By Nitya Wanchoo
Books, books, read all about it! Barnes & Noble in Manhasset is doing virtual author interviews and Storytimes.
During one of many virtual Barnes & Noble author talks, Jeneva Rose got to interview Catherine Rose Howard, best selling author from Cork, Ireland. They talked about Howard’s most recent book, “56 Days,” which was named a best thriller of 2021 by The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Irish Times. In addition, it was an Irish No. 1 best seller and won Crime Novel of the Year at the Irish Book Awards.
“56 Days” is Barnes & Noble’s “Monthly Mystery Pick” for August. The story is about a couple, Ciara and Oliver, who decide to move in a few days before the dreaded coronavirus lockdown. But everything is not as it seems, and he is hiding who he really is.
Howard wrote the novel living in a studio apartment “about the size of three parking spaces” in Dublin while living on her own during the pandemic. She called writing the novel “kind of cathartic” and even went as far as to say that it was like “therapy” for her and it kept her “sane during the first lockdown.” Originally, the author had a contract to write a book about a shooting in a nightclub, which she explained “just lost legs” and so she decided to switch to another plot instead. She said that even though people don’t want to relive the COVID experience, she tried to give it a certain sense of nostalgia in the book for the time period where everyone was just “watching Tiger King and living on rosé and chips.”
Howard then told viewers about her newest book, which just released on Aug. 16 in the United States. She described “Runtime” as more light-hearted in comparison to “56 Days,” though still in the mystery thriller genre.
Howard’s dream has always been to be an author, and she still can’t believe she gets to make things up and write for a living. As a child, she would read mostly crime fiction and thriller novels, and so now she’s taken to writing them herself.
“It’s the genre that I’ve always loved and read,” she says. “It’s less about the darkness. What this genre has is the puzzle.”
When asked about research for her suspense novels, Howard joked that ”if crime was entirely obligated to facts, there would be a 300-page chapter where someone is just waiting for forensics results.”
The advice she gives to all aspiring writers is “write the book you want to read but can’t find on the shelf.”
In addition to Catherine Rose Howard, there’s a lineup ready for September. These events are quick and easy to sign up for and a great chance to get to know some of the outstanding upcoming writers.
Mon., Sept. 12, 7 p.m. Buzz Bissinger discusses “The Mosquito Bowl”
Wed., Sept. 14, 3 p.m. Allen Eskens celebrates “The Stolen Hours” #BNMiddayMystery
Tues., Sept. 20, 3 p.m. Richard Osman celebrates “The Bullet That Missed” #BNMiddayMystery
Mon., Sept. 26, 7 p.m. Stephanie Garber discusses “The Ballad of Never After” with Shelby Mahurin
Tues., Sept. 27, 7 p.m. Chloe Gong celebrates “Foul Lady Fortune” with Elizabeth Lim
Wed., Sept. 28, 7 p.m. Kerri Maniscalco celebrates “Kingdom of the Feared” with Holly Black
Not everything is online, though. The Barnes & Noble at 1542 Northern Blvd. in Manhasset does Storytimes on Wednesdays at 11 a.m. Stopping by in-store also gives customers access to the variety of deals available for book lovers looking to expand their collection.