Monday, October 24, 2022

WHEN WE WERE FRIENDS, by author NANCY YEAGER (debuts 10/25!)

They were best friends. Sisters of the heart. Partners in crime. Until they got caught…

Five years ago, Frannie Willets committed grand larceny to help her best friend, Lexi Maddox, escape an awful situation. Now paroled and prospectless, Frannie needs to disappear from her dead-end life. To do so, she’ll need her share of the stolen money that Lexi has been hiding all these years. But Lexi has other plans.

By all appearances, Lexi is thriving, but in truth, nothing in her life is going according to plan. She can’t carry a pregnancy to term, her sweet stepdaughter hates her, and even the family’s new rescue dog knows she’s a failure. Lexi’s only path to happiness is making amends with the friend she dearly misses. But the only thing Frannie wants from Lexi is cash.

Out of desperation, Lexi offers Frannie all the money, with one catch: Frannie must stick around for one month. Stranded in their suffocating small town, Frannie gets tangled up in Lexi’s issues, her mother’s questionable dating life, a lonely kid’s desperate attempts to find friends and a high-school crush’s fantasies about what could have been. Suddenly, leaving doesn’t look as easy as it once did. But when an old enemy surfaces, Frannie realizes her staying endangers everyone she loves. And even though she might have found her heart’s true home, there’s no guarantee she can keep it.


"A touching tale of the ability of friendship to weather adversity and heartache. In order to become best friends again, Frannie and Lexi must confront their pasts and conquer their demons all while dealing with family issues, a misbehaving mutt, and a high school crush." - Maria V. Snyder, New York Times bestselling author of Poison Study.

"How far you would go for your best friend? Prison? In the compelling 
When We Were Friends, Nancy Yeager explores how trauma, a fateful decision, and a cache of stolen money can test the bonds of friendship. Add in a touch of romance and an irredeemable villain, and you have the recipe for your next weekend read." - Jennifer Klepper, USA Today Bestselling author of Unbroken Threads

"Told in dual timelines where the innocence of a childhood friendship must stand up to the rigors of adulthood and all its complicated ugliness, Yeager spins a bold tale of truth and lies and peppers it with a passion that will leave you breathless." - Barbara Conrey, USA Today bestselling author of 
Nowhere Near Goodbye and My Secret to Keep
"Taut, intricate and ultimately warm-hearted, WHEN WE WERE FRIENDS is one of the best girlfriend friendship stories I've read. Yeager's romance chops are on full titillating display when Frannie is re-introduced to an old crush. Escalating danger, accelerating romance—[this book] is one fun, precipitous ride! - 
Read+Worthy Reviews
Author interview with Nancy ~

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

The important things about me are laid out in my official author bio: I write historical romances, contemporary romantic suspense, and women’s fiction books. When I’m not reading, writing, or binge-watching stories, I’m often pursuing physical goals like completing 90-day fitness challenges and aspiring to achieve the perfect crow pose. I also spend my time drinking too much coffee, not enough red wine, and just the right amount of bourbon. I live in Maryland with my husband and our spoiled rescue cats, not too far from my adult daughter and son-in-law.

As for writing, it was the first thing I ever wanted to do, but I followed a circuitous path. I studied sciences and pursued other careers. Perhaps unsurprisingly, though, I was often recognized for my writing skills and eventually hired for new positions because of them. Along the way, I decided to pursue fiction writing on the side.

Shortly after I made that decision, I was visiting my hometown, about an hour from where I live, and walked into a bookstore where a local author was speaking. After her presentation, I asked her if she knew of any local writing groups. I don’t know why I thought that was the time or place to ask that question, but she had an answer and gave me the name and phone number of another writer. I called that stranger, learned about and started attending a monthly critique group, and eventually attended semi-annual writing retreats with them. It took me a long time to realize I also needed to study my craft and pursue more formal training, but from that wonderful, supportive group, I learned the basics of fiction writing and formed my first author friendships.

Is there anything major that changed in this novel from when you first plotted it out?

