Interview with Romona Simon, Author of Her Eyes Underwater

What can you tell us about your new release, Her Eyes Under Water?

Her Eyes Underwater is the introduction to a genre-bending series that blends dark romance, suspense/thriller elements, and horror. It was inspired by my guilty pleasure of watching true-crime documentaries. I’ve always been fascinated by the dual nature of serial killers and other criminals. People can live seemingly normal lives with families/jobs and then in their private moments, they’re monstrous. It’s horrible, but also difficult to look away from. Her Eyes Underwater highlights an extreme example of this morbid duality.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

No one person aside from myself inspired me to do this. I was looking for a change in life and decided to see if I could do this. I still don’t know if I have what it takes to truly be an author.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

1984
Lord of the Flies
Sharp Objects
Disco Bloodbath
The Silence of the Lambs

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask

I would love the opportunity to ask any successful author this question: When did you look at your life and think you might have “made it” as an author? How did you feel?

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

When a reader “gets” me. Not many people have read my book yet, but a couple of the compliments my book has received have been so on-point. They’ve noticed details or themes that I hoped would be conveyed and it’s always nice to hear when these things come across.

What is a typical day like for you?

I work full-time in the healthcare field, so most of my days are spent in a hospital. On weekends, I catch up on sleep.

What scene from Her Eyes Under Water was your favorite to write?

The entire chapter titled “Blood Ice River.” That chapter just flowed straight out of my ominous brain and onto the page with ease. It’s like a little short story within the novel that highlights classic suspense building tactics.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

“Men go to far greater lengths to avoid what they fear than to obtain what they desire.”
― Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code.

I try to avoid this pitfall. Unfortunately, I don’t always succeed.

Romona Simon is the author of the new book Her Eyes Under Water.

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Interview with Brian J. Purcell, Author of The Divination of Celia Connolly

What can you tell us about your new release, The Divination of Celia Connolly?

The Divination of Celia Connolly is the first book in a new mystery series. The series revolves around Celia Connolly, a private detective who uses magic to solve mysteries. She is quirky, witty, intelligent, and crass. She often seeks guidance from her friends and mentor, Maya Patel. In The Divination of Celia Connolly, Celia investigates a case for an attorney to help get his client out of jail. The investigation leads to a series of murders with a personal connection to Celia. Numerous obstacles and challenges hinder her pursuit for justice, but she continues to move forward, even when her advisers tell her to rest. It is a mystery full of unapproved magic, conspiracy, intrigue, and wonder as she navigates a world with real magic.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I was inspired to start writing by a junior-high teacher who liked an assignment enough to let me read it to the class. I’ve always been an avid reader, starting with The Boxcar Children and Goosebumps and progressing through Harry Potter and then more explicit mysteries from the likes of Robert Ludlum and John Grisham. My favorite stories were always Sherlock Holmes books. At the end of it all, the support of my Great Aunt, Sister Maura Purcell, always inspired me to push myself.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

My top five books are more a list of my favorite series and books: 1) Sherlock Holmes Adventures, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; 2) The Matarese Circle and The Matarese Countdown, by Robert Ludlum; 3) The Lynching: The Epic Courtroom Battle that Brought Down the Klan; 4) The Game of Thrones series, by George R.R. Martin, and 5) Ready Player One.

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask

I think my first guest choice would be J.K. Rowling. She weaved fantasy and mystery together perfectly in the Harry Potter series, and I would ask her what her inspiration was for creating her world and the mysteries within it.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

My favorite thing about writing is immersing myself in the world I create, and letting the characters grow in ways I did not imagine at the outset of the story.

What is a typical day like for you?

Typical days for everyone changed recently. I am lucky enough that my job allowed me to work from home during the pandemic. As a tax attorney, most of my time working is spent researching and writing about tax laws and policy throughout the country. I’m also a big sports fan and I love to watch soccer and baseball when they are on. I find time to fit in reading new books, which has been true crime and legal thrillers, and writing my stories.

What scene from The Divination of Celia Connolly was your favorite to write?

I think there is a tie between two scenes for me. In one scene, Celia is being interrogated by agents of the fictional Bureau of Magic Use and Regulation (BMUR), playing with the English language and frustrating the agent. The second scene was at a park early in the book which started to build the magical world the series is set in. Introducing magic to our world was a challenge, but it was fun and interesting.

