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Guest Writer ~ Anna Crowley Redding

Author Edition

 

Guest Writer, Author Anna Crowley Redding

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Happy Wednesday Book Friends! Not only are we halfway to the weekend, but it is Dear Mr. Hemingway Guest Writer day. Today, Author Anna Crowley Redding is on the blog and her letter to Mr. H. is quite magical. In case you didn’t know, Anna is the author of the YA book, Google It: A History in Google (Feiwel & Friends) and YA book, Elon Musk: A Mission to Save The World (Feiwel & Friends), which was named BEST STEM BOOK by the National Science Teacher Association for 2020. Her upcoming children’s book, Rescuing The Declaration of Independence (Harper Collins) has already received a glowing Kirkus Review. Before Anna began writing for children, she was an Emmy-Award winning (Yes, I said EMMY-AWARD 😯) investigative television reporter, anchor and journalist. Not only has she been recognized by the Associated Press for her reporting, but she was the recipient of multiple Edward R. Murrow awards. Impressive, right?

Though Anna loves her job as a children’s book author, her most beloved job in the whole world is being a mama to her two young boys and following in Jessica Fletcher’s footsteps (ie: Murder She Wrote) in her coastal Maine town. Only Anna has a lovely boyfriend us “marrieds” love to hear about (😂😂😂).

I know that you are going to enjoy getting to know Anna. And when it comes to her books, the proof is in the pudding!! I hope you adore Anna’s letter to Mr. H. I want to thank Anna from the bottom of my heart for contributing to this series. I am truly blessed to have her in my life (ummmm……forgot to mention that she is one of my close friends ❤️❤️).

Lots of Love,

Kelly

For more information, take a peek at her website!

P.S. Check out Anna accepting her Emmy-Award.




Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Write one true thing. That’s what you said. That’s how you said to start. And so if I’m being honest, I suffered through your books in junior high and high school. I craved independence and regularly slipped the ties to classics, to what was expected. It wasn’t until years and some trouble later, that I found myself living in Florence, Italy. Completely and absolutely in love with a place, a time, and all the magic it could hold.

And I would recount my tales to my stepdad on regular phone calls. And all of these conversations reminded him of something you’d written, during your own time in Europe, your own self-discovery in Paris and nearby, snowy mountains. It reminded him of your book, A Moveable Feast.  When I opened the cover of my copy, I found your truth and mine. And just as you, through your words, your writing, your thoughts, your presence in a Parisian cafe, just as you decided that you owned Paris and everything in it… well, in the same way, I owned Italy and everything in it. I owned every morsel of food, every sip of dark, creamy cappuccino, every rolled ‘’r’, even a kiss or two in the pouring rain in Piazza Signoria. Those tendrils, a deep love with a place and time, grew and wrapped themselves around my writing like a present, forever entwined.

And today… that moveable feast does not include a view of the Arno or a stroll across Ponte Vecchio. It’s more carpools, deadlines, little league sidelines, wild laughter with friends when we find time to sneak away from our responsibilities, and there was that kiss by the lighthouse hidden only by a blanket of fog! Things are more grown-up now (mostly) but all of it is still delicious–to be savored, and anchored with words.

It’s knowing that you are starring in your own story. It’s writing it down. It’s absorbing every bit of information about this world and your ever so slight, blink-and-it’s-gone life that you can muster. And it’s reading, reading to gather that moveable feast close. No, I cannot visit Gertrude Stein’s apartment as you did or hang out with James Joyce. But when I pick up a book…that’s how I gather a couple of female WWI spies around me. As the flames flicker behind me, they divulge every secret. It’s the sound of me saying “Yes, Girl, Yes!” As Bernadette descended into mid-life invisibility only to reinvent herself. It’s how I know the truth of fear, bravery, love, failure, loss, success, and boredom. Because these truths, whether written, lived, or read allow us to conduct our own moveable feast filled with just the perfect tales, toasts, and company for an afternoon by the fire.

Write one true thing.

I’ve got you, Mr. Hemingway. I’ve got you.

Anna

P.S. If you’d like to check out the tales of other risk-takers, and rule breakers, I’ve got two books out and more on the way.

