Read It Forward

“Being married to another writer, another novelist, is a fascinating thing,” admits Pauls Toutonghi, author of Evel Knievel Days. “The most fundamental truth about it is this: my wife Peyton Marshall understands what I go through – what it feels like to be a practitioner of our art. When my characters aren’t coming alive – when the scenes are flat on the page – I don’t have to explain anything, don’t have to describe the way that failure coils in my chest, a physical misery, a tight band of frustration that I cannot dislodge.”

“Alex began devouring books at an early age,” shares Patricia Ellis Herr, author of Up: A Mother and Daughter’s Peakbagging Adventure. “She was six months old when she reached out her tiny hand, grabbed a page from the book I was reading, ripped off a corner, and shoved it her mouth. In a moment of sentimentality common only to first-time mothers, I grabbed a pen from the nearby end table and wrote ‘Alex ate this’ by the newly serrated edge. Alex’s appreciation of books continued as she grew though, thankfully, her consumption turned figurative.”

“You’ve got your glass of wine, your comfy seat. Everyone is settled in. Chat time is over and someone says let’s talk about the book. The heated debate begins – hopefully,” writes novelist David Klein, author of Clean Break. “After my novel Stash came out in 2010, I was fortunate enough to be invited to a number of book groups. I discovered what made a good group book novel. It’s a novel that gets conversation going and rolling. It’s a novel with characters that spark disagreement, liked by one reader, loathed by another.”

“Gone Girl is, at its nasty little heart, about a marriage gone toxic, so I’ll keep to that theme,” writes RIF Guest Editor Gillian Flynn. “Here are four brilliantly written books about husbands and wives who drive each other to dark extremes.” Bestselling novelist Gillian Flynn shares some of her favorite reads, including The War of the Roses, Until the Twelfth of Never, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and Serena.

“People often ask me if I have a writing routine,” says Gillian Flynn, bestselling author of Gone Girl. “The answer is: kind of. Let me start with this caveat. I am not the world’s fastest writer. When I started Gone Girl, I was not pregnant. Then I was. Then I had a son. Then the son became a toddler. As it turns out, 16-month-olds do not understand the phrase: ‘Mother is not to be disturbed while she channels her muse, my sweet.’ I couldn’t write anywhere around the house anymore. I needed a lair.”

“This book lulled me into its dark depths,” writes RIFer Cathy R. in her review of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. “Flynn is masterful at twisting and turning the plot without relying on standard ploys. You will be surprised again and again, and then once more. Gone Girl starts with a bang and the momentum never lets up. You just can’t stop turning the pages because you have to satisfy the hunger to know the ending.”