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Tayari Jones is the author of four novels, including SILVER SPARROW (a Bets On pick in 2011) and AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE (which releases on February 6th and also will be a Bets On selection). As a child, Tayari loved Judy Blume (in fact, she still does) and considered her copy of ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT’S ME, MARGARET to be her “most prized possession.” In her Holiday Blog post, Tayari recalls what happened when she misplaced the book one day and the valuable lessons she learned as a result, just weeks before Christmas.
We are thrilled to kick off the 10th year of our Holiday Author Blog series with New York Times bestselling author Alafair Burke, whose new novel, THE WIFE (releasing January 23rd), is a psychological thriller about a woman who must make the impossible choice between defending her husband and saving herself. Alafair was raised by a writer (legendary author James Lee Burke) and a librarian, so reading was a constant in the Burke household. But there’s one book she received from her father that she holds especially close to her heart, and in this first blog post of the holiday season, she explains why it was such a special gift.
On Thursday, November 9th, Random House invited readers to go “off the page” for their annual Open House event. While Open House is usually hosted in their Manhattan offices, this event was held in the beautiful new Tishman Auditorium at the New School, a venue that allowed for far more attendees and offered plenty of space for readers to spread out and enjoy the day.
On Saturday, October 21st, booklovers and book club members from the New York City Tri-State area convened at Hachette’s sixth annual Book Club Brunch. The event was held at the New York Society for Ethical Culture in a beautiful, spacious room with plenty of comfy seats. Lucky for me, I was able to attend with my good friends and avid readers Cheryl, Mary, Matt and Vivian.
John Shors is the internationally bestselling and award-winning author of BENEATH A MARBLE SKY and UNBOUND, among other works of historical fiction. In an effort to provide readers with an unparalleled travel experience, John launched John Shors Travel in 2014. Through his tour company, he has led small groups of travelers on adventures all over the world to the settings in his novels, including India, China, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. In this piece, John talks about the origin of these unique literary tours and how wonderful it has been to travel with his readers.
Tasha Alexander is the author of the Lady Emily mystery series. The latest installment, DEATH IN ST. PETERSBURG, was partly inspired by years of ballet training at the hands of Marie Buczkowski, who, in turn, studied in Paris with Olga Preobrajenska. Preobrajenska, a prima ballerina at Imperial Ballet and a character in Alexander's new novel, fled Russia after the revolution. Madame Buczkowski would be pleased that her former pupil focused on Russian ballet and spent a great deal of time in the Mariinsky Theatre watching the masters at work.
Mark de Castrique is the author of a mystery series featuring Asheville, NC, private eyes Sam Blackman and Nakayla Robertson, an interracial couple and co-owners of the Blackman and Robertson Detective Agency. In this piece, de Castrique explains how a story told to him by a 90-year-old man served as inspiration for BLACKMAN’S COFFIN, the opening novel in the series, and the significance of the William Faulkner quote “The Past is never dead. It’s not even past” in relation to the sixth and latest installment, HIDDEN SCARS, which sees Sam and Nakayla enmeshed in the history of the revolutionary Black Mountain College, which was founded in 1933 and attracted world-renowned educators fleeing Nazi Germany.
September 21, 2017

Writing the Countess

Stephen Weeks is a writer, conservationist and filmmaker. For 30 years he lived in a 12th-century castle in Wales, which he restored, and has lived in Prague, Czech Republic for the last 14 years. In this essay, Weeks discusses how he laid his plans for his debut historical mystery series that kicks off with THE COUNTESS OF PRAGUE and introduces readers to Beatrice von Falklenburg (known to her intimates as Trixie), who will lead us from Prague through Europe and occasionally beyond on a 10-book set of investigations that begins in 1904 and finishes in 1914.  
The ultimate thrill for any reader is the opportunity to meet an author whose work they enjoy. When I saw an announcement that I could meet Louise Penny, I was ecstatic! I was introduced to Louise’s work long after her series was established; although I had certainly heard of her, I not read any of her books.
Triss Stein is the author of a series of mysteries set in Brooklyn, New York, and featuring Erica Donato, an amateur sleuth who is currently writing her PhD dissertation about changes in city neighborhoods. Conducting research for these books is always fun for Stein, as she has spent most of her adult life living and working in New York City. This was especially true for the fourth and latest installment in the series, BROOKLYN WARS, and here she explains why.