Google It: A History of Google (Honestly, Mr. H. there is some lock picking, some almost naming the company Backrub, and other hijinks) and Elon Musk: A Mission to Save the World (You’ll relate to Elon’s unshakeable curiosity and drive) and then coming this April, a forgotten tale of a man who saved the words that built America. I’m talking about The Declaration of Independence, the original Constitution, and more. And then there’s the one about the man who fought to keep tomatoes out of his clam chowder! Chowder Rules! is hitting bookstores in October 2020.

Guest Writer~Lauren Layne

Author Edition

February 19, 2020

Dear Readers,

Happy Wednesday Everyone! Can you believe another week has gone by? Even though I wish time would slow down, I cannot wait for Guest Writer Wednesday each week. I am so excited to introduce you to today’s author, Lauren Layne!!!!! Lauren is literally the queen of romantic fiction and happily ever afters. She is a New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon Best Selling Author who has written over 30+ books 😮😮😮!! This stiletto loving girl has also been featured in Oprah Magazine, Publishers Weekly, Glamour, The Wall Street Journal, and Inside Edition. With over a million copies of her books sold and living in Manhattan with her husband (her high school sweetheart), Lauren is truly living her happily ever after. Her latest book series called The Central Park Pact Series (Gallery Books) includes Passion on Park Avenue, Love on Lexington Avenue, and Marriage on Madison Avenue. Guess what…..they are all out now. Go grab the series and start reading!

I hope you enjoy Lauren’s letter to Mr. H. She was so wonderful to me when I invited her to be a Guest Writer. Not only did she say yes to my invitation without hesitation, but she was lovely to chit chat with via email. If you venture onto her website, you will see that not only does Lauren write books, but she shares with her readers and fellow writers business tips, writing strategies, and how to be a minimalist in so many different domains. She is an absolute inspiration to us all. One of my favorite articles by Lauren is titled, Why I No Longer Use A Paper Planner. Though I haven’t made the jump to all digital yet, I am getting closer every day…I think. Anyway, a big shout out to this gorgeous author and all that she does. Many thanks, Lauren Layne!! You have made our day!!!!!

❤️❤️❤️❤️

Kelly

P.S. If you want to be inspired by Lauren even more, read about her journey from being an avid reader to the best selling author. This is what it’s about!

________________________________

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Some people have comfort foods. Or comfort socks. Or comfort blanket, candles, movies, that they’ll seek out when life seems to be nipping at their heels a little too aggressively. I, Mr. Hemingway, have comfort books. Specifically, comfort romances, because there is no feeling in the world like the reminder happily-ever-after can and does exist.

I have a handful of comfort reads—those books that I’ll crave when I’m tired or frustrated. But I reach for one book more than any other: It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleypas. It’s a Regency romance, and a favorite of mine, for all the reasons Regency is so delicious. The time-period has wonderful built-in conflict because there are so many rules. Who you can court. Who you can marry. How long a man and woman can be in the same room together. What it means for fingertips to brush without gloves. There are so many reasons for certain characters not to be together, that it’s all the more rewarding when they overcome those reasons.

Lillian and Marcus’s story captures all of that tension to perfection. She’s headstrong and inappropriate. He’s uptight and proper. She hates his stuffiness, he disdains her disregard for following rules. They set off sparks every time they come together on the page, but the incredibly skilled Kleypas knows exactly when to start layering in softer, more tender moments, allowing readers to feel along with Lillian and Marcus, the shift from being challengers to confidantes, from enemies to lovers.

Where It Happened One Autumn shines most is the more Lillian and Marcus get to know each other, the more sure we readers are that happily-ever-after will persist long after the end of the book. The controlling Marcus is so certain he wants a biddable wife, the headstrong Lillian so sure she wants a husband she can control, and it is such a delight when they realize that what they really want is someone who’s their equal. They challenge each other, they fight for and against each other, and fall deeply, irrevocably in love in the process.

If you love moments where your heart seems lodged in your throat, your stomach feels full of butterflies, your entire being full of longing, I’m confident you’ll enjoy this book as much as I do.

