THE SPACE BETWEEN by Brenna Yovanoff


Laurie Forest

THE REBEL MAGES Official Nerd Blast

Sean Penn


Gregg Olsen

LYING NEXT TO ME Official Nerd Blast

Ashley Eckstein


AAlexandrea Weis

REALM Official Trailer Reveal

Kate A. Boorman


Kathleen Glasgow


Quinn Loftis


Anne Bishop


Lisa Edelstein


Josh Duhamel


William L. Myers Jr.


Seven Jane


Gareth Worthington


Tim Johnston


Saturday, April 20, 2019

Queen of the Sea by Dylan Meconis

Age Range: 10 - 14 years
Grade Level: 5 - 9
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Walker Books US (June 25, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1536204986
ISBN-13: 978-1536204988


The art, reminiscent of Raina Telgemeier’s style, creates levity during perilous situations. The book is dense with dialogue, often feeling more like a work of prose than a graphic novel. As a result, this complex work will be more accessible to those familiar with graphic novels…Certain to charm sophisticated graphic novel devotees. —School Library Journal (starred review)

Meconis offers an atmospheric alternate history inspired by the childhood and succession of Queen Elizabeth I in this quietly ambitious graphic novel…Art in soft, earthy colors brings this singular story to life in styles ranging from simple line drawings to elaborately styled text illuminations. The island world is richly developed, both in its physical particulars and its close-knit community (fascinating digressions into topics such as convent time, hand gestures used at table, and chess and embroidery flesh out daily life), and Margaret proves herself an endearing heroine with a strong voice full of humor and wonder. Her perspective transforms a storm-wracked rock into a vibrant world of hidden treasures. —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Meconis’ humor and storytelling gifts here wed seamlessly with her evocative pen-and-ink and gouache illustrations, which are rendered in warm earth and sea tones and brim with movement, expressively capturing even Margaret’s interior monologues. With its compelling, complex characters and intrigue-laden plot, this will have readers hoping it’s only the first of many adventures for Meconis’ savvy heroine. —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Weaving faith, love, statecraft, and self-discovery into a tale of palace intrigue relocated to the halls of a convent on a remote island at sea, Dylan Meconis uses the trappings of the history we know to create a high-stakes adventure in an alternate past that feels so detailed and so familiar, you’ll find yourself wondering why you never read about it in school. This beautiful book swept me away from the first page.” —Kate Milford, author of the Greenglass House series

“Dylan Meconis is at the absolute top of her game. A gorgeously rendered, lovingly realized alternate history, full of personal revelations in the midst of political intrigue. A tale of growing up, and of understanding that the world is larger and stranger than it once seemed. (Plus it has a Terrible Recipe for Terrible Gruel.)” —Ben Hatke, author-illustrator of the Zita the Spacegirl series

“This is the book I was always trying to get my hands on in high school that never seemed to materialize. An adventure to lose yourself in, with an attention to historical detail to please the nerdiest among us. I fell easily and completely into this world and its characters, knowing I was safe in Dylan Meconis’s hands, and I’m really excited for more people to find out what I’ve known for a long time—that she is one of a kind.” —Kate Beaton, author-illustrator of Hark! A Vagrant

Cult graphic novelist Dylan Meconis offers a rich reimagining of history in this hybrid novel loosely based on the exile of Queen Elizabeth I by her sister, Queen Mary.

When her sister seizes the throne, Queen Eleanor of Albion is banished to a tiny island off the coast of her kingdom, where the nuns of the convent spend their days peacefully praying, sewing, and gardening. But the island is also home to Margaret, a mysterious young orphan girl whose life is upturned when the cold, regal stranger arrives. As Margaret grows closer to Eleanor, she grapples with the revelation of the island’s sinister true purpose as well as the truth of her own past. When Eleanor’s life is threatened, Margaret is faced with a perilous choice between helping Eleanor and protecting herself.

You can purchase Queen of the Sea at the following Retailers:

Photo Content from Dylan Meconis

I’ve been writing and illustrating my own stories since the first grade, and I’ve been making comic books since middle school (no, really! Seventh grade was a tough year for me socially, so I had a lot of time to draw). I started my first book-length comic (graphic novel) in high school.

