New works by local authors

Book report

New works by local authors

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The psychological thriller You Are Not Alone (St. Martin’s Press, March 2020) by Chevy Chase’s Sarah Pekkanen and co-author Greer Hendricks, who lives in Manhattan, is about a woman who pursues the mystery behind a suicide she witnesses on a subway in New York City. “Like our other books, there are twists and turns. There is a relatable, sympathetic character who is thrown into a really dark situation and has to figure her way out of it,” says Pekkanen, who is writing a screenplay with Hendricks based on their 2018 book The Wife Between Us. The pair is executive-producing a TV series based on An Anonymous Girl, their other 2018 novel. “Our first love is always writing novels, and we want to keep doing those for as long as we can,” Pekkanen says.


David and Julie Bulitt offer their take on managing money, sex, communication, parenting and a work-life balance in their self-help book The Five Core Conversations for Couples (Skyhorse, February 2020). “It’s a combination of professional insight and our own personal stuff,” says David, a divorce attorney who traded off writing chapters with Julie, a family therapist and his wife of 33 years. The Olney couple reveal intimate details of their marriage and their own struggles in a book that’s intentionally light and casual rather than scientific, according to Julie. “I hope it provides entertainment and a basis for couples to think about and talk about their relationships,” she says.


The wave of women sworn into the 116th Congress after the November 2018 election intrigued Jennifer Steinhauer, a New York Times reporter for 25 years. In her book The Firsts: The Inside Story of the Women Reshaping Congress (Algonquin Books, March 2020), she chronicles the first year of one of the most diverse congressional classes by race, ethnicity, religion and gender. “It’s definitely changed the look and feel of the Hill,” says Steinhauer, who lives in Northwest Washington, D.C. While assessing the impact of the women can be difficult because they represent a small percentage of the legislative body, Steinhauer says they are developing a camaraderie. “Women seek each other,” she says. “They find a kinship and they bond around issues.”


The idea for Lauren Francis-Sharma’s second novel came to her while she was listening to a radio interview with Willie Nelson as she waited in the carpool line at Norwood School in Bethesda. She thought of her parents, who grew up in Trinidad loving country music, and an idea hit her for a character in what would become Book of the Little Axe (Atlantic Monthly Press, May 2020). It’s a family saga set against the backdrop of colonialism, violence and slavery in the 1800s in Trinidad and the United States. The quest to belong and the meaning of home remain relevant today, says Francis-Sharma of Kensington, an attorney who became a full-time author after the success of her debut novel ’Til the Well Runs Dry (Henry Holt and Co., 2014). “We’re still interconnected globally, and we have been forever,” she says

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