Yours in literature,

Lauren

P.S. Mr. Hemingway, if you’re at all interested in reading contemporary romance with this same push-pull tension, I think you may enjoy some of my own love stories, found here: Lauren Layne Books

Click here to purchase Where It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleypas

Guest Writer~Whitney Scharer

Author Edition

 

February 12, 2020

Dear Book Friends,

Happy Wednesday! I am thrilled to have Guest Writer Whitney Scharer on the blog today sharing one of her favorite books. Whitney’s debut historical fiction novel, The Age of Light (Little, Brown & Company), follows real-life Lee Miller, Vogue model turned renowned photographer/war correspondent. Click here to read what I had to say about this book. Whitney’s book was a 2019 Book of the Month Club pick and an IndieNext and Boston Globe bestseller. Parade, Glamour Magazine, and Real Simple Magazine all named The Age of Light, one of the best books of 2019. Pretty impressive, right?

I was so excited last year when I found out that Whitney was coming to Maine to talk about her book. The day before her event, I quickly discovered that my kids’ schedules trumped mine (always the way), and I was unable to make her reading. I decided to message Whitney explaining my dilemma and asked her to meet me over coffee to chat about her book (mind you, I am a complete stranger with a new blog and like two followers). I was pleasantly surprised when Whitney agreed to meet. Instead of coffee, we ended up having a spectacular brunch at The Press Hotel’s restaurant, Union in Portland, Maine. Whitney and I had a lovely meal and chatted all about her book, her writing process and the historical fiction genre. She is an absolute doll and wonderful to spend time with. I actually felt “cool 😎😎”” that day (hanging with an important author). It was such a pleasure and one I will always cherish.

I hope you enjoy her letter today to Mr. H.

Happy Reading,

Kelly

P.S. Literary Whitney plays Scrabble EVERYDAY (wicked smart)! When she was in 5th grade, she won 5th place in the Colorado State Spelling Bee (😮😮). When Whitney isn’t spending time with her husband and daughter, she is snuggling with her 3-month-old pup, Clementine. Let’s face it, she is probably snuggling all the time with this fluff ball. Clementine is also a fellow “Book Lover”…chewing books is love too❤️❤️❤️❤️!!!

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

I’ve always loved reading historical fiction based on real people. There’s something so wonderful about falling into the world of a book and then being able to go to the library or online and learn the “story behind the story.” I loved reading Wolf Hall and getting a new, intimate perspective on Thomas Cromwell, or devouring Nancy Horan’s Loving Frank and reacquainting myself with the architecture and genius of Frank Lloyd Wright. But the book that changed my thinking about what historical novels could do and how we make fiction out of fact was Lily King’s Euphoria.

Euphoria is loosely based on the life of anthropologist Margaret Mead. King happened across a biography of Mead in a small used bookstore and was captivated by her entire life and story, yet her novel is based on a slim twelve-page section of the biography that centers around a 1933 research trip to the Sepik River, in New Guinea, where Mead (called Nell in the novel) and her second husband briefly worked with a man who would become Mead’s third husband. The relationship between the three anthropologists is passionate, both physically and intellectually, and King’s meticulous research and incredible scene-setting bring the world and love affair to vivid life. From the very first page of the book, when an angry tribe member tosses a dead baby at Nell’s head, and we learn that her husband may have intentionally broken her glasses, I felt completely immersed in this intense, violent world.

As a reader—and perhaps even more as a writer—the book blew me away. You could…do this? You could take a small slice of a real person’s life, fictionalize her name, infuse the story with your many hours of research, and make something that manages to capture a person’s essence while also feeling wholly, imaginatively invented? This, I realized, this is why I read historical fiction. To see how a modern writer’s brain can reinterpret history and make something that feels truer than fact.

Euphoria is a novel I can’t quit. I’ve read it seven or eight times. I’ve broken it down, outlined the structure, tried to understand the virtuosic way King tells the story. I’ve taught the first few pages in fiction writing workshops. I’ve recommended it at readings and given copies as gifts to more people than I can count. And just the other day, I received a delicious package in the mail: a galley of King’s new novel, Writers and Lovers, which comes out later this year. I can’t wait to read it.

Nice chatting with you, dear Mr. H—

Whitney

P.S. Click on my book below to purchase from my local book store.

Click on the book picture below to purchase Euphoria (Grove Press)by Lily King.