There have been two major changes in the novel since the early draft. The first came before I sent the book out on submission. I knew there was something missing in the story, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I started fiddling with the structure and added a second timeline, and finally the story clicked for me.

Weirdly, though, while the “now” of the story was written in third-person point of view, the earlier timeline was written in first-person. When my editor at the publishing house asked me why I’d used first-person, my only answer was that it had come to me in that voice. I’ll fight to keep something I think is integral to a story, but that reasoning sounded lame, even to me, so I agreed to change it. Thus began the second major revision, which moved the earlier timeline into third-person perspective. During that revision, I also changed one significant plot points, but that will have to be my little secret because I can’t explain it without revealing spoilers.

If I had to spend a week on a deserted island, I would need…

Let’s see… Indoor plumbing, running water, electricity, my own pillow. What can I say? I’m a comfort hound. Maybe it would be best just to send me to Richard Branson’s private island some week when he’s not using it.

What is something about you that would surprise people?


I think people who don’t know me or have just met me IRL don’t realize what a klutz I am. Maybe because I’m small, the size of a ballerina or a gymnast, they think I’m graceful like those athletes. Meanwhile, I regularly trip over pets, sidewalk cracks, and occasionally, my own feet. I get minor injuries during workouts all the time. Then there was the time I fell up the stairs and broke a finger.


What was the original title of this book?


Originally, this was was going to be a caper book. The main characters were going to be a less destructive, and less doomed version of Thelma and Louise. The title of that book was Take the Money and Run. That idea didn’t survive the trip from my brain to the page, and once I realized I’d written a friendship story with a colorful cast of secondary characters and a strong romantic subplot, I knew I had to change the title.


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


I owe a lot to Dr. Seuess! I was about four years old when I realized he was a person whose job was to write books. I think I asked my mom multiple times if that was really something you could do when you grew up. Books were my favorite things in the world, so if being an author was an option, I was all in.


What are you working on now?


I don’t like to say too much about books-in-progress, but I’m very excited about my current commercial fiction project. It’ about a group of women who are friends through their suburban book club. Of the two main characters, one is in politics and the other is a “mommy influencer.” The book group members read a high-profile book by a hot new author, draw undue attention to themselves, nearly derail the author’s book tour, and get themselves cancelled on social media. And that’s just the beginning of their problems.


What would your dream job be if you didn’t write books? (assuming this is your dream job!)


Truly, the very first thing I ever wanted to be was an author, so I’ve come full circle now. But I’ve taken a lot of detours. As a teenager, I wanted to be a vet, and I started my college career as a biochemistry major with a pre-vet advisory. I also loved archaeology, which is a subfield of anthropology. In my second year of college, I changed my major to and ultimately earned my degree in anthropology.


Another subject I’ve loved since childhood is astrophysics, although I could not have told you that was the name of the field when I was six and desperately wanted to be an astronaut. I’m still a big NASA fan and delight over every new collated image that comes in from the space telescopes.


What was some unique research you had to do for a book?


I have a romance series set in Victorian England, and in one of the books (Four Corners of Heaven), the female protagonist is trying to get into medical school. Among the subjects I researched for that book were Victorian-era surgery (yikes!), the Edinburgh Seven (the first class of women medical students at the University of Edinburgh), and all the hoped-for and abandoned medical uses of the poison curare.


Favorite band or music? 


I am a lifelong, die-hard Beatles fan, even though I’m not old enough to remember when they were still together as a band. And of course I have a favorite Beatle! It’s Paul, and not just because he was the cute one and I’m shallow. I also love that he’s a huge reader, and I think that love of story comes through in his music and creative projects. But also, he was (and still is) super cute!


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

To my biggest fan, I’d like to say, “Hi Mom!” To other readers, I’ll just say that if you like stories about strong women weathering life’s ups and downs with grit, determination, humor, and snark, you should check out my books. Also, I love to hear from readers, so feel free to drop me a line. 

To connect with Nancy ~

Monday, October 17, 2022

IN THE SHADOW OF THE APENNINES by author KIMBERLY SULLIVAN (book debuts October 21st!)

An American divorcĂ©e. An Italian shepherdess. Separated by a century, united by common dreams...

The sleepy little Abruzzo mountain town of Marsicano seems about as far as Samantha can flee from her failed marriage and disastrous university career. Eager for a fresh start, Samantha begins to set down roots in her Italian mountain hideaway.

At first, the mountain retreat appears idyllic, but an outsider’s clumsy attempts at breaking into the closed mountain community are quickly thwarted when the residents discover Samantha’s snarky blog ridiculing the town and its inhabitants.

Increasingly isolated in her mountain cottage, Samantha discovers the letters and diaries of Elena, a past tenant and a survivor of the 1915 Pescina earthquake. Despite the century that separates the two women, Samantha feels increasingly drawn into Elena’s life and discovers startling parallels with her own.


"An emotionally nuanced thrill ride. Sullivan's expert prose allows a deeper look at her protagonists' feelings, fears, and vulnerabilities. The novel succeeds as both a contemporary fiction and a thoughtfully told story of a heartbroken woman trying to come to terms with the new circumstances of her life. A tale of heartbreak, grief, courage, and self-realization that will resonate with many."  -The Prairies Review

"A compelling literary work. Sullivan's novel is romantic in the way only foreign travel can be, with the prose beautifully describing the sights and sounds of Italy, as well as unveiling the captivating story of two women's seemingly disparate lives woven together across time."   
-Self-Publishing Review

Interview with Kimberly ~

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

I always loved creative writing when I was younger, but life took me in another direction. About ten years ago I started writing in the evenings after work, and published a few short stories. Soon after, I joined a writers’ group and took craft classes, attended writing conferences, and began writing novels. I haven’t looked back since.

What are some things you enjoy when not writing?

I’m a traveloholic, and never pass up the chance to travel. I adore road trips and traveling to different countries. A new country, a different language, food, architecture, and people never fails to excite me – and always sparks new story ideas. I also love swimming, and I come up with a lot of story ideas and plot points as I’m swimming laps. And I live in Italy, so I also have an appreciation of art, opera, and great food and wines.

How do you start your day (a routine of sorts?)

My (outside) workday begins fairly early and my daily routines tend to be associated with my regular workday. I need to do my writing during the evenings and weekends, so I try to be kind to myself. I’m lucky to write fairly quickly, but I also don’t beat myself up if I struggle to meet goals. I feel like I have enough stress and deadlines for my day job, and I do my best to limit that with my writing – so no set routines.

Finish this: “I can’t write without…”

I don’t really have set routines or the need for a dedicated writing space or silence. I began writing when my kids were small and after returning from a long workday, so I could write anywhere – a few minutes snatched in a playground as I scribbled on paper or typing manically away at home as my sons were wrestling one another and making as much noise as humanly possible. Maybe one day I’ll develop zen rituals and have a cool writing room, but for now, a pen, paper or computer and a bit of time is all I need.

If I had to spend a week on a deserted island, I would need…

Bathing suit, sunscreen, and a bag full of books.

What career did you think you’d have as an adult?

When I was a kid, I wanted to be an author, but I passed through journalism, government positions and international development organizations on my path there. I am still working in the latter, but enjoy moonlighting in the career I dreamed of as a child!

What is something about you that would surprise people?

I live in a football (soccer)-mad country, but it’s one of the few sports I don’t enjoy watching. But that all changes with the European Cup or the World Cup when I become a super fan. I love it when it’s country against country, and matches can’t end with ties – but must be determined by overtime and penalty kicks. I love watching those matches and continue cheering on Italy long after my family members (aka the real Italians who should be following)  have long gone to bed.


Do you have a ‘day job’ as well?


Yes, I work in international development, working with socioeconomic development activities and projects in developing countries around the globe. I love it. It’s incredibly stimulating and rewarding work, with an international outlook I love, and – even after 23 years there – I feel that I am constantly learning new things at my job.


Where do you get your ideas?


Despite being a writer, I’m a very visual person, so my ideas often come from a setting and the vaguest notion of a character or plot point. For my upcoming novel, it was the shells and ruins of buildings in an Italian town that had undergone an earthquake over a century earlier. For my last novel, the idea struck as I took a Jane Austen walking tour around Bath, UK, and felt I’d stepped back to the nineteenth centrury – and wondered what it would be like to time travel back to 1813. That imagery always drives my stories.


Do you have a manuscript(s) in your drawer? If so, will it ever see the light of day?


Haha. I do! I have my practice novel. I’ve learned so much since I wrote it, so it would need lots of work and rewriting before I could get it out there. But who knows? Maybe one day I’ll tackle all the major rewrites so it can see the light of day. TBD…


If I wasn’t an author, I might be…?


Someone who works in international development. So it would seem I got the best of both worlds!


Do you have a go-to first reader after you feel your manuscript is ready?


Yes, I have a fabulous friend who has read many of my manuscripts as my first reader, and has always given me valuable feedback before I start workshopping them through writing groups, and eventually on to my editor.


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


My go-to books are always Jane Austen and Edith Wharton. I love their works and they constantly inspire me to keep going and to fulfill my dream of writing.


Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published (or this book?)


I’m an indie-published author, so it’s all one big challenge. My first book was the most difficult since I had everything to learn. It’s still tough, but at least I have more experience now. I’m hoping by about book number ten, I’ll have the hang of it…

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?


I probably would have started publishing my work earlier.


How do you market your work?


I’m self-published, so this is an area I’m working to learn quickly! I always get new manuscripts out on NetGalley for early reviews. I also set up blog tours and Instagram tours, and reach out to blogs and podcasts for interviews or guest posts. I also keep up a blog of my own and try to incude novel background and related posts. And I try to be active on social media.


What are you working on now?


My next project will be a collection of short stories. I know these are a much tougher sell in today’s market, but I so love short stories, and feel like there should be some advantages to self-publishing. I am now finalizing a collection of shorts that are women’s fiction all tied to Italy. I’m preparing that now, with the hope of publishing the collection in May 2023. I’m also finalizing writing for a dual timeline story set in Rome, Italy taking place today and back in the 1890s, hoping to release it in autumn 2023.


Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences?


Quite a bit, because I tend to create stories that research time periods or settings of great interest to me. My next novel, In The Shadow of The Apennines, takes place in a region of Italy I love: Abruzzo. I bought a small weekend house there years ago, and spend a lot of weekends out there with my husband and children hiking or skiing. The area was terribly affected by the 2009 earthquake, with its epicenter near L’Aquila – just a few miles from our place. 

A lot of the reporting at the time of that earthquake referred to the devastating 1915 earthquake in nearby Pescina, and I began to read about it and went to visit that town, which is still marked by that tragedy. When I visited, I found the atmosphere so haunting, and I knew I had to set my story there.


Do you have a favorite chapter or scene?


Connected to what I wrote above, I appreciated writing the very sad earthquake scene in my novel, In The Shadow of The Apennines. As heartbreaking as it was, I wanted to capture the magnitude of the tragedy on the small group of survivors, and to understand – from their perspective – the devastating consequences of that event, combined with Italy’s entry into World War I.This was a painful chapter for the region, and I wanted to ensure I was framing it correctly.


Do you have a favorite character?


Flaws and all, I always fall in love with my main characters, and, as someone who loves history, I believe that we can be touched or influenced by those who came before us. I loved weaving together the story of modern-day Samantha who goes to heal her heart in a small town in the mountains of Abruzzo, and how she gains much needed strength and perspective learning about the life of Elena, an Italian sheperdhess who lived in her cottage over a century earlier. I loved both characters.


Do you have other books you’d like to talk about here? (The research, how you came up with the idea for your story, etc.)


