TCR Daily

Interview: TCR Talks with Liska Jacobs

by Leanne Phillips Early 2020 found author Liska Jacobs in Pasadena, California, hard at work on her third novel, a story about a group of people confined to the Beverly Hills Hotel amid unprecedented wildfires and social unrest. She’s been called a method writer—Jacobs normally travels to the locations where her books take place to soak in the settings and immerse herself in her characters’ lives. But for this book, she thought she’d be able to stay home. “It’s a Los Angeles story that takes place at a hotel, and I’ve lived here all my life, so it was pretty…

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Food for Thought – Hard to Swallow: Savage Motherhood—and Eggs

by Tara Stevenson Ideas Are Food Eggs Are Motherhood in Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward Medea is the epitome of savage motherhood: upon hearing that her husband, Jason (of the Golden Fleece/Argonauts), is going to marry another woman—despite saving his life many times over and using her magic to help him defeat many enemies—Medea kills their sons in revenge. Chapter one of Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones not only introduces the allusion of Medea; it immediately establishes three additional parallel stories concerning motherhood and birth: the death of Esch’s mother in childbirth; China, a pit bull, giving birth to…

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Interview: Finding Time with Flynn Berry

by Betty-Jo Tilley Flynn Berry is busy: Three novels in less than five years and two children in less than three. Also, she accomplished a whirlwind promotion for her latest thriller, Northern Spy, and a move from West to East Coast with her family during the pandemic. Northern Spy is set amidst IRA activities in Belfast. When a single working mother discovers her sister has been a terrorist for seven years, sides must be taken, threatening both their family ideals and commitment. Berry’s Edgar Award-winning debut Under the Harrow challenges a woman, Tessa, with her sister’s dark secrets and grisly murder.…

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Voice to Books: See It, Read It, Love It

Graphic novels intertwine words and illustrations to allow their authors to say what they need to without descriptions. Their audiences don’t need to imagine their worlds; they can see them. Art and words are used strategically to tell stories. Simplicity and silence, lavish details, and verbose prose, or vice versa, tell these histories. The Black Panther Party: A Graphic Novel History by David F. Walker Reviewed by Pallavi Yetur Graphic novels contain multitudes. Comic book writer Alan Moore, who penned the groundbreaking Watchmen series-turned-graphic novel from 1986 to 1987, has lamented the term “graphic novel” as a marketing ploy devised…

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Interview: Matt Bell and the Thrills of Appleseed

by Adam Zemel Matt Bell’s third novel, Appleseed, follows three protagonists in three different time periods: At the end of the eighteenth century, Chapman and his brother travel the Ohio territories, planting apple orchards in the wilderness. At the close of the twenty-first, John seeks to infiltrate a corporation he helped found that has grown far too powerful––or perhaps just powerful enough to save humanity. And one thousand years into the future, C scratches out a meager existence on the icy expanse of glacial North America and dares to believe that he is not the last living organism on the…

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Interview: Ajit Dutta and the Art of Urdu Love Poetry

by Sara Grimes Ajit Dutta is a poet and graduate of UC Riverside-Palm Desert’s low-residency MFA program. His book, A Lover’s Sigh, is a translation of Urdu love poetry in a form called the “ghazal,” comprised of five-15 thematically autonomous couplets. It is Dutta’s work of the heart, combining classical and modern influences ranging from Indian and Pakistani songwriters to historical political figures. Dutta’s translation approach included listening to a wide range of singers performing ghazals. He fell in love with the form at sixteen, after purchasing a stack of ghazal poetry at a bookstore before a train ride to…

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Book Review: We Two Alone by Jack Wang

by Yennie Cheung If the saying holds true that readers discover books at the right time in their lives, perhaps now is the right time to discover Jack Wang’s We Two Alone. Each short story in the collection focuses on Chinese migrants and their children, living around the globe—the United States, South Africa, and Canada (Wang’s home country). Spanning about a century, the seven stories chronicle just a fragment of global anti-Chinese racism and serve as a reminder that the anti-Chinese animosity currently plaguing the Western world is far from new. Through them, Wang shows us that members of the…

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Interview: Candid Conversation with Author and Actor James Sie

by Becky Lauer Author James Sie’s second novel, All Kinds of Other, tells the story of two teen boys who fall in love in a Los Angeles high school. Sie offers an escape for readers through the perspective of Jack Davies, a trans boy who moves to Los Angeles from Pittsburgh, and Jules Westman, a gay boy who’s lived there his whole life. When he’s not writing, Sie lends his voice to animation and video games, with a long list of acting credits including Curious George, Kung Fu Panda: The Paws, and, most recently, The Simpsons. We met via Zoom,…

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Interview: Tom Mavroudis, Author and Horror Writers Association Scholarship Winner

by Lucio Rodriguez I’ve known Tom Mavroudis for nearly a decade, having concurrently attended UC, Riverside— Palm Desert’s low residency MFA program. We’d frequently meet up at the bar between classes at residency to talk books or nonsense over truffle fries and lobster mac. We shared an interest in genre writing, including weird fiction and horror, as well as an interest in giving each other a hard time. Since graduating, Tom has more than a few publications under his belt. He has stories in Terror in 16-Bits, Behold the Undead of Dracula: Lurid Tales of Cinematic Gothic Horrror, Terror at…

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Book Review: The Final Revival of Opal & Nev, the debut novel from Dawnie Walton

by Adam Zemel The Final Revival of Opal & Nev, the debut novel from Dawnie Walton, sizzles with energy and attitude as it unspools a recognizably American story of self-invention and systemic injustice, unmet expectations and dramatic turns of fortune, the legacy of public trauma and the pressure of society, and the role of complicity in the persecution of the other. In the book, Sunny, a music journalist and the novel’s protagonist, sets out to report a definitive oral history of the moment that claimed her father’s life before she was born––which also happens to be one of the most famous…

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Interview: TCR Talks with Veronica G. Henry

By A.E. Santana Veronica G. Henry’s debut novel, Bacchanal, is a fantasy and historical fiction set in the Depression-era South. Centered on Eliza Meeks, a young Black woman with the power to communicate with animals, the novel takes the reader on a journey of self-discovery and acceptance as Eliza joins a traveling carnival with a sinister secret. Unbeknownst to Eliza, she is being searched for by an evil spirit, Ahiku, whose goal is to destroy Eliza before she can come into her true power. With a cast of diverse characters, Henry frames a moment in American history with varied and…

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EXCERPT: Veronica G. Henry’s debut novel, Bacchanal

The Coachella Review is honored to present an excerpt from Veronica G. Henry’s debut novel, Bacchanal. This novel is a fantasy and historical fiction set in the Depression-era South. Centered on Eliza Meeks, a young Black woman with the power to communicate with animals, the novel takes the reader on a journey of self-discovery and acceptance as Eliza joins a traveling carnival with a sinister secret. Unbeknownst to Eliza, she is being searched for by an evil spirit, Ahiku, whose goal is to destroy Eliza before she can come into her true power. With a cast of diverse characters, Henry frames…

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