MY TOP FIVE MUSICAL INFLUENCES by Karin Salvalaggi...

MY TOP FIVE MUSICAL INFLUENCES – Karin Salvalaggio   My childhood years can be mapped out in a series of top 40 hits that played on the radio so often you’d memorize every word without realizing it. Decades later I still get chills when I hear a song with a haunting narrative. My favorite ones have endings that are never completely resolved. In no particular order these are five of the musicians and songs that have influenced my writing.   “Nebraska” by Bruce Springsteen I saw her standin’ on her front lawn just twirlin’ her baton/Me and her went for a ride sir and ten innocent people died. The opening lines to Bruce Springsteen’s...

Five albums and books that changed my life: M.P. C...

Purple Rain: PURPLE RAIN was the first R-rated movie I snuck into. I had to—I had listened to the album endlessly and needed to see Prince perform. Prince had already blown the minds of me and my Catholic junior high school friends—we parsed the lyrics to “Little Red Corvette” endlessly—but the songs on Purple Rain cut through my teenage existence like a buzzsaw, giving me an awareness of things that I couldn’t yet name: failure followed by triumph, fractured families, and desire. I still listen to it regularly 30 years later, my current favorite song being “The Beautiful Ones”. Sue Grafton’s C IS FOR CORPSE: With Sue Grafton, I didn’t...

Five Favorite Novels About Mothers and Daughters b...

1) AMY AND ISABELLE by Elizabeth Strout. This was Strout’s first novel and boy, was it an amazing beginning to what’s gone on to be a sterling career (OLIVE KITTEREDGE, THE BURGESS BOYS, ABIDE WITH ME). In AMY AND ISABELLE, a mother’s shocked to learn her teenage daughter is having a sexual relationship with a teacher at her school. Strout sets the book in a small town where other issues like crop failures and UFO’s add to the confusion. The closeness yet distance of mother-daughter relationships comes across especially strongly. 2) UNLESS, by Carol Shields. In this, the wonderful Canadian writer, Carol...

5 Things I loved in 2014

ORDINARY GRACE by William Kent Krueger Simply put, this is a novel that saw Kent take his game to the next level. Kent’s Cork O’Connor series is, in my opinion, one of the best ongoing series today. The characters age, love, suffer loss and grow. OG is the author’s second stand-alone (He, and his publisher, prefer not tot talk about the first) and finds Kent mining his childhood memories and craft the southern Minnesota setting. And in doing so, gives the readers the sights, sounds and even smells of small town middle America in the 50s. He does an amazing job and delivers a book that feels more like a recollection than a...

Five Movies that changed my life

1. THE WIZARD OF OZ The movie that introduced me to fear. I know I’m nowhere near alone in this sentiment. It’s become almost a time-honored tradition to scare the bejesus out of small children with this move about a girl from Kansas who gets lost. What particularly got me were the squadrons of flying monkeys leaping from the witch’s castle into the night sky. They entered my dreams, and taught me that fear can be fascinating. Why else would I anxiously await the yearly viewing of this nightmarish children’s film? 2. CHARADE I was ten years old, and watched this 1963 comedy thriller on television with my mom. I recognized its lighthearted,...

Five Cop Shows That Influenced Me

Five Cop Shows That Influenced Me When is set out to write my PROSPERO’S WAR speculative crime fictions series, my goal was to combine all the things I loved about great cop shows with the world building I am used to using in contemporary fantasy novels. In fact, the idea for the series came while watching a popular crime fiction show, and I thought it would be fun to recap some of the excellent TV writing that influenced these books. 1. THE WIRE. Everyone says The Wire, right? But I really mean it. It was while watching an episode of this series that my idea for the Prospero’s War series came to me. I think it was a scene where Omar was...