I am just beginning the research for a story I would like to tell – a possible triple timeline story set in Italy under Fascist Italy and the Rome of the 1960s and contemporary. I still have to finalize my research, but I would like it to be focused around sports. Still have lots (and lots and lots) or research to do, however.


Finish this sentence: “If I could write about anything, it would be…?”


Everything that interests me. All those little kernels of ideas floating around in my muddled brain…


What was some unique research you had to do for a book?


I have had a story idea rattling around in my head for a very long time – a dual timeline modern days and early twentieth century, taking place largely in Albania. I have travelled in Albania and have done a lot of research, but I need to get back to the rugged mountain region of the north to “see” this region more, and to hike there, if I am to write about it, since much of the story would be set there. This is always my favorite type of research!


Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?


Keep at it and find your tribe. There are so many great resources out there today. I’m partial to the Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) – a one stop shop for writing seminars, sharing industry knowledge, writing meet-ups, support and new writing friends. Writers are such a wonderful and generous group – and they are eager to share their knowledge and experience. Make sure you’re tapping into those resources.


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


I’m still new to this, so it can often feel like a long slog/tremendously steep learning curve – learning about marketing, book formatting, trends, platforms, etc etc. The best part is when a reader contacts you and tells me how much your book touched her, or brightened her day.


Favorite book and/or movie?


For books, my favorite authors are Jane Austen and Edith Wharton. My favorite adaptations are the BBC Pride and Prejudice and The Age of Innocence.


Place you’d like to travel?


I’m a travel addict, so I’ve been fortunate to have traveled to many countries across all continents except Australia and Antarctica – and I’m constantly dreaming about new places to explore. What I haven’t yet done (and have always wanted to do), is to organize a round-the-world-tour to hit many countries I haven’t yet visited. This is an idea I’ve had rattling around in the back of my brain for ages. Maybe an idea for retirement…


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


Thank you so much to all who have read and enjoyed my books. I love to stay in touch – so please reach out through social media or my author website. Thank you so much for your support! We couldn’t do any of it without you.

To connect with Kimberly:

Book info: In the Shadow of the Apennines | Kimberly Sullivan (

Author website: Kimberly Sullivan (

Goodreads: Kimberly Sullivan (Author of Dark Blue Waves) | Goodreads

BookBub: Kimberly Sullivan Books - BookBub

Instagram: kimberlyinrome

Twitter: @kimberlyinrome

Monday, October 10, 2022

CRADLES OF THE REICH, by author JENNIFER COBURN (debuts October 11th)

Three women, a nation seduced by a madman, and the Nazi breeding program to create a so-called master race.

At Heim Hochland, a Nazi breeding home in Bavaria, three women's fates are irrevocably intertwined. Gundi is a pregnant university student from Berlin. An Aryan beauty, she's secretly a member of a resistance group. Hilde, only eighteen, is a true believer in the cause and is thrilled to carry a Nazi official's child. And Irma, a 44-year-old nurse, is desperate to build a new life for herself after personal devastation. All three have everything to lose.

Based on untold historical events, this novel brings us intimately inside the Lebensborn Society maternity homes that actually existed in several countries during World War II, where thousands of "racially fit" babies were bred and taken from their mothers to be raised as part of the new Germany. But it proves that in a dark period of history, the connections women forge can carry us through, even driving us to heroism we didn't know we had within us.


The Handmaid's Tale meets WWII in Cradles of the Reich...Jennifer Coburn's debut historical novel is adept, unforgettable, and brilliantly unsettling!

-- "Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author"

Jennifer Coburn gives compelling and necessary literary voice to those impacted the most by Adolf Hitler's haunting and ironically dehumanizing scheme to generate racially pure infants. Skillfully researched and told with great care and insight, here is a World War II story whose lessons should not―must not―be forgotten.

-- "Susan Meissner, USA Today bestselling author"

With grace and a deft hand, Jennifer Coburn creates indelible female characters that leave us heart-torn. This book kept me breathless from chapter to chapter. I couldn't put it down until the final heroic page.

