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AViD Author Chigozie Obioma
AViD author Chigozie Obioma joins special guest host Laura Rowley on the DMPL Podcast. The Nigerian-born author talks about his new, critically-acclaimed novel, An Orchestra of Minorities, and how he came to write such a tragic story.
Obioma will be at the Central Library on Monday, April 22, at 7:00 PM for AViD. Doors open at 6:00 PM. Learn more at dmpl.org/avid.
AViD Author Laurie Frankel
AViD author Laurie Frankel joins special guest host Laura Rowley on the DMPL Podcast. Frankel's most recent novel, This is How it Always Is, is the story of a family raising a transgender child. Frankel herself is the mother of a transgender girl. She and Rowley have a fun and frank discussion on the complexities of parenting, including the difference in keeping your child safe and keeping your child happy.
Frankel will be at the Central Library on Thursday, April 18, at 7:00 PM. Doors open at 6:00 PM. For more information, go to dmpl.org/avid.
DSM Book Festival with Colleen Murphy
On the newest DMPL Podcast, we're talking about the first ever DSM Book Festival! It takes place this Saturday, March 30, beginning at 10:00 AM at Capital Square in downtown Des Moines (400 Locust St.)
Colleen Murphy, the Events Director for the Greater Des Moines Partnership, takes us through everything that's happening. The festival includes the first AViD author of 2019, Susan Orlean. It also includes headlining authors Ted Genoways, Garth Stein, and Nnedi Okorafor. Murphy also discusses the great events and programs, including free family activities, music, drinks, and more. Des Moines Public Library Director Susan Woody is even co-hosting a program called "How to Build a Book Club and Bloody Mary from Scratch."
Authors Visiting in Des Moines (AViD) author Susan Orlean joins us on the podcast today, along with special guest host Laura Rawley. Orlean will open the 2019 AViD series as one of the DSM Book Festival's headlining authors. She will be speaking on Saturday, March 30, at 4:00 PM at Capital Square (400 Locust Street). Orlean is the author of several best-selling books, including The Orchid Thief. Last year, her book The Library Book became an international best seller. The book doubles as a love letter to libraries and a true clime exploration of the unsolved 1986 Los Angeles Public Library fire.
Discussed on the podcast:
- Orlean on growing up in the Midwest: "I don't think it's accident that there are loads of writers that come out of the Midwest, because there’s a quality of detached observation from the rest of the world."
- On the passage in her book describing the Los Angeles Public Library Fire: "I was fortunate because the fire department kept a log that was just about minute-to-minute about the fire... it was as if I had a highly refined, exact account of the fire minute-to-minute."
- On the modern role of libraries: "The way that we receive information has evolved, and I think libraries continue to embrace that and be a place – and I think being a place is an important part of this – where knowledge and information is shared and distributed."
Central Iowa author Tracey Garvis Graves joins the podcast for today's episode. Graves new book, The Girl He Used to Know, hits library shelves and bookstores everywhere on April 2. Graves is best well-known for her debut novel, On the Island. She initially self-published that book, and it eventually became a New York Times bestseller.
Graves talks about the amazing journey On the Island took, one that landed her a full-time book deal. "I couldn't really wrap my brain around it," Graves says of the fact that she shared a bestsellers list on Amazon with books in The Hunger Games and Fifty Shades of Grey series.
Her new book, The Girl He Used to Know, prominently features a character on the autism spectrum. Graves says she did a lot of work to make sure she was authentic in her dialogue and the actions of that character, Annika. "I read up to six nonfiction books about Asperger’s and being on the spectrum," she says. "Then I read a lot of blog posts and internet articles about what the spouses of people who are on the spectrum" love about their significant others and enjoy about their relationships.
With Valentine's Day occuring this week, we invited Iowa Romance Novelists President Jan Walters on the podcast. Jan shares with us a new book from an Iowa author and a romantic paranormal series she loves that was recently completed. She also talks about her own books and shares how working with Iowa Romance Novelists has made her a better writer.
- Game of Scones, by Mary Lee Ashford
- The Charley Davidson series, by Darynda Jones (first book: First Grave on the Right)
- Jan Walters' website, with information on her books
- Iowa Romance Novelists Facebook page
Kevin Gannon, Ph.D., is a history professor at Grand View University. Kevin will be moderating the Becoming American series that begins next Monday at 6:00 PM at the Franklin Avenue Library. Becoming American is a documentary film and discussion series examining immigration.
