Featured Author Event: Simone St. James (Manhattan)

All Penguin Random House employees are invited to hear Simone St. James discuss her new Berkley thriller, THE SUN DOWN MOTEL in conversation with fellow Berkley author Rachel Harrison. Abby Endler, creator of Crime by the Book, will be the moderator.  The event takes place on Wednesday, February 19 at Barnes & Noble Upper West Side (2289 Broadway) from 7:00 to 9:00 pm and includes a book signing with the authors.

In her chilling new novel, St. James takes readers alongside protagonist Carly Kirk as she attempts to solve the mysteries of her family's past.  Something hasn’t been right at the Sun Down Motel for a long time, and Carly is about to find out why. Upstate New York, 1982. Viv Delaney wants to move to New York City, and to help pay for it she takes a job as the night clerk at the Sun Down Motel in Fell, New York. But something isn’t right at the motel, something haunting and scary. Upstate New York, 2017. Carly Kirk has never been able to let go of the story of her aunt Viv, who mysteriously disappeared from the Sun Down before she was born. She decides to move to Fell and visit the motel, where she quickly learns that nothing has changed since 1982. And she soon finds herself ensnared in the same mysteries that claimed her aunt.  Simone St. James is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls, Lost Among the Living, and The Haunting of Maddy Clare. She wrote her first ghost story, about a haunted library, when she was in high school, and spent twenty years behind the scenes in the television business before leaving to write full-time

Friendship, Secrets & Thumps in Surgical Scrubs

Our latest Igloo Book Buzz selection is Kimmery Martin’s debut novel, THE QUEEN OF HEARTS, published by Berkley on February 13.  An emergency medicine doctor, born and raised in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, Kimmery sets her book’s narrative in a world of hospital rounds and life-or-death decisions, while exploring the heart’s capacity for forgiveness. 

[caption id="attachment_9577" align="alignright" width="239"] Kimmery Martin Photo: © Stephen B. Dey[/caption] “My goal in writing THE QUEEN OF HEARTS,” said Kimmery, “was to create a story about female friendship that is both entertaining and smart.  The kind of books I enjoy the most as a reader are the ones that give you the sense you are learning something in depth about a particular subject, but you don’t necessarily realize it at the time because you’re so hooked in the action or transfixed by the characters. TQOH gives a detailed insider’s look at the medical world, in a way that would be difficult to do without having lived it, or at least without having done a lot of research. Interestingly, when the publisher asked me to raise the stakes for one of the characters by placing her in a difficult surgical situation, I squirmed even writing about losing a patient.” Berkley Executive Editor Kerry Donovan: “I first fell in love with Kimmery’s voice for the emotional intensity of the setting she chose.  THE QUEEN OF HEARTS offers an up-close-and-personal look at the lives of two female doctors working in trauma surgery and pediatric cardiology—and I savored this chance to learn more about the stakes of committing to a surgery career, especially when the central characters are also juggling responsibilities at home.  An ER doctor who knows firsthand the sacrifices demanded by a successful surgical practice, Kimmery’s writing hit every emotional note I craved: hilarity in the domestic scenes, the gratification of a career running along its charted course, and sudden despair after a tragedy threatens to derail everything. Kimmery puts it best in her Author’s Note where she details what inspired her to set her debut novel in a hospital environment: “Medicine is a consuming field and a career without equal in its reward. Doctors have the immeasurable blessing of seeing life in all its anguish and glory.”

Big Night at the Golden Globe Awards for BIG LITTLE LIES and THE HANDMAID’S TALE

Hit television series based on Liane Moriarty’s BIG LITTLE LIES (Berkley) and Margaret Atwood’s THE HANDMAID’S TALE (Anchor) took home a combined 6 awards at the 75th annual Golden Globe Awards, Sunday night, January 7, in Los Angeles.  

Big Little Lies, airing on HBO, won in four categories: Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television; Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television, (Nicole Kidman); Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television (Laura Dern); and Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television (Alexander Skarsgard). The Handmaid’s Tale, airing on Hulu, won Best Television Series, Drama; and Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series, Drama (Elisabeth Moss). In addition, Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series, Musical or Comedy went to Aziz Ansari for the Netflix series, Master of None. Ansari is the author of MODERN ROMANCE (Penguin Press).