The Age of Light book cover
Book Cover for Euphoria

Guest Writer~Elin Hilderbrand

Author Edition

February 5, 2020

Dear Readers,

Can you believe this is week five of The Dear Mr. Hemingway Guest Writer~Author Edition Series? Today’s guest writer is someone I have been reading for years. New York Times best selling author, Elin Hilderbrand, has written into Mr. H. about one of her favorite books from the past decade. Elin is the author of 26 books and counting. Known as the Queen of summer reading, the majority of her books take place on the ever so charming island of Nantucket. Most recently though, two of her books (with a third waiting in the wing) take place in the Caribbean on the island of St. John. Family, friendship, love, loss, and so much more fill the pages of her stories. With books that never disappoint, Elin’s work will dazzle you.

Elin has been living on the island of Nantucket for over two decades. She is the mom to three teenagers and is an enthusiastic home cook. Though she lives full time on this tiny island off the coast of Cape Cod, MA, Elin has traveled on six continents. Her work ethic is supreme and her discipline simply can’t be measured (she exercises 3 hours every morning 😮) Since before I had my boys, her books have filled my summers with absolute joy.

For many years when my three boys were younger we would visit Nantucket for a week in the summer. I would save up my Elin Hilderbrand books (I called her “My Nantucket Author”) for that vacation each year. I escaped with her books under the sun sitting on Jetties Beach while my kiddos played in the sand. I would imagine her characters as I walked through town and frolicked around the island. The Blue Bistro is her book that hooked me. From there it just kept getting better and better. You can only imagine how excited I was when Elin said she would write a post for my blog. She is a wonderful author to work with and I can’t thank her enough for being a part of this series. Nantucket will always hold a special place in my heart……so will Elin Hilderbrand.

I hope you enjoy her post today!

❤️❤️❤️

Kelly

P.S. Elin handwrites ALL of her books!!!!!!!!!! WOW……that is a lot of writing! My hand hurts thinking about it!

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Dear Mr. Hemingway,

The best novel I’ve read in the past decade (yes, you read that correctly) and the one I’d love to recommend to you today is WHITE FUR by Jardine Libaire.

Let me start by telling you how many times I resisted reading this book.  The cover is ugly. The title…well, let’s say, the idea of white fur of any kind gives me the shivers.  I get my book recommendations from many of the same places that you do – magazines, Instagram and…my local independent bookseller.  My friend Cristina at Mitchell’s Book Corner on Nantucket raved about this book and insisted I read it — and although Cristina and I always like the same books, I said no thank you (because of aforementioned: cover, title.) Then Cristina got desperate – she GAVE it to me for free when I was in the store buying other books.  What could I do? I took it home.

October 2018…I went on my book tour for WINTER IN PARADISE.  I would be away for nine days and as I am always reading, I packed books.  I packed…THIN books (I travel with just a carry-on), and guess what? WHITE FUR is thin.  It went into my suitcase.

WHITE FUR is a marvel.  Simply put, it’s a wrong-side-of-the-tracks love story.  The prologue has a man lying in a motel bed in Wyoming and a woman pointing a sawed-off shotgun at him.  What is going on? Well, we don’t find out until the end of the book. Chapter one immediately relocates us in New Haven, Connecticut in the mid-eighties.  Elise Perez is living at just-above-poverty level with roommates right next door to Jamey Hyde, a junior at Yale. Elise and Jamey have a bit of a love-hate thing going on at first. He thinks she’s trashy, she thinks he’s a rich jerk (I’m watching my language here.)

But then, they hook up and things get HOT.

At first, both the reader (and the characters) think it’s just about sex.  It surprises them (and us) when the relationship turns into something more.  Once this happened, I was a complete goner. I fell in love with their love story, with Ms. Libaire’s gorgeous language, and with our two main characters.  Although Elise comes from a meager background, she has so much grit, so much spirit and so much personal integrity that we know right away she’s better-off than Jamey.  Jamey is from a phenomenally wealthy family. He’s set to inherit the family bank, we learn the outrageous story of his mother…the poor dude is saddled with sky-high expectations and for a while, it seems like he’s going to meet them.

But then, wow.

I can’t possibly say another word about the plot because I don’t want to ruin a thing.  Please take my advice and get your hands on WHITE FUR. There is a lot of explicit sex (which is the most difficult thing to write about well) and vivid, unforgettable descriptions of New York City in the 1980s.  I read the book because it was thin and fit in my carry-on suitcase and now it’s my number one recommendation. I hope that you love the book as much as I do. Wait until you find out how they end up in the Wyoming hotel room!!!

