When I first met my now good friend Karin Slaughter several years ago, I’m not sure what I was expecting. All of her books are nail-biting thrillers.
The night before I met her, one of her books kept me up all night. Her expertise in crime scenes, forensics and police procedure is carefully woven into compelling stories designed to keep you turning pages. I guess I pictured a wild-eyed, half-crazed author with blood splattered on her shirt. Instead, I discovered someone who was warm, irreverent and spontaneously funny.
Karin’s writing talent regularly lands her at the top of the New York Times bestselling lists. Her many books have sold tens of millions of copies around the world.
Karin’s latest book is called Criminal.
By all accounts, Robert Goolrick has lived a difficult life. Writing the word “difficult” doesn’t begin to do justice to some of the horrors he experienced as a child. The depth of family dysfunction in his childhood is impossible to communicate in a few words. He wrote a detailed account of these depths in his first published book, The End of the World as We Know It. Pick your poison and he tasted it: neglect, sexual abuse, alcoholic parents, not to mention the filth, the rats, the despair.
Robert overcame all these obstacles and went on to become an advertising executive and then a best-selling author. His book A Reliable Wife was a #1 New York Times bestseller and was widely praised by critics. When I asked him how he overcame such great odds, he credited a strong imagination and strong interior life.
Walter Mosley has written more than 34 acclaimed books, including the bestselling mystery series starring Easy Rawlins of Devil in a Blue Dress fame. Throughout his career, he’s also been the recipient of numerous awards, including an O. Henry Award, a Grammy, and PEN America’s Lifetime Achievement Award. His work has been seen on the page, on the big screen, on the theater stage and soon on the small screen (He’s teaming up with Jonathan Demme to co-write a pilot for HBO based on his newest private eye, Leonid McGill). I caught up with Walter when he was visiting Nashville to promote the paperback publication of The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey.
Alex George’s A Good American is a book you may not have heard of yet. If not, you undoubtedly will. It is a spectacularly written novel receiving rave reviews, and it continues to pick up steam. In recent weeks, the book has been named:
- #1 Pick for Indie Next List, February 2012.
- Amazon “Best Books of the Month” List February 2012
- Barnes & Noble Discover Pick, Spring 2012
- Barnes & Noble Top Staff Pick for Fiction, February 2012
- Midwest Connection Pick, February 2012
- #1 “Title to Pick Up Now” for O Magazine, February 2012
Erin Morgenstern debuted as an author last year with a most creative book, The Night Circus (it’s also one of my favorite book covers of 2011). In addition to receiving numerous rave reviews, the book was recently awarded the Alex Award by the ALA, which is given to the top ten adult books that also appeal to young adults.
As I talked with Erin about her achievement, I was struck by three success themes: