Wednesday, January 27, 2016

NO ORDINARY LIFE, by author, SUZANNE REDFEARN ~ debuts February 2nd!

Suzanne Redfearn delivers another gripping page-turner in her latest novel, a story about a young mother's fight to protect her children from the dangerous world of Hollywood.   

Faye Martin never expected her husband to abandon her and her three children . . . or that she'd have to struggle every day to make ends meet. So when her four-year-old daughter is discovered through a YouTube video and offered a starring role on a television series, it seems like her prayers have been answered. But when the reality of their new life settles in, Faye realizes that fame and fortune don't come without a price. And in a world where everyone is an actor and every move is scrutinized by millions, it's impossible to know whom to trust, and Faye finds herself utterly alone in her struggle to save her family. 

Emotionally riveting and insightful, No Ordinary Life is an unforgettable novel about the preciousness of childhood and the difficult choices a mother needs to make in order to protect this fragile time in her children's lives.

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing – February 2, 2016

What readers are saying . . .

“Suzanne Redfearn's NO ORDINARY LIFE is a gripping exploration of a mother's love and the lengths she'll go to protect her children. Redfearn honestly captures one family's meteoric rise and heartbreaking undoing. Compulsively readable, this poignant story will stay with readers long after the last page is turned.”  
   Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author of The Weight of Silence

“Once again, Suzanne Redfearn delivers a fast-paced, compelling story of family, frustration, and the unexpected consequences of a mother's choice. NO ORDINARY LIFE provides a dazzling look inside the entertainment industry, illustrating both the lure and lunacy of child stardom.”
   Lori Nelson Spielman, #1 international bestselling author of The Life List

About the Author

Suzanne Redfearn is the author of Hush Little Baby, which was chosen as a Target Recommends selection and Target’s Emerging Authors program. She graduated summa cum laude from California Polytechnic University and, prior to becoming an author, was an architect. She is an avid surfer, golfer, skier, and Angels fan. She lives with her husband and children in Southern California. No Ordinary Life is her second novel.

Twitter:          @SuzanneRedfearn

Publicity Contact: 
Suzy Missirlian
Twitter: @Suzy4PR

Some Q & A with Suzanne:

Tell us a little bit about yourself, and how you started writing.

Before becoming an author, I was an architect. I designed small commercial projects, restaurants, and houses. When I started writing my first story, I had never written anything longer than an architectural thesis. My first novel started as a bucket list endeavor. I had an idea and I started to write. Seven months later I had a novel. It was really bad. I didn't know where to put commas. I didn't understand sentence structure. I used the same words again and again. But amazingly, the characters and story were there, somehow this other world had been created in which it felt like real things were happening to real people and evoking real emotions. I was hooked. That first novel got me my first agent and my third agent, but it was my fifth novel that finally made it into the world.

What are some things you enjoy when not writing?

I am a dabbler, which means I like to dabble in a lot of things. I ski, surf, SUP, golf, play tennis, do yoga, kick box, hike, paint, read, hang out with my dog, do Sudoku, and garden. Mostly I like being with my family. My favorite thing in the world is when we are together sitting on the couch watching really bad reality television while playing Scrabble.

Do you have a “day job” as well?

When I first started writing, I was still practicing architecture and was a full-time mom. Now my kids are off at college and I am no longer doing the architecture, so my focus is entirely on writing.

Where do you get your ideas?

I love and hate this question because it baffles me. I am always certain I’ve had the last good idea I’m ever going to have, when bam something happens and suddenly I’m racing away on a new concept. The idea for No Ordinary Life took less than an hour to come up with. I knew I needed to write a story about a mother protecting her children because that was the “brand” my publisher wanted me to pursue. I was at the grocery store and saw a tabloid with Zac Efron on the cover and the headline, “Zac Efron Enters Rehab Again!!!” and I knew I had the story I wanted to write, the story about a mom protecting her child from the dangerous world of Hollywood. It always feels a bit like inspiration is a gift, a zap from the universe that I don't control. Not every idea that strikes is golden, and I’ve had a few false starts, but so far, the writing gods have been kind, and somehow, whenever I need a jolt for what to write next, I get one, then I hang on tight and let it take me for a ride.

Is there a particular author or book that influenced or inspired your writing or decision to write?

