Blog Tour: The Scribe of Siena by Melodie Winawer

What’s it about?

Accomplished neurosurgeon Beatrice Trovato knows that her deep empathy for her patients is beginning to hinder her work. When her beloved brother, a historian, passes away suddenly, she travels to the Tuscan city of Siena to settle his estate. Overworked and in need of a respite, she welcomes the unexpected trip as she wrestles with her grief. As she delves into her brother’s affairs and his unfinished research, she discovers evidence of a 650-year-old conspiracy to destroy Siena.

While attempting to prove her brother’s theory, she unearths the journal and paintings of a 14th-century fresco painter named Gabriele Accorsi, the man at the heart of the plot. In one of Accorsi’s paintings, she discovers a woman who bears a startling resemblance to herself. The journal works as a portal to the past and Beatrice is transported to the year 1347. She awakens in a Siena unfamiliar to her—a city that will soon be devastated by the Black Plague.

In Siena, Beatrice meets Accorsi and falls in love—not only with the painter but with the cadence of medieval life itself. At the same time, she and Gabriele find themselves pitted against a Florentine conspiracy bent on destroying the city. As the Plague and the ruthless men navigating its deadly path threaten Siena, Beatrice must decide in which century she belongs.

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Literary Ashland with Amy MacLennan

For National Poetry Month, Ed and I interviewed Ashland poet Amy MacLennan.  Her first full-length collection The Body, A Tree was published earlier this year by MoonPath Press. Her work has been published in Cimarron Review, Cloudbank, Connotation Press, Folio, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Linebreak, Painted Bride Quarterly, Pirene’s Fountain, Poet’s Market, Rattle, River Styx, South Dakota Review, Spillway, The Pedestal Magazine, Windfall, and Wisconsin Review.

Amy is the Editor of Cascadia Review and the Managing Editor of The Cortland Review. She has published two chapbooks: Weathering (Uttered Chaos Press, 2012), and The Fragile Day (Spire Press, 2011). Her work was recently featured on The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor.

 

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Author Interview: Sherry Knowlton

Sherry Knowlton is a fellow ITW author and I introduced her upcoming book in the previous post. Both the protagonist and the subject matter sounded fascinating and I asked Sherry if she would answer a few questions about Alexa Williams, her protagonist and her writing. Here are her answers.

Michael Niemann: How did you meet Alexa Williams?

Sherry Knowlton: About six years ago, I decided that if I was ever going to write that book I’d been mulling, I better get started.  I had retired from full time work and moved into part time consulting, so I had the time I needed to write. Choosing a female protagonist was a given. I don’t believe I ever even contemplated a man as my main character. But, I made some very deliberate decisions about who Alexa would be.

Although I was originally focused on just completing one book, I wanted to lay the foundation for a suspense series. So, I thought a younger woman would provide me with a character who could evolve and mature. I made her a lawyer – a smart, educated, professional with a job that provides some flexibility.

Friends tell me that they see some of me in Alexa. And, certainly, Alexa has some of the same interests that I’ve had in my life; for example, yoga, social causes. But, I’ve tried hard to create her as a distinct person, with characteristics and a life of her own. She’s not just a younger, more attractive and interesting version of Sherry Knowlton.

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Blog Tour: Dead of Spring by Sherry Knowlton

What’s it about?

When a beloved state senator plunges to his death at Alexa Williams’ feet in the Capitol Rotunda, the authorities suspect suicide. Although the powerful chair of the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee was at the center of a controversial new bill to expand hydraulic fracturing, he was also rumored to be ill. Shaken, Alexa tries to move past the disturbing incident by concentrating on work. She’s leading a senate commission on sex trafficking. Plus, she’s helping an old college roommate sue a natural gas company for their role in causing her daughter’s rare cancer.

In researching the lawsuit, Alexa becomes embroiled in the high-stakes politics of fracking. As the relationship with her state trooper boyfriend drifts onto the rocks, Alexa is drawn to a charismatic state legislator who’s leading an anti-fracking crusade. Then, the police shock Alexa with the news that she could be in danger; she’s a witness to the senator’s murder, not his suicide. When Alexa narrowly escapes a sniper’s bullet, she must discover why she’s a target ― and who she can trust—before the next shot hits its mark.

With Sherry Knowlton’s trademark mix of feminism, history, romance, and fast-paced thrills, Dead of Spring skyrockets from the fracking fields of the Marcellus Shale to the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster of 1979 to the rolling hills of Tuscany to the halls of Pennsylvania state government. In this suspenseful tale of corruption and runaway greed, Alexa Williams proves, once again, that she’s a formidable heroine. The twists and turns keep will keep you on the edge of your seat.

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