Interview with Geneva Lee, author of Blacklist

What can you tell us about your new release, Blacklist?

Blacklist was inspired by my love of classic romances like The Great Gatsby and Pride and Prejudice. I actually came up with the idea when I was thinking about planning a roaring twenties NYE party and thought Gatbsy should have come back to get revenge on Daisy for giving up on him. So that’s where the whole idea started and then it snowballed from there. There’s quite a few hidden references to classic novels and then both the main characters are readers, which is how they connect in the first place. It’s really an epic love story with two really stubborn protagonists. Sterling grew up poor and becomes wealthy through less-than-legal means to get back at Adair who was born rich and privileged. Of course, neither of their lives are that simple and they continually discover there is more that is pulling them toward one another than pushing them away.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I’ve always loved to read. When I was a kid, I would devour a novel or two a day. Authors were basically my rockstars. I never thought I would have the patience to write an entire book, so I got a Masters in British Literature instead. Turns out there aren’t a lot of jobs for English majors, so I decided to stay home with my babies. After my second baby was born, my mother-in-law challenged me to write a book. I’m so competitive that I did. I read the bios of all my favorite authors during that time and it really inspired me to keep pushing my writing. But really the credit goes to my mother-in-law for goading me and to my husband who is super supportive of my career.

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

That’s so hard! One of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read in terms of writing is The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I was so awed by how it came together. I had a similar reaction to White Teeth by Zadie Smith. But, honestly, I love book series, so I go back to them over and over. I particularly love The All Souls Series, A Court of Thorn and Roses, and Harry Potter. I’m just a book junkie in general!

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

It would probably be Deborah Harkness, who wrote All Souls. She’s an author that I really admire and I love her work. I’m also impressed that she’s managed to write, help produce the television version of her series, and teaches as a college professor. I’d love to ask her about how she balances all of that and what her process is like each day. I adore hearing about other author’s work days and writing processes. There’s always some genius nugget of insight I can apply to my own work.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

Honestly, I rarely (if ever) tell anyone the twist in my books. There’s often more than one and I enjoy torturing my first readers by not giving any secrets away. I love that part and I won’t spoil it for anyone! My husband reads everything I write first and not even he gets to know, because I enjoy his reaction to reading it so much.

What is a typical day like for you?

It’s definitely changed a lot in the last few months! Not only due to the pandemic but also because we welcomed a surprise baby in January! Usually I get up and putter around with some coffee and check in with the older kids and my husband, play with the baby, etc. Then I head to my studio. Thankfully, my husband talked me into the house with a separate writing studio a few years back. I spent the first part of the day in my writing office where I write and plan and just focus on stories. I stop for a long lunch with the baby and my husband and then come back and hang on the couch in my business office reading and editing. After that I handle business, check in with friends/social media. and chat with my sister about the bookstore we own together. I have so much going on that I’ve learned to be more strict with my spaces and schedule. Before baby I would write at all hours. Now I’m striving for a more healthy balance between home, work, and creative life.

What scene in Blacklist was your favorite to write?

There’s a charity auction in the book that involves a lot of banter and subtle digs but also a ton of heart. I loved writing it, especially because it introduces my first canine character Zeus!

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

I have strongly embraced the myth of the phoenix as a personal philosophy. I look at challenges as opportunities for growth and I truly believe sometime when it feels like all is lost, we have an opportunity to be reborn from the ashes. Nothing is constant in life, especially failure or pain. We can also rise again.

Geneva Lee is the author of the new book Blacklist.

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Author Website
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Interview with Avanti Centrae, Author of Solstice Shadows

What can you tell us about your new release, Solstice Shadows?

Let me tell you a story about this thriller. I’d finished THE LOST POWER, which went on to win multiple awards and become a Barnes and Noble bestseller, and was in the early stages of outlining the next book in the VanOps series. I like to include intrigue, history, science and mystery in my tales, and all the pieces had yet to come together. One day, I was perusing Facebook and ran across a news story related to the pyramids of Central America. I’ve always been fascinated by archeoastronomy and it clicked – this novel would involve a race to solve a puzzle where the heroes would need to visit a number of interesting, ancient sites that had something to do with how early man saw the night sky. That’s how SOLSTICE SHADOWS ended up with an action scene in Chichen Itza, a shootout at the temple of Artemis in Turkey, and a grand finale at a UNESCO World Heritage site. No spoilers. I can’t tell you more, but the final scenes take place at a gorgeous place rife with the shadows of history. Regarding characters, there are three heroes in this story, Maddy Marshall, a smart computer app designer and aikido black belt, Officer Thorenson, Maddy’s boyfriend and a new officer at the ultra-black VanOps agency, and her tall dark-haired twin brother, Will Argones, who is also a new analyst at VanOps. Squaring off against our heroes, we have two antagonists. The first is a Russian with mysterious eyes, and the second is a Spaniard with exotic facial tattoos. Here it is in a nutshell: A computer-app designer. An encrypted relic. Can she decipher the dangerous code before extremists trigger a high-tech apocalypse?

