Tethered, Amy MacKinnon (Quick & Wordy audio interview)

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Amy MacKinnon’s debut book, Tethered, just released yesterday, August 12th. It’s already sold to NINE countries and is a Borders Original Voices pick.

“Original Voices is a Borders program that highlights fresh, compelling, innovative and ambitious works from new and emerging talents. TETHERED by Amy MacKinnon is a perfect example of a book that belongs in this program, bringing together unforgettable characters and a well-plotted mystery with language that is rich and full.. Highly recommended and not to be missed, TETHERED will keep you thinking well past the last page.”

  Amy tetheredThe main theme of Tethered according to Amy is “finding faith…in one’s self, in another, and perhaps in a higher power.”

Amy says she followed Hemingway’s advice to “Write what you know” and her first book was rejected over SEVENTY times. Amy fulfilled her dream when she decided to follow her Hemingway-tweaked advice to “Write what you want to know.” This sure-to-be New York Times Best Seller (my humble little prediction) also shared “If you’re interested in what you write about, others will be interested also…and that’s what got the attention of the publishing world.”

This truly was fascinating (from our conversation and Amy’s website:

One day my husband and I stopped at an antique shop, hoping to find a bargain. It was then I told him of this woman who haunted me. She’d only recently shared her name. “It’s Clara,” I said, “Clara Marsh.” I hoped it meant something; that I could move forward with her story. Inside the store, we went our separate ways, he in search of rugs, while I sought out something far more elusive, something I couldn’t name. It was then I saw it, propped on a pedestal table, against a candlestick. There before me was a yellowed envelope with a one-cent stamp pasted in the upper right-hand corner, the recipient’s name across the front in Palmer’s cursive: Clara Marsh.

It was a sign. Surely, it was a sign.

Amy was inspired to write Tethered after hearing the horrifying real-life-and-death story of Erica Michelle Maria Green (Precious Doe) on NPR.
amy mackinnon 1 b_w#220aAmy just finished reading:
Matters of Faith by Kristy Kiernan , “A fantastic book about faith and food allergies,” says Amy.

Amy’s Soon-to-Read:

Some of Amy’s Fave Authors:

Amy’s Writers’ Group  – After leaving a “dysfunctional writers’ group,” Amy was asked to join her current group and is ever grateful. Their highly effective group has a few helpful guidelines:

  • 20 pages of required reading prior to each meeting,
  • openness and honesty,
  • Author is not allowed to speak while being reviewed

Amy’s fellow Writers’ Group member Lynn Griffin, wrote Life Without Summer due out April 2009, St. Martins Press

Amy’s parting words: “To all the writers out there–just keep imagining the possibilities, keep working towards that goal, and something Amanda Eyre Ward once said to me that sustained me over the years was ‘Every writer who persevere(s) will eventually get their book published.”

To be entered to win a FREE copy of Tethered call 206-309-7318 and leave a voice mail comment I can play on air or leave a comment below. If I don’t already have your mailing address, be sure to send me a quick email at and provide your contact information.**Thanks as always to Natali Brown for Queen of Me from the Podsafe Music NetworkAdditional Links:
Buttonwood Books & Toys

JC Hutchins, Personal Effects Dark Art (audio interview) Part II

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JC2I first heard of JC Hutchins on CC Chapman’s podcast Managing the Gray. Fortunately, podcast distribution has exposed me to books of varying genres I wouldn’t have otherwise picked off the shelf—and 7th Son is one of them.

First things first: JC is such a positive uplifting guy, before I realized it, we had chatted for over an hour. For those of you who cannot listen for a whole hour, I cut the conversation into two, so you can listen to the first half and then come back for the second whenever it’s convenient. Whatever you do, don’t just disregard the second half. We get into some personal stuff with JC and also chat about his unique approach to building community around his books ~ Good ideas for writers ~ A lot of fun for readers!

Trust Me, Brenda Novak

Listen NowTrustmeBrenda Novak is a wife and mother of five, a juvenile diabetes research fundraiser, and New York Times BESTselling author. Talk about life-work balance! And…we do!“Dreams really do come true,” says Brenda about landing a spot on the coveted New York Times Bestseller list the day before we chatted! “Congratulations” to Brenda who sold her first book almost a decade to-the-day Trust Me appeared on the print list!

What we chat about:

Even to this day, Brenda admits feeling guilty about not realizing her trusted day-care provider had been drugging her kids with over-the-counter medications to get them to sleep—Every mom’s nightmare. Brenda turned that painful experience positive by choosing a practical way to stay at home with her kids—Writing Books! Having never before put pen to paper, Brenda had a lot to learn about the writing craft and the challenges of her chosen genre—historical romanc, but after five years, her choice paid off.

