Join literary fiction authors Hallie Ephron, Patti Callahan Henry, Caroline Leavitt, and Marjan Kamali along with Back Room host Hank Phillippi Ryan for an evening of great conversation!
Her newest suspense novel, Careful What You Wish For(August, 2019), with its echoes of Marie Kondo life-changing decluttering tips, explores the relationships built by professional organizers and their clients—showing just how easily the lines between professional and personal can be blurred. In it, Emily Harlow is a professional organizer who helps people declutter their lives; she’s married to man who can’t drive past a yard sale without stopping. Sometimes she find herself wondering if he sparks joy.
Learn more at hallieephron.com.
Patti Callahan Henry is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of fifteen novels, including the (Historical Fiction), Becoming Mrs. Lewis—The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis (writing as Patti Callahan). In addition, she is the recipient of The Christy Award—A 2019 Winner “Book of the Year.” ; The Harper Lee Distinguished Writer of the Year for 2020 and the Alabama Library Association Book of the Year for 2019.
The author is also the host of the popular seven-part original “Behind the Scenes of Becoming Mrs. Lewis Podcast Series” launched, October 2019. The podcast audiobook collection including bonus material was released January 2020, and available now. The new expanded Becoming Mrs. Lewis paperback edition was released March 2020.
On March 9, 2021, Surviving Savannah—a new historical fiction novel based on the true story of the Steamship Pulaski wreck will be released. Learn more about Patti at patticallahanhenry.com.
Caroline Leavitt is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of With or Without You, which was a Good Morning America online Best Book Pick, Cruel Beautiful World, Is This Tomorrow, Pictures of You, Girls In Trouble, Coming Back To Me, Living Other Lives, Into Thin Air, Family, Jealousies, Lifelines, and Meeting Rozzy Halfway. Various titles were optioned for film, translated into different languages, and condensed in magazines.
Her many essays, stories, book reviews and articles have appeared in Salon, Psychology Today, The New York Times Sunday Book Review, The New York Times Modern Love, Publisher’s Weekly, People, Real Simple, New York Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe and numerous anthologies. She won First Prize in Redbook Magazine’s Young Writers Contest for her short story, “Meeting Rozzy Halfway,” which grew into the novel. The recipient of a New York Foundation of the Arts Award for Fiction for Into Thin Air, she was also a National Magazine Award nominee for personal essay, and she was awarded an honorable mention, Goldenberg Prize for Fiction from the Bellevue Literary Review, for “Breathe,” a portion of Pictures of You. In addition, she was a finalist in both feature films and pilot in the Sundance Screenwriters lab. A book critic for People, AARP and the San Francisco Chronicle, she teaches novel story structure at Stanford and UCLA Writers Program Extension online.
She lives in Hoboken, New Jersey, New York City’s unofficial sixth borough, with her husband, the writer Jeff Tamarkin, and has an actor/writer son, Max. Learn more at carolineleavitt.com.
Marjan Kamali is a novelist and teacher whose work has been anthologized, broadcast on BBC Radio 4, and adapted for the stage. Her recent release, The Stationery Shop, hailed by The Wall Street Journal as “a moving tale of lost love” and selected as one of NPR’s Best Books of 2019 and a Real Simple magazine’s Top Editor’s Pick is a powerful love story set against the background of a country in political turmoil.
Her debut novel, Together Tea, which was a Massachusetts Book Award Finalist, follows a mother and daughter as they embark on a return journey to Iran. A graduate of UC Berkeley with an MBA from Columbia University and an MFA from New York University, Kamali is a teacher of writing at GrubStreet and former adjunct business writing professor at Boston University. Her novels have been translated into a dozen languages.
Having lived in seven countries across five continents, she currently lives in the Boston area with her husband and two children. Learn more at marjankamali.com.
Hank Phillippi Ryan is the USA Today bestselling author of eleven award winning novels of suspense. National reviews have called her a “master at crafting suspenseful mysteries” and “a superb and gifted storyteller.” Her 2020 book is The First to Lie. The Publishers Weekly Starred Review calls it “Stellar.”
Hank is also an award-winning investigative reporter at Boston’s WHDH-TV. In addition to 36 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 2013 president of national Sisters in Crime. She blogs at Jungle Red Writers and Career Authors.