As I mentioned, writing for me started out as a bucket list endeavor. I didn’t set out to be an author. Unlike most authors, I didn’t grow up dreaming of being the next Ernest Hemingway or Beatrix Potter. That being said, the first book I read that truly showed me the power of words was Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. I read it as a teenager and it altered my course in both life and reading. She wrote with such conviction and purpose, and the story left an indelible mark. My stories are not meant to be philosophical or political, but I do like the idea of writing with purpose and trying to weave deeper ideas into the subcontext. It’s why I include questions at the end, to encourage contemplation and discourse after the story is done.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

That would take way too many pages, so I will sum it up: dozens of rejection letters from agents; three agents along the way; dozens of rejection letters from publishers; five novels written; one contingency sale based on my ability to edit the story to the publisher’s liking; one very small advance; a dozen more compromises on the story; Hush Little Baby published!!!! It was a difficult journey that required perseverance above all else.

If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you’d change?

You need to be extraordinarily humble when you start out. There are a million talented authors out there. It is very competitive and a publisher is taking a risk on publishing a new author. I am grateful to have made it through the gauntlet and for Hush Little Baby making it into the world. It was my fifth novel, but in retrospect, it was the right one for my debut, so it turned out to be a good thing that I hit the obstacles I did. Over the years, I became a better writer. I learned my craft and got better. The only regret I have is quitting, which I did for about a year. It’s easy to give up when you face so much rejection. Even now, there are moments when I lose faith and when I need to remind myself to keep on keeping on. Nothing I write will ever be perfect and it will never reach the expectations I had for it when it was just a germ of an idea with infinite possibility. It’s easy to see the flaws, but that’s where forgiveness comes in, being proud of what it is, accepting good enough, and letting go.

How do you market your work?

Social media is huge. Facebook and Twitter and doing blog interviews like this one. Authors are reliant now more than ever on the network of readers who interact on the Internet to spread the word about new authors and books. My other trick is to try to say yes to every opportunity that comes my way, no matter how uncomfortable. Like Jim Carrey in that movie Yes Man, I pretend “no” is not an option. I find that inevitably something good comes out of showing up. When Hush Little Baby first came out I was terrified of talking in front of people, but I kept saying yes whenever I was asked, and now I actually look forward to it.

What are you working on now?

I love the new story I am writing. It is another mother protecting her children idea, but this one has a Thelma and Louise twist—two moms on the run from the law and their husbands with their kids. It’s a mess at the moment, the characters confused about who they are and the timeline completely muddled, but the plot is coming together and it’s turning into a wild ride.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences?

No Ordinary Life is almost entirely based on real life events. I read every autobiography I could find by former child actors. I also did an enormous amount of research on celebrity and how it affects people. So while No Ordinary Life is fiction and is not any one person’s story, it is every bit based on reality.

Do you have a favorite chapter or scene?

I love the airport scene. As a mom, it was the scene that affected me the most. I was once in a Bed, Bath and Beyond when my daughter had a meltdown because I wouldn’t buy her a toy she desperately wanted. For twenty minutes I stood there while she screamed and had a tantrum with people walking by with either sympathetic expressions or judgmental frowns. It was the worst feeling, and to imagine something like that happening while dozens of photographers documented it, knowing it was going to be plastered in every tabloid and shown on every celebrity gossip show in the world made my heart split in two with sympathy for Faye. It was the pinnacle moment in the story that illustrated how out of control Faye’s life had become.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Write, write, write. Get the words on the page. I think so many writers stymie themselves by trying to make it perfect, when what they need to do is not worry about the perfection, but instead worry about what it is they want to say. They need to get the story out and then they can go back and clean it up. And if, when they finish, it turns out to be lousy, so what? Move on to the next story. I have half a dozen novels that are unpublished. Each one led me to the next. Each one made me a better writer. Hush Little Baby wasn’t necessarily my best story, but it was the one that got published. The more you write, the more chance you have for success. 

What are the downfalls of your writing career? The best parts?

In the beginning, it was all about downfalls. There was so much rejection that it was hard to believe there would be any career at all. And now that I'm published, I feel like the difficulty is getting a foothold. It’s tough to get noticed in the enormous sea of writers and books. I’ve also taken some missteps in terms of figuring out my brand. Aside from the first four novels that did not make it into the world, I have written three others that either did not fit my genre or my brand. I don’t regret writing these other stories. I believe that, when inspiration strikes, you need to hold on tight and see where it leads. That being said, it’s not the most efficient way to launch a career. The best part of this journey is the connection I feel when readers get what I wrote, when I read a review or talk to a reader and think, Yes, exactly. I’m so glad you felt that or understood what I was trying to say. It’s also the satisfaction of knowing I did it. Writing a novel is no easy task. It requires hard work and perseverance that hurts the brain and taxes the will, and finishing is immensely gratifying. I always hope that what I wrote will find its way into the world for others to enjoy, but even if it doesn’t, there’s incredible satisfaction in knowing I did it.

Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?

Thank you. Sink or swim, that’s the fate of a debut author, and if you flounder, you don’t usually get a second chance. An incredible group of passionate readers embraced, championed, and made Hush Little Baby a success. So thank you for taking a chance on an unknown author and for all your support. I love being on this journey and I am only here because of you. 

Thank you, Suzanne, for taking the time to share a bit about your book and writing life!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

PLATINUM DOLL, by author ANNE GIRARD ~ debuts January 26th!

Set against the dazzling backdrop of Golden Age Hollywood, Platinum Doll tells the enchanting story of Jean Harlow, one of the most iconic stars in the history of film.

It's the Roaring Twenties and seventeen-year-old Harlean Carpenter McGrew has run off to Beverly Hills. She's chasing a dreamto escape her small, Midwestern life and see her name in lights. In California, Harlean has everything a girl could wanta rich husband, glamorous parties, socialite friendsexcept an outlet for her talent. But everything changes when a dare pushes her to embrace her true ambitionto be an actress on the silver screen.

With her timeless beauty and striking shade of platinum-blond hair, Harlean becomes Jean Harlow. And as she's thrust into the limelight, Jean learns that this new world of opportunity comes with its own set of burdens. Torn between her family and her passion to perform, Jean is forced to confront the difficult truththat fame comes at a price, if only she's willing to pay it.

Featuring a glittering cast of ingénues and Hollywood titans—Clara Bow, Clark Gable, Laurel and Hardy, Howard Hughes—Platinum Doll introduces us to the star who would shine brighter than them all.

Publisher: MIRA Books – Debuts January 26, 2016

What readers are saying . . .

“A fascinating, page-turning, behind-the-scenes look at what it took to be a celebrity in early Hollywood.”
   Lynn Cullen, bestselling author of Mrs. Poe and Twain’s End

“An engrossing look at a Hollywood icon. I couldn’t put it down.”
   Karleen Koen, New York Times bestselling author of Through A Glass Darkly

"Platinum Doll will entrance readers as Harlow entranced the world."
— Heather Webb, author of Rodin's Lover

About the Author

Diane Haeger, who currently writes under the pen name Anne Girard (Madame Picasso), holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature from UCLA. A chance meeting with the famed author Irving Stone 25 years ago sharply focused her ambition to tell great stories from history, and write them only after detailed research and extensive travel to the place her character lived. That determination has provided a fascinating journey that has taken her from the halls of Chenonceaux, to a private interview with one of Pablo Picasso's last surviving friends, and most recently an invitation inside Jean Harlow's home.

Since the publication of her acclaimed first novel, Courtesan, in 1993, a novel that remains in print today, her work has been translated into 18 different languages, bringing her international success and award-winning status.

Platinum Doll, a novel about Jean Harlow, is her 15th book. She lives in Southern California with her husband and family.

Some Q & A with Anne:

Tell us a little bit about yourself, and how you started writing.

I’ve been writing for 25 years. I sold my first novel, Courtesan, in 1993 and have been telling true love stories from history ever since. I always wrote growing up, and my bachelor’s degree is in English literature, but I never thought I could actually make a career of it early on. What started me writing professionally was finding the amazing true story of Diane de Poitiers and the young prince she captivated for more than a quarter century during the French Renaissance. When I realized, at the time, that the story was not well known in America, I became driven to be the one to tell it. After four years, here and in France, researching and writing, I’m proud to say I sold it to Simon & Schuster. That book really was a great labor of love.

What are some things you enjoy when not writing?

My family and I travel quite a lot, which we really embrace, so it really has become a hobby. Both of my children grew up going everywhere with us to research my books; France, Spain, Italy, England and Scotland. It’s only now that they are grown they are looking back at all the places they have been and wishing they had complained less, and that they could remember more! I also enjoy cooking—usually French recipes, and of course number one is, I love to read!

Where do you get your ideas?