Unlike a lot of people who become professional artists and authors, I didn’t go to art school or a creative writing program in college. Instead, I mostly studied history, literature, philosophy, and French in the College of Letters at Wesleyan University. This means I have a brain full of weird facts, old books, strange art, and the extremely useful ability to read The Tales of Canterbury in the original Middle English. Except for the Middle English bit, it’s all come in very handy for writing and drawing historical fiction and fantasy.

I first started to get paid for making comics when I was still in college, when my first graphic novel was published online. After college, I worked as a graphic designer and visual communications consultant (which means “person who helps teach adults complicated stuff in cool new ways using pictures”). I’ve worked with Fortune 500 companies, global charities, technology companies, libraries, and a lot of other interesting organizations. I’ve made illustrations, animations, information graphics and cool presentations, explaining everything from how microchips work to the ways that clean drinking water can help communities in the third world.

For the last ten years, though, I mostly work as a writer, comic book creator and illustrator! Sometimes I make books totally by myself, and sometimes I get to team up with other writers or artists. It can be lots of fun, but it can also be very hard work. Luckily, I never get tired of making new stories.


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Thursday, April 18, 2019

Laura Kalpakian Author Interview

Photo Credit: © Jolene Hanson

Laura Kalpakian has won a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, the Pacific Northwest Booksellers’ Award, the Anahid Award for an American writer of Armenian descent, the PEN West Award, and the Stand International Short Fiction Competition. She has had residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Montalvo Center for the Arts, and Hawthornden Castle in Scotland. She is the author of multiple novels and over a hundred stories published in collections, anthologies, literary journals and magazines in the U.S. and the U.K. A native of California, Laura lives in the Pacific Northwest.


What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?
Diet and exercise, regular hours, ha ha ha. Coffee and alcohol, of course.

Can you tell us when you started THE GREAT PRETENDERS, how that came about?
I had published a novel in the UK called Three Strange Angels set in Britain in the 1950's with a minor character, a Hollywood brat who became an agent. I began to think about all the perils that would have surrounded her during the Blacklist Era. As I began reading, I saw that time, 1947–1960, as a unique historical crossroads: the blacklist, the beginning of the civil rights movement, and the advent of television. I created characters who responded dramatically to all these challenges. I grew up in Southern California so I well remember the light, the atmosphere, and of course, the beach. I also infused the novel with my own love of movies and music.

What do you hope for people to be thinking after they read your novel?
“Oh! What happens next? I wish this book would go on and on! I love these characters and I want to follow their complex lives.”

What chapter was the most memorable to write and why?
The most fun: the sparkling 1955 premiere party for Banner Headline. I love writing crowd scenes, and so I got to revel in the glamour. I also used the party to convey in a dramatic fashion how deep were the inroads that television had made on the entertainment business. (Much like the way that streaming has upended theatre-going in the last few years.)

The most difficult: where Roxanne and Terrence meet, that ride from the San Fernando Valley to the city. Their dialogue had to crackle with sexual tension, racial tension, driving tension (he speeds on curves) to say nothing of their oddly linked pasts. I wrote that drive ten thousand times,

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
Strong verbs. Crisp nouns. Few pronouns. No “it.”

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Roxanne and Terrence?
In researching a place for Roxanne’s childhood home I read that Charlie Chaplin and Fred Astaire were neighbors on Summit Drive. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have them for neighbors! So that’s where I put her home.

In researching Terrence’s past I was dazzled to read about Jefferson High School in South Central LA. Dr. Samuel Browne’s music program there turned out more great jazz musicians than any other school in the history of the world. Terrence might have been a student with one of the founders of The Platters, the group that made “The Great Pretender” a 1954 hit. The theatre at that high school is named after Dr. Browne.

What book would you recommend for others to read?
Anyone who wants to understand the Blacklist Era—how and why it started, who was ruined, how deep were the incursions into personal liberties, and how long-lasting the effect on the film industry—should start with Victor Navasky’s Pulitzer Prize winning classic, Naming Names.

