Ep. 149: Patti Callahan Henry on The Secret Book of Flora Lea and the Magic of Storytelling

What a joy to have Patti Callahan Henry back on the podcast this week to discuss her new historical novel, The Secret Book of Flora Lea, which is set outside Oxford in the hamlet of Binsey and involves a missing sister, a mysterious fairy tale, and a lost love.

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“Two sisters, dual time periods, a magical secret place, an abiding mystery–The Secret Book of Flora Lea is an enchanting story of survival against all odds. With her trademark warmth and a feather-light touch, Patti Callahan Henry weaves together events both real and imagined. Transporting, heartfelt, and atmospheric.” -Christina Baker Kline, New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train and The Exiles

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About the Author:

Patti Callahan Henry is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of several novels, including Surviving Savannah and Becoming Mrs. Lewis. She is the recipient of the Christy Award, the Harper Lee Award for Alabama’s Distinguished Writer of the Year Award, and the Alabama Library Association Book of the Year. She is the cohost and cocreator of the popular weekly online live web show and podcast Friends and Fiction. A full-time author and mother of three, she lives in Alabama and South Carolina with her family. Find out more at PattiCallahanHenry.com.

 

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Laura Szaro Kopinski

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Ep. 148: Katherine Sherbrooke on the Golden Age of Hollywood and Fictionalizing Family Secrets

Today Katherine Sherbrooke is here to discuss her new novel, The Hidden Life of Aster KellyHollywood and Broadway take center stage in this evocative and immersive story of a 1940’s runway model who makes a decision to protect those she loves, and her daughter who confronts the repercussions of her mother’s secrets decades later.

 

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“Elegantly told and heart-wrenching, The Hidden Life of Aster Kelly delights from first page to last. Come for the Old Hollywood glamour; stay for the love letter to Broadway; leave with characters so real you’ll forget they live in the pages of a book. One thing is certain—Katherine Sherbrooke sure knows how to tell a story.”   ―Lisa Duffy, author of My Kind of People

 

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About the Author:

Katherine A. Sherbrooke is the author of the New York Times notable novel, Leaving Coy’s Hill, a Massachusetts Book Awards Fiction Honors winner. Her additional books are Finding Home, a family memoir, and Fill the Sky, winner of a 2017 Independent Press Award, finalist for the Mary Sarton Award for Contemporary Fiction and a Foreword Indies Book of the Year. She also serves as Chair of the Board of GrubStreet. Katherine lives with her family just south of Boston. Learn more: https://www.kasherbrooke.com/

 

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Laura Szaro Kopinski

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*A Bookish Home is an affiliate of Bookshop.org. At no extra cost to you, we receive a small commission if you purchase something through the Bookshop.org links provided.

Ep. 147: Deepa Varadarajan on Late Bloomers, Second Acts, and Persistence on the Publishing Journey

Today my guest is Deepa Varadarajan, author of Late Bloomers, a witty, big-hearted debut in which an Indian American family is turned upside down when the parents split up thirty-six years into their arranged marriage​.

 

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“Equal parts funny and heartbreaking, Late Bloomers is a charming story about starting over, stumbling, and finding yourself at any age.”—Jennifer Close, author of Marrying the Ketchups

 

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About the Author:

Deepa Varadarajan lives in Atlanta with her husband and two children. She is a legal academic and a graduate of Yale Law School. She grew up in Texas and received her BA from the University of Texas at Austin. Her short fiction has appeared in The Georgia Review and Colorado Review, and her legal scholarship has appeared in The Yale Law Journal and many other publications. Late Bloomers is her first novel. Learn more: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/705450/late-bloomers-by-deepa-varadarajan/

 

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Laura Szaro Kopinski

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*A Bookish Home is now an affiliate of Bookshop.org. At no extra cost to you, we receive a small commission if you purchase something through the Bookshop.org links provided.

Ep. 146: 2023 Newbery Medal Winner: Amina Luqman-Dawson on Freewater

It’s an honor to have Amina Luqman-Dawson on this week, the 2023 Newbery Medal and Corretta Scott King award winner for  Freewater, a lyrical, accessible historical middle-grade novel about two enslaved children’s escape from a plantation and the many ways they find freedom.

 

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In Freewater, Amina Luqman Dawson shines a bright light on a little-known piece of history. Set against a forbidding landscape, the bright promise of freedom is illuminated in all its myriad shapes and forms. And it couldn’t be more timely. Solidly researched and beautifully written, this is storytelling at its finest. Dawson’s voice and the voices of her cast will linger long after the last page is closed.―Kathi Appelt, National Book Award Finalist and Newbery Honor Winner

 

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About the Author:

Amina Luqman-Dawson is the Newbery Medal and Coretta Scott King Award-winning and bestselling author of Freewater and the pictorial history book Images of America: African Americans of Petersburg. Her op-eds on race and popular culture have appeared in The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, and more. She, her husband, and her son reside in Arlington, VA. Visit her online at aminaluqman-dawson.com.