What books are currently on your nightstand?

I’m researching my next novel and reading CLEOPATRA by Stacy Schiff, along with GOOD HUNTING by Jack Devine, which is a story of spycraft. SURPRISE, KILL, VANISH by Annie Jacobsen is proving to be an excellent resource on the secret history of the paramilitary aspects of the CIA. Fiction-wise, I’m looking forward to reading James Rollins THE LAST ODYSSEY, and KJ Howe’s latest thriller SKYJACK about a smart, complex yet kick-ass character who works as a hostage negotiator.

What advice would you give your teenage self?

My teenage self was full of angst and loved to read. The summer before I turned sixteen, I remember lazy days at our lake house where I’d enjoy a fat John Jakes novel while lounging on an inflatable in the water. In terms of advice, I’d like to tell my younger self to follow my dreams and not be so darn practical. That younger version of me wanted to be a writer, but caved to the pressure of having a real job. I went on to get a degree in computer technology, even though my favorite classes were in the softer arts. It took me decades to find the guts to pursue a writing career. Now, I’m glad for all the experiences of my youth, especially the international travel to Europe, Central America, New Zealand, and Canada, as they provide plenty of fuel for my globe-trotting action thrillers.

If you had an extra hour each day, how would you spend it?

If I had an extra hour every day, I’d love to spend it hiking in the local Sierra Nevada mountains. Life, especially around the time of a new release, gets pretty hectic and it would be fantastic to spend more time on the trail. We recently enjoyed a socially distanced vacation at Lake Tahoe, and had a blast discovering some new places. One hike was a lot of uphill, but the vistas of Desolation Wilderness at the top of the mountain were worth it!

What makes your world go round? Why does it bring you joy?

My family and pets provide daily amusement. We have a goofy German shepherd who has an innocent soul. Things like the wind in the trees fascinate her. One of the cats throws toys under the door so that we’ll push them back. Cracks me up. The other big thing that brings me joy is hearing from my fans that they loved my work. Writing an award-winning novel is a long, labor-intensive effort and having a fan reach out to me on social media and say “I loved this!” makes my day and keeps me writing.

What scene in Solstice Shadows was your favorite to write?

That’s tough, as the final action scenes are exhilarating, and there are many chapters with dramatic interpersonal conflict between the three protagonists. But let’s talk about the beginning. When the story opens, Maddy’s ex-boyfriend has shown up to walk her home from the aikido dojo, and she, the foster boy she wants to adopt, and the former beau head home in the cold rain on a dark San Francisco afternoon in December. As she opens the front door of her high-rise loft, a light is moving inside her bedroom and an instant later, the doorjamb at her knee explodes. The three of them run for the stairwell and Maddy’s ex-boyfriend is injured. She sends the boy to the roof of her building and takes on the attacker by herself. A shootout in the hallway leaves her with a bullet wound on her forehead, and the attacker jumps down the fire escape with an ancient star chart in his bloodied hand. From his hiding place, the boy recognizes the thief as a Russian who kidnapped him sixteen months earlier. That scene sets the stage for the rest of the action, as Maddy needs to get the boy to safety and decides she has to help the VanOps team decode the secret of the star chart before the Russians can figure it out. Thanks for a fun interview, Grant. Readers who want to learn more can get explore my website at avanticentrae.com or can find SOLSTICE SHADOWS wherever books are sold.

Avanti Centrae is the author of the new book Solstice Shadows.

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Facebook

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The Story Behind Challenged by You By Tracey Jerald

By Tracey Jerald

Two truths and a lie inspiring Challenged by You:
• I’ve worked in a professional restaurant.
• I’ve run a restaurant group.
• I’ve cooked for celebrities.

If you chose one and three, you are correct! Now, by no means was the restaurant on the level of Seduction New York, but it was a great place to work during my college years. And we fed more than our fair share of golfers from the PGA Tour during Championship Week at that pasta joint on the beach in Florida.

