“Who was he?” asks Geoffrey Gray, author ofSkyjack. “To know D.B. Cooper was such a man, and he had a name other than his alias Dan Cooper, and a family, maybe a sister or brother, a job, and a reason to commit the only unsolved hijacking in our time, and that I might have the ability to determine once and for all who he was became the ingredients for an obsession. How else to explain the three days I spent in the basement of the Rutgers University library, flipping through year backs from postwar years ’46, ’47, ’48, and ’49, looking for faces on the track team that matched an FBI sketch that might not even look like Cooper himself?”
“I’ve heard men, experienced fighters, say they’ll sometimes block body blows with their heads. I believe them, but I’ve never done it. Next time you see a picture of a human skull, notice the gap, the absence of bone, at the nose. It’s a fantastically vulnerable place to get hit. Something about it goes straight to your brain and rattles you to the core. It’s hard to recover from.”
“When I set out to write The Memory of All That: George Gershwin, Kay Swift, and My Family’s Legacy of Infidelities, although at the heart of the story lay my grandmother’s romance with George Gershwin and how it has affected my family over the decades, and how it has affected my own definitions of love and marriage, I thought I was going to write a book about family stories – how we tell them, and how we hear them, what they mean to us, how the narrative impulse functions in a family’s identity, and how all this influenced me as a novelist.
“It may be that the mystery of Everett’s disappearance will never be solved,” writes David Roberts, author of Finding Everett Ruess. “But thanks to the controversy that swirled around Comb Ridge, we have more hints and clues about the wanderer’s fate – and about his character – than we have ever had before. In that sense, Finding Everett Ruess may form the appropriate rubric for a collective quest to solve a riddle that has no parallel in the history of the American West.”
“Sometimes the difficult thing is knowing where I end and where the page begins,” reveals Alethea Black, author of I Knew You’d Be Lovely. “When I had finished a book’s worth of stories, I also had a book’s worth of Notes. I didn’t know at first if we should publish them – they would have been valuable to me just as a personal memory aid – but in the end, I’m glad we did. When a reader chooses your book, she’s effectively inviting you into her home and head. I figure if someone’s going to invite me in, the least I can do is introduce myself.”
“In my new memoir, Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life,” says Sandra Beasley, “I delve into the nitty-gritty of how food allergies affect us, all the way from childhood into our teenage and adult years. I don’t just mean how allergies impact our physical selves (though that can be comically mortifying) but how they shape our social selves, our romantic selves, our role in a family, and our sense of mortality. Your worldview changes when something as simple as a bite of cake or a first-date kiss can send you to the hospital.”
“My novel The Reservoir began forming in my mind shortly after I read a paragraph in a book on Richmond history,” explains John Milliken Thompson. “The paragraph mentioned a criminal court case that took place in 1885 after the body of a young woman was found floating in the old city reservoir. I started doing some research, investigating the case and the period like a historian and journalist. I also began writing.”
Louis XIV is one of the best-known monarchs ever to grace the French throne. But what was he like as a young man – the man before Versailles? After the death of his prime minister, Cardinal Mazarin, twenty-two-year-old Louis steps into governing France. He’s still a young man, but one who, as king, willfully takes everything he can get – including his brother’s wife. As the love affair between Louis and Princess Henriette burns, it sets the kingdom on the road toward unmistakable scandal and conflict with the Vatican. Every woman wants him. He must face what he is willing to sacrifice for love.