Gannon discusses his prolific web presence, including his twitter account - @thetattooedprof - and his website, thetattooedprof.com. He discusses the upcoming series, his thoughts on immigration and social justice, and his experience being part of the Ava DuVernay-directed and Oscar-nominated documentary, 13th.
Iowa native Paul Kix joins us on the DMPL Podcast today. Kix, who grew up in Hubbard, is the author of The Saboteur. The book details the life of Robert de La Rochefoucauld, a French aristocrat-turned-resistance fighter in WWII. During the podcast, Kix talks about:
- Finding out about La Rochefoucauld's life in an obituary and creating a book proposal.
- Why La Rochefoucauld's incredible story hadn't been told to English audiences yet.
- Working with French sources to follow-up and confirm extraordinary details while knowing a limited amount of French.
- How he wrote the book 500 words at a time while continuing his full-time job as deputy editor at ESPN: The Magazine.
- The most unbelievable parts of La Rochefoucauld's life - and there were several to choose from.
You can find more of Kix's work, including magazine stories and other long-form pieces, at his website, paulkix.com.
Iowa photographer and artist Barry Phipps joins us on the podcast today. Barry recently published a collection of photos called From Gravity to What Cheer: Iowa Photographs. The book has several striking photos of sites across Iowa, with a focus on color and architecture. Several of those photos are currently on display at the Central Library Art Gallery through January 23.
During the podcast, Barry talks about moving to Iowa City in 2012, how the photos developed from a personal project of curiosity to the published book, and his past life as a DJ and as a part of a 90s rock band that played at Lollapalooza and appeared on MTV.
Staff Picks: Favorite Books of 2018
Today on the podcast, we are joined by Steph, Becky, and Gen, who all work at the library. They discussed three books each: Steph talked about adult books, Gen discussed YA books, and Becky talked about children's books. The books they talked about are listed below, as well as other books they enjoyed this year.
Storm Lake Author Art Cullen
Art Cullen is the long-time editor of The Storm Lake Times in Storm Lake, IA. He won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing for his work about the role deceptive agricultural corporations played in a water pollution lawsuit between three rural Iowa counties and Des Moines Water Works. In the wake of that award, Cullen was approached by a handful of publishers about writing a book. He wrote Storm Lake: A Chronicle of Change, Resilience, and Hope from a Heartland Newspaper, a book about both his life and the life of a community in northwest Iowa that has been challenged by changes in the meat-packing industry and shaped by diversity.
Health and Wellness Coach Dani Lin
Dani Lin joins us on the DMPL Podcast! Lin, a health and wellness coach, discusses how you and your family can eat healthy while on the road this summer. She has two programs at the library this month:
1) Stress Free, Nourishing Meals: Tuesday, July 17, 6:00 PM, North Side Library
2) Superhero Foods!: Monday, July 30, 6:00 PM, East Side Library
AViD Author Special with Lea Berman
AViD author Lea Berman joins special guest host Laura Rowley on the newest episode of the DMPL Podcast! She co-wrote Treating People Well with Jeremy Bernard. Both served as White House Social Secretaries - Berman under President George W. Bush and Bernard under President Barack Obama. During the interview, she talks about why she sees civility and manners as something that needs to be discussed in the current day and age. She also shares a couple of stories from her time at the White House.
Berman and Jeremy Bernard will be at the Central Library as part of the 2018 AViD series on Tuesday, May 15, at 7:00 PM.
MyDMPL Con is on May 6! An interview with Becky and Jen
On the latest episode of the DMPL Podcast, Aaron talks with Becky and Jen about the first ever MyDMPL Con. Learn how you can create a wand in Diagon Alley, plant a Baby Groot, take part in a costume contest for prizes, and more! Becky and Jen talk about the schedule at this family-friendly event and what they're most excited about. MyDMPL Con takes place on Sunday, May 6, from 1:00-5:00 PM at the Central Library.
