Join domestic suspense authors Emily Carpenter, Steph Cha, Joshilyn Jackson, and Jessica Strawser with Back Room hosts Hank Phillippi Ryan and Karen Dionne for an evening of great conversation!
After graduating from Auburn with a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication, she moved to New York City. She’s worked as an actor, producer, screenwriter, and behind-the-scenes soap opera assistant for the CBS shows As the World Turns and Guiding Light.
Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, she now lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her family. You can visit Emily online at emilycarpenterauthor.com.
She’s a critic whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, where she served as noir editor, and is the current series editor of the Best American Mystery & Suspense anthology.
A native of the San Fernando Valley, she lives in Los Angeles with her family. Visit her website at stephcha.com.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling novelist Joshilyn Jackson’s latest book, Mother May I, is available for pre-order now wherever books are sold. Joshilyn’s books have been translated into a dozen languages, have won SIBA’s Novel of the Year award, have three times been the #1 Book Sense Pick, have twice won Georgia Author of the Year awards, have three times been shortlisted for the Townsend Prize for Fiction, and have been a finalist for the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction.
A former actor, Jackson reads the audio versions of both her own novels and other writers’ books. Her work in this field has been nominated for the Audie Award, included on AudioFile Magazine’s best of the year list, won three Earphones Awards, made the 2012 Audible All-Star list for highest listener ranks/reviews, and garnered three Listen Up Awards from Publishers Weekly.
She serves on the board of Reforming Arts, a nonprofit that runs education-in-prison and reentry programs. Reforming Arts fosters critical and creative thinking skills, encouraging students to build livable lives both during and post-incarceration. Through this organization, Joshilyn has taught creative writing, composition, and literature inside Georgia’s maximum security facility for women.
Joshilyn lives in Decatur, Georgia, with her family, two entitled cats, and a modestly-sized dog. You can check out her previous nine novels and other writing at joshilynjackson.com.
Jessica Strawser is the editor-at-large at Writer’s Digest, where she served as editorial director for nearly a decade and became known for her in-depth cover interviews with such luminaries as David Sedaris and Alice Walker. She’s the author of the book club favorites Almost Missed You, a Barnes & Noble Best New Fiction pick; Not That I Could Tell, a Book of the Month bestseller; and her latest, Forget You Know Me, now new in paperback. Her fourth novel, A Million Reasons Why, is coming in March 2021 (all from St. Martin’s Press).
Honored as the 2019 Writer-in-Residence at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Strawser has written for The New York Times Modern Love, Publishers Weekly and other fine venues, and lives in Cincinnati with her husband and two children. A contributing editor for Career Authors and an active Tall Poppy Writer, she keynotes frequently for book clubs, libraries, writing conferences, and other events that are kind enough to invite her. Visit her website at jessicastrawser.com.
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 countries. 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.
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. 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, The Florida Sun-Sentinel, Library Journal, Shelf Awareness and many other booksellers and reviewers, and is in development as a major motion picture. Visit Karen at www.karen-dionne.com
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 a founding teacher at Mystery Writers of America University and served as past president of national Sisters in Crime. Her upcoming novel, Her Perfect Life, will be published September 14, 2021. Learn more at www.HankPhillippiRyan.com.
Dove Jarrod was a renowned evangelist and faith healer. Only her granddaughter, Eve Candler, knows that Dove was a con artist. In the eight years since Dove’s death, Eve has maintained Dove’s charitable foundation–and her lies. But just as a documentary team wraps up a shoot about the miracle worker, Eve is assaulted by a vengeful stranger intent on exposing what could be Dove’s darkest secret: murder…
Tuscaloosa, 1934: a wily young orphan escapes the psychiatric hospital where she was born. When she joins the itinerant inspirational duo the Hawthorn Sisters, the road ahead is one of stirring new possibilities. And with an obsessive predator on her trail, one of untold dangers. For a young girl to survive, desperate choices must be made.
Now, to protect her family, Eve will join forces with the investigative filmmaker and one of Dove’s friends, risking everything to unravel the truth behind the accusations against her grandmother. But will the truth set her free or set her world on fire?
Purchase Reviving The Hawthorn Sisters from an independent bookstore near you.
Purchase Reviving The Hawthorn Sisters online at www.bookshop.org.
