Novel Place: Carla Neggers’ Heron’s Cove

NovelPlaces logoFans of Carla Neggers‘ Sharpe & Donovan series can walk the some of the same New England streets that FBI agents Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan do. The southern Maine town of Heron’s Cove that appears throughout the series is fictional. However, Carla said she had Kennebunkport, Maine, in mind when she created Heron’s Cove–specifically time she spent walking along Ocean Avenue. The Wells Reserve at Laudholm Farm in nearby Wells, Maine, was also an inspiration. As the previous links show, both are spots you can visit, too … even if you aren’t part of a popular FBI crime-fighting duo 🙂

Emma Sharpe, a former nun turned art crimes expert, and Colin Donovan, a deep-cover agent, have so far been featured in four of Carla’s books: Saint’s Gate, Heron’s Cove, Declan’s Cross and Harbor Island. Keeper’s Reach, the fifth book in the series, will be released Aug. 25. Carla also wrote Rock Point, a prequel e-novella.

An ocean view from Ocean Avenue.
An ocean view from Ocean Avenue.
Jamesway dairy barn at Wells Reserve at Laudholm Farm.
Jamesway dairy barn at Wells Reserve at Laudholm Farm.

“New England is a great place to set books,” said Carla when we she appeared on the very first Literary New England Radio Show in December 2011 to talk about Saint’s Gate. “It’s got everything–mountains, oceans, small towns, big cities. Lots of different people and things are going on. It’s also close to major cities like Washington, D.C., so it’s easy for Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan to travel from their FBI office in Boston to Washington. New England allows so many opportunities to create richness in stories. I love to hear from readers who say my books feel like a homecoming because of the strong sense of place. Others, who’ve never been to New England, have said my books make them want to come there.”

We also talked to Carla in February 2014 about her novel Cider Brook.

Carla herself is steeped in New England. The multi-times New York Times bestseller was born and raised in rural Massachusetts and now lives in Vermont.

Win a Copy of Accidents of Marriage, Out in Paperback Today!

AccidentsJust in time for the summer beach-read season, Randy Susan Meyers’ best-selling Accidents of Marriage was released today in paperback–and we have a copy to give away to you! Be in the running to win it by Tweeting us your favorite spot to read in the summertime.

No photos needed. Words will do. But please tell us! Is your favorite summertime reading place the beach? Your porch? Sprawled out on the grass? Or maybe it’s rocking in a canoe. Enter our Accidents of Marriage contest by Tweeting @LitNewEngland. Deadline is midnight tonight.

When Accidents of Marriage was first released in hardcover, we featured Randy on the Oct. 27, 2014 episode of the Literary New England Radio Show. Listen to that show here in the Literary New England Radio Show archives, which in addition to Randy features interviews with Gregory Maguire on Egg & Spoon, Laird Hunt on Neverhome and Anne Girard on Madame Picasso.

Those, like Randy, who live in the Boston area can see her in person tomorrow night. At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 10, she and E.B. Moore, author of the novel An Unseemly Wife, will appear at Author’s Night at Stellina Restaurant, 47 Main St., Watertown, Mass.

A finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award, Randy is the author of three novels, including The Comfort of Lies and The Murderer’s Daughters. Accidents of Marriage received a starred review from Kirkus and was a People weekly pick, among other recognitions. In it, “Meyers deftly deploys a large cast of major and minor characters in telling this complex story,” wrote the Boston Globe. “Her painstaking description of both emotional abuse and brain injury are impressive. Accidents of Marriage isn’t for anyone who insists on happy endings, but it rewards readers in deeply satisfying ways.”

Good luck to all who enter our giveaway, and congratulations Randy! Hope you enjoy Accidents of Marriage‘s paperback rebirth today!

Review: Girl in the Moonlight a Luminous Novel

Girl In the MoonlightIt’s clear why Charles Dubow’s Girl in the Moonlight is on so many summer reading lists: The story is passionate and engrossing; the writing simple, yet superb.