Learn more about Hank at www.HankPhillippiRyan.com.
Emily Harlow is a professional organizer who helps people declutter their lives; she’s married to man who can’t drive past a yard sale without stopping. He’s filled their basement, attic, and garage with his finds, and she’d love nothing better than to toss out all of it. He says he’s a collector. Emily knows better—he’s a hoarder. The larger his “collection” becomes, the deeper the distance grows between Emily and the man she married.
Luckily, Emily’s got two new clients to distract herself: an elderly widow whose husband left behind a storage unit she didn’t know existed, and a young wife whose husband won’t allow her stuff into their house. Emily’s initial meeting with the young wife takes a detour when, after too much wine, the women end up fantasizing about how much more pleasant life would be without their collecting spouses.
But the next day Emily finds herself in a mess that might be too big for her to clean up. Careful what you wish for, the old adage says. Now Emily might lose her freedom, her marriage . . . and possibly her life.
Purchase Careful What You Wish For at an independent bookstore near you.
Purchase Careful What You Wish For online at www.bookshop.org.
When poet and writer Joy Davidman began writing letters to C. S. Lewis–known as Jack–she was looking for spiritual answers, not love. Love, after all, wasn’t holding together her crumbling marriage. Everything about New Yorker Joy seemed ill-matched for an Oxford don and the beloved writer of Narnia, yet their minds bonded over their letters. Embarking on the adventure of her life, Joy traveled from America to England and back again, facing heartbreak and poverty, discovering friendship and faith, and against all odds, finding a love that even the threat of death couldn’t destroy.
In this masterful exploration of one of the greatest love stories of modern times, we meet a brilliant writer, a fiercely independent mother, and a passionate woman who changed the life of this respected author and inspired books that still enchant us and change us. Joy lived at a time when women weren’t meant to have a voice–and yet her love for Jack gave them both voices they didn’t know they had.
Purchase Becoming Mrs. Lewis at an independent bookstore near you.
Purchase Becoming Mrs. Lewis online at www.bookshop.org.
Stella is a nurse who has long suppressed her own needs and desires to nurture the dreams of her partner, Simon, the bass player for a rock band that has started to lose its edge. But when Stella gets unexpectedly ill and falls into a coma just as Simon is preparing to fly with his band to Los Angeles for a gig that could revive his career, Simon must learn the meaning of sacrifice, while Stella’s best friend, Libby, a doctor who treats Stella, must also make a difficult choice as the coma wears on.
When Stella at last awakes from her two-month sleep, she emerges into a striking new reality where Simon and Libby have formed an intense bond, and where she discovers that she has acquired a startling artistic talent of her own: the ability to draw portraits of people in which she captures their innermost feelings and desires. Stella’s whole identity, but also her role in her relationships, has been scrambled, and she has the chance to form a new life, one she hadn’t even realized she wanted.
Purchase With or Without You at an independent bookstore near you.
Purchase With or Without You online at www.bookshop.org.
Roya, a dreamy, idealistic teenager living amid the political upheaval of 1953 Tehran, finds a literary oasis in kindly Mr. Fakhri’s neighborhood stationery shop, stocked with books and pens and bottles of jewel-colored ink.
Then Mr. Fakhri, with a keen instinct for a budding romance, introduces Roya to his other favorite customer—handsome Bahman, who has a burning passion for justice and a love for Rumi’s poetry—and she loses her heart at once. Their romance blossoms, and the little stationery shop remains their favorite place in all of Tehran.
A few short months later, on the eve of their marriage, Roya agrees to meet Bahman at the town square when violence erupts—a result of the coup d’etat that forever changes their country’s future. In the chaos, Bahman never shows. For weeks, Roya tries desperately to contact him, but her efforts are fruitless. With a sorrowful heart, she moves on—to college in California, to another man, to a life in New England—until, more than sixty years later, an accident of fate leads her back to Bahman and offers her a chance to ask him the questions that have haunted her for more than half a century: Why did you leave? Where did you go? How is it that you were able to forget me?
Purchase The Stationary Shop at an independent bookstore near you.
Purchase The Stationary Shop 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.