Presidents’ Day, 2018

Since the beginning of the year, each Monday I’ve posted a recipe of a meal from our family table. Not today, though. I’ve been trying to continue on with life as usual since Wednesday. Have been trying to carry on while batting the thoughts and fears and tears to the side like they’re nothing but angry flies. The flies are too close, though. The flies are a plague. Today two things weigh on my mind, and they’re what have stopped me in my tracks: a) new knowledge of what, exactly, bullets from an AR-15 do to a human body and b) this poem, shared by writer Kathleen Donohoe, which was written in May 1974 after a firefighter pulled a dead child from the rubble of bombings in Dublin. Each, unfortunately, is not independent of the other. Read the poem a couple of times. Focus especially on the last stanza. Maybe next Monday some of us will be continue to pretend that life goes on as comfortably as always, and maybe I’ll be lucky enough to post another recipe that my kids may or may not like and that you…

Just Five Questions with Kathleen Barber

Let’s meet Kathleen Barber, author of the psychological thriller Are You Sleeping: she was raised in Galesburg, Illinois. She graduated from the University of Illinois and Northwestern University School of Law, and previously practiced bankruptcy law at large firms in Chicago and New York. When she’s not writing, Kathleen enjoys traveling the world with her husband. A bit about her debut novel, Are You Sleeping: Serial meets Ruth Ware’s In A Dark, Dark Wood in this inventive and twisty psychological thriller about a mega-hit podcast that reopens a murder case—and threatens to unravel the carefully constructed life of the victim’s daughter. Josie Buhrman has spent the last ten years trying to escape her family’s reputation and with good reason. After her father’s murder thirteen years prior, her mother ran away to join a cult and her twin sister Lanie, once Josie’s closest friend and confidant, betrayed her in an unimaginable way. Now, Josie has finally put down roots in New York, settling into domestic life with her partner Caleb, and that’s where she intends to stay. The only problem is that she has lied to Caleb about every…

The Secret to Writing a Character (That You’d Want to Read)

I’m reading Saoirse’s copy of A Wrinkle in Time before we see the movie next month (that’s not an ad or anything–we just really want to see the movie). She passed it off to me with an, “It’s good, Mom. I think you’ll like it,” and she’s right. I’m not a big fan of fantasy books, children’s or otherwise, but with this one the characters have drawn me in. It’s always about the characters. Women’s fiction writers are big on character: character-driven stories are cherished over plot-driven, the emotional struggles explored more than the external ones. All the Difference was quite obviously this kind of story–those big cartoon engagement rings on the cover will tell you that–but what’s funny is that I never really read a lot of women’s fiction before I realized I was writing it. And it’s because, when I sat down to read, I was looking to escape to a character who–while possessing some qualities with which I could…