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Welcome! My first newsletter includes a Q&A interview with award-winning thriller author Jenny Milchman, thoughts on writing from debut mystery author Tina Debellegarde, book recommendations from readers and more.I hope you enjoy!

Meet Author Jenny Milchman

Jenny Milchman is an award-winning thriller writer whose latest novel, The Second Mother, is due for release Aug.18 from Sourcebooks and is currently available for preorder! The Second Mother is Jenny's fifth published thriller. Jenny, a former therapist and award-winning author, lives in New York's Hudson Valley with her husband and two children.

First, a little about the book: The Second Mother is the story of Julie Weathers, who moves to a remote Island in Maine to escape her past. But as she takes on the challenge of teaching the island's children, she comes to suspect she may have traded one place shrouded in trouble for another, and she begins to wonder if the greatest danger on Mercy Island is its lost location far out to sea, or the people who live there.

A conversation with Jenny

Q: Maine is a new setting for you. What was your inspiration for the change?

Jenny: The Second Mother actually opens in Wedeskyull, the fictional Adirondack town that’s been the setting for my first four novels. In fact, Julie, the heroine, is the niece of the police chief from my debut, Cover of Snow! Until I started writing, I didn’t even realize the police chief had a niece.
But Julie needs a fresh start, and she answers a help wanted ad for a teaching position in a one-room schoolhouse on a remote island in Maine…where things do not go as hoped. Why Maine? I spent some summer vacations there as a child, including trips to the tiny island of Monhegan. It lived on in my soul and my imagination—though the fictional Mercy Island is a darker place.

Q: You have a new publisher and you are launching a new novel in the midst of a pandemic. How is your launch different this time around?

Jenny: One word: virtual. As an author, I was known for going on what media called the world’s longest book tour. When my debut came out, my husband and I pulled the kids out of first and third grades to “car-school” them as we traveled the country, visiting bookstores, libraries, and book clubs. Fifteen months and 115,000 miles all told, over the course of three releases from Ballantine.
When I moved to Sourcebooks, they sent me out on a nine-week book tour on my own.
Neither approach is very quarantine-ready, right?
So, I am visiting bookstores that have become beloved to me for virtual events, hoping to meet with as many online book clubs as will have me—readers, please reach out with invites!—and relying on what has long been the best form of Word of Mouth…the book blogger/reviewers, who are the queens and kings of virtual word-spreading.

Q: What excites you most about this novel?

Jenny: The chance for readers to meet Julie and see how she triumphs over a force she can’t even put a face or name to at first! The Second Mother is about wealth, and privilege, and the bitter legacy they leave. I love seeing entrenched systems topple when they need to.

Q: What are you working on now?

Jenny: I just handed over my new book to my agent. It’s called Silent Son, and it’s about a mother whose child can’t speak, and the psychologist who hunts them down. It’s dark, and culturally relevant, and still allows for victory at the end.

Q: What is you favorite way to relax during this pandemic?

Jenny: Sit on my porch and stare at the mountain. Bake and eat the results. Watch movies and documentaries and reality TV—I recommend Blood and Money, the Netflix series on drugs and also Nadia from the GBBS has a new show of her own, and for pure feel-good escape combined with rubbernecking, Love Is Blind. Read. Currently in the middle of Lee Conell’s debut The Party Upstairs.

On writing and reading ...

Each month, I will ask an author for thoughts about writing, reading or the writing life. This month's featured writer is Tina DeBellegarde, whose debut novel is scheduled for release Sept. 29 from Level Best Books. Winter Witness is the first in her Batavia-on-Hudson mystery series.

"As writers, we obsess over creating the perfect space to write. For me, that’s my writing cottage; it’s uncluttered and exclusively for my writing. It’s ideal, but if I am in the zone then I don’t need ideal, I can write anywhere. When I maintain a steady writing practice, I am able to take a deep dive into my work, and the writing carries itself. When I step too far away from my work, I need to get back in and that is when the perfect setting is necessary. Try to write every day and you might find that you can write anywhere."

Happenings on the Foster homestead

Here are a couple of photos from a recent walk around our property. I love exploring. Hikes center me and help me decompress.

What's up with my books?

I once wrote a blog post in which I compared planning for book publication to planning a wedding. Using that analogy, I am in the limbo stage. I showed my interest in Level Best Books and they proposed a contract. We announced our engagement to everyone and set a date, April 13, for the release of A Dead Man’s Eyes, book one of my Lisa Jamison mystery series.
Now I wait.
But I am not twiddling my thumbs. The lag between signing a contract and publication can be a productive time for writers. I have already completed book two in the series, Never Broken, and I am working on book three, No Time to Breathe. I have other completed novels that are looking for homes and need my attention.
I am also busy with my part-time job; with Pennwriters, for which I am the Area 2 representative; and with other volunteer commitments. Busy is good. It makes teh time until publication pass faster.

What's up at home?

Our kids are the reason I have been so patient with the slow pace of my fiction writing career all these year. Two are in college and two are entering eighth this fall. If I had been published sooner, I would have had been busy promoting my books and had less time with the children. I am grateful for every minute. i get to spend with them.

We are fortunate to live in a rural area on a lot of land during this pandemic. The kids have lost plenty to Covid-19 – jobs, internships, sports, summer camp – but we have also enjoyed spending thee spring and summer on our land, hiking, gardening and watching movies by the campfire in the woods. My heart breaks for those who have lost loved ones and jobs to Covid-19. We take nothing for granted these days.

But now it's time to let them go again. The college kids are returning to their campuses, though it will be a whole new experience for them this summer. We are still unsure how our twins will be educated

Book recommendations from readers to readers

(Email me at with your recommendations for next month's newsletter or message me on Facebook.)

The Rent Collector (literary fiction) by Camron Wright
- Kathy L.

Snow Falling on Cedars (historical fiction) by David Guterson
-Jill P.

The Death Of Mrs. Westaway (mystery/suspense) by Ruth Ware.
- Janet D.

Team of Rivals (biography) by Doris Kearns Goodwin
- Tom F.

Countdown 1945: The Extraordinary Story of the 116 Days that Changed the World (history) by Chris Wallace and Mitch Weiss
- Mark B.

Digital Fortress (techno-thriller) by Dan Brown
- Mark B.

The Darwin Affair (historical suspense) by Tim Mason
- Mally B.

All the Light We Cannot See (historical fiction) by Anthony Doerr
- B. Smith

The Lords of Discipline (literary fiction) by Pat Conroy
- Kelly F.

Fake Like Me (mystery/thriller) By Barbara Bourland
- Dee G.

Mrs. Saint and the Defectives (domestic fiction) by Julie Lawson Timmer
- Natalie B.

(religious fiction/suspense) by Raena
- Gail A.

I leave you with this, a few words from my nonfiction book, Raising Identical Twins: The Unique Challenges and Joys of the Early Years

"When they were babies, I had always thought their similarities would be the foundation of their bond. Now, I'm seeing it in a new light. Their differences and their mutual respect for that desire for difference are just as important. They have their moments. They are siblings, after all, and they are with each other nearly 24 hours a day. Injuries happen. Harsh words are exchanged. A lot.
But more times than not, I find myself listening to their exchanges from behind a corner – eavesdropping – and wondering what to do with all that pride that's swelling inside me. They amaze me and intrigue me. Every single day."

Happy writing and reading!
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Lori Duffy Foster Author

2399 Austinburg Road, Westfield
PA 16950 United States

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