I do a lot of reading and searching for historical characters in my leisure time. I am most attracted to misunderstood characters in history, or their misunderstood relationships. I guess I think of myself as a bit of a champion for them, and it’s not only a challenge—but a privilege—to me not only to bring their stories hopefully to a new audience, but in some cases to make people think about the way they have previously perceived them.

Is there a particular author or book that influenced or inspired your writing or decision to write?

I love this question! Yes, there are two. First, many years ago, when I had just begun writing Courtesan, and I really had no idea at all about how to do that, or sell it, assuming I even finished, I was privileged to meet the iconic author Irving Stone, who wrote the classic The Agony and the Ecstasy, about the artist Michelangelo. The advice he gave me about how to bring characters from history to life, and how to go about researching them to make them authentic, has stayed with me. The second is the author Karleen Koen. Her historical novel Through A Glass Darkly, while not based on real characters, was so realistic and compelling that when I was beginning, I really idolized her and was even more driven to try my best to tell a story that was as sweeping and memorable.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

The biggest challenge for me, I think, was being an unknown, and writing the story of my heart, which was a novel that did not have an obvious path toward publication. My editor at the time told me after she bought it that she had not wanted to buy it, since it was set in the French Renaissance, and she didn’t think that was a sellable setting for a novel, but after she’d read it she ‘had to buy it’. Not a ringing endorsement to a new author’s ears, believe me! I’m happy to say, however, that after 22 years, Courtesan is still in print, has been translated into several languages and, of my 14, it is the one readers most often say they remember.

Is anything in your new book, Platinum Doll, based on real life experiences?

Not my life, but yes, the book is based on the life of Hollywood icon Jean Harlow. It’s about her as a young girl first arriving in Hollywood full of idealistic hope, her fragile teenage marriage at the time, the choices she makes regarding that, and what happens as she first finds fame as the original blonde bombshell. Hers is a story that I don’t think a lot of readers know, or would even guess at. I also loved discovering that Jean Harlow was an idol for a future famous blonde… Marilyn Monroe who, when she was starting out in Hollywood, wanted to be just like her.

Do you have a favorite chapter or scene?

I do love the scene where Harlow is first discovered at a Hollywood studio. It is a true story and, unbelievably, she really was sitting waiting for a friend to finish an audition when several casting agents approached her, not the other way around. She was actually wary of the movie industry after her mother—the first Jean Harlow—had tried and failed to become a star herself. But Harlow was just naïve and fresh-faced enough to make her natural sex appeal less threatening to female moviegoers and a draw for men. She was also funny, smart and very charismatic on film. But she paid a high price for her swift rise to fame.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

My favorite piece of advice, the one I got from an author when I was starting out, was in regard to the first draft. Many new writers get stuck on trying so hard to make it perfect that they give up and never even finish, or even see a second draft. I never forgot what I was told: The purpose of the first draft is not to get it right—it’s to get it written. You can’t edit or improve something that isn’t there on the page. I still love that and think of it often!

What are the downfalls of your writing career? The best parts?

I would have to say that one downfall (or perhaps a more accurate word for it in my case is “challenge”) is that, for a historical novelist, it is not a 9 to 5 job. There is the endless research, writing, editing, more editing and then the marketing. If I could just learn how to do without sleep, I think I’d be pretty good at juggling it all! As to the best parts, there is the idea of doing something that I love, and which I am passionate about. Trying to bring those historical characters to life for a new audience, and hopefully to bring some empathy for parts of their lives that might have been misunderstood, is infinitely rewarding.

Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?  

I am so privileged, and humbled, to have so many of you who kindly followed my earlier Diane Haeger novels, give the books under my Anne Girard pen name a read, and tell me about it. I love hearing from everyone, and it’s always a thrill to know that a reader took the time to reach out, either via email or social media. I hope you will all have a look at Platinum Doll and let me know what you think!

Twitter:              @annegirard1

Suzy Missirlian ~ @Suzy4PR

Thank you, Anne, for taking the time to share a bit about your book and writing life!


