One of the most exciting aspects of having this blog is the opportunity to discover new writers. There are so many fabulous authors out there—it’s impossible to find all of them on your own, no matter how many times you visit the library, haunt your local bookstore, or follow the feeds of writers whose work you love.
Maddison Michaels’ debut novel, THE DEVILISH DUKE, is the very first book she actually finished writing—so it holds a special place in her heart. Beyond being prolific—she has a second book coming out later this year—Maddison’s got a unique perspective: She’s also a police officer who lives and works in Sydney, Australia.
Both in what I read and what I choose to write, I have a great weakness for troubled characters. They draw me in, they keep me guessing, they have me cheering for them. When I read an advance readers’ copy of Heather Ezell’s beautiful debut, NOTHING LEFT TO BURN, Brooks and Audrey’s story sucked me deep into the pages…and kept me there.
Fellow Pitch Wars mentor Laura Heffernan and I first met at the Romance Writers’ of America conference this past summer, when we sat next to each other at lunch and debated the relative merits of various desserts. We chatted a little bit about our books, and I remember being so curious about hers—a series inspired by a friend of hers who was on a reality TV show.
I had the privilege of meeting multitalented Renaissance man Charlie Lovett when my first novel came out, at the Bookmarks literary festival in Winston-Salem, NC. Since then, we’ve reconnected at Bookmarks’ fabulous new independent bookstore—where I had my very first reading for THE DREAM KEEPER’S DAUGHTER—as well as on Charlie’s podcast, The Writers’ Studio.
When Helene Dunbar described her newest book to me, I knew I wanted to have her on the blog. I mean, come on—a YA novel about a boy who disappears mysteriously and shows back up five years later, with all the messy complications you’d expect . . . what’s not to love?
When I read the blurb of ASLEEP FROM DAY, I was struck by some of the similarities between Margarita Montimore’s novel and my first book, THE MEMORY THIEF. Like one of my main characters in TMT, Margarita’s protagonist, Astrid, was hit by a car and woke up in the hospital, missing a crucial set of memories.
Writing a novel is a challenge, no matter how you slice it—but when English isn’t your first language (and it’s the language you choose to write in), that takes things to a whole new level. Debut author Elena Mikalsen grew up in the Ukraine and came to the U.S. as a refugee.
I’ve benefited in so many amazing ways from being a part of the Pitch Wars community…and one of them has been the chance to meet my incredible critique partner, Jessica Bayliss. She’s got so many exciting projects going on right now, including the release of her very first YA novella and the fact that she just sat on her first authors’ panel with none other than the legendary R.L. Stine. So, of course, I invited her on the blog to share the love.
Lauren Faulkenberry and Katie Rose Guest Pryal are authors and also the founders of Blue Crow Publishing, LLC, an independent press founded in 2016 with headquarters in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Full disclosure—Katie and I were in the same writing seminar for an entire semester in college, yet somehow didn’t formally meet until many years later, at Wildacres Retreat in the North Carolina mountains.