I worked every single position in that restaurant and I did so with pride. I was hired to cook appetizers and desserts, but guess what? People get ill. Sometimes that’s the bartender and sometimes that’s the dishwasher. What was the most fun for me was when I was the line cook and I was slinging around pans of pasta like I was some early day Food Network personality.

Now, how does all of this lead to a single-mom baker falling for a sharp food critic who makes a mistake on a review? For me, it was remembering the back of the house laughter. The crazy person who stole a table. Co-workers whose weddings I went to, baby showers I attended, birthdays I celebrated. In other words, we opened a restaurant as strangers and through laughter and fellowship became a family. And there isn’t anything you won’t do, give up, or fight for your family.

Challenged by You is a humorous, sassy read that brought to life memories from a time too many years ago to name.

And it makes me regret losing touch in the days before the internet.

So, I hope you enjoy my jaunt into Kristen Proby’s Fusion Universe. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there!

PS – if anyone reading this happened to work at Semolina in Ponte Vedra during the late 90s, shoot me an email. I’d love to catch up. And to see if you remember the recipe for Macaroni and Cheesecake.

Tracey Jerald is the author of the new book Challenged By You.

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Facebook

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New Romance Books to Read | August 11

Looking to fall in love with some new romance reads? You’ll adore these exciting new novels! This week you can get your hands on books by bestselling authors Willow Winters, Geneva Lee, Tracey Jerald, Winter Renshaw, C.C. Wood, DD Prince, and more. Enjoy your new romance books and happy reading!



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New Mystery and Thriller Books to Read | August 11

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 Avanti Centrae, Kirsten Fullmer, Brooke Skipstone, Conrad Brasso, and many more. Enjoy your new mystery, thriller, and suspense novels. Happy reading!



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New Books to Read in Literary Fiction | August 11

Literary fiction readers are in for a treat. This week’s latest releases list is full of intriguing reads you won’t want to miss! The new releases list includes so many bestselling authors like Diane Cook, John Boyne, Kathleen Rooney, and many more. Enjoy your new literary fiction books. Happy reading!



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New Science Fiction and Fantasy Books | August 11

Set off on an adventure to new worlds this week! This selection of new science fiction and fantasy books will surely please! Science Fiction fans should be excited about the latest from bestselling authors Andy Peloquin, Rick Partlow, Bruce Sterling, and more. If Fantasy is what your library needs, you’ll be able to pick up the latest from E.G. Radcliff, Mark Rosendorf, Martha Carr, and more. Enjoy your new science fiction and fantasy books. Happy reading!


Fantasy


Science Fiction


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New Young Adult Books to Read | August 11

Are you an avid reader of Young Adult books? This week you are in luck! With all of these new novels, you’re bound to find a new favorite book to add to your reading list. This week includes new novels from bestselling authors Shveta Thakrar, Raquel Vazquez Gilliland, Taran Matharu, and many more. Enjoy your new young adult books. Happy reading!



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New Biography and Memoir Books to Read | August 11

Looking for some new biography and memoir books for your library? There are so many new releases this week that you’re bound to find a new favorite. You can pick up new books from Omid Scobie, Susan Eisenhower, Ariel Sabar, and more. Enjoy your new biography and memoir books. Happy reading!



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MIDNIGHT SUN (The Twilight Saga #5) by STEPHENIE MEYER

5 'it was worth EVERY cent' stars

“Do you swear you won’t leave me?” she whispered.
I took her face in my hands again, let the consuming love I felt for her fill my eyes, and lied with all the experience of a hundred years of daily deception
“I swear.”

Like everyone else, we have been waiting and hoping that Midnight Sun would one day land in our eager hands after all the debacle. It’s only been like FOREVER and we worried the day would never get here. And then it did, and FOREVER was worth it. Oh was it worth it! Midnight Sun was everything we could have wished for and more, it was beyond what we could’ve dreamed of or even expected. 

Edward, our first vampire love, brought all the feelings back that we experienced the first time around, but it was like falling in love all over again, falling in love with someone new. Do not go into Midnight Sun thinking it will be akin to a re-read, it is not a copy-paste or just a story rewritten. Yes, it is fundamentally Twilight, but moreover, it’s Edward’s story and the story of the Cullen’s; Carlisle, Esme, Alice, Jasper, Rosalie and Emmet.

Read more here:
MIDNIGHT SUN (The Twilight Saga #5) by STEPHENIE MEYER