-- "Sarah McCoy, New York Times bestselling author" 

Author interview with Jennifer~

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

I have always loved writing but never thought it was something I could do for a living. Instead, I got a job in public affairs at Planned Parenthood, which was wonderful because it gave me the chance to write about reproductive freedom in the agency newsletter, constituent letters, and brochures. Soon my boss started letting me draft opinion pieces for the local newspaper and I was hooked. 

When I was on maternity leave, I decided to write a book of essays about motherhood, which morphed into a romantic comedy called Tales from the Crib. I wrote six romantic comedies, a mother-daughter travel memoir called We’ll Always Have Paris, then made a sharp turn to historical fiction about lesser-known Nazi programs.

What are some things you enjoy when not writing?

I love reading, attending theatre, eating (really good) food, and traveling.

How do you start your day (a routine of sorts?)

Mornings are for chores that don’t require a lot of brainpower. It’s when I reluctantly exercise, go to Costco, or do laundry. I start writing or revising at noon – alright, more like 4 PM -- and work late.

Finish this: “I can’t write without…” 

Anxiety. I wish I could, but anxiety is my constant companion.

If I had to spend a week on a deserted island, I would need… a lovely spot to read.

What is something about you that would surprise people? 

I am a sucker for singing audition clips like America’s Got Talent, etc. It’s rare that I don’t cry watching those amazing singers belt their hearts out. Man, would I love to be able to sing like some of those women who just get up there and rock the mic. I’m easily moved by music – or I’m jealous of their talent – probably a mix of the two.


What was the original title for this book?


It was called Spring of Life because that is the English translation of Lebensborn. It also had such a creepy vibe, I just loved it. As the manuscript was being shopped to different publishers, several editors told me that they loved the book but thought a title change was in order.


Where do you get your ideas?


I learned about the Lebensborn Society from a TV show called The Man in the High Castle when a character mentioned she was bred through this Nazi program. I thought it had to be a fictional element of the show but started digging and found it was real. The idea of women volunteering to have “a child for Hitler” was intriguing. It gripped me like nothing had before and I could not stop asking why women would do this, how it worked, and how many babies were bred. With every answer, I had even more questions. Then I wondered who might be at one of these breeding homes – and what might happen if each was there with conflicting goals and desires.


If you have written more than one book, which story would you choose to live?


Certainly not Cradles of the Reich, though I have to say, I would find a day of time-travel to Nazi Germany (with a foolproof escape hatch) fascinating. I wouldn’t mind living the life of Mona in my second rom-com Reinventing Mona because she lives in a sprawling mansion on the beach in Coronado with the love of her life.


Do you have a go-to first reader after you feel your manuscript is ready? 

My 25-year-old daughter Katie is an incredibly insightful reader. I have come to rely on her comments. I am working on a new novel now and book time with her to discuss ideas and plotlines. She’s a Ph.D. candidate so she’s insanely busy, but I’m grateful that she still makes time for her mama.


What are you working on now?


I am working on a novel set in the Theresienstadt Nazi propaganda ghetto/camp in northern Czechoslovakia. In writing Cradles of the Reich, my interest in Nazi propaganda grew deeper. I knew about propaganda films, posters, books, music, and even board games. What I hadn’t known about was a special camp the Nazis created for so-called privileged prisoners. Prisoners were slave laborers, lived in wretched conditions, and were often transported to Auschwitz. It was also a place where some of the greatest artists, musicians, and writers in Europe were sent. 

The arts scene was incredible. There were concerts, operas, symphonies, lectures, and readings every day. At the same time, thousands died from disease and starvation. In 1944, the Nazis “beautified” the ghetto for a Red Cross inspection and propaganda film. My story is about two women: a prisoner and a Nazi filmmaker whose lives intersect at Theresienstadt.


Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences?


Both Cradles of the Reich and (working title) The Glimmer Factory are set in real life, albeit the past. I am getting wonderful feedback on the Author’s Note at the end of Cradles.


Do you have a favorite chapter or scene?