The novel tells the story of Wylie Rose who, at 9 years old, falls in love with Cesca Bonet–an impossibly beautiful, rich and incandescent girl a few years older. As teenagers, the two become lovers at her family’s summer home in East Hampton. But while Wylie wants forever, Cesca wants only freedom. As their paths cross and affair continues on and off over several decades, Cesca flees whenever Wylie’s passion becomes too constricting. Yet despite being hurt by Cesca time and again, Wylie’s devotion and desire never wanes. Instead, it flames into obsession, ruining him for other women (including the daughter of a count) and causing him to doubt his choices and his path.

A friendship with Cesca’s brother, an emerging painter named Aurelio, brings Wylie in and out of both Cesca’s life and the world of art. Painting plays a major role in the story as, through Aurelio, Wylie meets great artists and even gives a go at painting himself, attempting to live as an artist in New York City. In an interview with BookReporter, Dubow talks about his relationship with art, including how Goya’s Naked Maja and Manet’s Olympia inspired how he created and shaped Cesca: “There is an element of sensuality in the former and frankness in the latter, which I think sums up much of Cesca’s personality and the impact she has on people.”

Naked Maja, Goya
Naked Maja, Goya
Olympia, Manet
Olympia, Manet

“Sensual” is a great word to describe Girl in the Moonlight. Fans of Dubow’s debut novel, Indiscretion, won’t find the kind of R-rated sex that appeared there. Girl in the Moonlight is more PG or PG-13. But its sensuality is no less provocative and compelling. In fact, on many levels, it’s more real.

Not everyone will experience the kind of erotic passion that characters Claire and Harry do in Indiscretion. (Though how fabulous if we all did!) But the longing Wylie feels for Cesca–his ability, against reason, to move on and let go–is one that most of us have experienced, whether for a lover, a place, a talent or other desire that’s taken hold of our dreams and heart.

IndiscretionPeopled with engaging and poignant characters, Girl in the Moonlight takes readers from the wooded cottages of old East Hampton, to the dining rooms of Upper East Side Manhattan, to the bohemian art studios of Paris and Barcelona. As Kirkus wrote in its review, “Dubow offers a heady, intoxicating tale, and young Wylie’s journey to manhood is a memorable one.”

Charles Dubow will be one of our guests on the Monday, June 15, Literary New England Radio Show. Girl in the Moonlight will be among our giveaways that evening, as will Sy Montgomery’s The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness and Jean Zimmerman’s Savage Girl. The show will feature interviews with all three of these authors and, while listening, you’ll have the chance to Tweet or email us to win one of these terrific books!

The books you can win & authors you’ll hear on the 6/8 & 6/15 Literary New England Radio Show

June8_3booksTonight, June 8, we feature three women authors as interesting as their books. Join host Cindy Wolfe Boynton at 8 pm for novel talk and book giveaways as she speaks with:

  • Laura Kasischke on Mind of Winter. The latest novel by this bestselling poet and recently released in paperback, it’s the story of a mother who wakes up on a snowy Christmas sure that 15 years ago, something dark followed their adopted daughter home from Russia and is now afflicting them all.
  • Miranda Beverly-Whittemore on Bittersweet. Now a paperback, this suspenseful and cinematic novel tells the story of Mabel Dagmar, a young woman whose East Coast college roommate gives her friendship, a boyfriend, access to wealth and, for the first time in her life, the sense that she belongs–until everything goes all wrong.
  • Maura Weiler on Contrition. An inspiring, debut novel about very different twin sisters separated by birth and then reconnected through art, faith and the father who touched the world with his paintings.

All three of these books are paperbacks, so you can throw them right into your favorite summer bag!

3_books_June15Also mark your calendars for the 8 pm Monday, June 15, Literary New England Radio Show and an hour of lively conversations with three diverse authors about three unforgettable books:

  • Sy Montgomery on The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness. This touching, entertaining and profound memoir explores the emotional and physical world of the octopus, and the remarkable connections it’s able to make with humans.
  • Jean Zimmerman on Savage Girl. Recently released in paperback, it’s the story of a wealthy and outlandish Manhattan couple who adopt a girl purportedly raised by wolves with the goal of civilizing and introducing her into the high society of the Gilded Age.
  • Charles Dubow on Girl in the Moonlight. A scorching tale on countless summer recommended reading lists about one man’s all-consuming desire for a beautiful, bewitching and beguiling woman.