AViD Author Special with Stephanie Powell Watts
AViD author Stephanie Powell Watts joins us on the podcast! Guest host Laura Rowley talks with Watts about her career, her writing process, and how her original idea for No One is Coming to Save Us morphed into something completely different. Don’t forget, she’ll be at Des Moines University on Thursday, May 3, at 7:00 PM!
AViD Author Special with Amor Towles
Amor Towles is coming to Des Moines for AViD! He speaks with guest host Laura Rowley about his newest book, A Gentleman in Moscow. They also chat about his writing process, life in New York City, and what his idea of perfect happiness is. Mark your calendars for Monday, April 23, at 7:00 PM for Amor’s visit – and don’t forget it’s at Roosevelt High School!
AViD Author Special with John Lescroart
AViD author John Lescroart joins us on the podcast! He chats with special guest host Laura Rowley about his unique path to becoming a best-selling author and what motivates him. Lescroart will be at the Central Library on Tuesday, April 10, at 7:00 PM. Learn more about AViD!
David LaRochelle - Children's Book Author
Children’s author and illustrator David LaRochelle comes on the podcast! He’ll be at the Franklin Avenue Library on Monday, April 16, at 5:30 PM. LaRochelle talks about his love for children’s books, how he writes them, and why being a picture book author is like being a director.
Podcast Picks: Mysteries with a Romantic Twist
Our newest Podcast Picks podcast has Jen and Carrie in the studio! They’re talking about mysteries with a romantic twist to them. Check it out!
The series Jen and Carrie discussed are:
- Veronica Speedwell, by Deanna Raybourn
- Jackson Brodie, by Kate Atkinson
- Kincaid & Jones, by Deborah Crombie
- 42nd Street Library, by Cornelius Lehane
- Magic Men Mysteries, by Elly Griffith
Podcast Picks: Winter Picture Books
Forest Avenue Children’s Librarian Erica Eis talks about her favorite picture books with winter themes! She also talks about the importance of storytime, finding books your child is interested in, and ways to encourage them to continue reading, no matter their skill level.
- Into the Snow, by Yuki Kaneko, illus. by Masamitsu Saito
- Blizzard, by John Rocco
- The Branch, by Mireille Messier, illus. by Pierre Pratt
- Winter, Winter, Cold and Snow, by Sharon Gibson Palermo, illus. by Christina Song
- Baby Bear’s NOT Hibernating, by Lynn Plourde, illus. by Teri Weidner
- Winter Dance by Marion Dane Bauer, illus. by Richard Jones
Longer Winter Narratives
- Mice Skating, by Annie Silvestro
- Toys Meet Snow, by Emily Jenkins and Paul O. Zelinsky
- Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman & Rick Allen
Podcast Picks - Book Club Books
Librarians Kevin and Kate tell us about lesser-known books that you should consider for your book club this next year. They also talk about what makes for a good book club discussion! Books discussed:
- Old Heart, by Peter Ferry
- The Supremes At Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat, by Edward Kelsey Moore
- Calling Invisible Women, by Jeanne Ray
- The Leisure Seeker, by Michael Zadoorian
Long-time Des Moines sports personality Larry Cotlar joins the podcast! Cotlar chats about some of the highlights of his lengthy sports media career, which has spanned more than three decades. He explains how things have changed, for good and bad, and then gives us a preview of his upcoming program at the Franklin Avenue Library. Cotlar will be at Franklin on Tuesday, November 7, at 6:30 PM to discuss the upcoming men’s college basketball season for each of the Division I programs in the state (Iowa, Iowa State, UNI, and Drake).
Paranormal Investigator Chad Lewis
Paranormal investigator Chad Lewis joins the show to talk about the wild and spooky things that he’s seen throughout his career. From hunting for the Tata Duende in Central America to looking for spooky sights throughout the Midwest, Chad has lots of experience with the supernatural. He’ll be presenting two programs in Des Moines: he’ll be at the Franklin Avenue Library on Tuesday, October 24, at 6:30 PM, and at the South Side Library on Wednesday, October 25, at 6:30 PM.
Patron Picks with Sarah and Steph
Librarians Sarah and Steph hop on the podcast to talk about our patrons’ favorite books! The books discussed are all books that readers chose during our “Book Your Escape” adult summer reading program this past year. There are mysteries, graphic novels, and more! Hear what books readers and listeners like you recommend!