All my very best,

Elin Hilderbrand

P.S. Be on the lookout…….I have two forthcoming books this year: 28 SUMMERS out June 16th and TROUBLES IN PARADISE out October 6th.

Click here to purchase White Fur by Jardine Libaire.

Click here to pre-order 28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand

Guest Writer~Fiona Davis

Author Edition

February 29, 2020

Dear lovely readers,

Today is another fabulous day on the blog. It is the fourth week of the Dear Mr. Hemingway Guest Writer~Author Edition series. I am so thrilled to tell you about today’s author, Fiona Davis. Let me first start off by saying that Fiona is the National Best Selling author of The Dollhouse (Dutton), The Address (Dutton), The Masterpiece (Dutton), and most recently, The Chelsea Girls (Dutton). Whether she takes you through Grand Central Terminal, the Chelsea Hotel, a famous New York residence, or the glamorous Barbizon Hotel for Women, New York City is the heartbeat of her stories. Her books are filled to the brim with vibrant characters, stunning time periods, and very satisfying storylines. With sprinkles of glamour, hints of mystery, and a dollop of dazzle, Fiona’s books will not disappoint you. Be on the lookout for her upcoming historical fiction novel staring the iconic New York Public Library. The Lion’s of Fifth Avenue (Dutton) hits book stores in July 2020 🤗🤗🤗.

Before you read what Fiona has written to Mr. H., I want to thank her for participating in this project. I can’t tell you how much it means to me that she took time out of her very busy schedule to contribute to this Blog. I personally enjoy getting to know my favorite authors and what books they enjoy when they are not writing their own. Who doesn’t love a great book recommendation from a magnificent author!!!!!!!

I hope you enjoy Fiona’s letter. It is a good one!

Happy Reading Friends,

Kelly

P.S. Did you know that before Fiona Davis began her writing career, she was an actress off-Broadway, in regional theaters, and on BROADWAY 😮😮😮!!! The cool factor here is pretty high.

________________________

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

What if you learned as a child that you were descended from a long line of witches, and had powers to envision the future? That’s how Augusten Burroughs’s memoir begins when as a young boy on a school bus he experiences a dark premonition about his grandmother. He arrives home just as his mother is getting the news that the grandmother has been in a car accident (luckily, she recovers). Augusten has a gift, explains his mother, just as she does, and as did many of their ancestors.

But Toil & Trouble is more than a witching tale, it’s also a love story about the relationship between Augusten and his agent/husband Christopher, as they move out of the city and settle in an ancient house where Augusten is certain that the towering maple tree in the front yard is out to get him (he’s not wrong). It’s a beautiful story of two men maneuvering through sickness and health, all while raising a trio of oversized dogs and putting down roots in the community. It’s about Eddie – a handyman who is as personally offensive as he is good as his job – and who winds up unexpectedly becoming one of Augusten’s favorite people.

One of the reasons I connected so strongly with this book was that I’d recently made a similar purchase, and was struck by the ways a house becomes almost like another member of the family. My home also has its own special quirks and demands and every so often groans like the Dowager from Downton Abbey after she’s had too much sherry. Is it a ghost from its past life as a farmhouse? Or just normal settling? Either way, I’m not going anywhere.

Toil & Trouble reminded me to listen to my intuition and made me laugh out loud with Burroughs’s twisted turns of phrase. The ending is astonishing, wrapping up the themes and plotlines with breathless abandon. This memoir won’t disappoint.

Yours in spirit,

Fiona

P.S. To find out why I have such an affinity with buildings, check out my latest novel, The Chelsea Girls, which is set in New York’s iconic Chelsea Hotel.