TV Adaptations of THE HANDMAID’S TALE and BIG LITTLE LIES Win Multiple Major Emmy Awards

Hit television series based on Margaret Atwood’s THE HANDMAID’S TALE (Anchor) and Liane Moriarty’s BIG LITTLE LIES (Berkley) won a combined 11 awards at the 69th annual Emmy Awards Sunday night, September 17, in Los Angeles.  

[caption id="attachment_7796" align="alignright" width="300"] Photo Credit: Inwood/AP[/caption] The Handmaid’s Tale, airing on Hulu, won in six categories:  Outstanding Drama Series; Lead Actress, Drama Series (Elisabeth Moss); Supporting Actress, Drama Series (Ann Dowd); Guest Actress, Drama Series (Alexis Bledel); Directing for a Drama Series (Reed Morano); and Writing for Drama Series (Bruce Miller).   Several acceptance speeches praised and expressed gratitude to Ms. Atwood. Ms. Moss said, “”Thank you for what you did in 1985 and thank you for what you continue to do.”  Ms. Atwood received a standing ovation as she walked onto the stage when The Handmaid’s Tale  won Outstanding Drama Series. Big Little Lies, airing on HBO, won in five categories: Outstanding Limited Series; Lead Actress, Limited Series or Movie (Nicole Kidman); Supporting Actress, Limited Series or Movie (Laura Dern), Supporting Actor, Limited Series or Movie (Alexander Skarsgard); and Directing for a Limited Series (Jean-Marc Vallée).  BIG LITTLE LIES author Liane Moriarty was thanked a number of times, including by Nicole Kidman, who thanked Ms. Moriarty for writing a book “that presented strong, multi-dimensional women.” Also, Alec Baldwin, author of the upcoming Penguin Press book, YOU CAN’T SPELL AMERICA WITHOUT ME, won the Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor, Comedy (Saturday Night Live).  W. Kamau Bell, author of the Dutton title, THE AWKWARD THOUGHTS OF W. KAMAU BELL, won the Emmy for Unstructured Reality Program (United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell).  And  Aziz Ansari, Penguin Press author of MODERN ROMANCE, won the Emmy for Writing for a Comedy Series (Master of None).

Berkley’s Cindy Hwang on Editing Karen White’s New Kind of Romance

Cindy HwangThis Three Question for an Editor series interview features Cindy Hwang, Vice President, Editorial Director, Berkley, who takes us inside her work with New York Times bestselling author Karen White, with a focus on Karen’s latest novel, THE NIGHT THE LIGHTS WENT OUT, which Berkley is publishing on Tuesday, April 11. Cindy began