On both the June 8 and June 15 shows, listen and Tweet or email us to win one of these titles! Our Twitter handle is @LitNewEngland and our email litnewengland@gmail.com.

Listen to tonight’s Literary New England Radio Show to win one of these great titles!

June1_3booksTune in to the Literary New England Radio Show tonight at 8 for an hour of lively, thought-provoking book talk with three of today’s hottest authors! Hosted by Cindy Wolfe Boynton, this episode features:

  • Cynthia Swanson on The Bookseller
  • Laura van den Berg on Find Me
  • Megan Abbott on The Fever

When we say it’s time, you’ll also have the chance to Tweet us at @litnewengland or email us at litnewengland@gmail.com to win one of these novels!

#LitNewEngland Superstars Shine at BEA!

AAlice Hoffman, Jodi Picoult and Beach Reads Queen Elin Hilderbrand were among the many fabulous authors with ties to New England who took center stage at this week’s Book Expo America in New York City. In addition to taking part in other events, Hoffman of Massachusetts and Picoult of New Hampshire schmoozed and talked about their latest releases: The Marriage of Opposites for Hoffman and the young adult Off the Page for Picoult, which she wrote with her daughter Samantha Van Leer. Always a fan favorite, Hilderbrand of Massachusetts (pictured with her agent Michael Carlise) promoted her new novel The Rumor, which releases June 16.

Literary New England’s Cindy Wolfe Boynton met many of these #LitNewEngland superstars, and then scoured Twitter for photos of others. Tweet pics of those she missed to @LitNewEngland. We’ll be sure to RT and post here!

BCindy was 64th in line Thursday to meet New York Times best-selling novelist Jami Attenberg, whose fifth book, Saint Mazie, will be published in June. Earlier Thursday, the Washington Post’s Ron Charles interviewed Pulitzer Prize-winner Geraldine Brooks about her much-anticipated new novel The Secret Chord, which releases in October. Brooks lives on Martha’s Vineyard.

CMassachusetts was well represented at BEA. Gregory Maguire and Lev Grossman are both from the Bay State. Maguire spent time meeting fans and signing copies of After Alice, while Grossman did the same for The Magician’s Land. After Alice, which puts a magical new twist on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, will be published in hardcover in October to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Lewis’ Carroll’s beloved classic. The paperback version of The Magician’s Land–the third novel in Grossman’s Magicians Trilogy–releases in June.

DEuropa Editor Michael Reynolds showed off Europa authors Chantel Acevedo, a former Connecticut resident, and Jennifer Tseng, who lives on Martha’s Vineyard. Both women also held autographing sessions at the Europa booth, Acevedo for The Distant Marvels and Tseng for Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness. Several rows over, the Horror Writers Association put a spotlight on the novel Poe written by J. Lincoln Fenn. Fenn now lives in Hawaii, but she grew up in New England and is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire. The novel was the 2013 winner of Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror category.

EThe lovely Pam Jenoff was a fan favorite at BEA, where she signed advance copies of The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach, which will be published in late July. Jenoff will be in New England next week, doing an event June 5 with the equally wonderful Jenna Blum for the Friends of the Wolfeboro Library in Wolfeboro, NH. When Cindy saw that Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Gay was there to sign copies of Little Victories: Perfect Rules for Imperfect Living to be released in November, she knew a photo was mandatory! She’s been a fan of Gay’s work for decades, having followed his career since his earliest days at a rookie reporter for the Vineyard Gazette in Massachusetts.

FNaomi Jackson, a graduate of Williams College in Massachusetts, was all smiles as she autographed copies of her debut novel The Star Side of Bird Hill, which will release June 30. Also caught having a great time was journalist Kate Bolick, author of the memoir Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own. Like Bolick, who grew up in Newburyport, Mass., four of the five women writers she features in the book have ties to New England: journalist Neith Boyce, who lived in Massachusetts and is buried in New Hampshire; social visionary Charlotte Perkins Gilman, author of the must-read “The Yellow Wallpaper,” who was born in Hartford, Conn.; poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, who was born in Rockland, Maine; and novelist Edith Wharton, who lived in Massachusetts.