Tuesday, January 12, 2016


     Did it ever occur to you that “w-i-f-e” is a four letter word? The first time I cringed at the sound of it, I knew my marriage was over. But I refused to get a divorce. Sure I was miserable, but I made a commitment, dammit.
The truth is, I was afraid to be alone. Then I heard my daughter swear she’d never get married and I realized sticking it out wouldn’t win me Mother of the Year. If I wanted my kids to be happy, I would have to show them how. So I tore off those golden shackles – and found out I wasn’t alone. I had joined a club that I didn’t know existed. Everywhere, there are members who have paid their dues, know the secret handshake, and are reaping the benefits of true friendship…   Welcome to Club Divorce

            When Diane Taylor gives up her dreams of living happily ever after, she meets three women with nothing in common but the end of their marriages – and finds it’s more than enough to be friends. Meet Diane, an MBA hotshot turned PTA president, with a shy son and a troublesome teenage daughter, whose husband’s gambling leads to bankruptcy, humiliation, and a whole new life. Lana is the actress whose marriage to a Hollywood heartthrob ended in a public break-up that made her a national punchline. Now she hides in plain sight at a furniture store in the valley. When Hollywood comes knocking, will she open the door? Bonnie is the young OSU Homecoming Queen with two young children and a football hero husband. Devastated when her Prince Charming storms out of the fairy tale, she has no idea how to make her own dreams come true. Annette is a hard-edged divorce lawyer who knew the odds going in. But when she finds herself working such long hours to support the man who left her for a man, she loses custody of their beloved daughter and is desperately to win her back. Together, they start their second acts and help each other through laughter and tears to live happier ever after. Husbands may come and go, but friends are forever.

            Whether you are among the millions who have been divorced or are friends with someone who is, Wife Goes On will inspire you with humor, heart and hope. As a special gift, download the free companion joke book: Wife Goes on...and Laughs. Because we all deserve to live happier ever after!
"A modern mix of “Sex & the City” and First Wives Club, this is serious fiction wrapped with a chick lit bow. Lehr keeps the plot moving with madcap hijinks and tender moments."    ~ Publishers Weekly

“A celebration of 2nd acts wrapped up in a humorous, heartfelt homage to the
power of friendship.”~ Arianna Huffington, Thrive

“Sexy and fabulous! -Jerrilyn Farmer, The Madeleine Bean mysteries

"Leslie Lehr is a truth teller - a rare writer who untangles the realities of women's lives without flinching, while making you laugh, cry, and nod in understanding with every word."
             --Leslie Morgan Steiner, Crazy Love

Some Q & A's with Leslie: 

Q. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Read! And when you are watching TV or a movie, think about it in story terms. How was it written? How would you have written it differently?

Q. Did you always want to be a writer, or did you start off in a different career?
I always wrote, but just for fun. I loved getting lost in the movies – so I wanted a career in the film business. I ran my high school TV station in Ohio, went to film school at USC, then worked in production until I realized the story was more important to me than the number of cameras we needed. Having children with little access to decent daycare gave me the excuse to focus on writing full time. It also gave me something to write about!

Q. How would you describe your writing style in one word?
True. That’s what I love about fiction that every element - from the structure to the prose - is all there simply to explore the emotional truth.

Q. Is anything in your books based on real life experiences?
Everything in my books is based on real life experiences, though nothing in them really happened.  I did not slap a woman - though I wanted to, I did not have an affair – though I was horribly insecure as a new mom, and I did not kill a teenage boy – though I’d be tempted. I write about the challenges of contemporary women because that’s what inspires me to have a voice. I want to untangle our messy lives from the demands of family and culture, to shine a light on the kind of love that helps us flourish.

Q. Favorite scene or chapter?
My favorite chapter or scene is usually the happy ending. With 66 Laps, after so much wit and angst, the hopefulness makes me cry. Wife Goes On has a gorgeous scene at the end of chapter one where she imagines herself to be a mermaid, then at the end she is truly strong and free. The end of What A Mother Knows was the same through years of rewrites to the page-turning thriller it is today – and I still cry every time I read it. I can feel the love bounce right off the page.

Q. Day job?
My day job is consulting with other writers. I am a structure diva who has followed the Truby Writers Studio story method for every project I ever sold – and combined it with novel techniques to teach at conferences, the Writers Program at UCLA Extension, and in private workshops. Now I am the official Novel Consultant for TWS. I study full manuscripts, have Skype meetings, write query letters, and have a new Jumpstart package to help new writers launch a project. With over twenty-five years of writing and selling scripts, novels and nonfiction books, plus essays from Mommy Wars to the New York Times Modern Love, I know how to save writers a lot of time. I am a big believer in providing solutions that allow the writer to make informed choices to keep their vision.

