January 23, 7 PM ET

Join authors May Cobb, Poppy Gee, Stephen Mack Jones, and Jacquelyn Mitchard along with Back Room hosts Karen Dionne and Hank Phillippi Ryan for an evening of great conversation!

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The Authors

 

May Cobb earned her MA in literature from San Francisco State University, and her essays and interviews have appeared in the Washington Post, the Rumpus, Edible Austin, and Austin Monthly.

Her previous novel is The Hunting Wives. A Texas native, she lives in Austin with her family.

Learn more at www.maycobb.com.


Poppy Gee spent the first eighteen years of her life in Tasmania. Her family lived on a small farm outside of Launceston. She moved to Brisbane to attend the University of Queensland where she received a BA in English. In Brisbane, she was working behind the bar in the beer garden at the Royal Exchange Hotel when she met her future husband, a carpenter called William.

Poppy has worked as a guesthouse manager in Edinburgh, Scotland; been a nanny, ski guide and hotel cleaner in Zermatt, Switzerland; a bartender in Lagos, Portugal; and was employed on a luxury yacht on the French Riviera until she was too seasick to continue. She has also worked as a journalist and editor in Sydney and Brisbane. She now lives in Brisbane in an 1875 Queenslander cottage with her husband, three children and three cats.

Poppy is currently focusing on raising her children and writing. In her spare time, she likes taking her kids to the beach, hiking alone in the forest, snow-skiing, exploring historical places, gardening and reading.

Vanishing Falls is set in a fictional rainforest area, near the Liffey Falls, an enchanting three-tiered waterfall beneath the Great Western Tiers in northern Tasmania, where Poppy’s parents liked to take their four children for bushwalking picnics on weekends. Learn more at www.hachette.com.au/poppy-gee.


Stephen Mack Jones is a published poet, an award-winning playwright, and a recipient of the prestigious Kresge Arts in Detroit Literary Fellowship. He was born in Lansing, Michigan, and currently lives in Farmington Hills, outside of Detroit. He worked in advertising and marketing communications for a number of years before turning to fiction.

His novels include August Snow, Lives Laid Away and Dead of Winter. The novels have been optioned for television by ABC Television, Imagine Studios, Gaspin Media with multitalented actor Keegan-Michael Key attached as August Snow. Learn more at stephenmackjones.com.


Jacquelyn Mitchard is the New York Times bestselling author of 22 novels for adults and teenagers, and the recipient of Great Britain’s Talkabout prize, The Bram Stoker and Shirley Jackson awards, and named to the short list for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. Her first novel, The Deep End of the Ocean, was the inaugural selection of the Oprah Winfrey Book Club, with more than 3 million copies in print in 34 languages. It was later adapted into a major feature film starring Michelle Pfeiffer. Her novel Still Summer has also been adapted for a film still in production. She has also an essay collection, The Rest of UsDispatches from the Mother Ship, drawn from her newspaper column syndicated by Tribune Media. Mitchard’s essays also have been published in magazines worldwide, widely anthologized, and incorporated into school curricula. She served on the Fiction jury for the 2003 National Book Awards, and was editor-in-chief of Merit Press, a Young Adult imprint under the aegis of Simon and Schuster.

An avid Italian cook, she lives on Cape Cod with her husband and their nine children. Her newest novel, The Good Son, a story about two women, one whose son was convicted of murdering the other’s daughter, is out from Mira/HarperCollins. Learn more at jacquelynmitchard.com.


Authors’ Books

 

My Summer Darlings by May Cobb

Jen Hansen, Kittie Spears, and Cynthia Nichols have been friends since childhood. They are now approaching forty and their lives have changed, but their insular East Texas town has not. They stay sane by drinking wine in the afternoons, dishing about other women in the neighborhood, and bonding over the heartache of their own encroaching middle age and raising ungrateful teens.

Then Will Harding comes to town, moving into one of the neighborhood’s grandest homes. Mysterious and charming, he seems like the answer to each woman’s prayers. He’s a source of fascination for Jen, Kittie, and Cynthia, but none of them are ready for the way Will disrupts their lives.

As Will grows closer with each of the women, their fascination twists into obsession, threatening their friendships and their families. When he abruptly pulls away, each woman scrambles to discover the source of his affection. But what they’ll uncover is far more sinister and deadly than any of them could have ever imagined.

Purchase at an independent bookstore near you.

Purchase online at www.bookshop.org.


Vanishing Falls by Poppy Gee

Deep within the lush Tasmanian rainforest is the remote town of Vanishing Falls, a place with a storied past. The town’s showpiece, built in the 1800s, is its Calendar House—currently occupied by Jack Lily, a prominent art collector and landowner; his wife, Celia; and their four daughters. The elaborate, eccentrically designed mansion houses one masterpiece and 52 rooms—and Celia Lily isn’t in any of them. She has vanished without a trace.…

Joelle Smithton knows that a few folks in Vanishing Falls believe that she’s simple-minded. It’s true that Joelle’s brain works a little differently—a legacy of shocking childhood trauma. But Joelle sees far more than most people realize, and remembers details that others cast away. For instance, she knows that Celia’s husband, Jack, has connections to unsavory local characters whom he’s desperate to keep hidden. He’s not the only one in town with something to conceal. Even Joelle’s own husband, Brian, a butcher, is acting suspiciously. While the police flounder, unable to find Celia, Joelle is gradually parsing the truth from the gossip she hears and from the simple gestures and statements that can unwittingly reveal so much.

Just as the water from the falls disappears into the ground, gushing away through subterranean creeks, the secrets in Vanishing Falls are pulsing through the town, about to converge. And when they do, Joelle must summon the courage to reveal what really happened to Celia, even if it means exposing her own past…

Purchase at an independent bookstore near you.

Purchase online at www.bookshop.org.


Dead of Winter by Stephen Mack Jones

Authentico Foods Inc. has been a part of Detroit’s Mexicantown for over thirty years, grown from a home kitchen business to a city-blocklong facility that supplies Mexican tortillas to restaurants throughout the Midwest.

Detroit ex-cop and Mexicantown native August Snow has been invited for a business meeting at Authentico Foods. Its owner, Ronaldo Ochoa, is dying, and is being blackmailed into selling the company to an anonymous entity. Worried about his employees, Ochoa wants August to buy it. August has no interest in running a tortilla empire, but he does want to know who’s threatening his neighborhood. Quickly, his investigation takes a devastating turn and he and his loved ones find themselves ensnared in a dangerous net of ruthless billionaire developers. August Snow must fight not only for his life, but for the soul of Mexicantown itself.

Purchase at an independent bookstore near you.

Purchase online at www.bookshop.org.


The Good Son by Jacquelyn Mitchard

What do you do when the person you love best becomes unrecognizable to you? For Thea Demetriou, the answer is both simple and agonizing: you keep loving him somehow.

Stefan was just seventeen when he went to prison for the drug-fueled murder of his girlfriend, Belinda. Three years later, he’s released to a world that refuses to let him move on. Belinda’s mother, once Thea’s good friend, galvanizes the community to rally against him to protest in her daughter’s memory. The media paints Stefan as a symbol of white privilege and indifferent justice. Neighbors, employers, even some members of Thea’s own family turn away.

Meanwhile Thea struggles to understand her son. At times, he is still the sweet boy he has always been; at others, he is a young man tormented by guilt and almost broken by his time in prison. But as his efforts to make amends meet escalating resistance and threats, Thea suspects more forces are at play than just community outrage. And if there is so much she never knew about her own son, what other secrets has she yet to uncover–especially about the night Belinda died?

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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