What would I find in your refrigerator right now?
Depends on where you look. I advise against the vegetable drawer.

What was your favorite sitcom growing up?
The Simpsons, that was our favorite sitcom when my kids were growing up.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
In the 4th grade I told my teacher I was going to write books, and asked if he would please draw the pictures. He said yes. I told my mother I was going to write books and would she please type them for me. She said yes. It was a long, jagged, roundabout road from there.

Can you define love in your own way?
I like Terrence’s line in The Great Pretenders: “Loving someone, it’s like you dance along this fine, smooth, paved road, and then, oh shit, you stumble, you fall into a pothole, and the person you love helps you out, and you’re both the stronger for it. And if you’re not stronger for it--the both of you--then you might as well pull up your pants and go home.”

#1 “My name is Roxanne Granville and I have more panache in my little finger than you have sperm count in your left testicle. I’m open for business. I’ll read your work. If it’s any good, I’ll represent you. I’ll find you work. I can’t promise Paramount or MGM, or even Empire or Paragon, but I can promise I will work for you, and I’ll take ten percent of everything you make from here to eternity.”

#2 “It’s hard in this business for a woman to deal effectively with men, and to remain a lady.”
“Remaining a lady is not a priority for me,”I replied. “Where is it written in stone that just because women have ovaries, we have no balls?”

#3 Hollywood is like a huge hothouse, steamy and enclosed. Everyone’s lives and loves, their fortunes, their so-called sacred honor, their sins, their failings, their bad judgments, their bad breath, their bad debts are like the steam that rises. To live and work here is to know that fame, money, reputation, friendship, even love and marriage are conditional, flimsy and often for effect. No one is invincible. The film business is like the house of straw where everything can be blown away with one foul gust.

#4 I pulled the scripts from their envelopes, and grabbed handfuls of pages, ripped them from their little pronged paper holders, and flung the over the chain link fence into the Los Angeles River. The pages blew and danced in the wind, falling along the concrete slopes where they rolled beside the brown seam of dirty water. I felt a fresh crack of energy with each handful I tossed aloft, a thrill of vindication or vengeance, or some emotion I did not quite recognize, to think of all these words that no one would ever read. All these lines no one would ever speak. All these scenes that would never see film. All that gone with the wind. As they say.

#5 I was enthralled there in the rowdy company of writers who would scribble, debate, cast, pour another drink, flip the pages on their pads, and start all over again. Their talk was salty, often raucous. These men were free-wheeling story tellers, and funny as hell. Their fingers were stained blue with ink and brown with nicotine, but they proved to me, even then, and I was just a kid, that work and joy could be synonymous.

#6 “Loving someone, it’s like you dance along this fine, smooth, paved road, and then, oh shit, you stumble, you fall into a pothole, and the person you love helps you out, and you’re both the stronger for it. And if you’re not stronger for it--the both of you--then you might as well pull up your pants and go home.”

#7 A darkened theatre was our favorite place on earth. We believed that theatres were a place of worship where magic washed over us, a world heightened, made brilliant with music, and with action and romance where all the sounds are crisp, and all the words are meaningful, and all the endings are happy or poignant, and you walk out bathed in emotions you didn’t have to suffer for, or struggle for, or take any risks to feel so wonderfully enhanced. A gift. In any theatre the false opulence, plush carpets, stale air, and palliative darkness combine to create a sacred space. A place of solace, hushed and holy. I recognized this same consecrated ambience the first time I walked into Notre-Dame in Paris, except that Notre-Dame did not have stale air, and the stories glowing in the stained glass windows were not nearly as exciting as the coming attractions.

#8 Errant, uninspired raindrops descend, enough that women pull their mink stoles closer, and many people look up, surprised. In this vast sea of celebrity—the stars who glitter in the cinematic heavens and the producers, directors and studio heads who make their lives hell—no one believes there can be rain unless the director says, Cue the thunder.

#9 “The picture business is not for people with touchy pride or impeccable taste, it’s not for weaklings, or people who want tidy lives. There’s no eight-to-five, clock out, and go home. You have to live, breathe, eat and sleep movies, so that even in your dreams you hear the wheels, the gears and sprockets of the cameras and editing machines and the whirr of projectors as the film threads through it. You’re one of those people.”

