Welcome to Shelf Talk! Each month, we will ask an author six questions about what they like to read. We just recently interviewed author, Linda Barnes, and we already have a brand new interview with Hank Phillippi Ryan for our readers. Both Linda and Hank will be joining us at the library on Wednesday evening for a special event with authors, Susan Oleksiw and Kate Flora.
Hank Phillippi Ryan is the on-air investigative reporter for Boston’s NBC affiliate. She’s won 33 EMMY, 13 Edward R. Murrow awards and dozens of other honors for her groundbreaking journalism. A bestselling author of seven mystery novels, Ryan has won multiple prestigious awards for her crime fiction: five Agathas, the Anthony, Daphne, Macavity, and for The Other Woman, the coveted Mary Higgins Clark Award. National reviews have called her a “master at crafting suspenseful mysteries” and “a superb and gifted storyteller.” Her 2013 novel, The Wrong Girl, won both the Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel and the Daphne Award for Mainstream Mystery/Suspense, and is a seven-week Boston Globe bestseller. Her newest hardcover, Truth Be Told, is the Agatha Award winner for Best Contemporary Novel and an Anthony Award nominee for Best Novel. Truth Be Told is also a Library Journal BEST BOOK OF 2014, with starred reviews from Booklist and from Library Journal, which raves, “Drop everything and binge read!” She also won a second Agatha Award in 2015 for Best Nonfiction, as editor of Writes of Passage, an anthology of essays by mystery authors. Ryan’s next novel, What You See, will debut in Fall 2015. She’s a founding teacher at Mystery Writers of America University and 2013 president of national Sisters in Crime.
Visit her online at HankPhillippiRyan.com, on Twitter @HankPRyan and Facebook.
Kasia: When and where do you like to read?
Hank: I’m often traveling for a book tour, and I love reading on airplanes! Book-books, not e-books. I dive into the pages as everyone is getting settled, and sometimes I don’t even realize the plane has taken off! It’s so peaceful and private. I love to read in hotel rooms, late at night, and when I’m home—sometimes I wake up early in the morning and just reach for a book on the nightstand. “I’m reading to wake up,” I say.
Oh! My husband and I read together–floating in our pool! We have wonderful blow-up floats, and we each get a book, clamber on to the floats, and then let the breeze and the current take us away as we read. It’s bliss!
Kasia: What were your favorite books as a child?
Hank: All the Edward Eager books, absolutely–(I still give them to every kid who comes to our house)–Half Magic, and The Time Garden. And, Knight’s Castle. Nancy Drew, and Cherry Ames and Trixie Belden. There was a series with Donna Parker, which I still think about today. Black Beauty. All the Sherlock Holmes stories, I read every one! Diamond in the Window, and A Wrinkle in Time, and The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet.
Kasia: What books had the greatest impact on you?
Hank: Look Homeward Angel, for the poetry and care of the writing. Custom of the Country, for Edith Wharton’s biting observation of her contemporaries, and the dialogue. Stephen King’s The Stand, for its amazing storytelling, and the use of different voices. Nelson DeMille’s Charm School (with Frederick Forsyth’s Day of the Jackal) the epitome of the thriller. Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. Any of Sue Grafton’s books–she’s the master. And Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Oh, gosh. Somebody stop me.
Kasia: Would you like to name a few writers out there you think deserve greater readership?
Hank: Peter Abrahams/Spencer Quinn. As Abrahams, his psychological thrillers are unmatched–brave and brilliant. As Spencer Quinn, his Chet and Bernie mysteries–with the pov [point-of-view] of a dog–are hilarious and touching. He should be a huge (huger?) star. Linwood Barclay, from Canada, wrote a thriller, Trust Your Eyes ,which is one of the best ever. Lisa Unger, with her amazing psychological suspense. She’s terrific. And Gregg Hurwitz–smart, fast-paced, always surprising.
Kasia: What was the last book you recommended?
Hank: Method 15/33 by Shannon Kirk. It is ridiculously good.
Kasia: What do you plan to read next?
Hank: Missoula by Jon Krakauer.