If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

September Interviews

9/2 Dianne Freeman, A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Murder

9/9 Ellen Byron, Murder in the Bayou Boneyard

9/16 Marilyn Levinson, writing as Allison Brook, Checked Out for Murder

9/23 Rhys Bowen, The Last Mrs. Summers

9/30 Sherry Harris, From Beer To Eternity

September Guest Bloggers

9/19 Judy Alter

WWK Weekend Bloggers

9/5 V. M. Burns

9/12 Jennifer J. Chow

9/26 Kait Carson


Keenan Powell recently signed with agent Amy Collins of Talcott Notch. Congratulations, Keenan!

KM Rockwood's "Secrets To The Grave" will appear in the new SinC Chesapeake Chapter's new anthology Invitation To Murder, which will be released by Wildside Press on 10/6.

Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!

Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!

Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!

Look Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."

Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, was released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here from April 29th.

Annette Dashofy's 10th Zoe Chambers mystery, Til Death, will be released on June 16th. Look for the interview here on June 17.


Monday, October 1, 2018

A Review of The Gifted Gabaldón Sisters by Lorraine López

by Linda Rodriguez

I recently reread one of my favorite books, The Gifted GabaldónSisters by Lorraine López, and wanted to recommend it to our readers. It is not a murder mystery and would probably be considered “women's fiction” in this modern marketing environment, but the driving narrative force of the whole novel is the effort of the protagonists to unravel and resolve a mystery that stems from a crime that happened before their parents were born. Genre crime writers could learn a great deal from the way López creates suspense and handles the two timelines of the book.

I first met López at Con Tinta in Chicago in 2011 at AWP, the national conference of writers and university writing programs. López is one of the organizers of Con Tinta, the annual pachanga of Latino writers and their literary allies from around the country that meets at AWP. She is also a veteran of the famous Macondo writing workshop, as am I. The Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English at Vanderbilt University and former director of their MFA in Creative Writing, López is a charming, soft-spoken woman, whose second book of short stories was published by BkMk Press at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. This book, Homicide Survivors' Picnic, was a finalist for the 2010 PEN/Faulkner Award in Fiction, making López the first Latina to become a finalist for that prestigious award. She published two other fine novels after The Gifted Gabaldón SistersRealm of Hungry Spirits and The Darling. Another of her collections of short stories, Postcards from the Gerund State, will be published in the summer of 2019 by BkMk Press, and she is working on a fourth novel.

López’s first novel, The Gifted Gabaldón Sisters (Grand Central Publishing), raised high expectations since her first short story collection, Soy la Avon Lady and Other Stories (Curbstone Press), won the Latino Book Award and other awards, and her young adult novel, Call Me Henri (Curbstone Press), won the Paterson Prize. The Gifted Gaboldón Sisters exceeded those expectations handily.

Four young sisters depend on the family’s mysterious and ancient Pueblo servant, Fermina, after their mother’s death. Early in the book, Fermina dies, after promising each girl a gift. Throughout the book, the story of the sisters’ journey to adulthood with the special gifts endowed by Fermina—Bette’s stories, Loretta’s healing, Rita’s cursing, and Sophia’s laughter—alternates with Fermina’s own gripping story of kidnapping and slavery told to a writer long before the girls were born. The two threads come together as the adult sisters, in a time of crisis for each, journey together across the country and into the past to discover who Fermina was and what kind of magic their capricious gifts really came from.

López peoples her book with characters so fresh and alive you expect to meet them just around the block. The rich, vivid writing entwines the reader deeply in the lives of the girls, their relatives, and their lovers. Fermina’s story enlightens and interconnects with theirs from the distant past. The book’s theme focuses on the lives of women in the past and present, how the distant past informs their present identities, and how they overcome or make peace with the limitations life hands them.

López is one of the most gifted writers of fiction today. She writes from a position of respect and caring for even her most hapless and out-of-control characters, allowing the reader to see through her eyes the possibilities and hope at each one's core. This is a book you will go back to again and again.

Linda Rodriguez's Dark Sister: Poems is her 10th book. based on her popular workshop, Plotting the Character-Driven Novel, and The World Is One Place: Native American Poets Visit the Middle East, an anthology she co-edited, were published in 2017. Every Family Doubt, her fourth mystery featuring Cherokee detective, Skeet Bannion, and Revising the Character-Driven Novel will be published in 2019. Her three earlier Skeet novels—Every Hidden Fear, Every Broken Trust, Every Last Secret—and earlier books of poetry—Skin Hunger and Heart's Migration—have received critical recognition and awards, such as St. Martin's Press/Malice Domestic Best First Novel, International Latino Book Award, Latina Book Club Best Book of 2014, Midwest Voices & Visions, Elvira Cordero Cisneros Award, Thorpe Menn Award, and Ragdale and Macondo fellowships. Her short story, “The Good Neighbor,” published in Kansas City Noir, has been optioned for film.

Rodriguez is past chair of the AWP Indigenous Writer’s Caucus, past president of Border Crimes chapter of Sisters in Crime, founding board member of Latino Writers Collective and The Writers Place, and a member of International Thriller Writers, Native Writers Circle of the Americas, Wordcraft Circle of Native American Writers and Storytellers, and Kansas City Cherokee Community. Visit her at http://lindarodriguezwrites.blogspot.com


E. B. Davis said...

Your description of the book makes me want to read it. Seems like it would be uplifting. I often read "women's" literature and other genres than mystery. Mixing it up is the spice of reading life. Thanks for bringing the book to our attention.

Tina said...

What a wonderful description! I don't have a sister, so exploring that relationship through literature is rewarding for me. Thanks for sharing this.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Elaine, the MBAs who run publishing now slot almost any book that features women protagonists and doesn't focus on romance or murder in the women's fiction category. This book very skillfully unravels a long-ago crime that has had and continues to have huge repercussions in the present. It's actually based to some extent on a dark episode the author discovered in her own family history.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Tina, I think you'll like this book if you enjoy tales of sisterhood.

Gloria Alden said...

Linda, I have written down the title and author to get the book and read it. Interesting that the book deals with something the author discovered in her own family history.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Gloria, the book is definitely fiction, but based on a kernel from the author's own family history.

Grace Topping said...

Thanks for the recommendation, Linda. I know that if you liked it, it must be good.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Thank you, Grace. I think you'll enjoy this book.

KM Rockwood said...

I also have three sisters, so a book that explores the relationships among them might be interesting and enlightening.

Linda Rodriguez said...

I think you'll like it, KM.