How it Works

Want to know more about the Back Room’s unique event format? Here’s what an evening in the Back Room is like:

The doors to the main Zoom room open five minutes before the program’s start time so folks can say hello to one another and to the featured authors. Chat is also turned on.

As the program begins, attendees’ mics are muted and the authors are spotlighted. After very brief introductions, the authors play a quick “get to know you” game of 20 questions using our custom-designed Back Room Question Cards. Recordings of these opening sessions are archived backstage at the Back Room. (Breakout sessions are never recorded.)

The opening session finishes with the authors’ book recommendations, and then attendees are divided into 4 breakout rooms, with one author assigned to each room.

Being assigned to a breakout room happens automatically. You don’t have to do anything except click the “join breakout room” invitation that appears on your screen. Each breakout room will have between 15 and 20 people, so we recommend joining the call from a laptop or a computer instead of a tablet or cell phone so you can see everyone!

Attendees remain in their breakout room for the rest of the program, while the authors rotate through each room in turn. Everyone’s video is turned on and their mics are open. You’ll get fifteen minutes with each author to chat about whatever you like! It’s all very relaxed and casual and fun — like a virtual cocktail party!

Once all four authors have visited each breakout room, the event is over. Yes, Zoom is weird, and ends without any fanfare, but we hope you’ll give our Back Room format a try. We promise you’ll have a wonderful time!

Your hosts,

Karen Dionne and Hank Phillippi Ryan

 

“I just have to give a shout out to Hank Phillippi Ryan and Karen Dionne. They have really hit on something very special with this Back Room idea. This concept is brilliant and so much fun. I can’t think of an event that was this much fun since the pandemic began . . . give this concept a try; I think you will be pleasantly surprised. It’s so well-run and just a total blast.”

Kristopher Zgorski, BOLO BOOKS

 


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.

The Marsh King’s Daughter was selected by the Library of Michigan as a 2018 Michigan Notable Book, and 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.

Karen has been active in the writing community for over twenty years. She co-founded the online writers community Backspace, and organized the Backspace Writers Conferences in New York and the Salt Cay Writers Retreat held on a private island in the Bahamas. She is a member of the International Thriller Writers, where she served as managing editor of their monthly publication, The Big Thrill, and on the board of directors as Vice President, Technology. Visit Karen at www.karen-dionne.com


Hank Phillippi Ryan is a USA Today bestselling author of 12 thrillers, winning the most prestigious awards in the genre: five Agathas, three Anthonys, the Daphne, and for The Other Woman, the coveted Mary Higgins Clark Award. She is also on-air investigative reporter for Boston’s WHDH-TV, with 37 EMMYs and dozens more journalism honors.

Book critics call her “a master of suspense,” and “a superb and gifted storyteller.”  She’s the only author to have won the Agatha in four different categories: Best First, Best Novel, Best Short Story and Best Non-Fiction.

Her 2019 novel, The Murder List, won the prestigious Anthony Award for Best Novel of the Year. and is an Agatha, Macavity and Mary Higgins Clark Award nominee. NYT bestseller A.J. Finn says, “exciting, explosive, relentless,” and NYT Bestseller B.A. Paris says it’s “her best yet.”

Hank’s newest novel is the chilling psychological standalone The First to Lie. The Publishers Weekly starred review says “Stellar… Hank Phillippi Ryan could win a sixth Agatha with this one” and bestseller Sarah Pekkanen says “Book clubs will gobble it up.”

Hank is a founder of MWA University and past president of National Sisters in Crime. Learn more about Hank at www.HankPhillippiRyan.com.


The Wicked Sister by Karen Dionne

For a decade and a half, Rachel Cunningham has chosen to lock herself away in a psychiatric facility, tortured by the certainty that she is responsible for her parents’ deaths. But when she learns new details about their murders, Rachel returns to the place where she once felt safest in a quest for answers: her family’s sprawling log cabin in the remote forests of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

As Rachel begins to uncover what really happened on that day, she learns that home can be a place of unspeakable evil, and the bond she shares with her sister might be the most poisonous of all.

Purchase The Wicked Sister at an independent bookstore near you.

Purchase The Wicked Sister online at www.bookshop.org.

The First to Lie by Hank Phillippi Ryan

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.


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