Click here to purchase Toil & Trouble by Augusten Burroughs

Guest Writer~Lisa Barr

Author Edition

 

Guest Writer, Author Lisa Barr

January 22, 2020

Dear Book Loving Friends,

Wednesday is officially my favorite day of the week. Another fabulous guest writer has written into Mr. H., and this time it is Author, Lisa Barr. Lisa’s most recent novel, The Unbreakables (Harper), came out this past summer, and guess what…it was a five star read for me. In addition to this widely popular summer read, Lisa also wrote the award-winning novel, Fugitive Colors (Arcade). This novel won the IPPY (Independent Publisher Book Award) gold medal for “Best Literary Fiction 2014” and was named on “HEEB” Magazine’s “Top 10” best book list. It also won first prize at the Hollywood Film Festival (Opus Magnum Discovery Award). But did you also know that this well-known author worked in the world of journalism, too? She served as the managing editor for Today’s Chicago Woman and Moment Magazine, editor for The Jerusalem Post, and editor/reporter for the Chicago-Sun Times. Not too shabby!!!!!!! I am so excited to have Lisa on the blog today. She is an inspiring woman to girls and women everywhere. I want to thank her for taking time out of her busy schedule to participate in the series. She is an absolute pleasure to work with. So…without further ado…

Happy Reading Friends,

Kelly

P.S. Did you know that in 1993, Lisa covered the famous “handshake” between the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the late PLO leader Yasser Arafat, and President Bill Clinton at the White House? Oh my gosh, she is sooooo cool!🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰

_________________________

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

It’s a lazy/not lazy Sunday, the first real fall day here in Chicago. I’ve got a fire going strong, a good glass of vino (of course), my dog at my side, and my husband splayed on the couch in the near distance watching football and yelling at the television. Something about a missed field goal. My three daughters are all grown and flown – two are away in college and my eldest baby is officially a working woman in Manhattan – her first job in the real world. It’s just me, my laptop, and my edits that are due. As in yesterday.

But I digress … Earlier this morning, I received one of those pop-up ads on Instagram. A new Nancy Drew TV series debuted this week. And I smiled, thinking about the brilliant teen sleuth who was not doing selfies (back in the day), rather she was developing her sense of self, which came from solving mysteries in her fictional hometown of River Heights. Of all literary characters that came my way, Nancy was my hands-down idol – her life (outside of losing her mother at a young age) was the one I wanted … if only. Childhood was not an easy ride for me and her adventures transported me Elsewhere and inspired both my curiosity to seek the truth and my lifelong love of suspense novels.

I was gifted my first copy nearly forty years ago (where does the time go?), and from that page-turner onward, I devoured the entire series (in order – Hello, Anal-retentive Me). I began, of course, with the author Mildred Wirt Benson’s (pen-named Carolyn Keene) first Nancy Drew mystery, “The Secret of the Old Clock”.

It’s no secret in my house that I credit the feisty young Miss Drew for turning me into a journalist, my life-long job before I became an author.

You can take the girl out of journalism, but not the journalism out of the girl. For me, both careers have worked hand-in-hand and have helped me become a better writer, by providing me with an in-depth understanding of all kinds of characters, all sorts of shenanigans. Forget graduate school, forget professors, forget internships — the hard truth is that Nancy Drew and her courageous posse George and Bess (the original #GirlPower trio) for giving me the goods at a young age. And of course … who didn’t have a crush on Nancy’s boyfriend Nick Nickerson (the name alone …).

Nancy Drew is always with me. 

I’m an avid reader with a revolving door of books on a weekly basis. But on my nightstand, there is a permanent place for her. I treasure my vintage copy of The Clue in the Old Album, lucky #24 in the series, originally penned in 1947. This novel shares a permanent home with four other beauties that have each impacted my life and my work in very different ways: The Diary of Anne Frank, S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, and Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying.

As a Mom of three daughters, Nancy Drew, a teen who relies on her instincts and intelligence, is truly a role model for girls of this generation to aim higher than the Bachelor and the Kardashians (although both are, admittedly, guilty pleasures in our household). Nancy hasn’t aged a day and her appeal is timeless (hence, the new TV series). But more importantly, so is her message: Follow the hunch. Write it down. Life is full of sticky situations – learn how to detangle them. Count on yourself – there are no handouts in life. These are all elements I utilize in my own work and my own life. Oh, and did I mention, Mr. Hemingway, that Carson Drew, Nancy’s beloved father – a top-notch criminal attorney – now seen through a middle-aged lens — is super hot? Just sayin’.

Looking out the window, near my fireplace, I can’t help but think that as the leaves begin to change, setting the stage for yet another Chicago Winter – Nancy Drew and her myriad mysteries have withstood the test of time. A fiercely independent role model, she remains inspirational and unstoppable. A young, motherless woman who thrived despite the obstacles in her path, Nancy Drew – was and still is – badass. My kinda girl.

