March 3, 2021 | Issue #31
Five Facts from Our Friend, Lisa Unger
The one thing you’ve learned you can’t live without during the pandemic:
I have always thought of myself as an extreme introvert, nourished most fully by solitude. And this is true. But the pandemic has taught me that I have an inner extrovert, too! I miss parties, and big hugs from my friends, and conferences where I get to spend time and share ideas with my writer peeps. I’m lucky enough to have a wonderful husband, and a sweet (truly) teenage daughter who fill my life with love every day. But I guess I can’t live without meaningful connection to the people outside our family who we love so much. Zoom happy hours aren’t cutting it!
Your perfect day:
Rise early and write. Have breakfast with my daughter before she goes to school. Exercise. Back to writing. Lunch with my husband. More writing. Cooking a wonderful dinner. A long walk on the beach with my labradoodle Jak Jak. A great movie with the family. Read in bed before and early lights out! Pretty tame, but there you go.

Your favorite independent bookstore:
Tombolo Books in St. Petersburg is one of my favorite indies. It’s a pretty little shop in the heart of St. Petersburg, Florida, and the owners Alsace and Candice are sterling booksellers, passionate readers, and wonderful friends. I also have to mention Oxford Exchange in Tampa, a truly gorgeous space with a devoted and supportive staff, and the wonderful Laura Taylor at the helm. I am so lucky to have these dynamic, engaged, and well-run stores in my hometown area.

The last book you raved about:
INTROVERT POWER: Why Your Inner Life is Your Hidden Strength by Laurie Helgoe, Ph.D. I count this book as one of the most significant reads of my life. An introvert gains power through solitude, reflection, and, in my case, creativity. But our culture rewards and is biased towards extroverts, that sales-oriented, life of the party, go-getter. Dr. Helgoe’s wise, compassionate, and practical words helped me to honor, value, and nurture my introvert self, which conversely gives me more energy when I need my more extroverted self. It was a real game changer.

Your next book in ten words or less:
I can tell you all about my next book. But I’ll need 110,000 words to do it! LAST GIRL GHOSTED, my 19th novel of psychological suspense, releases October 2021. Check out for all the details as they are revealed including the cover and an excerpt.
Bookseller of the Week
Our featured independent bookseller of the week is Tombolo Books in St. Petersburg, FL. Tombolo Books operated as a pop-up in the Tampa Bay region for several years before settling on its Grand Central District location after a successful crowdfunding campaign. Co-owned by Alsace Walentine and Candice Anderson, Tombolo features all genres, an expansive children's section with a cozy reading nook, and a healthy selection of books by local authors. Get 10% off (no code required!) this week on our guest Lisa Unger's two most recent books CONFESSIONS ON THE 7:45 and THE STRANGER INSIDE, as well as on recent and upcoming books by the Fab Five.  SHOP NOW!   
Up Close and Personal with Mary Kay Andrews

Each week, the Friends & Fiction authors will take turns writing an essay for, the online home of Parade magazine. This week, Mary Kay Andrews writes about imparting a love of reading to our children in honor of National Reading Month.

I was 5 years old, the second of five kids, when my older sister Susie, then a self-important second-grader, taught me the rudiments of reading, only because she was tired of having to read aloud to me and my younger siblings (ages 4, 3 and 2).

By the time I started school, my teacher was so impressed with my literacy skills that she packed me and another early reader classmate off to the school library where we were allowed to engage in free-range browsing—this while the other first graders were struggling with poor, ponderous Dick and Jane and Puff and Spot.

I still remember the smug sense of satisfaction I felt, clutching my library books (chapter books!) to my chest on the way home from school. The stories in those books made me aspire not only to be a reader, but a story-maker-upper, which is what I imagined a writer would be.
To continue reading MKA’s essay on, click HERE.
Debut Spotlight

New in paperback this week, The Yellow Bird Sings—a debut novel by Jennifer Rosner—launched in hardcover last March, just as the pandemic was beginning. The novel tells the story of a Jewish mother and her young daughter, a musical prodigy, in hiding during WWII. The New York Times called it "an absolutely beautiful and necessary novel, full of heartbreak but also hope, about the bond between mother and daughter, and the sacrifices made for love," and it was a National Jewish Book Award Finalist. Kristin Harmel will be doing an online event with Jennifer in May (details to come); this is a great time to pick up this "stunning debut" (Booklist) in paperback for the first time.
And Now a Word from our Partners

We are so pleased to partner with Mama Geraldine's Bodacious Foods! Not only is Mama Geraldine's the maker of the world's most delicious (and this country's bestselling!) cheese straw, they're also a woman-owned business. And we can really get behind that! Try their six flavors of cheese straws and their oh-so-delicious cookies. Get 20% off your online order at with the code FABFIVE. SHOP NOW!

