February 20, 7 PM ET

Join authors Wylie Cash, Jon Clinch, Jean Kwok, and John Searles along with Back Room hosts Karen Dionne and Hank Phillippi Ryan for an evening of great conversation!

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The Authors

 

Wiley Cash is the New York Times bestselling author of A Land More Kind Than Home. He’s been a fellow at Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony, and he teaches fiction writing and literature at the University of North Carolina-Asheville, where he serves as Alumni Author-in-Residence.

Cash’s short stories and essays have appeared in The Oxford American, Garden & Gun, Our State Magazine, and other publications, and his fiction has been adapted for the stage and film. He has taught creative writing and literature at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Bethany College, the University of North Carolina-Asheville, and the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. He holds a Ph.D. in American Literature from UL-Lafayette, an M.A. in English from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, and a B.A. in Literature from UNC-Asheville.

His new novel, When Ghosts Come Home, published September 21. He lives in North Carolina with his wife, photographer Mallory Cash, and their daughters. Learn more at wileycash.com.


Jon Clinch’s most recent novel, Marley (Atria, 2019), revisits the world of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol and creates deeply entwined personal histories for Jacob Marley and Ebenezer Scrooge. Writing in the New York Times Book Review, Simon Callow described it this way: “By some uncanny act of artistic appropriation, [Clinch] has, without imitating Dickens, entered into the phantasmagoric realm that is the great novelist’s quintessential territory…Startling and creative…Masterly.” Charles Frazier, author of Cold Mountain, says: “It’s one thing to come up with a brilliant premise, but it’s another thing to know what to do with it, how to realize its potential. As he did with Finn, Jon Clinch digs down to the bones of a classic and creates must-read modern literature.”

Finn (Random House, 2007)—the secret history of Huckleberry Finn’s father—was named an American Library Association Notable Book and chosen as one of the year’s best novels by the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and the Christian Science Monitor. It’s taught widely in high schools and colleges, both alone and alongside Twain.
His second novel, Kings of the Earth (Random House, 2010)—a powerful and Faulknerian tale of life, death, and family in rural America, based on a true story—was named a best novel of the year by the Washington Post and led the 2010 Summer Reading List at O, The Oprah Magazine.

Jon lives with his wife in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Learn more a jonclinch.com.


Jean Kwok is the award-winning, New York Times and international bestselling author of Girl in Translation, Mambo in Chinatown, and Searching for Sylvie Lee, which was a Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club pick, a Belletrist pick, and an instant New York Times bestseller. Her work has been published in twenty countries and is taught in schools across the world.

She has been selected for numerous honors, including the American Library Association Alex Award, the Chinese American Librarians Association Best Book Award, an Orange New Writers title and the Sunday Times Short Story Award international shortlist. She immigrated from Hong Kong to Brooklyn when she was five and worked in a Chinatown clothing factory for much of her childhood. She received her bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and earned an MFA from Columbia University.

She currently lives in the Netherlands. Learn more at www.jeankwok.com.


John Searles is the best-selling author of the novels Her Last Affair, Help For The Haunted, Strange But True and Boy Still Missing. Help for the Haunted was named a Boston Globe Best Crime Novel of the Year, an Entertainment Weekly Top 10 Must List, and winner of the American Library Association’s Alex Award.

Strange But True was named best Novel of the Year and was adapted for film by the producers of La La Land and released by Lionsgate. Starring the all-star ensemble cast of Amy Ryan, Greg Kinnear, Brian Cox, Blythe Danner, Margaret Qualley and Nick Robinson, the movie is streaming on HBO Max, Netflix and Amazon Prime.

John has appeared frequently on programs like NBC’s Today Show, CBS This Morning, Live! With Regis & Kelly as well as CNN and NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross. John was the longtime books editor at Cosmopolitan. His essays have been published in the New York Times, Washington Post and numerous other publications. He has a master’s degree in creative writing from New York University. Learn more at www.john-searles.com.


Authors’ Books

 

When Ghosts Come Home by Wiley Cash

When the roar of a low-flying plane awakens him in the middle of the night, Sheriff Winston Barnes knows something strange is happening at the nearby airfield on the coast of North Carolina. But nothing can prepare him for what he finds: a large airplane has crash-landed and is now sitting sideways on the runway, and there are no signs of a pilot or cargo. When the body of a local man is discovered—shot dead and lying on the grass near the crash site—Winston begins a murder investigation that will change the course of his life and the fate of the community that he has sworn to protect.

Everyone is a suspect, including the dead man. As rumors and accusations fly, long-simmering racial tensions explode overnight, and Winston, whose own tragic past has followed him like a ghost, must do his duty while facing the painful repercussions of old decisions. Winston also knows that his days as sheriff may be numbered. He’s up for re-election against a corrupt and well-connected challenger, and his deputies are choosing sides. As if these events weren’t troubling enough, he must finally confront his daughter Colleen, who has come home grieving a shattering loss she cannot fully articulate.

As the suspense builds and this compelling mystery unfolds, Wiley Cash delves deep into the hearts of these richly drawn, achingly sympathetic characters to reveal the nobility of an ordinary man struggling amidst terrifying, extraordinary circumstances.

Purchase at an independent bookstore near you.

Purchase online at www.bookshop.org.


Marley by John Clinch

“Marley was dead, to begin with,” Charles Dickens tells us at the beginning of A Christmas Carol. But in Jon Clinch’s “masterly” (The New York Times Book Review) novel, Jacob Marley, business partner to Ebenezer Scrooge, is very much alive: a rapacious and cunning boy who grows up to be a forger, a scoundrel, and the man who will be both the making and the undoing of Scrooge.

