All posts tagged: novel

Amy ShEARN talks about her sublime new book, UNSEEN CITY, BROOKLYN, how she believes in ghosts, old houses, books she was influenced by and asks me a question, too

By Leslie Lindsay  A multigenerational tapestry of homes, neighborhoods, ghosts, and more in this bold and atmospheric novel. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ When I heard UNSEEN CITY by Amy Shearn (Red Hen Press, September 2020), I knew I had to get my hands on it. It’s a bit of a love letter to NYC (Brooklyn, in particular), but also to those childhood books that shaped us as readers (and writers!) and also about a little-known neighborhood called Weeksville. But it’s also about love and grief and ghosts and oh gosh…it’s just so good. Meg Rhys is a self-identified spinster librarian. She lives alone–with her beloved cat–in a rent-controlled Brooklyn apartment. On Friday evenings, she grabs her pile of holds from the library and bikes home, staying in most of the weekend, because that’s how she likes it. But she’s mourning the loss of her dead sister, who died tragically in an accident. She soon becomes obsessed with a library patron who is researching a possibly haunted house. His house. Rather, his parents. That house has it’s own story to …

Mary Beth Keane tackles mental illness, estrangement, family, and more in her searingly good family saga, ASK AGAIN YES, spanning generations

By Leslie Lindsay  What does it mean to forgive? That’s the overarching question of this blistering good family saga encompassing friendship, love, mental illness, violence, estrangement, and more. I love this book, ASK AGAIN, YES (Scribner, May 28 2019) by Mary Beth Keane, a stunningly ambitious novel of epic proportions, spanning the lives of two families over 40 years. Plus, oh, my gosh—that cover—which could be just about Anywhere, USA. Or Anywhere, Period. Mary Beth Keane is a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree and author of the highly acclaimed novels THE WALKING PEOPLE and FEVER (optioned for screen by Elisabeth Moss)—and also one I happened to love. In ASK AGAIN, YES, Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope are rookie cops in the NYPD. They live outside the city in cozy suburban area in the 1970s where they’re married and starting young families. But—each home has different stories. There’s the Gleesons—fresh from Ireland and the Stanhopes with a bit of instability, grief, and more, setting fertile ground for an explosive neighborly connection. This is a …

Famous French-Canadian Quintuplets becomes roadside attraction in the Great Depression. Debut author Shelley Wood talks about THE QUINTLAND SISTERS

By Leslie Lindsay  Historical debut about the famous French-Canadian quintuplets born during the Great Depression, THE QUINTLAND SISTERS (William Morrow, March 5 2019) is about love, heartache, and resilience. I am stunned and amazed that I never knew so much as a peep about the first surviving identical quintuplets. Journalist and debut author, Shelley Wood, tackles the vast amount of research in bringing these tiny miracles to life. Born in 1934 to French farmers in a hardscrabble area of Northern Ontario, readers will experience firsthand the harrowing birth, the precarious first days, and then the scandals-–how the babies are removed from the parents’ custody, put on display (for profit), and more. The writing is largely first person, told from the POV of young Emma Trimpany, who is 17 in 1934, and a reluctant midwife to the babies. She has no training but is there the evening Mrs. Dionne goes into to labor. This beginning was absolutely gripping and had the ring of the BBC show, “Call the Midwife.”  Emma stays with the Dionne family and helps raise these …

Wednesdays with Writers: Abandoned insane asylums, ghosts, lush prose, a mystery, writing amidst chaos, a brief tutorial in short stories and linked novels, and so much more from Karen Brown. Oh, and her new novel, THE CLAIRVOYANTS.

By Leslie Lindsay  Lush, descriptive, wholly original psychological mystery in which one woman’s desires and abilities are put to the test. THE CLAIRVOYANTS is the second novel of Karen Brown (her first, THE LONGINGS OF WAYWARD GIRLS came out in 2013. Be sure to check out my interview with her here. Karen’s prose is complex, vivid, and poetic. THE CLAIRVOYANTS is a hot, roiling simmer encased with erotic undertones, complex layers, a highly Gothic vibe that will have you wrapped in a hypnotic dream-state questioning your own reality.  Martha Mary and her slightly unstable younger sister, Del (Delores) claim to see ghosts. They are the charlatans of their small coastal town, offering seances and readings of the dead in exchange for a few bucks to buy lip gloss and drug-store flip-flops. But maybe she *can* see ghosts after all? Martha Mary leaves that coastal town and settles in Ithaca, New York in attempt to be a bit more ‘grounded,’ to attend college. There she falls in love with photographer/professor William Bell and together, along with her …

