All posts tagged: Missouri

What happens when you’re inspired by a piece of visual art & you’re short story writer? This stark, moving collection, SCENES FROM THE HEARTLAND is born

By Leslie Lindsay  What happens when a contemporary writer of semi-autobiographical short fiction turns her gaze to the iconic images of America’s past? This glimmering collection, SCENES FROM THE HEARTLAND I’m a sucker for anything Missouri, anything Midwest. That’s probably because this strange little state smack in the U.S. is what shaped me, the place I still think of as ‘home,’ even though I’ve lived elsewhere more than half my life now. There’s a realness, an authenticity to the state, which is a conglomeration of everything and nothing–North, South, East, and West. It has the rolling Ozark mountains, the winding Mississippi, big cities and tiny ones, wealth and poverty. To be a Missourian is to contain multitudes. So when I heard about SCENES FROM THE HEARTLAND (Serving House Books, March 31 2019), I knew I had to read it. The reader enters the imagined landscape of one of the most well-known American painters, Thomas Hart Benton, slipping back to the 1920s, 30s, and 40s to Southern Missouri, Arkansas, SW Illinois, St. Louis, Kansas City, Hannibal, and more. We …

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: Author Deborah Lincoln Talks about AGNES CANON’S WAR, historical fiction, discipline & more

By Leslie Lindsay You can’t not love Agnes Canon. Fiercely independent and strong, she loves books—and hates corsets. Folded beneath the cover—stunningly simple yet evocative landscape with Agnes front and center—unfurls a truly amazing story of Missouri during the Civil War. And then there’s the author—with a name like Deborah Lincoln, how could she not write historical fiction set in a time when the freedoms of not just African Americans were restricted but those of all women? I’m thrilled to welcome Deborah as we talk about her book, AGNES CANON’S WAR (Blank Slate Press, 2014). L.L.: Thanks for being with us, Deborah! It’s a joy to read AGNES CANON’S WAR. I just love the highly engaging opening chapters. The rendering of the hanging is drawn so effortlessly—so vividly—that I can’t help but feel the torment. And yet, it’s a joy to read…riddle me that! Deborah Lincoln: If it’s a strong opening that promises a good story to come, then no matter how gruesome, I consider it a joy. I take it as a compliment; thank …

Write On, Wednesday: Meet the author of DEAR DAUGHTER Elizabeth Little

By Leslie Lindsay Oh, I am thrilled (bad pun) to introduce debut mystery/thriller author Elizabeth Little to our literary blog. (Like the alliteration there?) Well, if you do then you may want to check out these other titles by our guest, BITING THE WAX TADPOLE and TRIP OF THE TONGUE, both give a glimpse into the linguistic quirks of mankind. But really, Elizabeth is here to talk about her newest book—one I am currently reading—DEAR DAUGHTER (Viking, July 31).  Here’s what you want to know about this book: it’s good. Here’s what else you want to know: it’s often “paired” with GONE GIRL and THE GOOD GIRL (see my review here) across the web-o-bookstores. That means it’s edgy. It’s smart. It’s a mind-twist of psychological suspense and so much more. Leslie Lindsay: Elizabeth, thanks for taking the time to chat with us. First, I am curious to know how your launch experience of DEAR DAUGHTER varies with that of your previous (non-fiction) books? More fan-fare? Less? And what kind of promotion are you doing for …