Listen in as Brenda shares how she got her first novel published by taking advantage of Romance Writers of America (RWA) resources (i.e., contacts, market, and contest information). Since then, she’s moved into romantic thrillers and has published a slew of books including The Last Stand series.Brenda

Joshilyn Jackson, The Girl Who Stopped Swimming

Listen NowTGWSS-772x1200I LOVED this book! Joshilyn (pronounced: “Jocelyn”) Jackson is officially now one of my favorite authors. She’s a friendly high-energy Southern girl and even with her sage advice, “If you can’t be nice, at least be vague,” her level of honesty is downright refreshing.Joshilyn’s not afraid to put it out there, open up, and share her struggles and her fears–some very personal insights about her family and her writing process. Her bubbly positive personality makes her so easy to like you’d never dream she could write so believably about a promiscuous murderess. The Girl Who Stopped Swimming is a book about two sisters with a skeleton in their family closet–a story of relationships, acceptance, and redemption. Joshilyn is a gifted writer and this novel has just the right mix of complex characters with a gripping plot and a healthy dose of humor. If you haven’t picked one yet, The Girl Who Stopped Swimming is a perfect summer read.

Listen in as Joshilyn talks about how becoming a published author changes things

  • Details on Carrie’s Africa mission trip:  Show #95 Recent Travels at
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Jasmin Rosemberg, author of How the Other Half Hamptons

JasminbookcoverCarrie:  What inspired you to write this book?

Jasmin:  I’ve always wanted to be a novelist, but this book was inspired by the column I wrote for the New York Post a few summers back.  Each Sunday, I documented my experiences in my Hamptons share house – a unique twentysomething phenomenon I felt was relatively unexplored in literature.  Like one of  my characters, I did the Hamptons expecting to find a glamorous scene–a “summer playground for the rich and famous” marked by wealth and prestige and celebrity.  Most surprisingly, share house life is the total antithesis of that.

Carrie:  Give us an idea of the plot without giving too much away.

Jasmin:  “One house.  Forty strangers.  Add vodka and stir…” 

My novel follows three twenty-something girls who trade in generous portions of their entry-level incomes for shares in the Hamptons.  They have different personalities and different goals for the summer (one wants a serious boyfriend, another a wild time), but are thrown into a camp-like “Animal House meets Real World” situation that forges unexpected self-discovery.

Carrie:  What is the primary message you’d like your readers to take away from this book? What is the underlying theme?

Jasmin:  I hope to enlighten people about the share house experience, I hope they laugh and empathize with the experiences of these girls, and I hope to undo some of the disrepute that has come to be associated with “The Hamptons.” Jasminrosemberg

A recurring theme in my book is that of rules (are they necessary in a share house? a relationship? in general?).  Personally speaking, I followed “the rules” upon graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, and like the bulk of my peers, worked in one of the appropriate professions (finance) and lived in a dorm-like building in one of the appropriate areas (Murray Hill). 

Quite frankly, it wasn’t enough, so I did the unthinkable and quit my job, moved back home with my parents, and set about my dream of becoming a novelist. What I’d like people to take away from my book, from my journey, is that willingness to defy the norm (to “break the rules”) in pursuit of what they really believe in.

Joshilyn Jackson, author of The Girl Who Stopped Swimming

Here’s a little teaser for you before I post my audio interview with Joshilyn Jackson ~ If you have any questions you’d like me to ask her, email me at before Wednesday, June11th!

Joshilyn is the award winning best selling author of gods in Alabama and Between Georgia. Her latest novel, The Girl Who Stopped Swimming is one not to miss. I especially appreciate Joshilyn’s sense of humor, attention for detail, and ability to move her plot forward. Her characters are so realistic, you’re left questioning who these people really are ~ Surely, they aren’t simply a figment of Joshilyn’s imagination.

Carrie:  Give us an idea of the plot/subject without giving too much away.

Joshilyn:  The ghost of a drowned girl draws a pairs of estranged sisters together to discover what really happened the night she died.

Carrie:  Is your book plot or character driven ~ Tell us about your writing process.

Joshilyn:  Oh, I am always character driven. Plot comes last for me. I think about families and sets of people who are tangled up in each others lives for years before I ever write about them. At some point, one group of the folks in my head will become “internally loud,” and I’ll realize they are next.

I think the relationship between the sisters is what fuels THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING. They are such opposites, and yet they came from the same place. These sisters share a haunted past, and one of my favorite things about the book is how the sisters, as young girls, get the same “push” and roll in wildly different directions, because of who they are inside.

JoshilynI sympathize with Laurel, who lives a conventional life much like my own: a suburban wife and mother with a career in the arts. She is sometimes weak, sometimes indecisive, but she has a big hairy slavering fanged mother bear living inside her. When it’s her kid, the stakes change, and there is something unbreakable about her in that kind of situation in spite of her soft personality.