#10 And yet I had escaped being unloved, and that escape seemed to me suddenly miraculous, and I saw my life strangely, as if I had somehow survived a shipwreck that had cast others into the loveless deep.

The daughter of Hollywood royalty, Roxanne Granville is used to getting what she wants--even if she has to break the rules. But after a falling-out with her grandfather, a powerful movie mogul, she has to face life on her own for the first time....

Roxanne forges a career unique for women in the 1950s, becoming an agent for hungry young screenwriters. She struggles to be taken seriously by the men who rule Hollywood and who often assume that sexual favors are just a part of doing business. When she sells a script by a blacklisted writer under the name of a willing front man, more exiled writers seek her help. Roxanne wades into a world murky with duplicity and deception, and she can't afford any more risks.

Then she meets Terrence Dexter, a compelling African American journalist unlike anyone she's ever known. Roxanne again breaks the rules, and is quickly swept up in a passionate relationship with very real dangers that could destroy everything she's carefully built.

Roxanne Granville is a woman who bravely defies convention. She won't let men make all the rules, and won't let skin color determine whom she can love. The Great Pretenders is a riveting, emotional novel that resonates in today's world, and reminds us that some things are worth fighting for.


"What a good book! Engagingly readable, full of Golden Age of Hollywood glitz--and a wonderful story of idealism, courage and the price of love. Enjoyed every page!" —Diana Gabaldon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Outlander

"In her riveting new novel, Laura Kalpakian has given us a heroine to cheer for in this juicy tale of Hollywood. Roxanne Granville’s journey from diffident daughter of privilege to boundary-shattering career woman who takes on both the Hollywood blacklist and the racial prejudices of the early Civil Rights era is breathtaking and moving, even epic.” —Melanie Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Girls in the Picture

“This empowering historical fiction novel reminds women everywhere that they’re capable of anything they put their minds to.” —Brit & Co

“Brave and confident, [Roxanne] refuses to let men make all the rules.” —She Reads

"Both a wild romp through glittering 1950s Hollywood, and a poignant journey of love and courage in the blacklist-era of the silver screen. I was swept away by the passionate story and whip-smart writing. Laura Kalpakian's clever prose introduces us to a vibrant woman we can admire--a woman both brave and vulnerable. After one fearless choice, her life seems to careen toward certain wreckage, yet Roxanne is there to show us that integrity and love are the conquering powers. Deeply moving, intelligent and charming, this is a story to savor. " —Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author of The Bookshop at Water’s End

"A fascinating journey into the intrigues and hypocrisies of 1950s Hollywood, coupled with an indomitable heroine who dares to shatter the rules. Exciting, fast-paced, and revelatory.” —C.W. Gortner, author of The Romanov Empress

"Set against the glitter of Hollywood during the McCarthy era, one courageous woman, forced to start anew, reinvents herself as an agent and ends up selling blacklisted scripts. The screenwriters she represents are every bit as forbidden as the African American man she falls in love with. Kalpakian has written a timely story that deftly deals with racism and the fight for justice. The Great Pretenders is poignant, touching and often filled with laugh-out-loud wit.” —Renée Rosen, author of Park Avenue Summer

You can purchase The Great Pretenders at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you LAURA KALPAKIAN for making this giveaway possible.
Winner will receive a The Great Pretenders by Laura Kalpakian.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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{Nerd Blast} How to Make Friends with the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow

Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press (April 9, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1101934751
ISBN-13: 978-1101934753


“A rare and powerful novel, How to Make Friends with the Dark dives deep into the heart of grief and healing with honesty, empathy, and grace.” —Karen M. McManus, New York Times bestselling author of One of Us Is Lying and Two Can Keep a Secret

“In this raw, powerful, and heartbreaking meditation on loss and grief, Glasgow writes with unflinching beauty. We meet Tiger Tolliver at her most broken—at her darkest moment—and yet, somehow, How to Make Friends with the Dark teaches us how to let the light in. ” —Julie Buxbaum, New York Times bestselling author of Tell Me Three Things

