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December 22, 2013

Margaret Wrinkle: The Best Gift

Posted by emily
Margaret Wrinkle is a writer, filmmaker, educator and visual artist. In her debut novel, WASH (now available in paperback), Washington, the slave of a troubled Revolutionary War veteran, encounters a potent healer named Pallas, who inspires Wash to forge a new understanding of his heritage and his place in it. In her Holiday Author Blog, Margaret talks about how she was inspired by the Paris Review’s historic author interviews, and why the best gifts --- the ones we really need --- are sometimes the ones we give ourselves, no matter when, no matter where.
Susan Wiggs is an award-winning author, who has written more than 40 novels, including #1 New York Times bestsellers from her hit series, The Lakeshore Chronicles. CANDLELIGHT CHRISTMAS, the latest Lakeshore installment, is about Logan O'Donnell, a single father determined to create the perfect Christmas for his son, Charlie. When newcomer Darcy Fitzgerald arrives at Willow Lake --- even though she’s the last person Logan can see himself falling for, and Darcy is convinced that a relationship is the last thing she needs this Christmas --- their two lonely hearts collide. In real life, Susan knows a thing or two about matchmaking --- especially when it comes to books! Here, she talks about the pleasure of giving the right book to the right reader, and how one precise and inspired book choice helped her bond with her stepson, Carter. CANDLELIGHT CHRISTMAS, not coincidentally, is dedicated to him.
Christopher Reich is the bestselling author of numerous novels, including NUMBERED ACCOUNT, THE RUNNER and RULES OF DECEPTION. His latest book, THE PRINCE OF RISK, is about Robert "Bobby" Astor, a fearless New York hedge-fund gunslinger on the verge of making his biggest killing ever. But everything changes when his father, the venerable chief executive of the New York Stock Exchange, is murdered. Here, Christopher writes about a more serene memory: his family's yearly Christmas trip to a small ski resort in the Alps. There was plenty of downtime, and little else to do besides read, so their suitcases were packed heavy with books --- enough to get them through two weeks up in the snowy mountains. Almost.
Alma Katsu's debut, THE TAKER, a Gothic novel of suspense, has been compared to the early work of Anne Rice and Elizabeth Kostova's THE HISTORIAN. Now, she returns with the final book in the Taker trilogy, THE DESCENT. In this stunning conclusion, Lanore McIlvrae faces her powerful nemesis, Adair, one last time --- and asks him for a favor that will cost her either her love or her life. Alma doesn't only deal in supernatural mysteries; she also contemplates the mysteries of daily life --- like how to give a booklover a book without offending his or her sophisticated sensibilities. Here, she offers a solution to that age-old question.
Jill McCorkle's first two novels --- THE CHEERLEADER and JULY 7th --- were published on the same day, and she hasn't slowed down ever since. She's the author of five New York Times Notable Books, as well as short stories that have been anthologized in numerous literary journals. Her latest novel, LIFE AFTER LIFE (now available in paperback), is about the residents and staff of Pine Haven Estates, a retirement facility in Fulton, North Carolina. As their lives become intertwined through their present circumstances, their pasts and, in some cases, their deaths, a bigger picture begins to develop --- one that celebrates the beauty and wisdom of later life. Here, in her Holiday Author Blog, Jill makes another interesting connection between past and present. She traces her love of writing and storytelling back to a Christmas gift she received when she was seven years old: Danny O'Day, a ventriloquist dummy. 
December 17, 2013

Jane Maas and Her Christmas Angel

Posted by emily
Jane Maas is known as "a legend" in the advertising world, and her first book, MAD WOMEN, reveals what it was really like to be a woman in the industry in the 1960s. Her latest book, THE CHRISTMAS ANGEL, is a lot less tell-all. Full of love and faith and the spirit of Christmas, it's the story of an ornamental angel carved by Owen Thomas for the woman who would break his heart. Owen brings the angel from his Welsh home to America, where she looks down over five generations, witnessing their triumphs and tragedies, and reminding all who look upon her that laughter and goodwill can remedy even the heaviest burden. In this very moving piece, Jane opens up about her own guardian angel: her Aunt Mary, who would send Jane books throughout each stage of her life, which contained --- almost magically ---  exactly the wisdom she needed.
Brenda Novak is the author of numerous bestsellers, ranging from thrillers to romances, and everything else in between. In her latest, TAKE ME HOME FOR CHRISTMAS, former Mean Girl Sophia DeBussi returns to a lukewarm reception at Whiskey Creek after her lavish life falls apart. Desperate for work to support her daughter, Sophia takes a job as a housekeeper for Ted, a man whose love she once scorned. Ted's walls are up, but even his toughest defenses are not impervious to the holiday spirit. In her Holiday Author Blog, Brenda opens up about the first Christmas her family spent in Arizona after a move from Utah. She was struggling to fit in at school, but the holiday --- and the transformative magic of a book given to her by her grandma --- offered her an unexpected kind of salvation. 
Josh Hanagarne was officially diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome when he was in high school, but had been exhibiting symptoms since he was six years old. Despite undergoing treatments that failed miserably, Josh persevered and went on to earn a degree in Library Science and get married. His memoir, THE WORLD'S STRONGEST LIBRARIAN, details his journey and inspiring triumph over adversity. In his Holiday Author Blog, Josh talks about the unusual --- but not unappreciated --- gift he received for his 14th birthday.
Talk about beginner's luck: Theresa Schwegel's debut, OFFICER DOWN, won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel from Mystery Writers of America. She is now the author of five crime novels set in the Chicago area. Her latest, THE GOOD BOY, is also her most emotional --- and ambitious --- work to date. It's a family epic about a young boy trying to follow his heart in an often heartless city. Theresa knows a thing or two about following her heart --- and a few well-timed words of encouragement. Here, she shares why she made the choice to pursue fiction writing in the first place, and how a mentor's faith in her proved to be the greatest gift of all. 
December 13, 2013

Joshilyn Jackson: An Advent Story

Posted by emily
Joshilyn Jackson is the New York Times bestselling author of six novels, including GODS IN ALABAMA and A GROWN-UP KIND OF PRETTY. Her most recent book, SOMEONE ELSE'S LOVE STORY, is about a single mom who stumbles into the middle of a mini-mart robbery, where the actions of a stranger cause her to fall irrevocably in love with him. In this Holiday Author Blog, Joshilyn fondly recalls the eight-hour car rides her family would take on Christmas Eve day, and the books they would read out loud to pass the time. Looking back, she can appreciate just how lovely the journey was --- never mind the destination.