Even when award-winning suspense writer Hank Phillippi Ryan types “The End,” her novels are only half done.
“When people read my books and feel that the characters are real, and their adventures are real, that’s when the magic happens,” Hank told me as we chatted to celebrate this week’s release of The Wrong Girl, the sequel to her Mary Higgins Clark Award-winner The Other Woman. “When a random person in the universe enjoys something I created? That’s fulfillment. That’s when the novel’s truly done.”
I’m a reader who believes there’s also magic in knowing something about who an author is, and why, how, when and where she wrote a story—which is part of why I created the weekly Literary New England Radio Show. I love to talk with authors. I want to know where characters came from; how they imagined the twists or turns that have my head spinning; what’s the writing process they followed to get from the first page to the last; and so much more.
For me, knowing an author’s back story and having the chance to connect with her, as well as other readers, makes the experience of a reading a great book all that much richer. And I know I’m not alone. Stories connect us, which is one of the reasons why book blogs like She Reads are so successful, and why so many people listen to the Literary New England Radio Show each week.
Told on a page, on the screen or out loud, stories help us better understand ourselves and others. They inspire us, comfort us, teach and inform us, and, in many instances, show us who we want to be. They sneak into our brains and souls and sit there, sometimes soothing, sometimes nagging. And, like Hank says, stories have the magical ability to bring complete strangers together.
To help make more of this magic happen, She Reads and Literary New England have teamed up to co-host two hour-long Tweet chats:
- On Wednesday, Sept. 25, with Hank Phillippi Ryan on her new Jane Ryland mystery The Wrong Girl
- And on Thursday, Oct. 10, with Amy Brill on her lush historical debut about an 1800s American woman astronomer, The Movement of Stars
Both chats will start at 8 pm, use the #LNEChat hashtag and be co-led by me and She Reads Online Book Club discussion leader Tamara Welch, who loves talking about books and writing as much as I do. So please mark your calendars and make plans to join us!
Hank and Amy are both skilled writers, dynamite women and game to answer pretty much anything you ask. In advance of the chats, you can also hear them talk about their novels. Hank will be one of the guests on this coming Monday night’s Literary New England Radio Show, and Amy is featured in the Literary New England archives.
During the Tweet chats, Tamara and I will give away copies of The Wrong Girl and The Movement of Stars—which means you could leave your computer with not just great new friends and connections, but your next great read. The magic that comes from stories shared will definitely be there too.