No spoilers, but an editor told me that I talked a lot about Gundi having to prove her trustworthiness to the resistance, but I never showed it in action. This led to my writing a scene that is by far a reader favorite. I am so grateful to all the smart people I had in my corner for the writing and marketing of this novel. (Have you seen the book trailer? How much do I love the Sourcebooks marketing team and their stellar graphic designers?)


Do you have a favorite character? 

The easy answer is Gundi since she is the heroine, but I’m going to shout out to my favorite minor character, Rivka Solomon. She is Gundi’s boyfriend Leo’s mother. In one scene, she privately asks Gundi if she would be willing to convert to Judaism. Leo is upset because it’s dangerous to be Jewish in Germany in 1939, and he cannot believe his mother would put Gundi at risk. Her response was absolutely what my Aunt Rita would have said.


 “We were having a conversation, Leo. Do you see a rabbi here? Do you see a Torah rolled out on the kitchen table? It was a discussion, such a big intellectual like you should understand that talk and actions are two different things. I’m a mother, I have questions.”


Finish this sentence: “If I could write about anything, it would be…?” 

Exactly what I’m writing about. I am enormously grateful to be able to write about a topic I feel deeply connected to.


What was some unique research you had to do for a book?

So, so many research rabbit holes, and I loved every minute of it! I spoke with historians of propaganda, architectural historians, food historians (who knew there was such a thing?) and German elders. I was fortunate enough to have the German author Bernhard Schlink support me in ensuring cultural and linguistic authenticity. And I made an unlikely friendship with a 90-year-old man who was part of the Hitler Youth. (He was in the junior arm and was not involved in any violence.) Please read the Author’s Note for all my stories on the research that went into Cradles of the Reich. I hope that it will add to your reading experience.


Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? 

Don’t compare your draft to someone else’s finished book. Do the work, take the hits, get back up, and revise when feedback feels right. Lather, rinse, repeat.



Place you’d like to travel? 

My husband and I are going to Prague, Vienna, and Budapest for our 30th anniversary next spring. I cannot wait! And just because he’s a total mensch, we are taking a day trip to the Theresienstadt ghetto for research on the next novel.


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

Thank you for reading Cradles of the Reich. There are thousands of great books and only so much time to read so I appreciate you giving my historical novel a chance. Please visit for the story behind the novel and a listing of events. I would love to meet you in person and am happy to zoom into book clubs for a Q&A.


To connect with Jennifer:




Monday, October 3, 2022

THE ORCHID TATTOO by author CARLA DAMRON (out September 30th!)

Crime fiction that makes a difference: In The Orchid Tattoo, award-winning author Carla Damron delves into the disturbing world of human trafficking. 

Social worker Georgia Thayer can balance her own mental illness with the demands of an impossible job. Mostly. But when her sister vanishes in the dead of night, her desperate quest to find Peyton takes her into the tentacles of a human trafficking network-where she encounters a young victim called "Kitten."

Kitten is determined to escape. She won't be trapped like the others. She won't sell her soul like Lillian, victim-turned-madam, feeding the dark appetites of international business moguls and government leaders. But the Estate won't let her out of its lethal grip, and her attempts at freedom threaten her very life.

Aided by Kitten and, at times, by the voices in her head, Georgia maneuvers to bring down the kingpin of Estate and expose its dark secrets, but her efforts place her-and the few people she allows to get close-in grave danger.

Early review:

The pages of Carla Damron’s The Orchid Tattoo (Koehler Books, 2022) whiz by so fast, so easily, I have to say it is one of the best nail-biters I’ve read in a while. Not only that, this well-crafted thriller features a smart, likable hospital social worker—Georgia Thayer—as the protagonist. She is pitted against a human trafficking ring. In short, The Orchid Tattoo is a great read with a social message.— Southern Literary Review 

Author interview with Carla:

What are some things you enjoy when not writing? 

READING. I LOVE to read. I also enjoy time in my kayak, playing with our herd of shelter animals, and working with the social work students I supervise.

How do you start your day (a routine of sorts?) 

