All posts tagged: Iowa

Inspired by the evils that lurk on social media, Heather Gudenkauf talks about her newest book, BEFORE SHE WAS FOUND, tween aggression, mental health, and more

By Leslie Lindsay  Gripping small town thriller about three young girls, a horrific accident, social media and social aggression in Heather Gudenkauf’s newest, BEFORE SHE WAS FOUND.  I’ve been a fan of Heather Gudenkauf’s work since THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE (2008), and always, always look forward to her new releases. I love that she continually writes about Iowa, a gentle reminder that the Midwest has so much to offer–and so much can happen in these small, seemingly ‘boring’ towns–the communities are close-knit and geographically gorgeous with craggy cliffs overlooking river bends, winter wheat fields, and steel-gray sky. Maybe because I’m a Midwesterner at heart, too. BEFORE SHE WAS FOUND (Park Row/HarperCollins, April 16 2019) features three girls, all aged 12.  Violet: She’s new to town, having recently relocated to Pitch, Iowa from Arizona with her single mother and other brother, Max. She’s eager to fit in and make friends. Jordyn: The ‘bad egg.’ Jordyn lives with her grandparents, Thomas and Tess because her parents abandoned her when she was young. Thomas and Tess own a local bar and are doing the best they can …

WeekEND Reading: Heather Gudenkauf on her most personal thriller yet, who her favorite character is, why nurses aren’t boring, grit, determination, oh–and a dead body–in her new book, NOT A SOUND

By Leslie Lindsay  New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf churns out her most personal, and powerful story yet with NOT A SOUND, rife with medical mysteries and a murder, too.  When a tragic accident leaves ER nurse Amelia Winn deaf, she spirals into a depression that ultimately causes her to lose anything she ever cared about: her career, her husband, and her 7-year old stepdaughter, Nora. It’s two years after that fateful night in which Amelia loses her hearing when she stumbles across a dead body in the dense brush by the river where she likes to paddleboard–someone she knows. I don’t want to give away too much, but it goes without saying that she gets wrapped up in the murder case. Clues seem so familiar to her own, earlier accident which caused her deafness. Could the two be related? Told entirely from Amelia’s first-person POV, the writing in NOT A SOUND is taut, emotional, fast-paced, and Gudenkauf’s research clearly shows. Amelia Winn is strong, capable and I was definitely rooting for …

Writers on Wednesday: Laura McHugh on her second novel ARROWOOD, old homes, the longing to return home, memory & truth, and how she always reads the ‘crime section’ in the newspaper.

By Leslie Lindsay  Set primarily in southern Iowa, ARROWOOD (August 9, Random House/Spiegel & Grau) is McHugh’s sophomore novel, but it’s certainly no slump. McHugh is an astute and observant writer weaving touches of Colorado, Minnesota, Illinois, and Missouri in the languid landscape (which I absolutely adored, having lived in most all of those states) in this psychological exploration of family and the stories our homes contain.  Arrowood is one of the most ornate and glorious homes lining the banks of the Mississippi River in a dying town where many of the old homes are boarded up and left to decay. The town simply cannot sustain themselves any longer. The humidity is high and one can nearly hear the frogs chorusing in trees. When Arden returns from her grad school program in Colorado, it’s mostly because she struggles with finishing her history thesis, but also to inherit her family home. Not only has her father recently passed, but Arden is haunted by the need to know what happened to her baby sisters, twins, who disappeared …

Write On, Wednesday: Heather Gudenkauf talks about her new psych thriller/mystery MISSING PIECES, Family secrets, trying something new (writing-wise), and the beauty of Iowa

By Leslie Lindsay  NYT bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf delivers a heart-racing, tightly plotted whodunit mystery which spans the course of about a week with glimpses into the past in her forthcoming MISSING PIECES (Feb 2, 2016). Sarah and Jack Quinlan seem to have the perfect life–married twenty years and having just sent their daughters off to college–they are polite and caring toward one another as any couple in a long-term relationship is. When Jack receives a call that his aunt has taken a fall and is seriously injured, Jack and Sarah travel to his hometown of Penny Gate, IA, a place he’s spent very little time in the last twenty years. And with good reason. I’m thrilled to have Heather join us as we chat about her fifth novel, MISSING PIECES. Leslie Lindsay: Heather, I am honored to have you pop over. I fell in love with your writing with your debut, THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE. I have to say, there seems to be a theme in your novels involving secrets. Can you speak to …