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Brian J. Purcell is the author of the new book The Divination of Celia Connolly.

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New Mystery and Thriller Books to Read | July 7

Hold on to the edge of your seat as we hunt for clues and solve the case with these exciting new mystery and thriller books for the week! There are so many bestselling authors with new novels for you to dive into this week including Romona Simon, Brian J. Purcell, Karen Hamilton, Camilla Lackberg, and many more. Enjoy your new mystery, thriller, and suspense novels. Happy reading!



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Must-Read Mystery and Thriller Novels | July 2020

Must-Read Mystery and Thriller Novels | July 2020

On the lookout for some new books for your mystery and thriller library? Look no further than our recommendations for the must-read mystery and thriller novels of July! Check out the latest from bestselling authors Brian J. Purcell, Romona Simon, Jules Adrienn, Steven F. Freeman, B.A. Paris, and Anne Frasier. Happy reading!


The Divination of Celia Connolly

by Brian J. Purcell

Release Date:

Celia Connolly is a private investigator in Southern California that uses magic to investigate mysteries. When she is approached by a man about his son being locked away for a crime he didn’t commit, Celia dives into the case. She soon discovers that this investigation intersects with the slaying of her former partner and it may be linked to a serial killer. The only way she’ll uncover the truth is to use a new spell she created… Divination.

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Her Eyes Underwater

by Romona Simon

Release Date:

After a chance encounter at a café, university student Julia Strauss meets a captivating man. She finds herself instantly attracted to the handsome stranger and starts to pursue him obsessively. But she has no idea that behind the charm he has a secret agenda. Will Julia see past her infatuation before she becomes his next victim?

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Two Days to Die

by Jules Adrienn

Release Date:

Detective Gabriel Emory has smarts, muscles, and survivalist skills. He also has the gorgeous detective Anita Wolfe flying with him to an all-expenses-paid island vacation. But soon they discover it is all a game organized by an escaped convict set to punish those who put him in prison. Gabriel must use his skills to survive a dangerous race through the wilderness. How can he save himself and Anita when the contest can only have one winner?

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Supertide

by Steven F. Freeman

Release Date:

The ocean floor is shifting deep in the Atlantic. It has been changing in ways unseen for millions of years. The tectonic movement launches a pair of tsunamis on North America’s East Coast. It kills thousands and floods Washington, D.C. A team of scientists fears that there will be another disaster. As they try and convince the skeptical authorities, the likelihood of a more powerful event grows.

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The Dilemma

by B. A. Paris

Release Date:

The new novel from the New York Times Bestselling Author of Behind Closed Doors… It is Livia’s 40th birthday and she is being thrown the party of a lifetime by her husband, Adam. He wanted to make up for the wedding they never had. Everyone she loves will be there… except her daughter Marnie, who is studying abroad. Livia is secretly glad she won’t be there because she recently discovered a secret about her that if revealed, will shake the foundation of the family to its core.

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Find Me

by Anne Frasier

Release Date:

The first book in the Inland Empire Series by New York Times Bestselling Author Anne Frasier… Convicted serial killer Benjamin Fisher has finally agreed to show San Bernardino detective Daniel Ellis to the isolate graves of his victims. There is just one catch: he will only do it if his estranged daughter, FBI profiler Reni Fisher, accompanies them. Despite a traumatic childhood, Reni can’t decline because she still feels complicit in her father’s crimes.

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Interview with Jules Adrienn, Author of Two Days to Die

What can you tell us about your new release, Two Days to Die?