her career as the assistant to Berkley’s Editor-in-Chief in 1994 and has been fortunate to work with some outstanding authors through the years, including Christine Feehan, Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick, Sylvia Day, Maya Banks, Nalini Singh and Karen White – who offers her personal comments about working with Cindy at the conclusion of this article. As the editor of bestselling books by many authors, what do you find are characteristics that Karen White brings to the page that distinguishes her in the marketplace? Karen has a very distinctive voice, and it’s a voice that stays with readers.  I didn’t buy Karen’s debut novel when it was first submitted to me, but I certainly remembered it and her voice.  And when years later I was sent Karen’s new novel by her agent for consideration, I immediately recognized Karen’s writing and remembered that first novel.  I believe many readers have become loyal readers of Karen because of her voice.  If I were blindfolded and only able to listen to my authors’ writings, I think I would have the easiest time identifying Karen’s by her words.  There’s a certain lilt and flow to her sentences which really suit the southern setting of her novels. 9780451488381-198x300How does Karen’s newest book, THE NIGHT THE LIGHTS WENT OUT, fit into the evolution of her writing career and what was your primary role throughout the editorial process? I remember the first time Karen pitched me her idea for THE NIGHT THE LIGHTS WENT OUT, and I was excited because Karen wanted to set it close to her actual home in the Atlanta suburbs. But it was still very early in the process, and sometimes ideas don’t pan out.  At that early stage, I always keep an open mind so Karen can use me as a sounding board to help develop her ideas.  What we’ve discovered from working together is that Karen needs to let an idea percolate for a long time—and that she often struggles with writing synopses during the proposal stage.  So now, when she’s ready to show me her idea when it’s developed enough, we skip the synopsis and go straight to the opening chapters.  And this is what we did for THE NIGHT THE LIGHTS WENT OUT. I knew from those first chapters that Karen had written something very special and already created some fabulous characters, so I was confident that Karen was on the right track.  THE NIGHT THE LIGHTS WENT OUT has some of the key features that Karen likes to include in all her novels, mainly an exploration of women’s relationships, both familial and not, but the very contemporary setting and characters definitely marked a change from some of Karen’s previous novels which always had a strong historical element to the plots.  There’s also one in THE NIGHT THE LIGHTS WENT OUT as well but it’s clearly the contemporary story that is the focus, not the historical one. Who do you see as Karen’s most loyal readers and what about her books keeps them coming back for more stories, year after year? [caption id="attachment_5774" align="alignright" width="200"]Karen White, photo by Claudio Marinesco Karen White, photo by Claudio Marinesco[/caption] We recently had an event in Charleston that brought readers around the country together to celebrate the publication of Karen’s latest novel, THE GUESTS ON SOUTH BATTERY, and what we discovered was that Karen’s readers are generational.  There were so many mothers & daughters who came together to meet Karen as well as groups of friends and just plain families.  And many traveled across the country for this event.  Many of them had read Karen for years and loved not only the southern setting of her novels but her focus on women and their relationships, as well as the carefully crafted mysteries that often provide the framework within which she can explore those relationships. Karen White on Cindy Hwang and Berkley: How would you describe your author/editor working relationship with Cindy and what have been the most important aspects of having Berkley as your book publishing home? The one word that defines my working relationship with Cindy is trust.  She trusts my instincts when choosing elements of my books (characters, setting, POV), and I trust her to give an honest evaluation on a finished manuscript.  It’s the perfect author/editor relationship:  Cindy never intrudes on the creative process, but is terrific at brainstorming ideas and has the brilliant ability to pinpoint what’s not working even when I can’t–and she’s always right! I’ve been working with Cindy and Berkley for 23 books in 11 years.  Every book I’ve ever written is now in print under the same logo.  I love the continuity of having my backlist with the same publisher as my current titles, and the longevity means that my entire Berkley team (editorial, marketing, sales, art and publicity) all recognize what a “Karen White” book is even before my latest manuscript lands on Cindy’s desk.  This understanding has meant a concentrated effort to brand me and my books so that the rest of the world knows, too.
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Our 10 2017 RITA Awards Finalists

rwa logoThe Romance Writers of America (RWA) has announced the finalists for its 2017 RITA  Awards, with 10 books published by Penguin Random House imprints among the nominees in the following categories:

  romance awardsBest First Book SUMMER OF SUPERNOVAS by Darcy Woods (Crown Books for Young Readers) Contemporary Romance: Mid-Length CAROLINA DREAMING by Virginia Kantra (Berkley) OFF THE HOOK by Laura Drewry (Loveswept) romance awards2WANDERLUST by Roni Loren (InterMix) Erotic Romance THE MASTER by Tara Sue Me (Berkley) OFF THE CLOCK by Roni Loren (Berkley) Paranormal Romance THE BEAST by J R Ward (Berkley) romance awards3Romantic Suspense ATONE by Beth Yarnall (Loveswept) MR. AND MR. SMITH by HelenKay Dimon (Loveswept) Young Adult Romance SUMMER OF SUPERNOVAS by Darcy Woods (Crown Books for Young Readers) Warm congratulations to our nominated authors, their editors and publishers. The RITA — considered the highest award of distinction in romance fiction — recognizes excellence in published romance novels and novellas.  The award itself is a golden statuette named after RWA’s first president, Rita Clay Estrada, and has become the symbol for excellence in published romance fiction. Up to 2,000 romance novels are entered in the RITA competition. A novel may be entered either by the author or by the book’s publisher in one of the contest categories.  After the first round of judging by published romance authors, entries that meet the qualifications to become a finalist then advance to the final round. View the complete list of finalists here. This year’s RITA  Awards winners will be announced July 27 at the 2017 RWA Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida.

TV Adaptation of Berkley’s BIG LITTLE LIES to Premiere on HBO This Sunday

big little lies HBOThe highly anticipated television adaptation of Liane Moriarty’s #1 New York Times bestseller, BIG LITTLE LIES, premieres on HBO this Sunday as a limited series. New episodes will air every Sunday for the following six weeks. Berkley’s trade paperback and mass market tie-in editions went on sale February 7.

The all-star cast includes Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Alexander Skarsgård, Laura Dern, Adam Scott and Zoë Kravitz. David E. Kelley (L.A. Law, The Practice, Ally McBeal) created the series and wrote the pilot episode.

Watch the BIG LITTLE LIES trailer here.