G If there was an award for Best BEA Tote Bag, it would have to go to these given away by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Best American Short Stories series editor Heidi Pitlor is also the author of the recently published novel The Daylight Marriage. She lives outside of Boston. Also causing all kinds of buzz was Sabaa Tahir, whose recent young adult debut An Ember in the Ashes is on most every fantasy lover’s must-read list. Both Pitlor and Tahir will be on this coming Monday night’s Literary New England Radio Show, which airs at 8 p.m.

HInternational bestseller Tess Gerritsen of Maine spent time at the Mystery Writers and Edgar Awards booths, signing copies of her new novel Playing with Fire, which will be published in October. She’s shown here with best-seller Wendy Corsi Staub. Also drawing crowds was the legendary Gloria Steinem, a graduate of Massachusetts’ Smith College, who signed copies of her first book in 20 years, My Life on the Road, which will hit bookstores in October.

IFormer Connecticut newsman Brian Kilmead, now co-host of Fox News’ Fox & Friends and Kilmeade & Friends, clearly had a ball signing ARCs of Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates, the follow-up to his New York Times best-selling George Washington’s Secret Six. The incomparable Delia Ephron, sister of Massachusetts mystery writer Hallie Ephron, was also all smiles as she and renowned New Yorker cartoonist Ed Koren signed copies of their updated illustrated manners book Do I Have to Say Hello?, which releases in November.

JA giveaway of advance copies of Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, written by Connecticut native Elizabeth Gilbert, caused a line that snaked around several booths. Equally popular was Friday’s author tea with Jacqueline Woodson, Jack Gantos, Adriana Trigiani and Judy Blume. Blume’s new adult novel In The Unlikely Event will bring her to New England for several events in June, including June 23 at the Jewish Community Center in Greenwich, Conn.; June 24 at Brookline Booksmith in Brookline, Mass.; June 25 at Amherst College’s Johnson Chapel, sponsored by Odyssey Books in South Hadley, Mass.; and June 26 at the First Congregational Church on Meeting House Lane in Madison, Conn., sponsored by RJ Julia Booksellers.

KAmong the many books with New England connections that Cindy scored at BEA: The Wonder Garden by Connecticut native Lauren Acampora; Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book of Wonders by Massachusetts author Julianna Baggott; The Courtesan, a debut novel by Georgia resident Alexandra Curry, a graduate of Wellesley College in Massachusetts; The Hundred-Year House by Rebecca Makkai, whose background includes an MA from Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English in Vermont and a stint as a Wesleyan Writers Conference fellow in Connecticut; and Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon, who cites Connecticut’s Mark Twain and this Twain quote as among her writing influences: “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.”

Jakob Crane: Author of a graphic novel about Salem’s witch trials

Lies In the Dust“Provocative and haunting” is how Kirkus Review describes Lies in the Dust: A Tale Of Remorse From The Salem Witch Trials. The graphic novel was written by New England author and visual artist Jakob Crane, illustrated by Timothy Decker of New Jersey and published by the Maine-based Islandport Press, which describes itself as being “dedicated to stories rooted in the essence and sensibilities of New England.”

Lies in the Dust certainly fits that description. The 120-page book tells a fictionalized version of the story of Ann Putnam Jr., the only girl to eventually apologize for sending 24 people to their deaths during the infamous Salem witch trials.

LiesinDUST3PICSWe air part of our interview with Jakob on tonight’s Literary New England Radio Show. Hear the complete 15-minute interview by clicking here. As Jakob mentions during our conversation, he and Decker recently established their own indie press, Box Books, which you may want to check out.

Jakob isn’t the first Islandport Press author we’ve featured on the show. Hear GA Morgan talk about The Fog of Forgetting, and Lea Wait talk about Uncertain Glory, in the Literary New England Radio Show archives. All were super interviews and guests!