The Page 1 Book Subscription provides the personal touch of an indie bookstore, with the delight and surprise of an online subscription service, curated just for you. Because real-life indie booksellers know that you are more than an algorithm. Enter your preferences and choose the 3-, 6-, or 12-month subscription. First-time subscribers get 10% off with the code FABFIVE. Visit and tell them what you love!
Latest News From "The Fab Five"

While you are waiting for pub day, PATTI CALLAHAN HENRY has loads of new things to prepare you for your journey — from a new podcast announcement for the book, to pre-ordering signed first editions, to an audiobook excerpt, to virtual eventsarticles, interviews and more — pop over to Patti’s website for all the pre-pub fun. She is also so excited to tell you about an announcement made by Harper Collins Publishers about their new imprint Muse with their lead title on October 19th, 2021: Patti’s next novel titled Once Upon a Wardrobe.  More to come on this novel about Narnia in the coming weeks. For now we are so excited to launch into the high seas with Surviving Savannah! 
KRISTY WOODSON HARVEY is so excited that the Feels Like Falling e-book is on sale for $1.99 for a limited time—and it includes a special sneak peek into Under the Southern Sky!

MARY KAY ANDREWS is excited about the first couple of reviews of her May release, THE NEWCOMER. Authorlink says, "The Newcomer is another thoroughly enjoyable novel from Mary Kay Andrews. Sun, sand, and a scintillating plot with hugely likeable characters make this the perfect summer read.” Suspense Magazine says "A little bit romance, a little bit suspense, and everything you’ve come to know and love from a Mary Kay Andrews story, The Newcomer is sure to be a summer favorite!" You can enter to win one of 10 ARCs of The Newcomer HERE. You can also score the audiobook of DEEP DISH for just $3.99 (and the ebook for just $1.99!) all through the month of March.

MARY ALICE MONROE is celebrating the official national Cover Release for her Middle Grade Novel THE ISLANDERS-- and it hit #1 in Children’s Hardcover book and #2 Kindle! Woohoo! Described as “magical” the book can be pre-ordered now ahead of the June 15, 2021 release.

KRISTIN HARMEL received her box of ARCs (advanced readers' copies) of The Forest of Vanishing Stars this week, which means they're on their way to select reviewers and Goodreads winners, too. Want to enter to win an early copy? Click HERE by March 8.
News from the F&F Official Book Club
Mark your calendars for these upcoming book club discussions. All events below take place at 7pm ET. 

March 15: The Book Club with Mary Alice Monroe, plus a guest appearance by Kristy Woodson Harvey to preview Under the Southern Sky RSVP Here 
April 19: Surviving Savannah with Patti Callahan Henry
May 17: Under the Southern Sky with Kristy Woodson Harvey
June 21: The Newcomer with Mary Kay Andrews
July 19: The Summer of Lost and Found with Mary Alice Monroe
Aug. 16: The Forest of Vanishing Stars with Kristin Harmel
If you missed our fabulous discussion of The Winemaker's Wife with Kristin Harmel, watch the replay here.

Lisa & Brenda had a fabulous Happy Hour with Ron Block on 2/19 filled with surprises and special guests! Click here to see the replay.
Listen to the F&F Podcast!
In our latest episode, Patti & Kristin interview bestselling, award-winning author Katherine Reay about her novel, The Printed Letter Bookshop, the story of a woman who inherits her aunt's bookshop, and Janet Skeslien Charles whose novel The Paris Library, based on the true WWII story of the heroic librarians at the American Library in Paris, just debuted on the New York Times bestseller list. LISTEN NOW on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher
or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Earlier this week Patti talked to long-time publishing experts and professional book boosters Carol Fitzgerald of The Book Report Network and Robin Kall of A Mighty Blaze and @robinkallink for an episode about building communities of book lovers which will post next week.
Yesterday Mary Kay & Kristin recorded an interview with Ireland-based thriller writer Tana French about her novel THE SEARCHER which will post to the podcast on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th.
Posting at the end of March, Kristy has an episode already in the can with our beloved bookstagrammer pals from @meagansbookclub and @the_book_lover_book_club_.

Listen, download, subscribe, rate, review & share wherever you get your podcasts.