the story is told from 13-year old Ruby’s POV, but she is highly imaginative, mature, and the story telling is not at …

Write On, Wednesday: Jason Gurley on his sublime novel ELEANOR, time travel, The Americans, Grief, & so much more

By Leslie Lindsay  A highly unusual, yet beautiful read by emerging author Jason Gurley exploring death, grief, second chances, and ultimately…we think: hope.   ELEANOR (Crown, January 2016) is a family drama through the eyes of a young girl.  It’s an explosive dive (quite literally) into the watery torrents that is family. Everyone’s grieving, for various reasons and it isn’t just a death we’re talking about here. The prose is absolutely stunning. If words could glitter, Jason Gurley’s would. At the heart of the story is a fantastical reality, spurred from grief and creativity, a balm to cure a weary soul. Readers are thrust into a gloriously strange brew of fantasy, reality, dreams, and death. It’s sad, it’s deep, it’s dark. And if you’re in the mood for something like this, then you’re in for a treat. Today I am honored to welcome Jason Gurly to the blog couch. So pull up a cup of coffee, and listen in. Leslie Lindsay: Jason, thanks so much for taking the time to pop by. I know that …

Write On, Wednesday: Edgar-Nominated Lisa Ballantyne talks about EVERYTHING SHE FORGOT, memory, PTSD, and Falling in love with character before plot

By Leslie Lindsay  International bestselling author and Edgar Nominee Lisa Ballantyne leapt onto the scene in 2013 with her gorgeous and chilling debut THE GUILTY ONE. Now she returns with stunning follow up EVERYTHING SHE FORGOT, a tale that alternates between a kidnapping in 1985 and a present day accident that sends one woman down a path of discovery that will leave her forever changed. Set in Scotland and England, EVERYTHING SHE FORGOT is a compelling read about a cast of characters who don’t seem to be related at all in the beginning, but of course, they’re all there for a reason. When Deputy Director/Teacher of a nearby school is rear-ended in a crash near the holidays, she is struck with shards of memory that propel her back to 1985 and a haunting event that has left her fragile since. She feels she’s losing her mind, but could it just be the stress of raising kids, working, and the holidays? EVERYTHING SHE FORGOT explores PTSD, family connections, and is beautifully executed in a page-turning read. …

Write On, Wednesday: Meet Author Kathryn Craft of THE FAR END OF HAPPY

By Leslie Lindsay You may know her from her January 2014 fluid, lyrical debut about a dancer, THE ART OF FALLING. Her second novel, THE FAR END OF HAPPY (May 2015) takes us on a poignant and emotionally charged glimpse into an unraveling marriage, the sadness draped around the characters like a shroud, and the hope that everything will work out in the end. It’s a tough read for the subject matter alone: suicide. But it’s the tenderness and compassion Craft brings to the narrative that will have you walking away feeling a strange brew of optimism. Leslie Lindsay: Welcome, Kathryn. I’m so honored to have you on the blog today. I guess I have to start with the obvious: THE FAR END OF HAPPY is based on an event in your life: your own ex-husband’s suicide. What a challenging topic—and how did you decide on the structure of the novel, i.e. why fiction over a memoir? Kathryn Craft: Hi Leslie, thanks so much for having me here. The answers to the two parts of …