Books Discussed with Sarah and Steph
- Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City, by Guy Delisle
- Girl Waits With Gun, by Amy Stewart
- A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches, by Tyler Kord
- Murder on Astor Place, by Victoria Thompson
- My Husband’s Wife, by Jane Corry
- A History of the World in 6 Glasses, by Tom Standage
Podcast Picks - Manga with Becky and Jen
Aaron talks with librarians Becky and Jen about manga titles! We talk about some the different types of manga (shojo and shonen) and what makes it so unique and popular, especially among teens. Then Becky and Jen talk about their favorite titles as well as some of the classics of the genre.
Host Aaron Gernes interviews State Librarian of Iowa Michael Scott about the role of the State Library, increasing broadband access throughout Iowa, and the fascinating career path that led him to Des Moines.
Host Aaron Gernes interviews Rachelle Chase, author of Lost Buxton. In 1900, at a time when Jim Crow, segregation, and the Ku Klux Klan kept blacks and whites separated, residents in Buxton, Iowa - a thriving coal mining town established by Consolidation Coal Company - lived, worked, and went to school side by side. African Americans worked in the community as miners, teachers, business owners, doctors, lawyers, and more - and made up more than half of the population for the first 10 years and remained the largest ethnic group until 1914. By 1922, Buxton was a ghost town. Using photographs and rare audio clips from interviews with former Buxton residents, Chase will share what made Buxton so unique, both in terms of the residents and the town itself, and why Buxton is still being talked about today. Chase will present Buxton, Iowa: A Coal Mining Town Ahead of Its Time at the Forest Ave. Library on Saturday, July 29th at 2:00 PM.
AViD Author Special with Heather Gudenkauf
Special guest host Laura Rowley interviews New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of seven novels, including One Breath Away, The Weight of Silence, and These Things Hidden Heather Gudenkauf. Gudenkauf, who lives in Dubuque, will be celebrating the release of her newest novel, Not a Sound. She graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in elementary education, has spent her career working with students of all ages, and continues to work in education as a Title I Reading Coordinator in Dubuque, Iowa.
Podcast Picks with Librarian Carla Tibboel
Host Aaron Gernes is joined in the studio by DMPL librarian Carla Tibboel. Carla discusses All Things Irish. Books mentioned in this episode include The Case of the Missing Books, Road to McCarthy: Around the World in Search of Ireland, Brooklyn, and Real Irish Food. For links to each of these books in our catalog visit this collection.
AViD Author Special with Nathan Hill
Special guest host Laura Rowley interviews famed and award-winning author Nathan Hill! Hill is the author of the best-selling novel The Nix. His debut novel, The Nix was recognized as one of 2016’s best books by The New York Times, The Washington Post, Newsday, Library Journal, and Entertainment Weekly, among others. A native Iowan, Hill received a BA in English and Journalism at the University of Iowa before attaining his MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Hill has taught writing at Florida Gulf Coast University and is an Associate Professor of English at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. He currently resides in Naples, Florida.
AViD Author Special with Jon Ronson
Special guest host Mike Draper interviews bestselling author Jon Ronson! Ronson is a Welsh nonfiction author, documentary maker, and screenwriter. He’s written ten books, including the best-sellers So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, The Psychopath Test, and The Men Who Stare at Goats. Ronson regularly contributes to The Guardian and BBC Radio 4, where his series Jon Ronson On... has been shortlisted for the Sony Award four times. In the United States, Jon is a regular contributor to This American Life, GQ, The New York Times Book Review, and has appeared at TED and on The Daily Show.
AViD Author Special with Eloisa James
Special guest host Laura Rowley interviews famed and award-winning author Eloisa James! James is the New York Times bestselling author of 27 romance novels. She has been nominated for a RITA – the highest award in romance fiction – several times, and she won her first RITA in 2003. James graduated from Harvard and received post-graduate degrees from Oxford University and Yale University. In addition to being an author, James is a Shakespeare professor at Fordham University.
Podcast Picks with DMPL Librarian Sarah Lane
Host Aaron Gernes is joined in the studio by DMPL librarian Sarah Lane! Sarah really upped the creativity with her picks, and chose eight genre bending romances to talk about (genre bending is when a work has elements of two or more genres). Books mentioned in this episode include Food: A Love Story, Never Let Me Go, and Dark Matter. For links to each of these books in our catalog visit this collection.