Q. What are you working on now?
Two years out from Breast Cancer treatment, I am back in action on all fronts. Granted, I’m still drawing in my eyebrows, but I just published a new eBook edition of my first novel, 66 Laps (which started my career at Random House after winning a literary prize). I also am offering a free joke book to go along with Wife Goes On, because, why not? I’m grateful to be alive. And I just got a royalty check from What A Mother Knows, my most recent novel, and I’m still in love with that mother-daughter story. So I’m finally working on a new project and just turned the 80 page proposal in to my agent. I love my job!

Social Media:  
I post about books and writing daily on Facebook at /authorleslielehr
Twitter @Leslielehr1. 
I also play with Pinterest boards. And if you go to my website,, you’ll find book deals, writing blogs, and a free gift with sign up for my short monthly newsletter, the LehrList. I run a contest every month as well. Happy reading!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


From New York Times bestselling author Kristina McMorris comes an ambitious and heartrending story of immigrants, deception, and second chances.

On a cold night in October 1937, searchlights cut through the darkness around Alcatraz. A prison guard’s only daughter—one of the youngest civilians who lives on the island—has gone missing. Tending the warden’s greenhouse, convicted bank robber Tommy Capello waits anxiously. Only he knows the truth about the little girl’s whereabouts, and that both of their lives depend on the search’s outcome.

Almost two decades earlier and thousands of miles away, a young boy named Shanley Keagan ekes out a living as an aspiring vaudevillian in Dublin pubs. Talented and shrewd, Shan dreams of shedding his dingy existence and finding his real father in America. The chance finally comes to cross the Atlantic, but when tragedy strikes, Shan must summon all his ingenuity to forge a new life in a volatile and foreign world.

Skillfully weaving these two stories, Kristina McMorris delivers a compelling novel that moves from Ireland to New York to San Francisco Bay. As her finely crafted characters discover the true nature of loyalty, sacrifice, and betrayal, they are forced to confront the lies we tell—and believe—in order to survive.

Kristina’s behind-the-book summary:

I was searching online one day when I happened across an intriguing documentary titled Children of Alcatraz. The compilation of interviews featured people who had grown up on Alcatraz Island as children of the prison staff, some even claiming to have secretly befriended notorious inmates despite rules to prevent any contact. By the end of the video, I knew I had a story to tell, one of a hardened prisoner whose acquaintance with the young daughter of a guard would lead to irreversible consequences.

When I researched Alcatraz further, I was just as surprised to learn about an inmate named Elliot Michener. As an entrusted passman, he had been assigned to work in the warden’s mansion, where he later built and tended a greenhouse, and was even granted special permission to work outdoors seven days a week under limited supervision. The paradoxical setting fascinated me: one of a colorful, peaceful haven meant for nurturing and growth, set next to a bleak concrete prison where lives often withered.

During a night tour on Alcatraz, surrounded by the steel bars and cold gray walls of a cell, I gained a sense of appreciation for the cherished respite found in that greenhouse. And when I boarded the boat to leave, I took with me a notepad full of astounding facts about the infamous prison, the inmates who once lived there, and escape attempts that often ended in tragedy.

Kristina McMorris is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author and the recipient of more than twenty national literary awards, as well as a nomination for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, RWA’s RITA® Award, and a Goodreads Choice Award for Best Historical Fiction. Inspired by true personal and historical accounts, her works of fiction have been published by Kensington Books, Penguin Random House, and HarperCollins.

The Edge of Lost is Kristina’s fourth novel, following the widely praised Letters from Home, Bridge of Scarlet Leaves, and The Pieces We Keep, in addition to her novellas in the anthologies A Winter Wonderland and Grand Central. Prior to her writing career, she hosted weekly TV shows since age nine, including an Emmy® Award-winning program, and has been named one of Portland's "40 Under 40" by The Business Journal.

Author links:

Advance praise:

“Kristina McMorris evokes such a strong sense of place that to open her books feels less like reading and more like traveling. Her absorbing new novel…[is an] epic, deeply felt tale of struggle and second chances… a transporting piece of historical fiction.”