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 …

Fiction Friday: Dark Parts of Motherhood, an excerpt from Novel-in-Progress

By Leslie Lindsay Here’s a little something I’ve been working on this week. It’s from my novel-in-progress, ZOMBIE ROAD and is in the POV of the protagonist, Melanie (Mel) Dunbar. It’s a little dark…but I’m guessing if you’re a mom, you’ve likely had similar dark-ish feelings tainted with a streak of very fresh hormones. “No one ever told me about the dark parts of motherhood. I gave birth and people brought over the sweetest little shoes and pale pink swaddling blankets. They swooped in with tuna noodle casseroles and apple pies just to get a look at you nestled in my arms and they’re left. No one ever came when I was alone and afraid I’d do something wrong. Nor did they offer to rock you at three-in-the-morning when you, my perfect baby wouldn’t sleep and I was awake, grainy-eyed and angry. Then I was alone, my body trying to heal—and daddy was back at the office. He took the university offered paternity leave of two paid weeks, but that’s not nearly long enough. There was a …

Write on, Wednesday: Author Interview & Book Give-a-Way–Karen Brown!!

By Leslie Lindsay I am super-excited to welcome Karen Brown to Write On, Wednesday.  Ms. Brown is the debut novelist of THE LONGINGS OF WAYWARD GIRLS (Washington Square Press, July 2013).  She has written several books of short stories in the past and teaches creative writing & literature at the University of South Florida. Without further adieu… Leslie Lindsay: As a first time novelist, how did the writing process differ from writing compilations of short stories?  In what ways were you particularly surprised or challenged by the creative process at hand? Karen Brown: “The short story is all about compression—how much of a world can you create in as few words as possible. You have to reveal a conflict and have something happen to a believable character in a scant twenty pages or less. I’d gotten used to this form, adopting a particular lyrical style—and I enjoyed hinting at things, letting the reader guess or intuit the characters’ motivations. The novel is so very different. I still feel I’m struggling to make the transition, and I …

Fiction Friday: Annie Ruminates

By Leslie Lindsay A chapter I’ve been working on this week…a little rumination never hurt anyone, or does it?!         “Distractions are the pinnacle of rumination.  It’s a cycle, a bad one that keeps me going back to Steve.  An addiction, if you will.          There was no changing the fact that I opened the door to Steve again.  I shove all of those thoughts—the second-guessings, the self-doubt, the poor choice in character – to the back of my mind.  What kind of married woman, a mother of two does such a stupid thing?  Steve is a one-sided battle I fight, my distractions the victor.          I try to funnel attention to my family.  I make a list of all of the things I want to complete before summer’s end.  One by one, we’ll mark them off.  Family picnic…koi spawning at the local botanical garden…camp out in the backyard (note to self: get the makin’s for s’mores)…ice cream at the old-fashioned ice creamery…take Kenna and Madi to downtown Naperville for new shoes.           And so there …

Fiction Friday: Better Late than Never

By Leslie Lindsay It’s Friday about one more hour here in the central part of the US and I best get my promised Fiction Friday post out.  If you’re on the West Coast, then I guess I am not so tardy… This one is something I’ve been working on lately to add a little dark edge to my novel-in-progress.  Let me know your thoughts when you get a second…a star, a comment, a like, a re-post to Twitter or Facebook is always a good way to let me know if you liked it. Enjoy…   “I used to imagine it sometimes, what would happen if I just didn’t come home.  The thought always came to me when I was feeling particularly unworthy, lacking confidence, seeking attention.  God, I hated how that sounded; like I was an attention-seeking borderline threatening to run off or take my own life.  I could never do that, not really anyway.  The thought was always more about sharing my pain with others, letting them know just how miserable I felt deep down.  My …

Write On, Wednesday: Planning to Pitch

By Leslie Lindsay I have been toiling away on this novel of mine for some time now.  On and off for about four years now.  Geesh…you’d think I’d just give up already.  Well, in the meantime I published another book (non-fiction–see side bar) and it’s doing quite well–a finalist in the Reader’s Choice Awards (hey–we writer’s gotta toot our own horns sometimes).  Here are some things I am grappling with as I approach ‘pitch time:’ I guess I think I’m good-enough to get published, which seems very um…well, conceited… overly confident?  I don’t know…I don’t like either term.  But I will tell you that there is something deep down inside of me that wants to get a book into the hands of readers.  More of a drive, a personal challenge, something I can’t help but do because I am a writer. The art of writing a novel feels very self-indulgent.  Cringe.  I hate that, too.  What got inside my head and whispered, “Write a novel?”  Call a it muse, or “successful schizophernia” as Jodi Picoult …