“How to Make Friends with the Dark is breathtaking and heartbreaking, and I loved it with all my heart. It’s for all of us who have loved and lost and need to find our power again.” —Jennifer Niven, New York Times bestselling author of All the Bright Places and Holding Up the Universe

“A bold, fearlessly crafted story of loss and love. Kathleen Glasgow’s prose commands the page with its trademark beauty and grace, and Tiger Tolliver is a character readers will root for every step of the way—and won’t soon forget.” —Courtney Summers, New York Times bestselling author of Sadie

“Kathleen Glasgow is the rare type of skilled storyteller that knows you have to hurt your characters before putting them back together. I loved every word of this lyrical and devastating novel.” —Kara Thomas, author of The Cheerleaders

“Gripping, powerful, and full of truth—an emotional level many novelists strive to reach, but few achieve.” —Kami Garcia, #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor of Beautiful Creatures and author of Broken Beautiful Hearts

“A visceral, gut-wrenching, and heartbreaking take on the grieving process. I cried within the first fifty pages. You’ll want to hug Tiger and never let her go. Kathleen has done it again!” —Tiffany Jackson, author of Allegedly and Monday’s Not Coming

“Magnificent. A beautiful, heartbreaking alleluia to survival.” —Brendan Kiely, New York Times bestselling author of All American Boys and Tradition

“A book as fierce, tender, and rare as its aptly named heroine, Tiger. How to Make Friends with the Dark is a gorgeously nuanced meditation on grief and family, and the incredible love that can pull you through the darkest of times.” —Meg Leder, author of Letting Go of Gravity

“Beautifully written and profoundly moving. From page one, Tiger Tolliver grabs your heart with her pain, her courage, her humor—and she doesn’t let go. Tiger, Cake, and Thaddeus (and Mae-Lynn, and Shayna, and Lupe, and LaLa, and Sarah, and Leonard, and June . . . all of Glasgow’s deeply wrought characters) will stay with me for a long time to come.” —Alyssa Sheinmel, New York Times bestselling author of A Danger to Herself and Others

“Tiger Tolliver is so vulnerable and real, you’ll want to turn your porch light on and have the spare room ready for her. In How to Make Friends with the Dark, Kathleen Glasgow’s prose begs and pleads and grasps at the light, like a prayer.” —Lygia Day Peñaflor, author of All of This Is True and Unscripted Joss Byrd

“Lyrical, devastating, witty and raw—this is Kathleen Glasgow at her best. Her fans will not be disappointed to fall in love with Tiger Tolliver, no matter how much she breaks their hearts.” —Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock, author of The Smell of Other People’s Houses

“This story hauls you into its heart to live the pain in all its careening, messy, and miraculous glory. A brilliant, honest, raw look at what it really means to lose someone essential and make grudging peace with what is gained in the exchange. You will never forget Tiger Tolliver. Not ever.” —Estelle Laure, author of But Then I Came Back and This Raging Light

“Visceral and traumatic, pulsing with ache,…[this novel is] a gritty, raw account of surviving tragedy one minute at a time.” —Kirkus Reviews

“[A] standout….Tiger’s distinctive, haunting voice will be hard to forget.” —Booklist


This is a Nerd Blast, you will post the promotional info we provide you with, including the giveaway. No reviews required. Please mark your Calendar.

Here is what happens when your mother dies.

It’s the brightest day of summer and it’s dark outside. It’s dark in your house, dark in your room, and dark in your heart. You feel like the darkness is going to split you apart.

That’s how it feels for Tiger. It’s always been Tiger and her mother against the world. Then, on a day like any other, Tiger’s mother dies. And now it’s Tiger, alone.

Here is how you learn to make friends with the dark.

You can purchase How to Make Friends with the Dark at the following Retailers:

Photo Content from Kathleen Glasgow

Kathleen Glasgow is the author of the New York Times best-selling novel, Girl in Pieces. She lives in Arizona. Her second young adult novel, How to Make Friends With the Dark, will be published by Delacorte/Random House 4/9/19.

Girl in Pieces has been named to best of lists by The New York Public Library, Amazon, TAYSHA, Goop, TeenVogue, BN Teen, Refinery29,, TeenReads, and more.

Girl in Pieces has been published in 24 countries.

Girl in Pieces was longlisted for the Waterstones Book Prize and the CILIP Carnegie Medal.

Girl in Pieces was a finalist for the Amelia Walden Book Award, an Amelia Bloomer Project selection, and a Target Club Book pick. The Target edition contains extras and a special letter to the reader. Order here.


*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

|Podcast| The Current - Tim Johnston

Photo Credit: Christine Beane

Tim Johnston is the author of the novels Descent and The Current (Jan 22, 2019), the story collection Irish Girl, and the Young Adult novel Never So Green. Published in 2009, the stories of Irish Girl won an O. Henry Prize, the New Letters Award for Writers, and the Gival Press Short Story Award, while the collection itself won the 2009 Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction. Tim’s stories have also appeared in New England Review, New Letters, The Iowa Review, The Missouri Review, Double Take, Best Life Magazine, and Narrative Magazine, among others. He holds degrees from the University of Iowa and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In 2011-12 he was the Jenny McKean Moore Writer-in-Washington Fellow at The George Washington University, and he is the recipient of the 2015 Iowa Author Award. Tim currently lives in Iowa City, Iowa.

JBN Podcast   JBN Podcast
Praise for THE CURRENT

“Gripping as it is, Johnston’s masterful novel is worth lingering over—it soars above the constraints of a traditional thriller and pulls you deep into the secrets of a grief-stricken town.” —People

“Johnston dazzled with his breakout thriller, Descent; his follow-up is a more ambitious page-turner, unpacking how a shocking murder impacts the denizens of a small Minnesota town as they weather suspicion, guilt, and grief.” —Entertainment Weekly (The 50 Most Anticipated Books of 2019)

“Tim Johnston’s second novel, The Current, is even better than his first, which is saying something. He’s a terrific writer and definitely a name to watch.” —Dennis Lehane, author of Since We Fell

“Johnston writes in gracefully exact language with genuine heart . . . reminiscent of writers like Annie Proulx and Richard Bausch.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Tim Johnston’s gripping second novel is much more than a skillfully constructed, beautifully written whodunit. It’s a subtle and lyrical acclamation of the heart and spirit of small-town America. The Current is not your conventional, frenetically paced page-turner, although it smolders with a brooding, slow-burn tension that nudges the reader forward, catching you up in the lives of the troubled solitaries at the book’s core.” —Washington Independent Review of Books

“Pick up Tim Johnston's suspenseful novel The Current and you risk finding yourself glued to your chair, eyes to the pages, no thought of attending to daily obligations. Johnston's elegant, cinematic style takes us into the characters' lives and history, problems and concerns. The book examines that horrifying moment when everything changes, the before and after when love, friendship, hopes and trust turn into dread, guilt, blame and grief.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Tim Johnston’s new novel, The Current, is an exceptional tale of suspicion and secrets—and a strong follow-up to his excellent 2015 book, Descent.” —Cedar Rapids Gazette

“The author of Descent, returns with a tour de force about the indelible impact of a crime on the lives of innocent people.” —The Wichita Eagle

“[An involving and layered thriller . . . Johnston’s prose is so lyrical you want to stop and read it again.” —St. Paul Pioneer Press

“With The Current, Johnston presents readers with another slate of unforgettable characters.” —The Missourian

“Along with his poetic style, the author’s acknowledgement of the complicated nuances inherent in friendship, family and love, especially the love of a parent for a child, elevate this tale to literary fiction.” —The Columbus Dispatch

“With unhurried ease The Current carries us along, mirroring that fatal river, as clear as winter ice on the surface while beneath flowing darkly into the past.” —The Barnes and Noble Review