 

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Laura Szaro Kopinski

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*A Bookish Home is  an affiliate of Bookshop.org. At no extra cost to you, we receive a small commission if you purchase something through the Bookshop.org links provided.

Ep. 145: Julia Kelly on Telling the Heart Wrenching Story of England’s Evacuated Children in World War II

Julia Kelly is back on the podcast to discuss The Lost English Girl, an epic saga of love, motherhood, and betrayal during World War II that tells the story of the evacuation of English children to the countryside.

 

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“Readers will fall in love with unassuming Viv in particular; when faced with heartbreaking events, she exhibits incredible courage. This will hook readers from the first page.” Publishers Weekly starred review

 

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About the Author:

Julia Kelly is the international bestselling author of historical fiction and historical mystery novels about the extraordinary stories of the past. Her books have been translated into 13 languages. In addition to writing, she’s been an Emmy-nominated producer, journalist, marketing professional, and (for one summer) a tea waitress. Julia called Los Angeles, Iowa, and New York City home before settling in London.

 

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Laura Szaro Kopinski

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*A Bookish Home is now an affiliate of Bookshop.org. At no extra cost to you, we receive a small commission if you purchase something through the Bookshop.org links provided.

Ep. 144: Suzanne Park on The Do Over and Second Chances in Love and Life

Today Suzanne Park is back on the podcast to discuss The Do Over,  a delightfully warm, hopeful story about a Korean-American woman having to return to college after discovering she’s a few credits shy of completing her degree—only to find one of her TAs is her old college boyfriend.

 

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“A fantastic, empowering second chance romance that combines wit and charm with an always insightful commentary on imposter syndrome, anxiety, and the challenge of finding ourselves. Suzanne Park wrote a true gem!” – Ali Hazelwood, New York Times bestselling author

 

 

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About the Author:

Suzanne Park is a Korean American writer who was born and raised in Tennessee.

In her former life as a stand-up comedian, Suzanne appeared on BET, was the winner of the Seattle Sierra Mist Comedy Competition, and was a semi-finalist in NBC’s “Stand Up For Diversity” showcase.

Suzanne graduated from Columbia University and received an MBA Degree from UCLA. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband, female offspring, and a sneaky rat that creeps around on her back patio. In her spare time, she procrastinates. Her novels have been featured in “best of” lists in NPR, Popsugar, Real Simple, Country Living, Bustle, Buzzfeed, Marie Claire, Parade, Shondaland and The Today Show. Learn more: https://www.suzannepark.com

 

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Happy Reading and Listening,

Laura Szaro Kopinski

ABookishHome.com

*A Bookish Home is now an affiliate of Bookshop.org. At no extra cost to you, we receive a small commission if you purchase something through the Bookshop.org links provided.

Ep. 143: Poet Maggie Smith on You Could Make This Place Beautiful, an Unforgettable New Memoir

This week my guest is poet and bestselling author Maggie Smith whose memoir, You Could Make This Place Beautiful just released and explores the disintegration of her marriage and her renewed commitment to herself.

Maggie Smith is also  the award-winning author of Good Bones, The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison, Lamp of the Body, and the national bestsellers Goldenrod and Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change. A 2011 recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, Smith has also received several Individual Excellence Awards from the Ohio Arts Council, two Academy of American Poets Prizes, a Pushcart Prize, and fellowships from the Sustainable Arts Foundation and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She has been widely published, appearing in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Best American Poetry, and more. You can follow her on social media @MaggieSmithPoet. Learn more: https://maggiesmithpoet.com

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“A stunning debut with poetic language and real characters that lock themselves in your heart. Full of emotion and sheer determination, River Sing Me Home is a fine example of the will and strength of the Black women who fought and clawed themselves and their loved one from the evil clutches of slavery. We stand on their shoulders and this book honors them all.” Sadeqa Johnson, New York Times bestselling author of The House of Eve

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Laura Szaro Kopinski

ABookishHome.com

*A Bookish Home is now an affiliate of Bookshop.org. At no extra cost to you, we receive a small commission if you purchase something through the Bookshop.org links provided.