The other sister—Thalia. Lord. She is a love her/hate her character. I think she is hilarious, but I know some readers will want to strangle her. I freakin’ love her—even though I do not ADMIRE her. She flirts with being a sociopath, but where she is capable of love, she does it fiercely and willfully. I am interested in her strange marriage…

David Fulmer, author of The Blue Door

David Fulmer is the author of five critically-acclaimed and award-winning novels with Harcourt Books. His plaudits include nominations for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a Barry Award, and a Falcon Award. He claimed a spot on Borders Books “Best of 2003 List” and the “Best of 2005” lists by Library Journal, Deadly Pleasures Magazine, and The St. Louis Post-Dispatch and one of his books was included as one of New York Magazine’s “Best Novels You’ve Never Read”

He won a 2002 Shamus Award, the 2005 Georgia Author of the Year Award, and the 2007 Benjamin Franklin Award for Audiobook Fiction He has been translated into Japanese, Italian and French. All his books have received superlative reviews from, among others publications, The Times Picayune, The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post, BookList, Kirkus Reviews, The Detroit News, The Boston Globe, and The Tennessean.

Carrie: Please tell us about The Blue Door.
David:  It’s a mystery set in South Philadelphia in 1962. The main character is a boxer named Eddie Cero who comes to work for a private detective named Sal Giambroni—mostly, as a way to make a little money until he can get his fight career going again. He ends up getting involved in what seems to be a cold missing person case.

Carrie: Is The Blue Door plot or character driven?

David: Definitely character-driven. I begin all my books with an evocative setting. For the first three, it was Storyville, New Orleans, at the turn of the century.  Then I turned to Atlanta in the 1920s. In his current book, it’s South Philly in the early 1960s. I treat the setting as a character. Then I place the human characters whom I’ve spent considerable time developing and understand on these stages. I know there’s a body somewhere. These pieces are my raw materials.

Carrie: Why is music such an important factor in all your novels? 
David FulmerDavid:  I fell in love with American music when I was a kid. I’ve always felt that it’s represented the best of our culture. It came up from the ground, is ethnic without maintaining barriers, it’s totally inclusive, and has come to define America. There’s really no other art form that can make that claim The musicians and the music provide these really interesting dramas and I find lots of rich material to mine.
Carrie: How did your a small town background contribute to your future as a writer?
David: It required me entertaining myself, as well as my friends and me entertaining each other. That meant lots of stories. My grandfather was an immigrant and so the Old World oral storytelling tradition was very strong in our family. The other thing is that small towns can be stifling and growing up in one made me want to get out and do something.

Carrie:  Who are your favorite authors and who influenced your writing?

Win $10,000 Cash ~ Mira Books and Debbie Macomber’s “Make Your Wish Come True” Contest

I’m thrilled to report New York Times Bestselling Author Debbie Macomber has agreed to be a guest on Words To Mouth. We’ll speak about her her new book, Twenty Wishes–a story of hope, renewal, and inspiration–AND the exciting contest she and Mira Books are offering to readers.

Twenty Wishes follows a group of women who are drawn together at a time of loss. As their friendship grows, they bond together with a simple, but compelling notion that each of them should make a list of all the wonderful things they hope to experience in their lives. In line with the recent movie, The Bucket List, with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, simply jotting down one’s dreams can change your life for the better.

In Twenty Wishes, Debbie Macomber welcomes some familiar faces from her best selling Blossom Street books–The Shop on Blossom Street, A Good Yarn, and Back on Blossom Street–and introduces some new characters continuing her moving exploration of the complex relationships among family and friends.


Mira Books and Debbie Macomber are inviting readers to enter a special contest to make your most-desired wish come true. One lucky winner will be chosen to receive a $10,000 cash award to help make his/her dream a reality. To enter the contest, visit It’s as easy as jotting down your dreams in 50 words or less! Go for it! Entries must be postmarked by June 30th and received by July 7th, so don’t miss out on your chance to win!

I’ve got two copies of Twenty Wishes plus some Knit Along with Debbie Macomber companion books for the Words To Mouth book giveaway drawing, so check out the Free Book Drawing page above to find out how you can win. Okay, so it’s not $10,000, but a close second.

**Be sure to check out the audio interview I had with Debbie. Just go to the PODCAST category and you’ll find our conversation. Take good care! 

Book Drawing Winners Announced!