“Seriously suspenseful.” —HelloGiggles

“This novel is careful layer upon careful layer, as deceptively thick yet brutally delicate as winter ice itself. Johnston's descriptions of people, places, grief, and loneliness are subtle and evocative; the minor plot about an aging dog becomes a rending portrait of the ravages of love. Indeed, for all its harsh observations about human nature, this novel has at its heart a strong belief that love, for all the pain it brings, is the one thing that truly saves us. An apt title that functions as a beautiful metaphor for all the secrets and emotions roiling beneath the surface of every human life.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“[An] outstanding thriller . . . Johnston imbues each character with believable motives. The nuanced plot delves deep into how a community—and surviving relatives—deal with the aftermath of a death.” —Publishers Weekly (starred)

“Tim Johnston’s Descent, a complex missing-person thriller set in the shadowy wilderness of the Rocky Mountains, was one of 2015’s most pleasant surprises. His follow-up, The Current, is equally, if not more, impressive . . . as methodical as Johnston is at unwrapping his carefully plotted story, readers will churn throughThe Current's 400 pages—a paradox that only the most accomplished mystery writers ever achieve. The only complaint is that we might have to wait another three years for his next one.” —Amazon Book Review (Best Book of the Month)

“The Current is a rare creature: a gripping thriller and page turner but also a masterwork of mood and language. You’ll want to go fast at the same time you’ll be compelled to savor each and every word.” —Ivy Pochoda, author of Wonder Valley

"Tim Johnston is the best thing to come along in crime fiction in years. With Descent and The Current he has already established himself as one of the best writers in the game, with an original voice that calls to mind the likes of Cormac McCarthy and Dennis Lehane but is entirely his own. With its beautiful prose, deeply emotional storytelling, and craftsman's eye for detail, The Current made me want to read slower, and write better." —Michael Koryta, New York Times bestselling author of How It Happened

“I would have taken a break long before 2:00 a.m. last night were it not for Johnston’s masterly ability to rummage inside the heads of his various characters, revealing the frayed fabric of small-town life in the process and showing us the stand-up grit of a handful of women and men . . . We need a little hyperbole if we’re going to adequately describe how much we love a Tim Johnston novel.” —Bill Ott, Booklist

“Johnson plots out intricate story lines—his character development is thorough and intensive . . . what an invigorating read!” —Dayton Daily News

“The Current is moody, layered crime fiction at its finest; you’ll be tempted to tear through the pages, but, slow down. The lyrical language is worth lingering over.” —The Augusta Chronicle

“Tim Johnston has given us the gold standard of lush narrative description—captivating, mesmerizing, stunning. It's doubtful you'll ever read a more beautifully written book than The Current.” —The New York Journal of Books

“The Current is a haunting story . . . Johnston masterfully describes people, their grief, their guilt, and loneliness. He brings out both the brutal and loving sides of human nature. It is a real treat for those who love thrillers.” —The Washington Book Review

A Stunning New Novel from the Bestselling Author of Descent

Tim Johnston, whose 2015 national bestseller Descent was called “astonishing” by the Washington Post and “unforgettable” by the Miami Herald, returns with another tour de force about the indelible impact of acrime on the lives of innocent people.

When two young women leave their college campus in the dead of winter for a 700-mile drive north to Minnesota, they suddenly find themselves fighting for their lives in the icy waters of the Black Root River, just miles from home. One girl’s survival, and the other’s death—murder, actually—stun the citizens of a small Minnesota town, thawing memories of another young woman who lost her life in the same river ten years earlier, and whose killer may yet live among them. One father is forced to relive his agony while another’s greatest desire—to bring a killer to justice—is revitalized . . . and the girl who survived the icy plunge cannot escape the sense that she is connected to that earlier unsolved case by more than a river. Soon enough she’s caught up in an investigation of her own that will unearth long-hidden secrets, and stoke the violence that has long simmered just below the surface of the town. Souls frozen in time, ghosts and demons, the accused and the guilty, all stir to life in this cold northern place where memories, like treachery, run just beneath the ice, and where a young woman can come home but still not be safe.