“Will grab your heart on page one and won’t let go until the end—and if you’re like me, not even then. I absolutely love this book, and so will you.”
Sara Gruen, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants

 “McMorris’ gripping immigrant saga sweeps from Dublin to New York, through Prohibition and vaudeville, from New York to San Francisco and Alcatraz. It is a young man’s battle with hardship and tragedy, but it is also a portrait of America during a turbulent time and a quest that ends in triumph. Readers will be caught up in this well-told story.”
RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

 “Compelling, resonant and deeply moving, The Edge of Lost is an absorbing tale of deceit and self-deception, survival and second chances, the ties that bind and the lure of the unknown.”
Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train

Publisher info:
Kensington Books
Release date: November 24, 2015
ISBN-13: 978-0-7582-8118-0
ISBN-10: 0-7582-8118-8
Fiction, Original Trade Paperback, 340 pages
Price: $15 U.S./$16.95 Can.
Special features: Author Note, Discussion Guide, and Author Q&A

Some Q & A with Kristina:

1.    Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Well... I'm a married mom of two boys, ages 9 and 12, both of whom I’ve successfully brainwashed into loving nostalgic tunes (spanning from Motown to the Rat Pack) and classic movies like, yes, The Sound of Music. As a native of Portland, Oregon, I don’t mind the rain a bit and am not even sure I own an umbrella. As for my heritage, I’m of Irish and Japanese descent, a confusing mix that should explain a lot about me.

2.    How did you start writing fiction?

Just a handful of years ago, I was actually interviewing my grandmother for the biographical section of a homemade cookbook, intended simply as a Christmas gift for the family. That’s when she shared how she and my late grandfather had only dated twice during WWII, before an exchange of letters led to a marriage that lasted until he passed away fifty years later. She then shocked me by puling from her closet every courtship letter he’d ever sent to her. We spent the rest of the afternoon poring over those gorgeous, yellowed, wrinkled pages, all sent from an eighteen-year-old sailor who didn’t know if he’d ever be coming home.

When I left her house, I started to wonder how well two people could truly know each other through letters alone. What if the words on those pages weren’t entirely truthful? It was this idea that led me to sit down and try my hand at a novel, which ultimately became my first book, Letters from Home.

3.    Where do you get your ideas?

So far, I’ve been fortunate enough to stumble upon lesser-known nuggets from history that are so fascinating I couldn’t wait to share them with others: everything from women on the frontlines in the Pacific Theater and non-Japanese spouses who lived voluntarily in internment camps to Nazi saboteurs who were dropped off by U-boat on the east coast of America and, most recently, children who grew up on Alcatraz Island, supposedly even befriending some of the country’s most notorious criminals.

4.    Is there a particular author or book that influenced or inspired your writing or decision to write?

My first publishing contract was for a total of two books. Given all the months I’d spent researching WWII, and feeling the pressure of getting the facts right, I was very tempted to write a contemporary story for my second novel. But then I read Water for Elephants. I was completely swept into another era, all while learning about an incredible slice of history that I’d had no idea existed. I realized then how much I wanted to offer readers a similar experience, so I’ve continued to write historical fiction ever since.

5.   Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

I'm embarassed to admit that I wasn’t much of a reader before I started writing my first novel. (Believe me, I’ve since seen the error of my ways!) Instead, I was a long-time movie buff, so I’ve always loved the art of storytelling, just in a different form. So, my first challenge was crash coursing everything I possibly could about the writing process.

The other great challenge I faced when I first finished writing Letters from Home was the era I’d chosen. I tell you, if I had a dime for every time someone told me “Oh, World War Two will NEVER sell”…. Needless to say, I’m thrilled the appeal of WWII novels soon took a turn and continues to be so popular among readers.

6.    Is anything in your latest book, The Edge of Lost, based on real-life experiences?

In addition to the experiences of children who grew up on Alcatraz, I loved weaving in true stories from inmates on the Rock, ranging from dark and shocking to humorous and touching. I was especially surprised to learn about entrusted inmates known as “passmen,” who were given special assignments to work at the warden’s mansion, as well as outdoors seven days a week under limited supervision.

A good portion of the novel also involves Prohibition, mobsters, Italian and Irish immigrants, and even the vaudeville and burlesque circuits. As you can imagine, researching these subjects provided plenty of other interesting tidbits that found their way into my story.

7.    Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

When it comes to constructive criticism, try your best to lower your defenses and listen with open ears, but treat feedback like a cafeteria line: pick and choose what works for you. Don't let anyone edit out the voice that is uniquely yours. 

Above all, remember there’s no finish line in this crazy business. So, regardless of what people say will or won’t sell, write a story you’re passionate about. 

Thank you so much, Kristina, for taking the time to share some of your writing life with us! Jill