In the wake of the police shooting of a black teenager, Los Angeles is as tense as it’s been since the unrest of the early 1990s. But Grace Park and Shawn Matthews have their own problems. Grace is sheltered and largely oblivious, living in the Valley with her Korean-immigrant parents, working long hours at the family pharmacy. She’s distraught that her sister hasn’t spoken to their mother in two years, for reasons beyond Grace’s understanding. Shawn has already had enough of politics and protest after an act of violence shattered his family years ago. He just wants to be left alone to enjoy his quiet life in Palmdale.
But when another shocking crime hits LA, both the Park and Matthews families are forced to face down their history while navigating the tumult of a city on the brink of more violence.
PurchaseYour House Will Pays from an independent bookstore near you.
Purchase Your House Will Pay online at www.bookshop.org.
Growing up poor in rural Georgia, Bree Cabbat was warned by her single mother that the world was a dark and scary place. Bree rejected her mother’s fearful outlook, and life has proved her right. Having married into a family with wealth, power, and connections, Bree now has all a woman could ever dream of: a loving lawyer husband, two talented teenage daughters, a new baby boy, a gorgeous home, and every opportunity in the world.
Until the day she awakens and sees a witch peering into her bedroom window—an old gray-haired woman dressed all in black who vanishes as quickly as she appears. It must be a play of the early morning light or the remnant of a waking dream, Bree tells herself, shaking off the bad feeling that overcomes her.
Later that day though, she spies the old woman again, in the parking lot of her daughters’ private school . . . just minutes before Bree’s infant son, asleep in his car seat only a few feet away, vanishes. To get her baby back, Bree must complete one small—but critical—task. It seems harmless enough, but her action comes with a devastating price, making her complicit in a tangled web of tragedy and shocking secrets that could destroy everything she loves. It is the beginning of an odyssey that will lead Bree to dangerous places, explosive confrontations, and chilling truths.
Purchase Mother May I from an independent bookstore near you.
Purchase Mother May I online at www.bookshop.org.
When two strangers are linked by a mail-in DNA test, it’s an answered prayer—that is, for one half sister. For the other, it will dismantle everything she knows to be true.
But as they step into the unfamiliar realm of sisterhood, the roles will reverse in ways no one could have foreseen.
Caroline lives a full, happy life—thriving career, three feisty children, enviable marriage, and a close-knit extended family. She couldn’t have scripted it better. Except for one thing: She’s about to discover her fundamental beliefs about them all are wrong.
Sela lives a life in shades of gray, suffering from irreversible kidney failure. Her marriage crumbled in the wake of her illness. Her beloved mother, always her closest friend, unexpectedly passed away. She refuses to be defined by her grief, but still, she worries what will happen to her two-year-old son if she doesn’t find a donor match in time.
She’s the only one who knows Caroline is her half sister and may also be her best hope for a future. But Sela’s world isn’t as clear-cut as it appears—and one misstep could destroy it all.
Purchase A Million Reasons Why from an independent bookstore near you.
Purchase A Million Reasons Why online at www.bookshop.org.
The Wicked Sister by Karen Dionne
From the bestselling and award-winning author of The Marsh King’s Daughter comes a startling novel of psychological suspense as two generations of sisters try to unravel their tangled relationships between nature and nurture, guilt and betrayal, love and evil.
You have been cut off from society for fifteen years, shut away in a mental hospital in self-imposed exile as punishment for the terrible thing you did when you were a child.
But what if nothing about your past is as it seems? And if you didn’t accidentally shoot and kill your mother, then whoever did is still out there. Waiting for you.
Purchase The Wicked Sister at an independent bookstore near you.
Purchase The Wicked Sister online at www.bookshop.org.
We all have our reasons for being who we are―but what if being someone else could get you what you want?
After a devastating betrayal, a young woman sets off on an obsessive path to justice, no matter what dark family secrets are revealed. What she doesn’t know―she isn’t the only one plotting revenge. An affluent daughter of privilege. A glamorous manipulative wannabe. A determined reporter, in too deep. A grieving widow who has to choose her new reality.
Who will be the first to lie? And when the stakes are life and death, do a few lies really matter?
Purchase The First to Lie at an independent bookstore near you.
Purchase The First to Lie online at www.bookshop.org.