Brilliantly plotted, unrelentingly suspenseful, and beautifully realized, The Current is a gripping page-turner about how the past holds the key to the future as well as an unbreakable grip on the present.
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Guest Post with W.H. Doyle

Photo Content from W.H. Doyle

Author Bill Doyle was born in Michigan, and wrote his first mystery at the age of eight. He has gone on to write critically acclaimed and bestselling children's books, including stories of real-life war heroes in "Behind Enemy Lines: True Stories of Amazing Courage"; the pick-your-own-adventure "Worst Case Scenario Ultimate Adventure: Everest"; the historical fiction mystery series Crime Through Time; the Henry & Keats series including "Attack of the Shark-Headed Zombie"; the Scream Team series about Bad News Bears-type monsters playing sports; and soon-to-be released series "The Prizewinners of Piedmont Place."

Additionally, Bill has served as editor at Sesame Workshop, TIME for Kids and SI Kids. He's written for LeapFrog, Weekly Reader, Rolling Stone, Comedy Central, National Geographic Kids, and the American Museum of Natural History. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and holds an MFA in Dramatic Writing from the film school at New York University where he was taught by the likes of Arthur Miller and David Mamet.

Bill lives with two dachshund-headed canines in New York City, and you can visit him online at

Age Range: 12 and up 
Grade Level: 7 - 9
Series: Tudor Rose
Paperback: 268 pages
Publisher: Month9Books (April 9, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1946700673

W.H. Doyle has been writing best-selling books for younger readers with major publishers under the name Bill Doyle. His has written for Rolling Stone, edited several magazines, created interactive experiences for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and developed critically-acclaimed digital storybooks. He lives in New York City.

Oh! This “deleted scene” request dredges up some tricky memories for me…and I love it. The scene below was the original start of TUDOR ROSE. In it, I begin with the POV of a supporting character, Aunt Clemence, and then after a transitional space, I switch to the POV of one of the three main characters, Sybille. I thought it’d be kind of cool to have a more universal view of the world coming from one of the side characters…a way of getting across exposition in a less obvious way. But my editor at Month9Books convinced me that early head-hopping in a book isn’t clarifying, it’s dizzying. She was 100 percent right. I recast the scene—and the entire chapter—as being from the POV of the main-est of my main characters, Rose…and it’s so much better. 

“If ever there’s a perfect day for a purity examination,” Aunt Clemence thought cheerily, “it would have to be today.”

The sun was making its first appearance in weeks, the orchards were dotted with the bright colors of autumn, and the violent storms of the past month appeared banished from their little corner of England. Aunt Clemence knew she’d been right to turn her niece’s examination into a banquet of sorts. What a spectacular day to show off her London connections—and her position as the town’s most powerful widow!

Then again, she realized, the weather didn’t much matter. The citizens of Gordonsrod would brave a typhoon for free wine—even if it was the cheapest she could buy. And the thirsty townsfolk didn’t disappoint. Forty strong, they flocked to her one-story house in their Church-going best, squeezing around her parlor table where servants had strewn week-old sweetmeats and pigeon pies. 

As the guests mingled and laughed and drank, Aunt Clemence decided she was probably the wittiest creature alive, flitting about the room like the most clever of girls. True, she was fifty and required a cane to walk and support her immense weight. But she was sure no one noticed that—or the canker that had sprouted on her lip. Her neighbors were certainly too busy jealously admiring her as she hobnobbed with London aristocracy.

Yes, if you asked Aunt Clemence the day really was going perfectly.

Of course, if you asked her niece Sybille Maydestone, the girl who’d soon be prodded to determine the status of her virginity, you’d get a very different answer.

In 16th-century England, two teenage best friends find themselves on an exciting journey from the country to the Queen’s court in the hope of being named ladies-in-waiting. But Sybille and Rose soon discover they aren’t the only girls who have their sights set on attending Her Majesty. The girls must compete against worldly and cunning opponents, among them mean-girl Avis and her entourage of back-stabbing co-horts, tipping the balance in their already-tenuous friendship.

Soon, the grand hall is more like the hallway of a prestigious finishing school, with girls fighting for the attention of a dashing, young earl, amid parties fueled by drinking and indiscriminate relations. As the tension between Sybille and Avis heats up, the focus on Rose wanes, allowing her to turn her attention to more important matters – like getting close enough to the Queen to learn her secrets.

But being close to the Queen is not without its challenges. And when rumors of Rose’s influence make their way around the castle, no one, not even the Queen, will be safe.

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