As always … Much love, laughter & literary bliss, 

xoxo Lisa Barr

P.S. Would love if you’d check out my new novel, The Unbreakables and my award-winning historical thriller Fugitive Colors. Red wine is must while reading — I’m sure, Mr. Hemingway, you will have no problem with that 🙂

Click here to purchase The Unbreakables.

Click here to Purchase Fugitive Colors.

Click here to purchase Nancy Drew The Clue in the Old Album

GUEST WRITER ~ Claire Lombardo

Author Edition

 

Guest Writer, Author Claire Lombardo

January 15, 2020

Dear Book Lovers,

I am beyond excited to introduce you to today’s guest writer…Claire Lombardo. If you do not know who this gorgeous writer is, let me fill you in. Claire’s debut novel, The Most Fun We Ever Had (Doubleday), was released in June 2019 (you know, the thick book with all of the ginkgo leaves on the cover). This family drama was an instant New York Times bestseller. Not only did it win the heart of book lovers everywhere, but it was one of my favorite books of 2019 ❤️❤️❤️. In addition to her stunning first novel, Claire’s writing has been published in numerous publications including Barrelhouse Magazine, Little Fiction and Playboy. Currently, Claire lives in Philadelphia and is working on her second novel (Hurry Claire, Hurry!!!).

Claire’s letter to Mr. H. delighted me. Her first paragraph was an unexpected treat. You would think I choreographed it myself……… (nope, pleasantly surprised). Before I go, I want to thank Claire for taking part in this project. As a book lover and avid reader myself, it is an absolute pleasure to connect with authors as writers, but most importantly, as fellow readers.

Happy Reading Everyone!

All the Best,

Kelly

P.S. Rumor has it that The Most Fun We Ever Had is currently be adapted for television. When I say television, I mean a series on HBO with Laura Dern and Amy Adams co-producing and Claire writing 😮😮😮. I wasn’t kidding when I said her book was good!!!!

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January 15, 2020

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Apologies in advance for my longwindedness. Our lives started out quite similarly, as it were–I, too, was born in Oak Park, Illinois, and grew up about 2 blocks from where you did; I, too, spent many summers in Michigan; I, too, attended Oak Park and River Forest High School and wrote for the newspaper, Trapeze. But somewhere along the way, I discovered adverbs, and from there our paths diverged. Such as it goes!

The book I can’t stop thinking about, though, isn’t especially adverb-laden: it’s spare and corporeal, with emotional substance that sneaks up to punch you in the gut. I think you might’ve enjoyed it. Last week, on New Year’s Day, I took a break from my own writing and committed to full-on idle coziness: I would do nothing, I decided, but read under a blanket with my dog. My text of choice? The Innocents by Michael Crummey.

Within the first few pages of this book, young siblings Ada and Everett lose their parents and their baby sister and are left utterly alone on a remote and atmospherically inclement cove off the coast of Newfoundland. Thenceforth we sit back and watch as they figure out how to survive literally and otherwise, navigating the sparse landscape of their home for sustenance while also figuring out, with only each other as points of reference, how to understand the world emotionally.

What to say about this book? It’s dark and exhilarating and endearing and, in moments, surprisingly sexy. It’s my favorite thing I’ve read all year. It’s the most unique exploration of siblings I’ve ever encountered. It gutted me, repeatedly. I spent moments on the edge of my seat (scaring the dog–sorry, Renee!), but also burrowing deeply and vicariously in the unique pains of young adulthood. Go and get your hands on it immediately–you won’t regret it.

With flowery admiration of your contributions to canons both literary and feline,

Claire

ps–Lest I’ve left you wanting more, my own book, set in Oak Park, arrived this summer, covered in ginkgo leaves. Order The Most Fun We Ever Had today from your favorite indie bookstore! I’d suggest snagging a hardcover from my beloved Prairie Lights Books in Iowa City and/or grabbing a paperback on April 28th from the soon-to-open and sure-to-please Madison Street Books in Chicago

pps–Seeking instant adverb gratification? I have a new story out in Playboy this month–go check out “Francophile”!

Click here to Purchase The Innocents by Michael Crummey

Claire’s pup likes to snuggle with her books❤️❤️❤️!!!