Two Days to Die is my take on what I call a ticking-clock plot. The story revolves around a high-stakes game set up by an escaped drug lord who’s seeking revenge against the people who put him in prison. The first person who crosses a remote island wilderness in two days lives. Everyone else dies along with their families. Add in a pack of wolves, competitors trying to outsmart one another, raging whitewater rivers, booby traps, ruthless killers, and, of course, a budding romance, and you have a thriller that’s built for speed. Two Days also pays homage to one of my favorite literary tropes—the unknown loner who strolls into a fight between good and evil. Whether it’s a Clint Eastwood spaghetti western or the latest Jack Reacher novel, I just love it when someone as nasty and mean as the bad guys walks onto the scene to even the odds. I think it’s some kind of primitive emotion that’s hard-wired into our brains. When a truly evil person is confronted by a good person who is looking forward to the fight, we just can’t look away.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

My love of reading is what turned me into an author. I’ve heard of authors who had mentors or parents or teachers who cultivated their literary aspirations, but I’m not convinced that a person would be successful if they were relying on someone else to motivate and shepherd their artistic journey. I believe that if you’d be satisfied to write for your entire life and never be published, then you’re prepared to follow the path of a writer. It’s hard. And being good enough to be published is a prize that is humbling and empowering.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

I didn’t intend to do come up with such a diverse list but I think there’s something for everyone here:

Horror/Suspense – I was and will forever be astounded by The Ruins by Scott Smith. It is dread personified.

Young Adult – The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton is magic. The group of kids, the love they have for one another, and the tragedy of it all. Unbelievable.

Chick-Lit – Something Borrowed by Emily Giffen is captivating. It hooked me from the start. She captures how love has a mind of its own—even at the expense of things we hold precious, like friendship.

Thriller – Persuader by Lee Child is top of the heap. There’s something almost medieval about it. A lonely castle. A maiden in distress. A strong knight who must vanquish a dragon (well, not a dragon, but a man who may as well be one). It’s a simple thriller formula executed to the nth degree.

Sci-Fi – Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton is a classic. This is a book that is probably the number one archetype for summer blockbuster—in literature and movies. It’s such an outlandish premise. Not only are dinosaurs being brought back to life, but they’re being used to populate an entertainment park. What!? Unbelievable fun, mind-bending science, and nonstop action. Who could want more?

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask

I think Lee Child would be a fantastic guest. The talk show would be set at a bar. It would be called, “Great Minds Drink Alike.” We’d have our drinks and off we’d go. And with Lee, there’s only one question I’d need to get him to talk all night—“Tell me the difference between literary and genre fiction?” It’s a question that’s come up in many an MFA program and writers conference, but I think Lee would give a take on it that would make for great television.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

Being done with a manuscript. By done, I mean edited, cover art completed, ready-to-be-purchased done. Because up until that time, it’s always on my mind. It’s great to finally put something to bed.

What is a typical day like for you?

My day is little different than anyone else’s. I’m taking the dog out to poop. Cleaning the dishes. Making lunch out of questionable lunchmeat I found in the back of the fridge. All of this is wrapped around sessions of writing, outlining, and editing. I once heard a story that made me laugh that probably sums it up. An author bounds into the kitchen where her husband is cooking breakfast and says, “My magnum opus is nearly complete. It has all the elements of best-selling genre fiction. It’s written with a style that surpasses the world’s greatest literary giants. And it finally provides an answer to the meaning of life. I’m going into my office now to write the final scene!” The husband turns around, scoops an egg from the frying pan onto a plate on the table, and replies, “That’s great. Eat your eggs.” So that’s my answer. The day of a writer is like any other.

What scene from Two Days to Die was your favorite to write?

Favorite is a little different than what I’d call it. How about, “heart-pounding?” In Two Days to Die, there’s a scene where I had to confront a phobia of mine. As a writer, I have to enter the mind of a character and live the moment with him or her, so this particular scene made me very uncomfortable. I had to keep stopping and telling myself it wasn’t real, and then I would reset and dive back in. It was awful. I couldn’t breathe. I was sweating. My heart was skipping beats. But in the end, I finished it and I believe it will put the reader into a place where the world falls away and they’re living the story through my character, moment by moment. A scene like that is always my favorite because it creates a space where the reader is sharing my experience. As you’ll note, I didn’t describe the scene. I’ll leave that up to the reader to figure out. I’m sure it won’t be hard.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

 

Jules Adrienn is the author of the new book Two Days to Die.

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New Mystery and Thriller Books to Read | June 30

Hold on to the edge of your seat as we hunt for clues and solve the case with these exciting new mystery and thriller books for the week! There are so many bestselling authors with new novels for you to dive into this week including Steven F. Freemanm Jules Adrienn, B.A. Paris, Riley Sagar, and many more. Enjoy your new mystery, thriller, and suspense novels. Happy reading!



