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Kate Morton is the award-winning author of such bestselling novels as THE DISTANT HOURS, THE LAKE HOUSE and her latest, THE CLOCKMAKER’S DAUGHTER, in which a love affair and a mysterious murder cast their shadows across generations. We are excited to have Kate wrap up this year’s Holiday Author Blog series with a lovely essay about the Christmas Eve she spent in 2002 with her grandmother on Tamborine Mountain in south-east Queensland, Australia. Nana Connelly never spoke about herself, preferring instead to ask questions of Kate and her sisters and listen to what was going on in their lives. But on this very special Christmas Eve, Nana shared a heartwarming story that Kate has never forgotten and that serves as a powerful reminder of the real meaning of the holiday.
Releasing on March 12th, Bonnie Kistler’s debut novel, HOUSE ON FIRE, is about a blended family in crisis after a drunk driving accident leaves the daughter of one parent dead --- and the son of the other parent charged with manslaughter. When Bonnie was a freshman in college, she happened upon a used book sale on campus and spotted a rare autographed copy of LITTLE WOMEN, which she bought for a dollar. But rather than keep it for bragging rights or resell it for more money, she gave it as a Christmas present to her closest friend, whose life seemed to parallel Louisa May Alcott’s novel in uncanny ways. This gifting experience taught her a very important lesson about the value of a book, as she explains in our penultimate blog of the holiday season.
In his holiday blog post, debut novelist Alex Michaelides recalls some of the books he received as Christmas presents growing up that punctuated his childhood and adolescence. He credits his parents, especially his mother, with introducing him to authors whose works helped inspire him to become a writer himself. Alex’s first novel, THE SILENT PATIENT, releases on February 5th; it’s a psychological thriller about a woman’s act of violence against her husband and the therapist obsessed with uncovering her motive.
John Lescroart’s 18th Dismas Hardy thriller, THE RULE OF LAW, releases on January 22nd. In it, the San Francisco attorney is called to defend the least likely suspect of his career: his longtime, trusted assistant who is suddenly being charged as an accessory to murder. On Christmas Eve, when John was a little boy, his family would read the Nativity story from the Bible, followed by Clement C. Moore's “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” John kept that ritual alive when he became a dad, but a strange thing happened one Christmas Eve --- you might even say it was miraculous --- that led to a new tradition involving a book that made his family “cry, cry, cry as we read it, laughing all the way.”
On Friday, December 7th, Random House held their Fall Open House, an event that sells out instantly and that people flock to in droves with their book clubs, friends and fellow readers. Held in their New York City office and featuring a broad variety of genres, authors and titles, Random House's Open House is a longtime favorite of mine --- I have only missed one to date!
Whitney Scharer’s debut novel, THE AGE OF LIGHT (which releases on February 5th), tells the story of Vogue model turned renowned photographer Lee Miller, and her search to forge a new identity as an artist after a life spent as a muse. For 10 years, Whitney worked at a non-profit creative writing center in Boston called GrubStreet. For the first few years, she was in an office with just three others, and all four became close friends. Rather than a traditional Yankee swap for the holidays, which would've required a few more people for maximum enjoyment, they decided to do their own holiday book swap. Read on to find out how these fun exchanges worked and why Whitney has cherished them so much.
James Rollins was 13 years old when he received a Christmas present he will never forget: a paperback copy of WATERSHIP DOWN by Richard Adams. At first, the rabbit on the cover and the plot description referencing talking animals led him to believe that it was a children’s book he had clearly outgrown. But once he decided to give it a chance, he found himself lost in the story as he discovered “a world as exciting as any war novel, with great battles and terrifying conflicts.” To this day, WATERSHIP DOWN remains not only one of his all-time favorite books, but also one of the most influential. Over the course of his career as a novelist, Rollins has written stories from unique perspectives --- and his upcoming novel, CRUCIBLE, is no exception. This latest Sigma Force thriller, which releases on January 22nd, tackles the growth of a human-like artificial intelligence, from its cold infancy to something nearly incomprehensible.
Award-winning author T. Greenwood’s most recent book, RUST & STARDUST, is the gripping, heartwrenching novel of Sally Horner, the 11-year-old kidnapping victim whose abduction in 1948 inspired Vladimir Nabokov's LOLITA. In her holiday blog post, Greenwood fondly remembers the “single most magical book” she received on Christmas when she was seven years old: A VERY YOUNG DANCER by photographer Jill Krementz. Although her passion for dancing was eventually eclipsed by her love of reading and writing, she credits the book for quietly teaching her the power of narrative and photography. It also inspired her oldest daughter, Mikaela, to pursue a career in ballet, a journey that Greenwood has documented for the last 15 years with black and white photos she has taken capturing every step in Mikaela’s development as a ballerina.
Lisa Wingate is a former journalist, inspirational speaker and New York Times bestselling author of 30 novels. Her most recent work of fiction, BEFORE WE WERE YOURS, has been a book club favorite worldwide and to date has sold over one million copies. In her holiday blog post, Lisa recalls the Christmas when her two young sons received The Dangerous Book for Boys, a series of books by Conn Iggulden and Hal Iggulden that “were not only the hit of the day. They were the hit of the year.” Although her boys are all grown up now, a few of the projects that were inspired by these books remain in her possession, prompting Lisa to proclaim, “In the right hands, The Dangerous Book for Boys is a reading memory that becomes a family memory. And those are the very best kind of all.”
Lynda Cohen Loigman’s debut novel, THE TWO-FAMILY HOUSE, was a Goodreads Choice Awards semifinalist. Her follow-up, THE WARTIME SISTERS, releases on January 22nd and centers on two sisters working in a WWII armory, each with a deep secret. On this last day of Hanukkah, Lynda fondly remembers a present she received during the Festival of Lights when she was 10 years old: a secondhand paperback that included both the full script of “West Side Story” and the play that inspired it, “Romeo and Juliet.” The literary lessons she learned from Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics --- specifically those of “I Feel Pretty,” “The Jet Song,” “Gee, Officer Krupke” and “Tonight” --- were invaluable, as she explains in our latest holiday blog post.