AViD Author Special with Michelle Hoover
Host Aaron Gernes speaks with award-winning author Michelle Hoover! Hoover is the author of two novels, including Bottomland, the 2017 All Iowa Reads title. Hoover is currently the Fannie Hurst Writer-in-Residence at Brandeis University in Boston, where she teaches advanced fiction workshops and works with students on honors and thesis projects. Hoover is the co-founder and head of the GrubStreet Novel Incubator program in Boston.
Podcast Picks with Stephanie Fruhling
Host Aaron Gernes chats with DMPL librarian Stephanie Fruhling! Stephanie came to the studio armed with fantastic reading recommendations to check out while keeping warm indoors this winter (preferably with a warm beverage and some PJ's, if you ask this podcast crew). Books mentioned in this episode include The City Baker's Guide to Country Living, Just One Damned Thing After Another, and Soul of an Octopus: a Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness. For links to each of these books in our catalog visit this collection.
Holiday Reading Recommendations with Cat Bierling
Host Aaron Gernes chats with our very own librarian Cat Bierling! Cat stopped by the podcast studio with some great reading recommendations for this time of year. For everyone from Science Fiction lovers and History Buffs to Romance lovers and fans of children's books, Cat has a great recommendation. Books mentioned in this episode include The Library at Mount Char, Brian K. Vaughan's Saga series, and Death Descends on Saturn Villa. For links to each of these books in our catalog visit this collection.
Villisca Ax Murders Expert Dr. Ed Epperly
Host Aaron Gernes interviews Dr. Ed Epperly, nationally recognized expert historian of the Villisca Ax Murders. The brutal slaying of eight people that occurred on June 10, 1912 shocked the town of Villisca, IA and launched a years long investigation. To this day, the case remains unsolved. Dr. Epperly has been investigating the history of these events since 1955, when he was a UNI student doing a report on Iowa history. Dr. Epperly visited the Franklin Avenue library on Tuesday, October 25 at 6:30 PM. As part of the event there was a screening of the short documentary Axman about Epperly and his obsession with this case.
Visiting author Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Special guest host Mary Lee Woods interviews Susan Elizabeth Phillips! Phillips is the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of dozens of books, and a five-time recipient of the RITA, the premier award given by the Romance Writers of America. Phillips talks about First Star I See Tonight, the eighth book in her popular Chicago Stars series, her writing habits, and her love of travel. She was at a special event at Franklin Avenue Library on Tuesday, September 13.
AViD Author Special with Jenny Lawson
Special host Laura Rowley interviews Jenny Lawson! Lawson is the bestselling author of Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things. In her book, Lawson explores her lifelong battle with depression and anxiety in the hysterical style she’s famous for. Lawson also wrote a memoir, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, which became a #1 New York Times bestseller. Her blog, thebloggess.com, has been nominated for multiple awards and has been recognized by Forbes and The Huffington Post. Lawson was also a contributor to the “Good Mom/Bad Mom” blog for the Houston Chronicle. Lawson visited Des Moines University as part of this year's AViD (Authors Visiting in Des Moines) events on Thursday, July 7 at 7:00 PM.
WoW Authors Special with Charlotte Rogan and Summer Miller
Host Aaron Gernes interviews two authors who will be in Des Moines for the Wonder of Words Festival, June 18-19, 2016! Charlotte Rogan is the author of the New York Times Best Seller The Lifeboat and novel Now and Again. Summer Miller is the author of New Prairie Kitchen, a new cookbook that profiles 25 of the most exciting and groundbreaking chefs, farmers, and producers of artisanal goods from the all over the Midwest. Visit wonderofwordsfest.com for more information about the festival.
AViD Author Special with James Edward Mills
Special host Laura Rowley interviews award winning journalist James Edward Mills. Mills’ book The Adventure Gap chronicles the first all-African American summit attempt on Denali, the highest mountain in North America. Mills uses that mission to explore why minority populations are less likely to seek recreation and adventure in the wilderness and what can be done to bridge that gap. Mills’ goal is to inspire minority communities to look outdoors for experiences that will enrich their lives and to encourage them toward greater environmental stewardship. Mills is also an award-winning journalist and media producer. Mills visited the Forest Avenue Library as part of this year's AViD (Authors Visiting in Des Moines) events on Saturday, June 4 at 3:00 PM.
