Midtown Reader Blog

The Queen of the Beach Read at Midtown Reader

“I always planned to be a writer. As a little girl, I wanted to be Lois Lane,” Mary Kay Andrews told me. “At one point I thought, ‘Maybe I’ll write books,’ but girls from St. Pete didn’t write books…” So Andrews, now a bestselling author with more than 25 novels under her belt, became a journalist straight out of college. She spent the next 11 years secretly trying to write her way out of the newsroom, but that time on the Cops and Courts beat and then in Features taught her the discipline she relies on now as a successful author. “In journalism, you have to write on your feet; you have to write even when you’re not inspired,” she said. “I learned how to walk up to a stranger, ask them hard

Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic with Indianapolis

This we know: lots of movies are based on books. It’s a fairly common debate - which was better? Did the movie get it right? Was the author involved? With Indianapolis, the definitive account of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis, the process happened a little differently. In this case, filmmaker Sara Vladic had written a screenplay, but she was told the movie needed to be based on a book. “I remember reading one sentence about the Indianapolis as a middle schooler and thinking, ‘Someone should make a movie about this,’” she said. After interviewing more than 100 survivors and rescue crew members, she was ready to tell that story. Enter Lynn Vincent, a Navy veteran and New York Times bestse

Alex Kershaw at Midtown Reader

At Alex Kershaw’s book The First Wave accomplishes many things, but perhaps the most important is its “out and out celebration of sacrifice and courage” made by the first wave of American soldiers on the beaches at Normandy in World War II. As the 75th anniversary of D-Day approaches, he said he had a very specific purpose in writing the novel. “This story was written to celebrate the stars,” Kershaw said. “I wanted to take the people who were extraordinary and tell their stories in as much detail as possible.” Kershaw, known for his award-winning histories of WWII, generally focuses on the very pure theme of good vs. evil, stories about heroism. That first wave of soldiers, he told me, was

Michael Knight at Midtown Reader

Michael Knight hadn’t planned on becoming a writer, or at least not as a career. He wrote poems and novels throughout his childhood, but as he was getting ready to graduate from college, he (somewhat resignedly) applied to law school. “I always thought writers were sort of magicians, that they knew things the rest of us didn’t,” he said. “I didn’t realize [writing] was a thing you could do.” Fortunately, a professor encouraged him to pursue his graduate degree in creative writing. Seven books later, he’s living that magical life. His most recent novel, At Briarwood School For Girls, grew out of his desire to investigate and write about his “big, life-shaping years” in Virginia. The setting,

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