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Peter Malone Elliott

Claire Creely

By Interviews

Claire Creely was the Grand Prize Winner of the Sci-Fi/Fantasy category in the 2021 Book Pipeline Unpublished season with her novel, They Called Her Wild. They Called Her Wild is one of the most creative pieces I’ve had the pleasure of reading in a long while—an incredibly ambitious, emotionally complex, and contemporary feminist retelling of the Selkie myth. Despite my Irish & Scottish heritage, I’m ashamed to admit that I had…absolutely no idea what a Selkie was. What inspired you to take on reinventing this piece of mythology, and what do you hope that readers will ultimately take away from it? Thank you! Same—I didn’t know about Selkies until I was researching Irish folklore for my Master’s thesis in 2015. I spent a lot of time digging through old books in the college library searching for folktales. I found a few I loved; the Selkie myth was not one of them….

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Melissa Duge Spiers

By Interviews

Melissa Duge Spiers was the Grand Prize Winner of the Nonfiction category in the 2021 Book Pipeline Unpublished season with her memoir, The Glory Whole. After an introduction from Pipeline, Melissa signed with Dani Segelbaum of the Carol Mann Agency. With The Glory Whole, you managed quite the feat—the piece masterfully weaves a poignant coming-of-age story amidst a horrifying exposé of the Seventh-Day Adventist church, which you grew up in. Most memoirists wouldn’t dare attempt to do both simultaneously, let alone execute as well as you did. The Glory Whole is unsettling, hilarious, and touching all at once. In case you didn’t realize—I’m a huge fan. I’m curious, given the extremely personal nature of the writing, how difficult was the revision process? How were you able to effectively “detach” emotionally and look at the piece through an objective (as much as possible, anyway) editing lens? Oh my goodness, thank you! I don’t know how well I’ve detached,…

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All Her Little Secrets

By Spotlight: Must-Reads

All Her Little Secrets by Wanda M. Morris thriller William Morrow—November 2021 Usually for my book reviews, I spend quite a lot of time researching potential picks. I analyze everything from the sales numbers, their genres, the publishing pedigree of the author, and much more. Furthermore, I’m very meticulous about what piece I select for each review—and why. And, surprising to no one who knows me, this is a characteristic that transfers over to almost every aspect of my life. Yes. I admit it. I, Peter Malone Elliott, am a control freak. Nice to meet you. However, this month, I wanted to buck that trend, go against my inherent nature, and do something I’ve never done before: take a blind recommendation and just go with it. Throw caution to the wind. Let the chips fall where they may. I’m trying to think of a third clichéd expression but … I…

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Beautiful World, Where Are You

By Spotlight: Must-Reads

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney lit fiction Farrar, Straus and Giroux—September 2021 Doing what I do for a living, I’m constantly speaking with fellow industry and creative folks about what we’ve been watching or reading. To be frank? It’s probably about 75% of the conversations I have. Don’t get me wrong—I absolutely love talking about the works of art that I find engaging and interesting. Those tête-à-têtes are always lively, incredibly stimulating, and thoroughly enjoyable. Inevitably, though, in the past two to three years, there’s been something that, without fail, manages to wheedle its way into these discussions—and has become something that I utterly dread. “Did you watch Normal People?” Sigh. Then I reply that not only have I not seen Normal People, I have not read any of Sally Rooney’s books. Then the conversation grinds to a halt and people look at me as if I have…

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Sinatra and Me: In the Wee Small Hours

By Spotlight: Must-Reads

Sinatra and Me: In the Wee Small Hours by Tony Oppedisano with Mary Jane Ross memoir Scribner – June 2021 Ol’ Blue Eyes. The Chairman of the Board. The Sultan of Swoon. Saying I like Frank Sinatra is akin to saying that New Yorkers are just a little annoyed by slow walkers—the understatement of the millennium. In my humble opinion, Sinatra is the personification of the fragility and false pretenses of the oft-discussed “American Dream.” He was a man who seemingly had achieved every single possible accolade someone in his profession could—the first true entertainment superstar the world had ever seen. And yet, he was a person at war with himself—someone brimming over with contradictions, self-loathing, and loneliness. To put it lightly, he is endlessly fascinating—an exemplification of the necessity of checking your expectations (and assumptions) of what defines happiness at the door. I wear the label of “Sinatra Superfan”…

