Other times it’s crimes. But for USA Today bestselling author Jenny Milchman, it’s a community and place that readers return to in each of her five seemingly standalone novels of psychological suspense that use the imaginary Adirondacks town of Wedeskyull as their common ground.
But, in keeping with the theme of innovation, Milchman’s newest, The Second Mother, revisits familiar territory while offering a fresh twist.
“Wedeskyull is the town that my heroine, Julie, flees to begin her new life,” says Milchman.
Julie Weathers—niece of the police chief who fell from grace in Milchman’s debut, Cover of Snow (2013)—is a bereaved mother whose charmed life imploded in the aftermath of her young daughter’s death. She left her job, loses her husband, and can’t escape the memories of motherhood and marriage that haunt her home.
The author, who is happily married with two children of her own, found tapping into her protagonist’s grief emotionally draining.
“The ‘mothering’ part of The Second Mother was very hard for me to write. The kind of grief that pulls Julie down—drowning her, which is both a scene and a theme in the book—is something every mother fears. It was made a little easier because Julie’s last memory of her lost daughter comes from when the little girl was still a baby…and those years are a way in the past for me personally,” she recalls. “So that gave me some distance. “
“Still, there were days at the keyboard when I cried, and nights, coming off a day’s writing when I felt heavily weighted by Julie’s sorrow. How did I tap into her experience? I really don’t know. These characters come to me… somehow…and they gift me with, charge me with, writing down their stories.”
Of course, that gift comes with its own challenges—particularly when characters are afflicted with conditions that the author hasn’t experienced. Case in point: Julie’s taste for alcohol, and its anesthetizing effects.
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THE MANY FACES OF MORIARTY
By 1893, Arthur Conan Doyle was a worldwide literary sensation. But he was also a man dogged by an unlikely enemy, and that enemy’s name was Sherlock Holmes. Frankenstein-like, the fictional detective haunted his creator, tormenting him, and would not leave him alone. For it must be said that Conan Doyle was a man of high literary aspirations, with a yearning to write books of both “serious” literature and psychical research. But the demand for new Holmes stories prevented him from realising this ambition. Speaking of this period in his career, Conan Doyle observed in an interview for Tit-Bits in December 1900 that “My low work was obscuring my higher.”
From an isolated cabin in a boggy Swedish forest, Will Dean conjures a fascinating series and now an intense standalone full of claustrophobia and creepiness.
STEPHEN MACK JONES
If the meaning of life is a puzzle awaiting assembly, then writers are purveyors of its pieces.
Madness on Campus
Helen Eustis’ The Horizontal Man
What About Murder?
Reference Books Reviewed
Sometimes, an idea needs time to incubate until it’s ready to grow. That was the case with Sujata Massey’s series about Perveen Mistry, a woman attorney practicing in India during the 1920s.
TIME TRAVEL, CATS, AND AN OLD MANUSCRIPT
Have you ever wished that you could go back in time and change something in your past or visit the future and find out what it has in store for you? Have you questioned what would happen if time travel was available to everyone? Could 9/11 have been prevented? Could the spread of COVID-19 have been eradicated before it ended so many lives?
I said my first words in a bar—“orange sody.” I eventually outgrew my love of Whistle orange soda, but I have a lifelong interest in bars.
JOHN COLLIER Fact & Fancy
Every generation or so, John Collier (1901-1980) is rediscovered. A poet, screenwriter, and novelist, Collier is best remembered for his short stories. His collection Fancies and Goodnights won an Edgar Award in 1952 for Best Story (which in MWA’s early years was occasionally awarded to a volume of stories).
It’s more than a book title. It’s an uncomfortable truth that pop culture’s most flawed yet-fascinating (and highly literate) serial predators seem to understand about their appeal, whether Thomas Harris’ Hannibal Lecter or Caroline Kepnes’ Joe Goldberg.
The Dreams We Shared
Was there any way I could bridge the gap between my daughter and me?
JULIE MEHRETU MARCH 25-AUGUST 8, 2021
JULIE MEHRETU MARCH 25-AUGUST 8, 2021
JADED JANICE TRASHES JULIE & TOP MODELS
CRANKY ex-catwalker Janice Dickinson has her claws out, shredding Mary Poppins legend Julie Andrews as a rude witch and ripping today’s top models for being boring and bland.
Radio Free Tulsa
Live from Cain’s brings Oklahoma music history to the airwaves.
Nearly four miles into our mid-morning trek on the 17-mile-long Leelanau Trail, Julie Clark makes this confession.
JOHN FOGERTY LOOKS BACK ON LIFE, LOVE, FAMILY AND THE CHALLENGES THAT CAME WITH CREEDENCE.
JULIE DERBYSHIRE FLORA DISLOCATA
Julie’s new series, Flora Dislocata, was born out of a desire to create work during these difficult times of Covid-19 and lockdown and respond to its challenges.
As more and more of today’s consumers look for watches that make a truly personal statement, the art of customization is in rising demand. Here we offer one of the most comprehensive looks at customizing time.
RAISING HELL OVER ‘BIG BROTHER' BIBLE!
Julie’s going-away gift sparks complaints
Crack Open a Craft One
The cocktail world’s most celebrated bars are opting for aluminum