They meet as youths in the gloomy confines of Professor Drabb’s Academy for Boys, where Marley begins their twisted friendship by initiating the innocent Scrooge into the art of extortion. Years later, in the dank heart of London, their shared ambition manifests itself in a fledgling shipping empire. Between Marley’s genius for deception and Scrooge’s brilliance with numbers, they amass a considerable fortune of dubious legality, all rooted in a pitiless commitment to the soon-to-be-outlawed slave trade.

As Marley toys with the affections of Scrooge’s sister, Fan, Scrooge falls under the spell of Fan’s best friend, Belle Fairchild. Now, for the first time, Scrooge and Marley find themselves at odds. With their business interests inextricably bound together and instincts for secrecy and greed bred in their very bones, the two men engage in a shadowy war of deception, forged documents, theft, and cold-blooded murder. Marley and Scrooge are destined to clash in an unforgettable reckoning that will echo into the future and set the stage for Marley’s ghostly return.

Purchase at an independent bookstore near you.

Purchase online at www.bookshop.org.


Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok

It begins with a mystery. Sylvie, the beautiful, brilliant, successful older daughter of the Lee family, flies to the Netherlands for one final visit with her dying grandmother—and then vanishes.

Amy, the sheltered baby of the Lee family, is too young to remember a time when her parents were newly immigrated and too poor to keep Sylvie. Seven years older, Sylvie was raised by a distant relative in a faraway, foreign place, and didn’t rejoin her family in America until age nine. Timid and shy, Amy has always looked up to her sister, the fierce and fearless protector who showered her with unconditional love.

But what happened to Sylvie? Amy and her parents are distraught and desperate for answers. Sylvie has always looked out for them. Now, it’s Amy’s turn to help. Terrified yet determined, Amy retraces her sister’s movements, flying to the last place Sylvie was seen. But instead of simple answers, she discovers something much more valuable: the truth. Sylvie, the golden girl, kept painful secrets . . . secrets that will reveal more about Amy’s complicated family—and herself—than she ever could have imagined.

Purchase at an independent bookstore near you.

Purchase online at www.bookshop.org.


Her Last Affair by John Searles

Skyla lives alone in the shadow of the defunct drive-in movie theater that she and her husband ran for nearly fifty years. Ever since Hollis’s death in a freak accident the year before, Skyla spends her nights ruminating about the regrets and deceptions in her long marriage. That is, until she rents a cottage on the property to a charming British man, Teddy Cornwell….

A thousand miles away, Linelle is about to turn fifty. Bored by her spouse and fired from her job when a questionable photo from her youth surfaces on social media, her only source of joy is an on-line affair with her very first love, a man she’s not seen in nearly thirty years, Teddy Cornwell…

While in New York City, Jeremy, a failed and bitter writer, accepts an assignment to review a new restaurant in Providence. Years ago, Providence was the site of his first great love and first great heartbreak—and maybe, just maybe, he’ll look her up when he’s back in town…

Purchase at an independent bookstore near you.

Purchase online at www.bookshop.org.


Your Hosts

 

Karen Dionne is the USA Today and #1 internationally bestselling author of the award-winning psychological suspense novel The Marsh King’s Daughter, published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons in the US and in 26 other languages. Her follow up novel, The Wicked Sister (August 2020, G.P. Putnam’s Sons), is also an international bestseller and was chosen by Publishers Weekly as one of their Best Books of 2020.

The Marsh King’s Daughter was also chosen as one of the best books of 2017 by iBooks, Hudson Booksellers, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, The Irish Independent, Library Journal, Shelf Awareness and many other booksellers and reviewers, and is soon to be a major motion picture starring Daisy Ridley and Ben Mendelsohn.

Both The Wicked Sister and The Marsh King’s Daughter were selected by the Library of Michigan as Michigan Notable Books, and The Marsh King’s Daughter took home the Barry and the Crimson Scribe Awards for Best Novel. Visit Karen at www.karen-dionne.com

Karen’s newest novel is The Wicked Sister. “Dionne paints a haunting portrait of a family hurtling toward the tragic destiny they can foresee but are powerless to stop.”–Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Purchase The Wicked Sister at an independent bookstore near you.

Purchase The Wicked Sister online at www.bookshop.org.

Hank Phillippi Ryan is the USA Today bestselling author of thirteen novels of suspense.  She has won five Agathas, four Anthonys, two Macavitys, the Daphne, and the coveted Mary Higgins Clark award. National reviews have called her a “master at crafting suspenseful mysteries” and “a superb and gifted storyteller.” Her 2019 book The Murder List won the Anthony Award for Best Novel of the year. Her 2020 book is The First to Lie, of which the Publishers Weekly starred review said, “Stellar. Ryan could win a sixth Agatha with this one.” It is now a nominee for the Anthony Award  and the Mary Higgins Clark Award.

Hank is also an award-winning investigative reporter at Boston’s WHDH-TV. In addition to 37 EMMYs and 14 Edward R. Murrow awards, Hank’s won dozens of other honors for her ground-breaking journalism. Hank is  the co-host of First Chapter Fun, hosts the online mystery interview program for the acclaimed A Mighty Blaze, is a founding teacher at Mystery Writers of America University and served as past president of national Sisters in Crime.  Learn more at www.HankPhillippiRyan.com.

Hank’s newest novel, Her Perfect Life, published September 14, 2021 with starred reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly.  “Superlative…this is a fast-paced, surprise-packed treat.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Purchase Her Perfect Life at an independent bookstore near you.

Purchase Her Perfect Life online at www.bookshop.org.


 

 

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