Summer Reading 2016
Summer is right around the corner and the Des Moines Public Library Summer Reading Program is starting soon! Patti Graham, an educator from Lovejoy Elementary in Des Moines, and the library's own Miss Michelle, from the South Side library, stop by to talk to host Aaron Gernes about this year's Summer Reading program, how Summer Slide affects students, and the importance of reading over the summer. Summer Reading sign up starts on June 1 at all open branches of the Des Moines Public Library. Visit the Summer Reading page for more info and to sign up online starting June 1!
AViD Author Special with Pamela Smith Hill
Special host Laura Rowley interviews award winning author Pamela Smith Hill. Hill is editor of the bestseller Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography of Laura Ingalls Wilder. This never-before-published autobiography had been hidden away since the 1930s before Hill took on the task of publishing Wilder’s work. It reveals much about Laura Ingalls Wilder and her life on the frontier, which became the basis for her beloved Little House series. Hill has written her own biography on Wilder as well as three young adult novels. She visited the Roosevelt High School auditorium as part of this year's AViD (Authors Visiting in Des Moines) events on Wednesday, May 11, at 7:00 PM.
AViD Author Special with David Morrell
Special host Mike Woody interviews bestselling author David Morrell. Morrell is a former University of Iowa professor best known for his novel First Blood, which served as the foundation for the Rambo movie series. Morrell’s most recent work is an award-winning Victorian-era mystery series featuring real-life historical figure Thomas De Quincey. The first two books were titled Murder As a Fine Art and Inspector of the Dead; the final book in the trilogy, Ruler of the Night, is due out in November. Morrell has written thirty-nine books to date, as well as comics featuring Captain America, Spiderman, and Wolverine. Morrell visited the Central Library as part of this year's AViD (Authors Visiting in Des Moines) events on Friday, April 29 at 7 PM.
AViD Author Special with Jacquelyn Mitchard
Special host Laura Rowley interviews #1 bestselling author Jacquelyn Mitchard. Mitchard is the bestselling author of twenty-two books. Her newest novel, Two If By Sea, is set to be released in March. Mitchard’s most critically acclaimed book, The Deep End of the Ocean, was the first novel selected for Oprah’s Book Club. In 2007, USA Today named The Deep End of the Ocean the second-most memorable book of the past twenty-five years. Mitchard visited the Central Library as part of this year's AViD (Authors Visiting in Des Moines) events on Wednesday, April 6 at 7 PM.
Storm Chasing with Jason Sydejko and Zach Sharpe
Meet the storm chasers! KCCI Meteorologist Jason Sydejko and Iowa Storm Chasing Network president Zach Sharpe share some incredible stories about chasing storms across the country. Jason and Zach visited the South Side Library on March 16, 2016. For more information about the Iowa Storm Chasing Network visit their site here.
AViD Author Special with Christina Baker Kline
Special host Laura Rowley interviews author Christina Baker Kline about her #1 New York Times bestselling novel Orphan Train and her life as a writer. A book club favorite, Orphan Train tells the story of a young Irish immigrant who, at the turn of the 20th century, is sent away on a train that transports unwanted and abandoned children from the East Coast to the Midwest. The novel was featured on several year-end “best of” lists and is being developed into a film. Kline is the author of four other novels: The Way Life Should Be, Desire Lines, Sweet Water, and Bird in Hand.
AViD Author Special with Karen Abbott
Special host Laura Rowley interviews bestselling author Karen Abbott about her book Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy. Abbott is the first author joining us for this year's AViD (Authors Visiting in Des Moines) events.Called “the pioneer of sizzle history” by USA Today, author and historian Karen Abbott discovers the untold tales of women in American history and brings to light their compelling stories. Her latest book is entitled Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy. This book chronicles the lives of four women who risked everything by going undercover during the Civil War. Her previous books include Sin in the Second City: Madams, Ministers, Playboys, and the Battle for America’s Soul, and American Rose: A Nation Laid Bare: The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose Lee.