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The Forest of Vanishing Stars

By Spotlight: Must-Reads

The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel historical fiction Gallery Books – July 2021 There isn’t a single, original WWII story left to tell. That’s what some ill-informed people in the film/TV and publishing industries might have you believe. They’ll hit you with some comment about how the genre is oversaturated, and that production companies/studios/houses aren’t looking for that type of material anymore. Blah, blah, blah. And to those people? I triumphantly shove The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel in their dumb-dumb faces. That’s right. I said dumb-dumb faces. Because I’m an adult, damn it. On a more serious note, I hold WWII stories, across all mediums, to an incredibly high standard. My mother (the New York Times best-selling author L.M. Elliott) wrote a novel (Under a War-Torn Sky) loosely based on my Air Force bomber pilot grandfather’s experiences in WWII after he was shot down behind enemy…

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The Disappearing Act

By Spotlight: Must-Reads

The Disappearing Act by Catherine Steadman psychological thriller Ballantine Books – June 2021 I hate Hollywood. There. I said it. I adore storytelling. Love the craft of screenwriting with all of my heart. I cherish all of the artists involved in the filmmaking process. But, as any creative who’s done anything in Hollywood can tell you, the business side of the industry is—to put it mildly—a soul-sucking, mangy hyena. So, any piece of fiction in any medium that holds up a mirror to that vacuous carnivore and pokes a skewer at it, either satirically or seriously, immediately garners a tip-of-the-cap from me. That said, that goodwill only gets you so far—the work in question has to stand on its own two feet. The Disappearing Act not only does that, but it made me disappear into its pages. Chalk me up a good ol’ basket of dad-joke zinger points. The Disappearing…

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The Babysitter

By Spotlight: Must-Reads

The Babysitter: My Summers with a Serial Killer by Liza Rodman & Jennifer Jordan true crime Atria Books – March 2021 What if you found out that someone you cared about deeply—someone who was your babysitter and a happy fixture of your childhood—turned out to be an infamous serial killer? If you answered “that’s already happened to me, Peter,” or some variation of that, then … yeesh. I’m assuming that you’re reading this review wedged in between the myriad therapy sessions it would take to cope with something like that. I’m giving you a virtual hug through my computer. If you’re like most people, however, and have (thankfully) never experienced something that traumatic, then you’ll probably find The Babysitter: My Summers with a Serial Killer by Liza Rodman & Jennifer Jordan quite the ride—to put it lightly. The Babysitter recounts Liza’s lonely childhood growing up in Cape Cod in the…

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Jocelyn Rish

By Interviews

Jocelyn Rish was the Grand Prize Winner of the YA category in the 2020 Book Pipeline Unpublished season with her novel, The Drama Queen Who Cried Wolf.  Something that stuck out to us immediately upon reading The Drama Queen Who Cried Wolf was its unmistakable voice. It’s funny, charming, and never once outstays its welcome, while also not forgetting to keep the story moving forward—a must in a murder mystery. A comparison that instantly came to mind was Veronica Mars. How did you find balancing such voice-driven prose in a typically “plot-driven” genre like murder-mystery, and when were you confident that you had nailed it? Ha – are writers ever confident they’ve nailed something? But your description of the voice is definitely a boost in that confidence, since being compared to Veronica Mars is awesome! I’ve been working on Drama Queen on and off since I wrote the rough draft…

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Vimi Bajaj

By Interviews

Vimi Bajaj was the Grand Prize Winner of the Literary category in the 2020 Book Pipeline Unpublished season with her novel, Vermilion.  Set against the backdrop of modern India, Vermilion is a sweeping piece of literary fiction that dissects archaic social inequities and violence against women. It’s truly breathtaking work—your prose is absolutely gorgeous, and the subject matter is incredibly timely and relevant to today’s society. Especially in the post #MeToo era, how important was it to you for Vermilion to shed light on these topics—especially through the lens of a culture where they are so often ignored? Thank you so much for your encouraging words about my work! As far back as I can remember, I have been fired up by both the obvious and more subtle ways that inequalities between the sexes are endured, promoted and strengthened in India and among the diaspora. From commonplace ‘eve teasings’ and…

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