My Bookish Ways

The White Van by Patrick Hoffman

thewhitevanThe White Van by Patrick Hoffman (Grove/Atlantic, Sept. 2014)-Emily Rosario is 31 years old, and addicted to crack. When she meets a Russian man in a bar and he invites her back to his hotel, ostensibly to take drugs, she goes with him. It isn’t smart and she knows it isn’t, but her habit won’t let her say no. Soon she realizes drugs aren’t the only thing on the menu. After days of being dosed with crack and various other drugs by the Russian, an old woman who calls herself Sophia, and a man named Georgy, she’s put in disguise, a bomb is handcuffed to her hand, and she’s sent by her captors into a San Francisco bank to rob it.

But…Emily does the unexpected. Her kidnappers thought they’d done everything right, so when Emily leaves the bank, with almost $900,000 in tow, there in shock when, instead of getting in the white van that took her there, she runs, and keeps running.

Meanwhile, SFPD cop Leo Elias is falling apart. He’s an alcoholic, he’s on the verge of losing his house and his marriage, and he envies everything about his rookie partner, Sam Trammell, from his age to his looks. Everyone from the street kids that he interacts with each day to his fellow cops call him “Plastic Face” for the mask of fake toughness that he dons so effectively. He has no idea when or how his life started going of the rails, when this feeling of desperateness started leaking in, but his breaking point is near. He can feel it. When he hears of the bank heist, and the amount of money stolen, he resolves to find it, and take it for himself. That will solve all of his problems, right?

read more

An interview with Patrick Hoffman on The White Van, unlikely heroines, and what comes next

I LOVED Patrick Hoffman’s debut novel THE WHITE VAN, and was thrilled when he agreed to answer a few of my questions about the new book, and more!

patrickhoffmanYour experience as a PI and investigator for the San Francisco public defender’s office were a huge influence on your highly praised novel, THE WHITE VAN. Will you tell us a little more about it and what made you take the plunge into writing?
Yes. Investigating has been the most amazing job. I spent almost ten years investigating in SF, and I’m still working as a PI in NY. It has allowed me all kinds of access to people and places that I never could have gotten otherwise. I get to watch genius lawyers. I get to hang out with alleged murderers and gangsters. And I get to prove that cops are lying. It’s the best job ever.

As to the writing, it wasn’t a “plunge” so much, as a long, slow crawl. I spent about fifteen years failing as a writer, before I finally could even start that first book. I wasn’t able to finish things. I wanted to write, but I didn’t know how to do it. I had to mature a little bit, first.

Did you have to do additional research for the book, or did you rely on your work experience?
I mainly relied on work experience. But some of my characters are Russian, so I had to do some research about them, and then I found a nice Russian woman who read over the manuscript and offered some great advice about how to make it more authentic.

read more

In The Red: An interview with Elena Mauli Shapiro

Elena Mauli Shapiro is the author of 13, rue Thérèse, and her newest novel, IN THE RED, just came out in mid September from Little, Brown. She kindly answered a few of my questions about the new book, and much more!

Photo by Hans MauliTell us more about Irina and IN THE RED. What inspired you to write the novel?
When Communism fell in the Eastern Block in 1989, Romania was my favorite revolution because it was the most sudden, the most violent. A hasty tribunal executed the dictator Ceausescu and his wife on Christmas day. The wife’s name was Elena, and I think when I saw the dead body of a woman bearing my name on television, a seed was planted.

In the summer of 1997, I was working as a bank teller to raise tuition money for Stanford. The rhythm of the work made phrases pop into my head; my workspace was littered with snippets of poetry written on receipt tape. One morning I heard this slightly accented voice tell me, I am not a child of America. All morning that sentence skittered at the top of my consciousness, so when my lunch break came, I went upstairs to a room where there was nothing but a desk and a typewriter and typed until I had to go back to work. That was the first time Irina manifested. I’ve had this Romanian girl in my head since then—I’ve written lots of stories about her. It took me a long time to find the right one.

You have degrees in literature, and IN THE RED is actually your 2nd published novel, but have you always wanted to be a writer? Will you tell us more about yourself and your background?
Yes, always. My brain has been structured by stories as long as I can remember. Even before I could read, I used to draw fairy tale figures, princesses and dragons and such, then I would cut them out of the sheet of paper and have them interact, tell myself stories. The first story I can remember writing was about a prisoner in a dungeon who was given nothing to eat every day but a cup of water and a crust of bread. I must have been five or six years old. I can’t remember what happened in the story, but I remember that when I gave it to someone to read, I was asked whether I had copied it from somewhere, and that very much irritated me.

read more

Cinda Williams Chima’s The World of Weir Blog Tour: The Seers (excerpt and giveaway)

As part of the World of Weir Blog Tour for Cinda Williams Chima’s Heir Chronicles, I’ve got a short excerpt from Book 5: THE SORCERER HEIR (coming up from Disney-Hyperion on Oct. 21st) and a fantastic giveaway! Enjoy!

Jack surveyed his little band of warriors and sighed. It was a team of scrubs—mostly people they’d wanted to keep away from the main action. Morrison. Hudson. Hackleford. Scavuzzo. And one longtime friend and ally—Blaise Highbourne, Jack’s former neighbor, and a seer on the council.

read more

Angry Robot has been purchased and is looking forward to a bright future

As you probably already know, Angry Robot is one of my favorite pubishers, and I’m pleased to see that they’ve been acquired by someone that seems intent on preserving what Angry Robot has so painstakingly built. You can see the entire post with details at the Angry Robot website.