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The Buzziest Books of June | 2020

The Buzziest Books of June | 2020

The month of June was a great time for readers with a host of exciting releases from bestselling authors. There were so many page-turning novels that captivated us from cover to cover this month. If you want to catch up on the books everyone was talking about, here are our choices for the buzziest books of June. Happy reading!


The Guest List

by Lucy Foley

Release Date: June 2, 2020

A Reese’s Book Club Pick from the bestselling author of The Hunting Party… Guests are gathering on an island off the coast of Ireland to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom is a rising television star and the bride is an ambitious magazine publisher. The cell phone service may be spotty but every detail of the wedding has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed… Then someone turns up dead.

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28 Summers

by Elin Hilderbrand

Release Date: June 16, 2020

When Link receives deathbed instructions from his mother, Mallory Blessing, to call a number on a slip of paper in his desk drawer, he’s not sure what to expect. He definitely didn’t expect Jake McCloud to answer on the other end. Jake’s wife is the frontrunner in the upcoming presidential election, how do Mallory and Jake know each other?

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A Curse of Blood and Sea

by Jocelyn Fox

Release Date: May 31, 2020

The 7th book in The Fae War Chronicles by bestselling author Jocelyn Fox…”Awesome book! Definitely the storyline I’ve been waiting for. If you are a fan of sea-going adventures, this is the read for you!” In the world of the Fae, the Seafarers, Merrow, Sidhe, wolf-warriors, and not-quite mortals who fight alongside them have a new enemy beyond the horizon of the Known Seas. As the Wolves of the North choose their first battle-partners since the war, and the Seafarers set sail, a deadly curse is set loose.

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The Summer House

by James Patterson

Release Date: June 8, 2020

The latest novel from New York Times Bestselling Author James Patterson… The Summer House used to be a luxurious southern getaway on a rustic lake. It was then reduced to a dilapidated crash pad. Now it is a grisly scene of mass murder. Eyewitnesses point to the Night Ninjas, four Army Rangers that recently returned from Afghanistan. The Army sends Major Jeremiah Cook to investigate. But the Major and his elite team had no idea their grim jobs would be made exponentially harder by local law enforcement.

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The Vanishing Half

by Brit Bennett

Release Date: June 2, 2020

An instant New York Times Bestseller and Good Morning America Book Club Pick… The Vignes twins will always be identical. But after growing up in a small, southern black community and running away at sixteen, it’s not just their daily lives that are different as adults. Their families, their communities, and their racial identities are different.

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The Room Where It Happened

by John R. Bolton

Release Date: June 23, 2020

John Bolton was President Trump’s National Security Advisor for 453 days. This is his account of his time in the room where it happened… In this White House Memoir, you will get one of the most comprehensive and substantial accounts of the Trump administration. It is one of the few to date by a top-level official.

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Never Walk Alone

by Willow Rose

Release Date: May 29, 2020

The fourth book in the Harry Hunter Mystery Series by bestselling author Willow Rose… The world is on lockdown and a woman has been kidnapped from her apartment. Detective Harry Hunter is on the case. At the same time, his sister shows up after not seeing each other for a year. It seems Harry’s sister knows more about the virus than she lets on. Soon he starts to think the virus is connected to the missing woman.

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A Reckless Note

by Lisa Renee Jones

Release Date: June 23, 2020

The first book in the Brilliance Trilogy by New York Times Bestselling Author Lisa Renee Jones… Seduction, passion, and my family’s secret that could change everything. I was searching for my missing brother but I found Kace August instead. He is dark and dangerous… and he makes me want things I can’t have. He brings me into a world of forbidden seduction.

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Our Audiobook Playlist For June | 2020

Our Audiobook Playlist For June | 2020

We wanted to share with you some of our favorite audiobooks we’ve been listening to in June. Our playlist includes a little something for everyone from mystery, science fiction, fantasy, and romance. Grab your headphones and happy listening!


The Savannah Madam

by Tom Turner

Release Date: June 19, 2020

The first book in The Savannah Series by Tom Turner… The Farrell sisters are an unlikely duo of gumshoes. Tired of following cheating husbands to motels, the two catch a case that could make their bones or get them killed. To solve the case, the sisters will have to dive into a murky demimonde of crooked cops, low-rent thugs and high-class brothels.

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Ms. Bitch

by Tricia O’Malley

Release Date: June 4, 2020

The latest release from New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Tricia O’Malley… From the outside, Tess Campbell seemingly has it all. She is happily married, has a successful career as a novelist, and has an exciting cross-country move coming up. She has always played by the rules and it seemed like life was good. But it turns out life is a bitch… and suddenly Tess is as well.

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The Glamourist

by Luanne G. Smith

Release Date: June 9, 2020

Yvette Lenoir was abandoned as a child in turn-of-the-century Paris. She has longed to uncover the secrets of her magical heritage and tap her suppressed powers. Yvette clings to a memento from her past-a grimoire inherited from the mother she never knew. In order to unlock the secrets from her past, she will have to solve the arcane riddles among its charmed pages.

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Spring Girls

by Karen Katchur

Release Date: June 16, 2020

The third book in the Northhampton County series by Karen Katchur… Another dead girl has been pulled from a lake in the Appalachian foothills. She is the latest victim in a series of murders with very few leads. Detective Geena Brassard and her partner, Parker Reed, have finally found a break when they get a tip about a previously unknown survivor of the so-called Spring Strangler.

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Game Changer

by Kelly Jamieson

Release Date: June 9, 2020

The fifth book in the Wynn Hockey Series by USA Today Bestselling Author Kelly Jamieson… I don’t want anything to do with my crazy family’s drama. I’ve been watching it all unfold from a distance over the last year, but now that my grandfather has Alzheimer’s I feel like I have to at least make a quick visit. All I have to do is get through my teammate Steve’s wedding and I can do my family duty.

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Cyber Space

by Matthew Mather

Release Date: May 26, 2020

After many years apart, Mike Mitchell has reunited with old friends on a fishing trip in New Orleans. Suddenly, worldwide GPS signal goes out. Communications go down and cell phones stop working. Within hours, almost all international borders are closed and the conflict starts to spread. This is only the beginning.

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Bestsellers Now in Paperback | June 2020

Take a look at this month’s selection of bestsellers now in paperback! June had a great selection of bestselling books to check out from thrilling mysteries to enthralling literary reads, and insightful biographies. Pick up these latest paperback books by bestselling authors Louise Penny, J.D. Robb, David Baldacci, John Sandford, Colson Whitehead, Rainbow Rowell, and many more!


Mystery, Thriller & Suspense


Literary Fiction


Fantasy & Science Fiction


Young Adult


Biography & Memoir

The post Bestsellers Now in Paperback | June 2020 appeared first on NewInBooks.

The Story Behind The Decoys by Jeffrey Mechling

By Jeffrey Mechling

I will come right out and say it. I love the City of San Francisco! I have visited the city many times over the years and have even considered moving there. I have always wanted to the city as a backdrop to one of my stories and my new novel, The Decoys, gave me the opportunity.

Now that Tim and Mary Ann are married, they were hoping that their lives would settle down to something that resembled “normal”. Fat chance that would happen. After the two find out that a “contract” has been taken out on their lives (by mistake). The two are sent to the city by the bay in order “lay low.” Tim’s manager also asks the two, as a favor, to interview an old colleague of Tim’s during his days in Central America. Just routine but as the readers of my first two novels The Adults in the Room and The Safe House can attest, nothing with Tim and Mary Ann Hall is just routine.

That is all I really want to say about the plot but I will say that one of the undercurrents of The Decoys is the adiposity between the CIA and FBI which has existed since World War Two (when the CIA was then known as the OSS). Tim and Mary Ann are constantly at loggerheads over which department has jurisdiction over domestic cases. Although it does appear that the easy answer would be The FBI, Mary Ann finds that there are some disturbing connections that cannot be overlooked. She may have to make a choice between her loyalty to the FBI or her marriage to her husband Tim.

One more thing that I would like to mention. If you find yourself visiting San Francisco, it is worth staying at the Fairmount Hotel on Mason Street. It is a grand hotel located on the cable car line. You may even find that you could lose your heart there.

Jeffrey Mechling is the author of the new book The Decoys.

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