The following Words To Mouth friends have won free books:

  • Ann – Kate Jacobs, Friday Night Knitting Club
  • Anne – Mary Kay Andrews, Deep Dish
  • Andrea H. – Carolyn Ellis, 7 Pitfalls of Single Parenting
  • Carol L. – Debbie Gisonni, Vita’s Will
  • Jody L. – A.M. Homes, The Mistress’s Daughter
  • Kristi N. – Debbie Gisonni, The Goddess of Happiness
  • Rochelle M. – Kate Jacobs, Friday Night Knitting Club
  • Tina F. – Mary Kay Andrews, Deep Dish
  • Marsha C. – Kate Jacobs, Friday Night Knitting Club
  • Robin D. – Kaira Sturdivant–Rouda, Real You Incorporated
  • Eileen D. – Debbie Gisonni, The Goddess of Happiness AND Vita’s Will

I entered your name for the specific books you listed in the subject heading of your email. Some people listed two books and some wrote “ALL,” so they were entered in a few different contests and some people won two books! CONGRATULATIONS!! If you entered for a specific book, but now want me to put your name in the hat for ALL future drawings, just send me a quick email. For example, I’ve got a few copies of Kate Jacobs’ new book, Comfort Food, that I’d think you folks who put your name in for FNKC would be interested in, but I don’t want to assume…

I promise there are NO strings attached to winning, but I’d appreciate you commenting on the book on the Words To Mouth website once you read it.

I’m sure the author’s would appreciate you writing a review on the Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Books-A-Million websites—whichever you prefer (tell ‘em you won the book on Words To Mouth).  But, again, NO pressure—I know we’re all busy and some people love reading, yet hate writing, so if that feels like a pain, don’t do it ~ just thought I’d throw it out as an idea to help authors.

I will be drawing names for the following books next:

  • Jenifer Fox – Your Child’s Strengths
  • Kate Jacobs – Advance copies of Comfort Food (& matching tote bag)
  • Gary Seigel – The Mouth Trap
  • Phillips, Linney, Pack – Safe School Ambassadors (Interview Coming Soon)
  • Kaira Sturdivant Rouda – Real You Incorporated

This time, I’m asking folks to enter by doing one of the following:

  1. Leave a comment on the Words To Mouth website—under any book/interview of your choice,
  2. Write a brief review for Words To Mouth on iTunes, or
  3. Take the easy way out and send me an email with the title of the book (or “All”) in the subject heading,

Subscribe to Words To Mouth (link on my website) It’s really simple to do, just click on the GREEN music note (iTunes) or ORANGE button (other podcatchers) above my photo and you’ll get the show delivered automatically to your computer, so you can listen wherever and whenever you want.

If you enter one of the top two ways, I’m going to enter your name TWICE in the drawing. For those of you who do both of the top two ways, your name goes in twice for each method for a total of FOUR times. Of course, if you choose the top two options, please shoot me an email, so I know how to get a hold of you if you win! For you busy folks who just send me an email—that works, too—you’ll just have your name entered once. That’s fair, right?

**I’ve got 2 more copies of The 7 Pitfalls of Singe Parenting, which is obviously a book for a specific audience. If you know of anyone who is separated or divorced w/kids and may be interested in receiving this book, send me an email and I’ll put your name in the hat. If you win, you can give them the book as a gift ~ I’ll never tell!

Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight Series

My youngest daughter, who just turned twelve years old, has never been an avid reader. She loved curling up in my lap to let me do all the reading when she was younger, which I cherished, but as the years went by, we struggled to find books she was interested in. As most parents of elementary and middle school age children know, there is a program called Accelerated Reader (“AR”) in the public school system, at least here in the South, requiring kids to read and  test on a pre-determined amount of books a year. It’s been a constant struggle to get my daughter to meet her goal. That is, until Stephanie Meyer came on the scene!

My daughter brought home Twilight, as suggested by a friend, and our lives have changed forever. Twilight ain’t no light-weight read—This book is over, or at least close to, 500 pages! I don’t know if you can grasp the scene, but when your child basically “hates” to read and then walks in the door with a book the size of Texas, it’s difficult not to be skeptical.

All I can say is “THANK God for Vampires!” 😉 My daughter was finally bitten with that compelling inclination to steal away and READ—she was transfixed, she was riveted, she was a READER! I’d find her huddled under the covers past her bedtime and had to force her to turn out the light, so she wouldn’t be exhausted the next day at school. And guess what? She got a 90+% on her AR test—”Not 100%,” you ask? Hey, you try reading 500 pages and remember every detail!

Anyway, I am forever in Stephenie Meyer’s debt and can’t wait for Twilight to come out in a movie this fall. You know my daughter and I will be first in line. Until then, there’s always the rest of the Twilight series. Check out Stephenie’s website at I’d love to have her as a guest on Words To Mouth, but I’m not so sure her schedule would allow.


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  • About WordstoMouth

    Carrie created Words-to-Mouth—a blog & companion Internet talk show introducing new book releases and their authors to a community interested in excellent writing that may not  necessarily top the New York Times Bestseller List—Yet! To learn more about Carrie, click here