October 2014 New Releases in Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror

Here are the new releases in SF, Fantasy, and Horror for October 2014. You’re sure to find something to fatten up your TBR list! 


read more

October 2014 New Releases in Mystery, Suspense, and Fiction

Here are the new releases in Mystery, Suspense, and Fiction for October 2014. Look at all the pretty covers!! 


read more

Jumper and Reflex by Steven Gould

A very good friend of mine calls what I did this weekend a book binge, so here’s my quick takes on Jumper and Reflex by Steven Gould. I’m halfway through Impulse, and Exo will immediately follow, so stay tuned! If you haven’t read the series, there are some inevitable minor spoilers, so be warned.

JUMPER-Looking for pure escapist fun? Jumper, and its sequels, have got you more than covered. 17 year old David “Davy” Rice, discovers he can “jump”, or teleport, during a confrontation with his alcoholic, abusive father. He quickly gets a handle on his newfound ability and it opens up a whole new world for him. He leaves home, and after procuring some seed money (and then some) from a bank, sets himself off in a small apartment and soon falls in love with Millie Harrison, who’s a few years older than Davy-who is now 18, after meeting her at a party. What follows is a blazingly entertaining wish-fulfillment/coming of age action novel that you won’t be able to put down. Promise.


Ok, so, I thought I had read this way back when it came out in 1992. I would have been a sophomore in high school (there, now you know how old I am), BUT, I don’t think I did. I meant to re-read since I snagged a copy of Exo, and wanted to dive into the series. Maybe it’s just been THAT long. Either way, it was really fresh (even though it’s 22 years old), really fun, and just a blast. There are limitations to Davy’s ability, and I love at how Gould navigates the ins and outs of teleportation, while pretty accurately (I think) portraying how a 17 year old would get by on his own, especially one that’s pretty wounded. And Davy is wounded. His mom left when he was pretty young, and he’s still heartbroken about that, but there’s more to that story, and it’s what leads in to the second half of the novel, when Davy sort of accidentally falls into being a hero. Davy is fairly naïve, and has quite a few crises of conscience, but I like that about him, that he tries not to lower himself to the level of those that would do others harm, even if it takes a little extra plotting and planning to get things done. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again-one thing I liked about this book is that it’s written before cellphones became ubiquitous, and I like that characters have to go the extra mile to communicate sometimes. Obviously, inevitably, that changes in future installments, but I enjoyed it. Inevitably, Davy’s power gets some notice from various government agencies, and this will figure prominently in the next book.

read more

Interview: Steven Gould on Exo, the science of “jumping”, and more!

Please welcome Steven Gould to the blog! His brand new entry in his fantastic Jumper series (more on that soon), EXO, just came out a few weeks back, and he kindly stopped by to answer a few of my questions. Please give him a warm welcome!

steve-by-ellenExo is the fourth book in your Jumper series and tells Cent’s story. She was also featured in Impulse, but how do you think she’s grown since that book? Why do you think readers will root for her, and also, for Cory, who she teams up with?
She’s loved and been burned in love. She has more competence than in IMPULSE but a little less confidence. She has a burning need to distract herself right now and that, plus a life-long interest, pushes her down a new path. I think her desires and insecurities are familiar to most of us who are or have gone through their teens, but with a substantial dose of wish-fulfillment. Cory, while an important new character, joins a whole group of the characters with whose different and shared goals drive the story.

For those that haven’t read the series, will you tell us a little more about “jumping” and the science behind it?
Jumping is teleportation, the ability to go from one place to the next almost instantly. It’s a classic trope in the genre: Alfred Bester’s THE STARS MY DESTINATION, Phyllis Eisenstein’s BORN TO EXILE, Star Trek’s transporter beam, lots of television. In the series, I expand its uses but never beyond the parameters set forth in the first book, JUMPER. When jumping, a portal is opened between two different locations. If you jump back and forth quickly enough, you can leave this portal open. When you jump from one location to the other, you are matching frames of reference, so you can jump from a speeding car to the sidewalk without rolling down it at 60 mph. If you think about it, you can add velocity at your destination that doesn’t match the frame of reference.

read more

A chat with Steven John, author of Outrider

Steven John is the author of 3 A.M. and his new novel, OUTRIDER, just came out! Please welcome him to the blog!

stevenjohnYour new book, OUTRIDER, is quite different from THREE A.M.! Will you tell us more about it and what inspired you to write it?
THREE A.M. was inspired by setting and character: once I had those in place in my mind all I needed was a story for into which Tom Vale (the protagonist) could fall. OUTRIDER on the other hand began with an idea about a conflict; the makings of the story came to me after a conversation with my brother, in fact, (indeed I spoke of it in the acknowledgements in the book). We talked about a scene involving a field of solar panels and a shootout. That was enough: from there came the world of OUTRIDER, populated by its many characters and with the inevitable clash between people operating on opposing belief systems.

Have you always wanted to be a writer? Will you tell us more about yourself and your background?
I have always been writing, if not always planning to be a writer, per say. I made movies all throughout my childhood (in Alexandria, VA, near Washington, DC) and went to film school in Boston, then moved to LA and worked in that industry for a number of years. But I wrote short stories and several aborted novels in my younger days, along with poetry (some of which is competent, some of which is youthful tripe), essays, and of course papers for school, assignments which I always relished over, say, a math test (mathematics and I are not on god terms). More even than writing, though, I have since childhood been a voracious reader, and it is to that I credit any ability I have now.

read more

Page 4 of 219« First...«23456»102030...Last »
© 2014 My Bookish Ways. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy