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Second Sunday Books

Second Sunday Books

By Libby Fischer Hellmann
Second Sunday Books is coming to you from the Windy City, but I'm expanding the range of books and authors I interview. Historical fiction, women's fiction, action-adventure, and non-fiction (especially history, biographies, and politics) will be served. Unfortunately, no romance, sci-fi, or horror. And of course, I'll still be talking to mystery and thriller authors. Join me once a month on Second Sunday Books for the inside stories about stories.
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Second Sunday Books & Libby Hellmann welcome Three Hours in Paris author Cara Black

Second Sunday Books

Join Author Libby Fischer Hellmann in conversation with Les Edgerton
"After 25 years as an author and reader, it’s rare for me to start a novel and finish it in one sitting. But I did with HARD TIMES by Les Edgerton. Set during the recent past in the deep South, the novel tells the dark story of Amelia Critchin, a principled and faith-filled woman who accepts responsibility for marrying the wrong man and is punished severely for doing so..."
November 20, 2020
Second Sunday Books Welcomes Historical Fiction Author Judith Starkston
Author Judith Starkston's 3rd historical fiction novel was released a  week after BEND. OF KINGS AND GRIFFINS is a mashup of historical and  fantasy and is delightful! (The cover is gorgeous as you'll see). She  and I shared a conversation about writing historical, why we do it, and what's  the hardest part. Enjoy!
October 22, 2020
Second Sunday Books Welcomes Kelli Stanley, founder of Nasty Woman Press and the SHATTERING GLASS Anthology
Shattering  Glass is the first in a series of remarkable anthologies published by  Nasty Woman Press, a unique non-profit publisher founded to help fund  other organizations threatened by the rise of autocracy and the ongoing  war against civil and human rights in the United States. A scintillating  mixture of top-flight fiction from bestselling authors in multiple  genres, fascinating articles, and thought-provoking essays,  conversations and interviews, Shattering Glass takes as its theme the  empowerment of women, with all profits from the book donated to Planned  Parenthood. We are the Creative Resistance. Nasty Woman Press was founded on November 9th, 2016, with a simple but powerful thought: female empowerment.
June 16, 2020
Second Sunday Books & Libby Hellmann welcome Three Hours in Paris author Cara Black
In June of 1940, when Paris fell to the Nazis, Hitler spent a total of  three hours in the City of Light—abruptly leaving, never to return. To  this day, no one knows why. The New York Times bestselling author of the Aimée Leduc investigations reimagines history in her masterful, pulse-pounding spy thriller, Three Hours in Paris. Kate  Rees, a young American markswoman, has been recruited by British  intelligence to drop into Paris with a dangerous assignment: assassinate  the Führer. Wrecked by grief after a Luftwaffe bombing killed her  husband and infant daughter, she is armed with a rifle, a vendetta, and a  fierce resolve. But other than rushed and rudimentary instruction, she  has no formal spy training. Thrust into the red-hot center of the war, a  country girl from rural Oregon finds herself holding the fate of the  world in her hands. When Kate misses her mark and the plan unravels,  Kate is on the run for her life—all the time wrestling with the  suspicion that the whole operation was a set-up. Cara Black, doyenne of the Parisian crime novel, is at her best as she brings  Occupation-era France to vivid life in this gripping story (her first stand-alone) about one  young woman with the temerity—and drive—to take on Hitler himself. *Features an illustrated map of 1940s Paris as full color endpapers.
April 06, 2020
Red Letter Days author Sarah-Jane Stratford Visits Second Sunday Books
When two brave women flee from the Communist Red Scare, they soon discover that no future is free from the past. Amid the glitz and glamour of 1950s New York, Phoebe Adler pursues her  dream of screenwriting. A dream that turns into a living nightmare when  she is blacklisted—caught in the Red Menace that is shattering the lives  of suspected Communists. Desperate to work, she escapes to London,  determined to keep her dream alive and clear her good name. There, Phoebe befriends fellow  American exile Hannah Wolfson, who has defied the odds to build a  career as a successful television producer in England. Hannah is a woman  who has it all, and is now gambling everything in a very dangerous  game—the game of hiring blacklisted writers. Neither woman suspects that danger still looms . . . and their fight is only just beginning. AUTHORS: Sarah-Jane Stratford is an author and essayist whose work has appeared in Marie-Claire, The Guardian, The Boston Globe, Los Angeles Review of Books, Bitch, Bustle, Slate, Salon, BOMB, and Guernica, among others. She lives in London. Visit her online at:; Libby Fischer Hellmann is a critically acclaimed crime writer loved by readers the world over for her compulsively readable thrillers and strong female characters. Her fast-paced crime fiction spans 15 novels and 25 short stories. She has also edited a popular crime fiction anthology called Chicago Blues. Her newest work, "HIGH CRIMES" was released in November, 2018.
March 07, 2020
Silver Falchion winner and USA Today best-selling author Pamela Fagan Hutchins on Second Sunday Books
Second Sunday Books host LIbby Hellmann welcomes USA Today best-selling author Pamela Fagan Hutchins who is also a colleague in the network; she host Wine Women & Writing. I am a wannabe barrel racer afraid of going fast, an eater of ribeye, a rescuer of dogs, a fangirl podcaster, and the author of USA Today bestselling mysteries. {By the way, to get a free starter library, exclusives, first looks, and special deals with my newsletter, go to} You can read my series in any order or as standalones, but they’re a lot of fun if you do them like this: 1.Caribben-based Katie mysteries (PG-13): Saving Grace, Leaving Annalise, Finding Harmony 2. Texas-based Emily mysteries (PG-13): Heaven to Betsy Earth to Emily, Hell to Pay 3. Texas-based Michele mysteries (PG-13): Going for Kona, Fighting for Anna, Searching for Dime Box 4. Wyoming-based Maggie mysteries (R, language): Live Wire, Sick Puppy, Dead Pile (plus shorts Buckle Bunny and Shock Jock) 5. Wyoming-based Patrick Flint mysteries (PG): Switchback, Snake Oil, Sawbones — this is a historical spin-off series AND 6. Caribbean-based Ava mysteries (R, sexual situations): Bombshell, Stunner, Knockout My hunky husband and I ride our beloved draft cross horses way up in the frozen north of Snowheresville, WY and deep in the heart of Nowheresville, TX. When I’m not writing or riding, I’m passionate about hiking, always with a couple of rescue dogs (and an occasional goat and donkey), bear spray, a mountain lion knife, and my Judge. NO ANIMALS HAVE BEEN HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THIS LIFE ADVENTURE (but don’t sneak up on me). I’ve made some lists and won some awards, yada yada. 2018 USA Today Bestseller. 2018 #1 Amazon Bestseller. 2018 Top 50 Amazon Author (Romantic Mystery, Romantic Suspense). The 2017 Silver Falchion for Best Adult Mystery WINNER (Fighting for Anna), the 2016 and 2015 WINNERS for USA Best Books Fiction: Cross Genre (Hell to Pay, Heaven to Betsy), and others. With downloads of nearly 2,000,000, readers seem to enjoy them—I think they have exceptionally good taste. {insert goofy grin here} Lots of them follow my podcast Wine Women & Writing, too, where I fangirl my favorite authors and interview them for your listening pleasure. Subscribe free at
February 12, 2020
Allen Eskens Visits Libby Hellmann on Second Sunday Books
 Missouri native Allen Eskens' "stunning small-town mystery" (New York Times Book Review) is "a coming-of-age book to rival some of the best, such as Ordinary Grace." (Library Journal, starred review) A LIBRARY JOURNAL Mystery Pick of the Month In  a small Southern town where loyalty to family and to "your people"  carries the weight of a sacred oath, defying those unspoken rules can be  a deadly proposition. After fifteen years  of growing up in the Ozark hills with his widowed mother, high-school  freshman Boady Sanden is beyond ready to move on. He dreams of glass  towers and cityscapes, driven by his desire to be anywhere other than  Jessup, Missouri. The new kid at St. Ignatius High School, if he isn't  being pushed around, he is being completely ignored. Even his beloved  woods, his playground as a child and his sanctuary as he grew older,  seem to be closing in on him, suffocating him. Then  Thomas Elgin moves in across the road, and Boady's life begins to twist  and turn. Coming to know the Elgins -- a black family settling into a  community where notions of "us" and "them" carry the weight of history  -- forces Boady to rethink his understanding of the world he's taken for  granted. Secrets hidden in plain sight begin to unfold: the mother who  wraps herself in the loss of her husband, the neighbor who carries the  wounds of a mysterious past that he holds close, the quiet boss who is  fighting his own hidden battle. But the biggest  secret of all is the disappearance of Lida Poe, the African-American  woman who keeps the books at the local plastics factory. Word has it  that Ms. Poe left town, along with a hundred thousand dollars of company  money. Although Boady has never met the missing woman, he discovers  that the threads of her life are woven into the deepest fabric of his  world. As the mystery of her fate plays out,  Boady begins to see the stark lines of race and class that both bind and  divide this small town -- and he will be forced to choose sides.
January 07, 2020
BAD TURN Author Zoe Sharp Visits Second Sunday Books with Libby Hellmann
Second Sunday Crime author and host Libby Fischer Hellmann  welcomes international best-selling author of the Charlie Fox series,  ZOE SHARP. ABOUT ZOE:   Sharp wrote her first novel when she  was fifteen, but success came in 2001 with the publication of KILLER  INSTINCT—the first book to feature her ex-Special Forces turned  bodyguard heroine, Charlotte 'Charlie' Fox. Sharp has also written several standalones, including collaborations  with highly regarded espionage thriller author, John Lawton. Her short  stories have been published in anthologies and magazines, and have been  shortlisted for the Short Story Dagger by the UK Crime Writers'  Association. Her other writing has won or been nominated for numerous  awards on both sides of the Atlantic. ABOUT THE BOOK:  Charlie Fox has quit her job in  close protection, been turned out of her apartment, and is apparently  out of options. Kincaid offers her a job looking after Helena. The  rumours about Kincaid’s business empire say he’s gone over to the dark  side, but Charlie is in no position to be fussy. And protecting people  against those who want to do them harm is what she’s good at. But when  the threats against the Kincaids escalate, and then follow the couple  over to Europe, Charlie’s really going to have to up her game. It’s time  to take the fight to the enemy. Charlie’s at her best putting an end to  trouble. Now she must learn to strike first. And hope that the Kincaids  don’t discover the secret she’s been keeping from them, right from the  start.Listen on your favorite app. Learn more about Libby at at
December 10, 2019
Second Sunday Books Libby Hellmann Talks to Susan Miura, Author of SHARDS OF LIGHT
Author Susan Miura successfully combines mystery, romance, and Christian Fiction in a delightful, award-winning novel, SHARDS OF LIGHT.  Ice crystalizes around Shilo’s heart, threatening to plunge her into darkness as she’s gripped by evil. And it is only Week Two of her summer-long exile to Sicily. But Shilo will face the evil, and the torment of missing Kenji, because the reason she crossed an ocean is worth that and more. Nonna Marie, her great-grandmother. The one who set their family tree on fire. Years ago, she received The Gift – a miraculous, divine power to heal. The same power bestowed upon Shilo just before her seventeenth birthday. Becoming a Healer has already led to danger and heartache, but it is nothing compared to what lies ahead. High on Mt. Etna, in a centuries-old convent, Shilo will discover the horrors of human trafficking, heroic feats propelled by courage and faith, and the unbearable pain of another loss. On a ballet stage halfway around the world, Melody grand jetés into a life-changing moment. But after years of strenuous preparation, something goes terribly wrong. When she regains consciousness, her ballet dreams lie shattered, piercing Melody with shards of hopelessness. What is life without ballet? And how will she survive this ordeal without Shilo? As Melody struggles to piece together the fragments of her broken life, she reflects on the Nigerian-Russian parents she never knew, and a pair of hauntingly familiar ebony eyes. About Susan: Susan Miura grew up in the Chicago suburbs, reading voraciously, longing for a horse and longing to see the world. After attaining her goal of becoming a newspaper reporter, she headed for the wide-open spaces of New Mexico, until her heart lead her back home to Illinois. Love and marriage followed, along with a career in public relations. Susan works for the Schaumburg Township District Library, teaches writing workshops, gives travel presentations, reviews books for The Book Report, and serves as president of ACFW-Chicago.
November 27, 2019
LIZ Zelvin, Editor of ME TOO STORIES, Visits Second Sunday Books
Me Too Short Stories: An Anthology What do women want? A voice. To be heard. Respect. To be believed. Justice. To be both safe and free. The women in these stories have daughters, sisters, friends. The minister worries about her parishioners. The banshee worries about the Hippocratic Oath. The microbiologist worries about her obligation to the dead. They will use any means to protect themselves and those they love: a childish jingle, a skillet full of cornbread, a candle, their own quick wits. We cannot ignore their voices. About Elizabeth: Elizabeth Zelvin is the author of the Bruce Kohler Mysteries and the Jewish historical Mendoza Family Saga and editor of two anthologies, ME TOO SHORT STORIES (crimes against women, tales of retribution and healing) and WHERE CRIME NEVER SLEEPS. Liz's stories have been nominated three times each for the Agatha and Derringer Awards for Best Short Story. Another story was listed in BEST AMERICAN MYSTERIES in 2014. This podcast owned solely by Authors On The Air Global Radio Network.
October 19, 2019
Thomas Maier, journalist & author of MAFIA SPIES, visits Second Sunday Books
Mafia Spies is the definitive account of America’s most remarkable espionage plots ever—with CIA agents, mob hitmen, “kompromat” sex, presidential indiscretion, and James Bond-like killing devices together in a top-secret mystery full of surprise twists and deadly intrigue. In the early 1960s, two top gangsters, Johnny Roselli and Sam Giancana, were hired by the CIA to kill Cuba’s Communist leader, Fidel Castro, only to wind up murdered themselves amidst Congressional hearings and a national debate about the JFK assassination. INTERVIEWER'S NOTE: This was a fascinating interview! Anyone who is a student of late 20th century history will get chills from this detailed and surprising era, primarily during the 1960s and 1970s. Please tune in -- it's lengthier than some of my shows, but well worth every minute. Thomas Maieris an award-winning author, journalist, and television producer. His book Masters of Sex was the basis for the Emmy-winning Showtime drama that ran for four seasons. His other books include When Lions Roar: The Churchills and the Kennedys; The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings; Dr. Spock: An American Life (named a "“Notable Book of the Year" by the New York Times); and Newhouse: All the Glitter, Power and Glory of America's Richest Media Empire and the Secretive Man Behind It (winner of the Frank Luther Mott Award as Best Media Book of the Year presented by the National Honor Society in Journalism and Mass Communication). He has worked as an investigative reporter for Newsday for over thirty years.
September 05, 2019
William Kent Krueger 1st Official Podcast on THIS TENDER LAND
Kent Krueger stops by Second Sunday Books 10 days before the release of his sure to be best-selling historical novel THIS TENDER LAND. #1 Indie Next Pick for September! Library Reads Selection for September “Lively . . . Krueger’s enjoyable riff on The Odyssey will satisfy fans of American heartland epics.”—Publishers Weekly “Richly  imagined and exceptionally well plotted and written, the novel is, most  of all, a compelling, often haunting story that will captivate both  adult and young adult readers”—Booklist “A  book you won’t own. It will own you. Long, sprawling, and utterly  captivating, readers will eat up every delicious word of it.”—New York Journal of Books
August 22, 2019
Patricia Skalka Visits Second Sunday Books with her 5th mystery, Death By The Bay
Join me for a chat with author Patricia Skalka about her new medical mystery Death by the Bay. On a chilly Monday in late spring, Door County Sheriff Dave Cubiak is at the Green Arbor Lodge for lunch when a scream from a nearby medical conference disrupts the scene. Leaping into action, he finds the ninety-three-year-old director of the prestigious Institute for Progressive Medicine collapsed on the floor, dead of a suspected heart attack. As Cubiak interrogates the witnesses, he’s struck by the inconsistencies in their stories. Some evade questions while others offer contradictory statements. Then suddenly another scream pierces the air. . . . Past and present merge as long-buried secrets rise to the surface. The resourceful sheriff must rely on his skills and wits, along with the advice and memories of friends and family, to uncover the dark truth behind the Institute for Progressive Medicine. Dedicated and new fans alike will find themselves captivated by this intelligently plotted story as Cubiak untangles the twisted threads of this intricate mystery. About the Author: Patricia Skalka is the author of Death Stalks Door County, Death at Gills Rock, Death in Cold Water, and Death Rides the Ferry, the first four books in the popular Dave Cubiak Door County Mystery series. Patricia is president of the Sisters in Crime Chicagoland Chapter and a member of several professional organizations.
July 14, 2019
Join host Libby Fischer Hellmann in conversation with Author Cara Black as they discuss her latest release Murder in Bel-Air.
Join host Libby Fischer Hellmann in conversation with Author Cara Black as they discuss her latest release Murder in Bel-Air. Cara Black’s riveting 19th installment in her New York Times bestselling Parisian detective series entangles private investigator Aimée Leduc in a dangerous web of international spycraft, post-colonial Franco-African politics, and neighborhood secrets in Paris’s 12th arrondissement. Parisian private investigator Aimée Leduc is about to go onstage to deliver the keynote address at a tech conference that is sure to secure Leduc Detective some much-needed business contracts when she gets an emergency phone call from her daughter’s playgroup: Aimée’s own mother, who was supposed to pick Chloe up, never showed. Abandoning her hard-won speaking gig, Aimée rushes to get Chloe, annoyed that her mother has let her down yet again. But as Aimée and Chloe are leaving the playground, Aimée witnesses the body of a homeless woman being wheeled away from the neighboring convent, where nuns run a soup kitchen. The last person anyone saw the dead woman talking to was Aimée’s mother, who has vanished. Trying to figure out what happened to Sydney Leduc, Aimée tracks down the dead woman’s possessions, which include a huge amount of cash. What did Sydney stumble into? Is she in trouble? About Cara: Cara Black is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of 19 books in the Private Investigator Aimée Leduc series, which is set in Paris. Cara has received multiple nominations for the Anthony and Macavity Awards, a Washington Post Book World Book of the Year citation, the Médaille de la Ville de Paris—the Paris City Medal, which is awarded in recognition of contribution to international culture—and invitations to be the Guest of Honor at conferences such as the Paris Polar Crime Festival and Left Coast Crime. With more than 400,000 books in print, the Aimée Leduc series has been translated into German, Norwegian, Japanese, French, Spanish, Italian, and Hebrew. This is a trademarked copyrighted podcast solely owned by the Authors on the Air Global Radio Network LLC.