I’m boring. I get up, grab a giant cup of coffee, feed the critters, and read for at least a half hour. Then I open my manuscript-in-progress and dive in.

Finish this: “I can’t write without…” Caffeine, sad to say.

If I had to spend a week on a deserted island, I would need…. 

Books, chocolate, my husband, and my critters (I have five poorly behaved ones).

What career did you think you’d have as an adult? 

I wanted to be a jockey until I hit 5 foot 7 inches, which killed that dream. Then I thought I’d be a psychologist. Social worker: Close enough!

What is something about you that would surprise people? 

I was a singing extra in the TV miniseries, North and South. Also, my brother is a professional mime.          


Do you have a ‘day job’ as well? 

I’m a clinical social worker. Right now, I serve as a SW intern supervisor for Communities in Schools (part-time).


What was the original title of this book? Girl For Sale


Where do you get your ideas? 

My work (current and historical) gives me TONS of material. I never write about specific clients, but social justice issues I see every day make their way into my writing.


Do you have a manuscript(s) in your drawer? If so, will it ever see the light of day? 

Yes and I don’t know. I hope to pull it out and give it another try soon.


If I wasn’t an author, I might be…?  Richer.


If you have written more than one book, which story would you choose to live? 

None. I’m hard on my characters!!


Do you have a go-to first reader after you feel your manuscript is ready? 

My first reader is my brother. He’s always supportive: “This is the best you’ve ever written.” I need that when I finish a draft (actually, I need a parade!). Then I send it to someone who’ll tell me the truth.


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

As a child, I read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou. I have clear memories of devouring it, of the power of those characters to move me. That book stays with me, even now. I wanted to write books that would impact readers the way I was impacted.


Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published (or this book?) 

The Orchid Tattoo had a rough road to publication. My agent loved it, but big publishers shied away because of the content (human trafficking). I kept working on the manuscript, toning it down so there was very little graphic material, but I had to preserve the horrible truth of this crime. After multiple revisions, Koehler Books loved it and offered a traditional contract.


How do you market your work? 

I’m working with a publicist. I’m very active on social media. A colleague put together a book trailer that’s quite powerful, and we made that into a Facebook ad. I’m learning every day about new ways to promote my book.


What are you working on now? 

I have a mystery series out that features Caleb Knowles, a clinical social worker. A few months ago, I dreamed a scene of a Caleb book, and that led to completing a draft on Caleb number four. Working on the rewrite now!


What is a bestselling book you’ve been itching to read? 

ANYTHING by Elizabeth Strout or Louise Penny.


Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences? 

When I was the state director for the National Assn. of Social Workers, I got involved in advocacy for more progressive anti-human trafficking legislation. I met some survivors. I heard stories that stunned me. The Orchid Tattoo was born of that work.


Do you have a favorite chapter or scene? 

I love the scenes that introduce my three POV characters, Georgia, Kitten, and Lillian.


Do you have a favorite character? Georgia. No, Kitten. No… Lillian.


What would your dream job be if you didn’t write books? (assuming this is your dream job!) 

I’d be a philanthropist with VERY deep pockets. As a social worker, I see so much need. I’d love to have the resources to address them.


What was some unique research you had to do for a book? 

For one of the Caleb Knowles mysteries, I researched surviving frostbite after I locked Caleb in a freezer. It proved helpful when my husband saved a hypothermic baby rabbit from a pool. I knew how to warm him without shocking him too much, and the baby lived!


Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? DON’T. GIVE. UP.


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

I’ve had a publisher go bankrupt and had to buy my rights back. 

The best part: my last book, The Stone Necklace, won the WFWA Star Award and was selected the 'One Book, One Community' read for my town of Columbia SC.


Favorite band or music?  BIG Bonnie Raitt fan.


Favorite book and/or movie?  Too many to say.


Place you’d like to travel? Hawaii. Iceland. Costa Rica.


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

Thank you for taking the time to read my work. It means the world to me. 

To connect with Carla:

Facebook: carladamronwrites
instagram: carladamron

tiktok: carladamron