Ben Winters’ unsettling new novel, Underground Airlines, takes place in an an alternative United States where the Civil War never occurred and slavery still exists in four states. The book centers around Victor, a former enslaved person who took a job as a Federal bounty hunter in exchange for his freedom. Tasked with tracking down a recently escaped slave known only as Jackdaw, Victor travels to Indianapolis in order to insinuate himself into the the local chapter of the Underground Airlines. the abolitionist movement. Yet as he untangles Jackdaw’s flight to freedom, Victor realizes that none of the people around him—from Jackdaw to Victor’s enigmatic boss—are what they seem. NPR dubbed Underground Airlines “indisputably a winner” and Ann Patchett praised it in Time, noting that it “kept me up at night and changed the way I saw the world once I was finished.” Ben Winters spoke to Brendan Dowling via e-mail on August 16th.
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Nicole Dennis-Benn’s searing debut novel Here Comes the Sun explores the relationships among three Jamaican woman: Margot, who works at the front desk of a Montego Bay resort; her mother, Delores, a charismatic vendor at a tourist market stall; and Thandi, her fifteen-year old half sister, a brilliant high school student who both women work overtime to […]
“The True Story of My Heart”– Kate DiCamillo Talks friendship, summer reading, and “Raymie Nightingale”
Kate DiCamillo has been a favorite of young adult readers since the publication of her first novel, Because of Winn Dixie. That book was named a Newbery Honor book in 2001, while her later books The Tale of Desperaux and Flora and Ulysses both won the Newbery Award. Her most recent work, Raymie Nightingale, is sure to be similarly embraced by fans and critics alike. Focused on a trio of ten year-old girls who–for very different reasons–have all entered the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, Raymie Nightingale follows the girls’ exploits through baton-twirling classes, an animal shelter break-in, and a reconnaissance mission at a nursing home. At its heart is the title character, who leaps off the page with her resilience and ingenuity. Brendan Dowling spoke to Kate DiCamillo via email on May 9th, 2016.
Nicola Yoon’s debut novel Everything, Everything tells the coming-of-age story of Maddy, a witty eighteen year-old diagnosed with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency. Confined to her house since an infant, she leads a solitary existence, interacting only with her mother and home nurse. All of this changes with the arrival of Olly, her charming next-door neighbor who’s as equally adept at parkour as he is at crafting a swoon-worthy e-mail. Their unusual courtship is charted through their droll email and IM exchanges, where they crack wise about everything from suicidal Bundt cakes to the state fish of Hawaii. School Library Journal listed Everything, Everything as one of its Best Books 2015 and The New York Times praised it as “offbeat, pragmatic and sweetly romantic.” Brendan Dowling interviewed Nicola Yoon on March 1st.
New York Times best selling New Adult specialist, Colleen Hoover, started her career in the overcrowded self published indie market with standalone, Slammed, successfully moving onto a contract with Atria, a division of Simon & Schuster. She completed, Never Never, a three part series under name brand, Hoover Ink, available at Amazon Digital Services. Part speculative fiction, romantic suspense and women’s read, the novellas reveal harrowing relations between twenty something students, Silas Nash and Charlize Wynwood. Breezing through part one (159 pages,) Hoover establishes that two straight protagonists really really share love. Sexting, cheating, and raunchy sex tapes prove their meaningful connection.
Duncan Tonatiuh’s evocative and charming picture books have been staples of the bestseller list since his debut book, Dear Primo: Letters to My Cousin, in 2010. Since then he’s written and illustrated Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: A Migrant’s Tale, Diego Rivera: His World And Ours, and Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation. His most recent book, Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras, details the life of José Guadalupe (Lupe) Posada, the Mexican artist whose calaveras (skeletons performing everyday tasks) have become a ubiquitous presence in Day of the Dead celebrations. The book was named a 2016 Sibert Award Winner, Pura Belpré (Illustrator) Honor Book, and a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2015. Duncan Tonatiuh talked with Brendan Dowling via telephone on January 26th, 2015. The following is an edited version of their conversation.
Abby Geni’s debut novel, The Lightkeepers, is a terrifically suspenseful novel detailing the year in the life of Miranda, a photographer on a secluded biological research station on the Farallon Islands, thirty miles off the coast of San Francisco. A few months into her stay, one of the biologists is found dead, the result of an apparent accident. The Lightkeepers delivers a tightly plotted mystery while also offering keen insight into the relationship humans have with the natural world, and also contains perhaps the most terrifying scene involving mice ever written. Entertainment Weekly hailed the book as “not to be missed,” and Geni was cited by Barnes and Noble as one of its Discover 2016 Great New Writers. Geni spoke with Brendan Dowling via e-mail on January 14, 2015.
Dave Reidy’s debut novel, The Voiceover Artist, came out to rave reviews earlier this fall. Booklist praised it as “moving and honest” and no less than Scott Turow hailed it as “tender and beguiling.” The Voiceover Artist tells the story of Simon, a shy young man who suffered such a profound stutter growing up that he chose not to speak for eighteen years. As an adult, he moves to Chicago to break into the world of voiceover artists, the sonorous voices that kept him company throughout his isolated childhood. Independent for the first time, he struggles to find a community, volunteering at St. Asella’s, a fading parish in downtown Chicago. Reidy charts Simon’s coming of age through the complicated relationships with the women in his life: Catherine, a recently divorced interior decorator he meets at church; his tart-tongued agent Elaine; and his ex-girlfriend Brittany. Public Libraries Online spoke to Reidy on December 2nd.
Troy Cummings is the author of The Eency Weency Spider Freaks Out, More Bears!, and the Notebook of Doom series. He recently spoke at the Children and Young People’s Division (CYPD) of the Indiana Library Federation Conference () and proved capable of making a bunch of librarians laugh just like he does his younger fans. Public Libraries caught up with the author after the conference to learn more about his books, career, and what it takes to host a successful author visit.
Masked balls, swarthy werewolves, and inquisitive lords and ladies inspire Masque, a genre blending fantasy, mystery and tale of romantic suspense. Author W.R. Gingell, produced the second volume for a Two Monarchies series, featuring political intrigues, underhanded spies, and duplicitous lies.
Popular New Adult author, Jamie McGuire’s third volume in the Taylor Maddox series, Beautiful Sacrifice, explores family secrets and estrangements; true love, relationships and forgiveness set in small town Colorado.
Author Kaylee Ryan mixes girl crushes, first apartments, training bros, final exams, late brunches, new jobs, and former marines into her potent self-published cocktail “Just Say When.” The book uses ultra short chapters to unfold its narrative structure, taking 46 mini bites with alternating points of view from protagonists Ava Mae and Nate.
Award winning author Cece Bell has been writing and illustrating children’s picture books for several years. This year, her book for older children, El Deafo, earned her a Newberry Honor. A graphic novel memoir, El Deafo tells her story of becoming almost completely deaf at a young age due to illness. Depicting the resulting challenges—and delights—are a cast of bunny characters that tell a very human story.
Architect Adam is the hot, eligible playboy in town. He’s known for having new eye candy on his arm at each event he attends – and he’s definitely not looking for anything serious. But it isn’t until he meets gorgeous and successful wedding planner Kerry that he understands what he’s missing in a long term relationship.
Detective Kim Stone has a track record for solving tough cases. When dead bodies start mysteriously cropping up one after another, she digs up a secret from an abandoned girl’s orphanage that someone would prefer to keep buried. But who could be the killer? The local, well-known priest? The handyman who cares for his disabled daughter?