Guest Writer ~ Kate Quinn

Guest Writer Graphic for Kate Quinn

Author Edition

 

Guest Writer, Author Kate Quinn

January 8, 2020

Dear Fellow Book Lovers,
Today is a great day. Kicking off the GUEST WRITER~AUTHOR EDITION is none other than the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of Historical Fiction, KATE QUINN.  Yes, you heard me correctly, Kate Quinn has written a letter to Mr. Hemingway. Of course, you already know that Kate Quinn is the author of The Alice Network (A Reese’s Book Club pic for July 2017) and most recently, The Huntress.  Did you also know that she has written four books in the Empress of Rome series, two books in the Italian Renaissance series, and a host of other publications?  With more books in the works, this author is on fire. I hope you enjoy her post today! I thank Kate from the bottom of my heart for participating in this project.

Happy Reading!

Kelly

P.S.  Rumor has it that Kate Quinn is a ROCKIN good singer! Check out all of Kate’s fabulousness over on her Website…
http://www.katequinnauthor.com
—————————–
Dear Mr. Hemingway,
You never forget your first, do you? The book that hooks you forever.
I was ten. My librarian mother put a hefty tome into my hands: “Jubilee Trail,” by Gwen Bristow. “Historical fiction set in early California,” she said. Being a California girl, I was intrigued enough to curl up on the sofa and start reading. I fell through the pages into a new world: this was my first adult historical novel, the book that converted me into a passionate, lifelong lover of stories set in the past.

Everything in it spoke to me. I loved learning about pre-Gold Rush California’s three-tiered society, where proud Spanish rancheros existed side by side with Yankee traders and Mexican citizens, and US statehood was just a glimmer on the horizon. My guide to this new world is Bristow’s heroine Garnet, an adventurous New York society girl who dreams of more than dull, polite city life. She marries Oliver, a handsome trader who sweeps her on a headlong journey to California, and I loved the idea that a book could start with a marriage rather than ending with one—that a girl’s life didn’t end once she became a wife. I loved the best friend Garnet picks up along her journey: Florinda, a beautiful blunt-spoken showgirl fleeing murder charges and perhaps something even more sinister, stealing every scene she appears in. Their friendship is the rock that sustains Garnet when she reaches California and realizes the dreadful secrets her husband has been hiding from her, and I learned something I’d carry into adulthood: that female friendships are every bit as important as romantic relationships, and deserved to be showcased.

Moreover, a woman’s journey to independence is every bit as important as the simpler question of “Who does she fall in love with?” Garnet grows from an adventurous girl to steel-spined heroine as she battles through motherhood and widowhood, poverty and luxury, frontier shoot-outs, and deadly family feuds. It’s a journey that had my ten-year-old self cheering, and still does whenever I reread “Jubilee Trail.” Something about the combination of flawed and interesting women, meticulously researched history, and a writing style as clear as a pane of glass have stuck with me over the years. It wasn’t long after reading “Jubilee Trail” that I began writing my own books…and to this day, I think my own heroines have something of Bristow’s Garnet in them. Nina in “The Huntress” has her ferocity when backed into a corner, Eve in “The Alice Network” has her flinty endurance—and all my heroines have her capacity for friendship.

Talk to you again soon, Mr. H!

Your Biggest Fan,

Kate

P.S.  Click on the books below to purchase!
Jubilee Trail
The Alice Network
The Huntress

New Series Coming January 2020

Guest Writer Series, Author Edition, Premiere Graphic

December 9, 2020

Dear Readers,

I am excited to announce a new series coming to the blog this January. Dear Mr. Hemingway is proud to present a GUEST WRITER SERIES. Series one is titled ~AUTHOR EDITION~ and is premiering January 8, 2020. This edition will run 10 consecutive weeks on Wednesdays. Ten fabulous authors you know and love have committed to this project and are writing their own letter to the famous Mr. Hemingway (or Mr. H.) about one of their favorite books. How incredibly cool is that? The letters have already started coming in, and let me tell you this…They are wonderful!

Happy reading my friends,

❤️❤️❤️Kelly

P.S. Just in case you are wondering… Series 2 & 3 are already in the works. I wonder who will be writing then AND what they will be writing about????????

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