June 05, 2019
Susanna Calkins, authorof MURDER KNOCKS TWICE, visits Libby Hellmann at Second Sunday Books
Join host Libby Fischer Hellmann in coversation with Author Susanna Calkins. The first mystery in Susanna Calkins’ captivating new series takes readers into the dark, dangerous, and glittering underworld of a 1920's Chicago speakeasy. MURDER KNOCKS TWICE: Gina Ricci takes on a job as a cigarette girl to earn money for her ailing father—and to prove to herself that she can hold her own at Chicago’s most notorious speakeasy, the Third Door. She’s enchanted by the harsh, glamorous world she discovers: the sleek socialites sipping bootlegged cocktails, the rowdy ex-soldiers playing poker in a curtained back room, the flirtatious jazz pianist and the brooding photographer—all overseen by the club’s imposing owner, Signora Castallazzo. But the staff buzzes with whispers about Gina’s predecessor, who died under mysterious circumstances, and the photographer, Marty, warns her to be careful. When Marty is brutally murdered, with Gina as the only witness, she’s determined to track down his killer. What secrets did Marty capture on his camera—and who would do anything to destroy it? As Gina searches for answers, she’s pulled deeper into the shadowy truths hiding behind the Third Door. About Susanna: I write historical mysteries. My first series, the award-winning Lucy Campion Mysteries, is set in 17th century London. My second series, the Speakeasy Mysteries, is set in a Prohibition-Era Chicago speakeasy. I hold a PhD in history and currently work at Northwestern University. Born and raised in Philadelphia, I live in the Chicago area with my husband and two sons.
May 24, 2019
Debut Author Rachel Barenbaum, A BEND IN THE STARS, Visits Second Sunday Books
Join host Libby Fischer Hellmann in conversation with Debut Author Rachel Barenbaum. A BEND IN THE STARS **A Summer 2019 B&N Discover Great New Writers selection** For fans of All the Light We Cannot See and The Women in the Castle comes a riveting literary novel that is at once an epic love story and a heart-pounding journey across WWI-era Russia, about an ambitious young doctor and her scientist brother in a race against Einstein to solve relativity. Grounded in real history—and inspired by the solar eclipse of 1914—A Bend in the Stars offers a heart-pounding account of modern science’s greatest race amidst the chaos of World War I, and a love story as epic as the railways crossing Russia. About Rachel: Rachel is a graduate of GrubStreet’s Novel Incubator. In a former life she was a hedge fund manager and a spin instructor. She has degrees from Harvard in Business, and Literature and Philosophy. She lives in Hanover, NH with her husband, three children, and dog named Zishe—after the folk hero who inspires many tales around their dinner table. Rachel is represented by Eve Attermann at WME.
May 24, 2019
A.C. Frieden stops by to chat with Libby Fischer Hellmann
A.C. Frieden stops by to chat with Libby Fischer Hellmann about his latest release in the Jonathan Brooks Thriller Series - The Pyongyang Option. New Orleans attorney Jonathan Brooks is desperate to rebuild his law firm after Hurricane Katrina. Short on clients, he takes the only work he can find: a murky business deal in Ukraine. But after he lands in Kyiv, his client’s executive vanishes. Suspecting foul play, Jonathan enlists the help of a U.S. diplomat. But the next day they are brutally ambushed. Injured and racing against the clock, Jonathan embarks on a frantic search for clues through the back alleys of Kyiv to an abandoned town near Chernobyl. Meanwhile, Jonathan’s ex-wife Linda, a journalist, lands in North Korea to report on historic nuclear disarmament talks. She begins probing local officials, not realizing that she and Jonathan are both on a collision course with a deadly web of hackers, spies and assassins. To uncover the truth and save them both, Jonathan may have only one option: to go to Pyongyang with as much leverage as possible and try to make it out alive. A.C. Frieden is an international author of mysteries and thrillers, including the acclaimed Jonathan Brooks series (Down & Out Books / Avendia Publishing). Frieden is also an attorney, private pilot, PADI scuba instructor, martial artist, equestrian and former army sniper.
May 22, 2019