Thursday, June 01, 2023

What is Mary Anna Evans reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Mary Anna Evans, author of The Traitor Beside Her: A WWII Mystery.

Her entry begins:
My career, when viewed uncharitably, could be said to sprawl a bit. I write novels. I write stories. I write essays. I teach college students to write in a multitude of fictional genres, with a focus on mysteries and thrillers, but I teach nonfiction writing, too. My academic work focuses on crime fiction and Agatha Christie, but I weigh in from time to time on writing pedagogy. There’s a joke to be made here about being a jack of all trades but a mistress of none, but there’s a common theme in all the aspects of my career. I work with words. I write them, to be sure, but all writers begin as readers, and I believe we must continue to read if we are to develop in our art.

Thus, I can say in absolute truth that I read for a living. Nothing would have made twelve-year-old me happier than to look into the future and see this.

So what am I reading now?

Well, I’m slated to teach thriller writing this fall, and I’m excited about a new-to-me author, David Heska Wanbli Weiden. I discovered him earlier this year, when reading The Best American Mystery and Suspense 2022. I was taken by his story “Turning Heart,” which prompted me to buy his acclaimed 2020 novel Winter Counts with the idea that...[read on]
About The Traitor Beside Her, from the publisher:
The Traitor Beside Her is an intricately plotted WWII espionage novel weaving together mystery, action, friendship, and a hint of romance perfect for fans of The Rose Code and Code Name Helene.

Justine Byrne can't trust the people working beside her. Arlington Hall, a former women's college in Virginia has been taken over by the United States Army where hundreds of men and women work to decode countless pieces of communication coming from the Axis powers.

Justine works among them, handling the most sensitive secrets of World War II—but she isn't there to decipher German codes—she's there to find a traitor.

Justine keeps her guard up and her ears open, confiding only in her best friend, Georgette, a fluent speaker of Choctaw who is training to work as a code talker. Justine tries to befriend each suspect, believing that the key to finding the spy lies not in cryptography but in understanding how code breakers tick. When young women begin to go missing at Arlington Hall, her deadline for unraveling the web of secrets becomes urgent and one thing remains clear: a single secret in enemy hands could end thousands of lives.
Learn more about the author and her work at Mary Anna Evans' website.

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--Marshal Zeringue