Ep. 142: Eleanor Shearer on Bringing the 19th Century  Caribbean to Life and Exploring What It Means to Be Free

Eleanor Shearer is here to discuss her debut novel, River Sing Me Home, a beautiful, page-turning and redemptive story of a mother’s gripping journey across the Caribbean to find her stolen children in the aftermath of slavery.

We discuss the power of historical novels to teach and bring lesser known periods of history to life and how she explores through her writing what it means to be free and finding love and joy in the darkest times.

River Sing Me Home is a Good Morning America Book Club pick and was  named a Most Anticipated Book of 2023 by Real Simple, Goodreads, BookBub,  BookRiot and more.

 

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“A stunning debut with poetic language and real characters that lock themselves in your heart. Full of emotion and sheer determination, River Sing Me Home is a fine example of the will and strength of the Black women who fought and clawed themselves and their loved one from the evil clutches of slavery. We stand on their shoulders and this book honors them all.” Sadeqa Johnson, New York Times bestselling author of The House of Eve

 

Listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast app.

 

About the Author:

Eleanor Shearer is a mixed-race writer and the granddaughter of Windrush generation immigrants. She splits her time between London and Ramsgate on the English coast so that she never has to go too long without seeing the sea. For her Master’s degree in Politics at the University of Oxford, Eleanor studied the legacy of slavery and the case for reparations, and her fieldwork in St. Lucia and Barbados helped inspire River Sing Me Home.  Learn more: https://www.eleanorshearer.com

 

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Looking for a book mentioned on the podcast? Want to browse books by past guests? Visit A Bookish Home Podcast’s Bookshop.org page.

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Laura Szaro Kopinski

ABookishHome.com

*A Bookish Home is now an affiliate of Bookshop.org. At no extra cost to you, we receive a small commission if you purchase something through the Bookshop.org links provided.

Ep. 141 Tori Whitaker Takes Us Into a World of Flappers, Bourbon, and Antique Cars

Tori Whitaker is back on the podcast this week to discuss A Matter of Happiness, a bittersweet novel about family, hard truths, and self-discovery in which a cherished heirloom opens up a century of secrets.

We discussed how she went about researching this time period, ways her writing process has changed after two books, drawing on her own life for literary inspiration, and much more.

 

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“A thrill of a ride and a beautiful read. Violet and Melanie are connected across generations by blood, bourbon, cars, and a great need for independence. Tori Whitaker unfolds the narrative with a deep sense of history imbuing every sensational page, weaving the women’s stories until the inspiring conclusion. This is a compelling story of women who understand that we can choose our happiness and we can choose our lives. Whitaker crafts a riveting read about strength, fate, and choice that you will not want to put down until the very last page.” —Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author of Surviving Savanna

 

 

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About the Author:

Tori Whitaker is the bestselling author of Millicent Glenn’s Last Wish and A Matter of Happiness. She belongs to the Bourbon Women Association and the Historical Novel Society. Her work has appeared in the Historical Novels Review and Bookmarks magazine. Tori graduated from Indiana University, is an alum of the Yale Writers’ Workshop, and is recently retired from a national law firm where she served as chief marketing officer. She spent a decade in Detroit because of her husband’s career in the automotive industry. The two now reside near their children outside Atlanta and have been married for forty-five happy years. Connect with Tori through www.toriwhitaker.com.

 

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Laura Szaro Kopinski

ABookishHome.com

*A Bookish Home is now an affiliate of Bookshop.org. At no extra cost to you, we receive a small commission if you purchase something through the Bookshop.org links provided.

Ep. 140: Get the Scoop on “Read With Jenna” Pick – Black Candle Women with Diane Marie Brown

Today my guest is Diane Marie Brown, author of Black Candle Women, a warm and wry family drama with a magical twist about four generations of Black women living under one roof and the family curse that stems back to a Voodoo shop in 1950s New Orleans.

 

We discuss the winding road to debut novel including finding an agent, research, ways to connect with other new authors, and much more.

 

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“Propulsive and poignant, Black Candle Women concocts an intoxicating potion of warmth, wisdom, and wonder.” -Ava DuVernay

 

 

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About the Author:

Diane Marie Brown is a professor at Orange Coast College and a public health professional for the Long Beach Health Department. She has a BA and MPH from UCLA and a degree in fiction from USC’s Master of Professional Writing Program. She grew up in Stockton and now lives in Long Beach, California, with her husband, their four daughters, and their dog, Brownie. Black Candle Women is her debut novel. Learn more: https://www.dianemariebrown.com/

 

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Happy Reading and Listening,

Laura Szaro Kopinski

ABookishHome.com

*A Bookish Home is now an affiliate of Bookshop.org. At no extra cost to you, we receive a small commission if you purchase something through the Bookshop.org links provided.