“A Burning Desire to Know What Happens Next”

"I always think of that moment in North by Northwest, the Hitchcock movie, when someone is falling off one of the mountains in Mount Rushmore, and he grabs someone's hand, and then he loses their hand, and then he grabs their jacket. And then the jacket starts to rip."


In this week's episode of Book Dreams, beloved mystery writer Sara Gran talks about how suspense writers create that "compelling unputdownable quality" that keeps readers turning pages from the start to finish. With refreshing candor, Sara also assesses the traditional publishing business, which she refers to as "Simon's Random House of Penguins," and reveals why she has launched–with tremendous early success–a new small press called Dreamland Books. With characteristic incisiveness, Sara says of her decision to release books outside of the traditional publishing industry after spending more than twenty years as an author within it, "I feel like if you are not a successful writer, get the f*ck out of the industry 'cause it's not working for you. And if you are a successful writer, get the f*ck out of the industry because you can."


Sara Gran is the author of the Claire DeWitt mystery series. One of our prior guests, Nancy Pearl–a librarian so renowned, she inspired a librarian action figure–has this to say about the first book in the series: "The more I think about it (and I've been thinking about it a lot), the more I believe that Sara Gran's Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead is one of the very best mysteries I've ever read." Sara's latest novel, The Book of the Most Precious Substance, which the New York Times deems "palpably seductive,” was published by Sara's new small press, Dreamland Books.




Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead


“Delicious and addictive.” —Salon.com


“Reads . . . as if David Lynch directed a Raymond Chandler novel.” —CNN


“What would you get if that punkish dragon girl Lisbeth Salander met up with Jim Sallis’s Lew Griffin walking the back streets of New Orleans? Or Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone transformed herself into a tattooed magnolia driving a 4x4? Clare DeWitt, that’s what you’d get . . . DeWitt’s mesmerizing character and memorable voice take your breath away.”New Orleans Times-Picayune


“The hard-living, wisecracking titular detective bounces around post-Katrina New Orleans trying to track down a missing prosecutor in this auspicious debut of a new mystery series—and the Big Easy is every bit her equal in sass and flavor.” Elle


Go Deeper


Sara Gran

Dreamland Books

“Sara Gran Considers the Art of Suspense,” by Sara Gran for CrimeReads

Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead, by Sara Gran

The Book of the Most Precious Substance, by Sara Gran

Amy Hest

Eve Yohalem

Julie Sternberg

Book Dreams Podcast

Podglomerate

Lit Hub Radio