Author Stories Weekly Recap Feb 9 Edition

This week has been a great week for author interviews. I am a big believer in studying the creative process from all sorts of people and authors from every genre. Check out some of these amazing authors and hear their stories and thoughts on story craft and the art of storytelling from the week of February 5-9, 2018.

This week’s author interviews

Monday my guest was Tom Sweterlitsch talking about his new book The Gone World

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In THE GONE WORLD, Sweterlitsch takes us on an inventive ride that is at once an audacious work of speculative fiction, a gripping murder mystery, a novel of ideas, a pulse-pounding techno-thriller, and a moving human drama featuring a brilliant and complex heroine.

It is 1997, and the United States Navy has developed technology to enable exploration of the farthest reaches of space and time in a covert program called Deep Waters. On a mission, the spaceship U.S.S. Libra has inadvertently revealed an event known as the Terminus—the cataclysmic end of humanity, which is hurtling through time, closer and closer to the present. Now, the Navy has tasked a top-secret division of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) to stop the Terminus.

Meanwhile, in a small town in Pennsylvania, the family of a Navy SEAL called Patrick Mursult has been viciously murdered, and NCIS Special Agent Shannon Moss has been called in to investigate. Shannon has been hardened by her work and even gravely injured in the line of duty: after one life-threatening mission, she was left with one leg amputated above the knee. But this scene startles her. Beyond the horror of the crime, Shannon is unnerved by an uncanny coincidence: the murder scene is the home of her childhood best friend, who was herself murdered years earlier in a robbery. Shannon must put that aside to focus on solving the crime—and finding the SEAL’s missing teenage daughter.

But Shannon has not been assigned to this case merely to solve a murder and find a missing girl. Patrick Mursult was a crew member of the Libra, which was presumed lost after encountering the Terminus. As the case deepens, Shannon must travel to several different possible futures in order to gather information that she can use in the present, with regard to both the Mursult case and the Terminus. Fighting through the savage disorientation of time travel, Shannon follows a trail of violence and destruction to a single shocking incident aboard the Libra. To undo that foundational event and prevent the apocalypse drawing rapidly closer to the present, Shannon must enter the petrifying landscape of the Terminus, facing her own worst fears and drawing on every last ounce of strength available to her.


Tuesday’s guest was Chanel Cleeton talking about the amazing true story that inspired her new book Next Year In Havana.

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After the death of her beloved grandmother, a Cuban-American woman travels to Havana, where she discovers the roots of her identity–and unearths a family secret hidden since the revolution…

Havana, 1958. The daughter of a sugar baron, nineteen-year-old Elisa Perez is part of Cuba’s high society, where she is largely sheltered from the country’s growing political unrest–until she embarks on a clandestine affair with a passionate revolutionary…

Miami, 2017. Freelance writer Marisol Ferrera grew up hearing romantic stories of Cuba from her late grandmother Elisa, who was forced to flee with her family during the revolution. Elisa’s last wish was for Marisol to scatter her ashes in the country of her birth.

Arriving in Havana, Marisol comes face-to-face with the contrast of Cuba’s tropical, timeless beauty and its perilous political climate. When more family history comes to light and Marisol finds herself attracted to a man with secrets of his own, she’ll need the lessons of her grandmother’s past to help her understand the true meaning of courage.


Wednesday’s guest was Laksmi Pamuntjak, who joined me from Indonesia for an interview that now holds the Author Stories record for greatest distance from interviewer to interviewee.

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In this exhilarating culinary novel, a woman’s road trip through Indonesia becomes a discovery of friendship, self, and other rare delicacies.

Aruna is an epidemiologist dedicated to food and avian politics. One is heaven, the other earth. The two passions blend in unexpected ways when Aruna is asked to research a handful of isolated bird flu cases reported across Indonesia. While it’s put a crimp in her aunt’s West Java farm, and made her own confit de canard highly questionable, the investigation does provide an irresistible opportunity.

It’s the perfect excuse to get away from corrupt and corrosive Jakarta and explore the spices of the far-flung regions of the islands with her three friends: a celebrity chef, a globe-trotting “foodist,” and her coworker Farish.

From Medan to Surabaya, Palembang to Pontianak, Aruna and her friends have their fill of local cuisine. With every delicious dish, she discovers there’s so much more to food, politics, and friendship. Now, this liberating new perspective on her country—and on her life—will push her to pursue the things she’s only dreamed of doing.


Thursday I was joined by Matt Haig to talk about his incredibly inventive book How To Stop Time.

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“The first rule is that you don’t fall in love,’ he said… ‘There are other rules too, but that is the main one. No falling in love. No staying in love. No daydreaming of love. If you stick to this you will just about be okay.’”

“A quirky romcom dusted with philosophical observations….A delightfully witty…poignant novel.” —The Washington Post

Named one of the most anticipated books of 2018 by Entertainment WeeklyEsquire,HelloGiggles, and Bustle.

Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. Tom has lived history–performing with Shakespeare, exploring the high seas with Captain Cook, and sharing cocktails with Fitzgerald. Now, he just wants an ordinary life.

So Tom moves back his to London, his old home, to become a high school history teacher–the perfect job for someone who has witnessed the city’s history first hand. Better yet, a captivating French teacher at his school seems fascinated by him. But the Albatross Society, the secretive group which protects people like Tom, has one rule: Never fall in love. As painful memories of his past and the erratic behavior of the Society’s watchful leader threaten to derail his new life and romance, the one thing he can’t have just happens to be the one thing that might save him. Tom will have to decide once and for all whether to remain stuck in the past, or finally begin living in the present.

How to Stop Time tells a love story across the ages – and for the ages – about a man lost in time, the woman who could save him, and the lifetimes it can take to learn how to live. It is a bighearted, wildly original novel about losing and finding yourself, the inevitability of change, and how with enough time to learn, we just might find happiness.


We end the week with Elizabeth LaBan talking about her powerfully funny book Not Perfect.

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From Elizabeth LaBan, the acclaimed author of The Restaurant Critic’s Wife, comes a captivating and very funny novel about a wife and mother’s fall from grace, and why keeping up appearances is not her biggest secret.

Tabitha Brewer wakes up one morning to find her husband gone, leaving her no way to support herself and their two children, never mind their upscale Philadelphia lifestyle. She’d confess her situation to her friends—if it wasn’t for those dreadful words of warning in his goodbye note: “I’ll tell them what you did.”

Instead, she does her best to keep up appearances, even as months pass and she can barely put food on the table—much less replace a light bulb. While she looks for a job, she lives in fear that someone will see her stuffing toilet paper into her handbag or pinching basil from a neighbor’s window box.

Soon, blindsided by catastrophe, surprised by romance, and stunned by the kindness of a stranger, Tabitha realizes she can’t keep her secrets forever. Sooner or later, someone is bound to figure out that her life is far from perfect.

Thanks for listening. Please share this post with your friends and help spread the word about Author Stories.


Tune in next week for another packed roster of the best author interviews on the internet.

Find the full podcast archives here, and don’t forget to subscribe.

Hank Garner and the Author Stories Podcast


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