Interview: TCR Talks with Francesca Lia Block

photo credit: Madeline Northway By Natalie Ferrigno Francesca Lia Block is the award-winning author of the beloved young adult series Dangerous Angels, which is set to be adapted for television. Block has written a vast bibliography of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for all ages, across a wide spectrum of genres ranging from thriller to magical realism. Her newest novel, House of Hearts, is set for release on July 12. She is also a graduate of UCR Palm Desert’s MFA program. You can book one of her online courses at francescaliablock.com. We caught up with Francesca to ask about the Egyptian…

TCR Talks with Deesha Philyaw

By Amy Reardon When I first heard the title of Deesha Philyaw’s fiction debut, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, I had to read it. It was the power and elusiveness in that combination of words. Women + Secrets + God? Count me in. Turns out I wasn’t alone. The Secret Lives of Church Ladies debuted in September 2020 and promptly won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, The Story Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and was a finalist for the National Book Award. Today, Philyaw is at work co-writing and executive producing its TV series adaption for HBO…

A Conversation with Kimi Cunningham Grant

by Jeanne Van Blankenstein Kimi Cunningham Grant is a poet and author whose fiction is planted firmly in the woods of Pennsylvania. Her first book, Silver Like Dust, shares the story of her grandmother’s life in a Japanese internment camp during World War II. Her move to fiction began with the novel Fallen Mountains, a taut mystery centered on the disappearance of a man in a small mountain town wrestling with the effects of fracking.  In her latest novel, These Silent Woods, an Indie Next List pick for the month of November, Grant returns to the Pennsylvania woods, this time…

Interview: Spiral screenwriters Josh Stolberg and Pete Goldfinger talk to The Coachella Review

By Katie Gilligan   I was lucky enough to sit down (via Zoom) with writing team Josh Stolberg and Pete Goldfinger to talk about their new movie, Spiral, the ninth installment of Saw, one of the most successful horror franchises of all time. The latest piece of the puzzle (pun intended) follows police veteran Marcus (Samuel L. Jackson), brash Detective Ezekiel “Zeke” Banks (Chris Rock), and rookie detective William (Max Minghella) as they fall into a grisly investigation of murders eerily reminiscent of the city’s violent past. We talked about the challenges of satisfying die-hard fans, the effects of COVID…

TCR Talks with Stephen Graham Jones

“I think we can all agree, 2020 has been an absolute dumpster fire. But it has been one hell of a year for Stephen Graham Jones and his horror novel The Only Good Indians.”

Photo Essay: Solitude & TCR Talks with Photographer Mahayla Rheanna

PHOTOGRAPHY by Mahayla Rheanna Model Esther Aliah Interview by Leanne Phillips An interview with the photographer, Mahayla Rheanna, follows below, after her photo essay, “Solitude,” featuring model Esther Aliah. Jump to Interview. Solitude: An Essay in Photographs by Mahayla Rheanna All images copyright © 2020 Mahayla Rheanna. All rights reserved. TCR Talks with Mahayla Rheanna by Leanne Phillips I recently had the opportunity to chat with emerging photographer Mahayla Rheanna about her photo essay “Solitude,” her beginnings as a photographer, and her plans for the future. The Coachella Review:  How did you become interested in photography? Mahayla Rheanna: It started when I received…

TCR Talks with Joe Meno

by Matt Ellis It’s a presidential election year, a time when we are bombarded by political hot button issues from every social and mainstream media outlet with superficial sound bites that often offer little substance but ask us to take sides nonetheless. Immigration ranks among the top. If you want to be better informed about the immigration issue, you need look no further than bestselling author Joe Meno’s debut nonfiction book, Between Everything and Nothing: The Journey of Seidu Mohammed and Razak Iyal and the Quest for Asylum. Meno is a fiction writer and journalist who lives in Chicago. He is the winner…

TCR Talks with Billy Lombardo

By Collin Mitchell I call writer Billy Lombardo at his home in Chicago to talk about his novel, Morning Will Come. “How’s the summer been?” I ask him. “I’ve been doing some weird work,” he says, going outside to talk. His dad recently moved in due to COVID-19 and it’s a full house.  He pauses and I can hear his dog barking from inside. “Stuff I didn’t expect to do.” Lombardo’s voice is distinctive, like listening to David Sedaris on audiobook. We talk about teaching, especially teaching fiction to teenagers online. “They’re high energy kids, self-directed and brilliant and all of…

TCR Talks with Rick Moody

BY SCOTT STEVENSON

Rick Moody, the award-winning author of The Ice Storm and Garden State, shares the true story of the first year of his second marriage in The Long Accomplishment: A Memoir of Hope and Struggle in Matrimony. A recovering alcoholic and sexual compulsive with a history of depression, Moody is also a man in love and the divorced father of a beloved little girl.

He emerges from a complicated past into a second marriage. This union is strengthened by confronting new challenges—miscarriages, the deaths of friends, and home invasions.

The Coachella Review: Can you give our readers a brief synopsis of The Long Accomplishment?

Rick Moody: It describes, more or less, the first twelve months of my marriage to visual artist Laurel Nakadate, and all of the things that happened to us in that year, many of them rather hard. Infertility treatments, lost pregnancies, suicide among friends, death, dementia among our parents, crimes committed against our persons and our property. It tries to arrive at a celebration of committed-ness, despite all the hardship.

TCR Talks with Rene Denfeld

BY FELICITY LANDA

The Butterfly Girl is Rene Denfeld’s second novel in the world of Naomi Cottle, a private investigator who is drawn to cases of missing children. Naomi’s knack for finding these children has earned her the name “The Child Finder,” but her need to pursue them stems from the one cold case in her own life: the missing sister she left behind when she herself escaped captivity as a child. When Naomi sets aside her work to finally find her sister, she meets Celia, a lonely homeless child abandoned to the streets. Celia is running from her abusive stepfather and hiding amongst butterflies, her imagined guardians and the only place she feels safe. Naomi and Celia continue to collide throughout a shocking series of events in Naomi’s search.

Denfeld’s own experience as a homeless teen has led to an incredible life of advocacy, from her career as a public defender helping victims of trafficking, to her life as a foster mother of twenty years. Denfeld is no stranger to the hardships of abandoned children, and she cares for her characters as fiercely as she cares for those off the page who turn to her for aid.

Denfeld has written a tense, page-turning, crime novel that leaves readers feeling connected to her characters and their stories in an intimate way. Naomi and Celia dig through their haunted pasts, even while they uncover the truth of the present. The Butterfly Girl is a book that lingers, alive with hope as much as it is streaked in sorrow. Denfeld and I spoke about the importance of how we fictionalize trauma, the way she discovers her stories, and the beautiful and inspiring life she has led that motivates her writing.