23 April 2017

Bone White by Wendy Corsi Staub

Bone White

by Wendy Corsi Staub

on Tour April 1-30, 2017


Bone White by Wendy Corsi Staub
In Mundy’s Landing, bygone bloodshed has become a big business. During the rigorous winter of 1666, all but five colonists in the small Hudson Valley settlement died of starvation. Accused of unimaginable crimes, James and Elizabeth Mundy and their three children survived, but the couple were later accused of murder and executed. Left to fend for themselves in a hostile community, their offspring lived out exemplary lives in a town that would bear the family name. They never reveal the secret that died with their parents on the gallows… or did they?
“We Shall Never Tell.” Spurred by the cryptic phrase in a centuries-old letter, Emerson Mundy has flown cross-country to her ancestral hometown in hopes of tracing her ancestral past—and perhaps building a future. In Mundy’s Landing, she discovers long lost relatives, a welcoming ancestral home… and a closet full of skeletons.
A year has passed since former NYPD Detective Sullivan Leary solved the historic Sleeping Beauty Murders, apprehended a copycat killer, and made a fresh start in the Hudson Valley. Banking on an uneventful future in a village that’s seen more than its share of bloodshed, Sully is in for an unpleasant surprise when a historic skull reveals a notorious truth. Now she’s on the trail of a murky predator determined to destroy the Mundy family tree, branch by branch.

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Published by: William Morrow Mass Market
Publication Date: March 28, 2017
Number of Pages: 384
ISBN: 0062349775 (ISBN13: 9780062349774)
Series: Mundy's Landing #3 (Stand Alone)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Interview with the Author:

When did you decide to become a writer?

I was in third grade. I wrote an essay about Abraham Lincoln and my teacher, Mrs. Pizzolanti, praised it. I went home from school that day and told my mom I was going to be a writer when I grew up. Never changed my mind—in fact, it was a single-minded goal from that day on. 

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

Twenty-five years and nearly 90 books in, I’m blessed to have had most of my writing career dreams come true. Actually, I should say that I have MADE most of my writing dreams come true, because it’s involved a tremendous amount of work and far more sacrifice than I ever would have guessed. The major milestones—becoming a New York Times bestseller, seeing a book become a movie, winning awards, enabling my husband to take a decade away from his high pressure advertising career while our boys were young—are won and done. Would I love to have more bestsellers, more movies, more financial success, more awards? Absolutely, and I continue to work toward those goals every day. But I’ve learned that no career is made once you have those things or blown if you never achieve them. My ambition is to continue to write fresh, complex novels that will sell well for my publishers, expand my readership, and engage the loyal fans who have stuck with me along this journey.  

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

In BONE WHITE, Emerson Mundy has traveled cross-country to Mundy’s Landing in search of her roots. She was raised by a single father and now that he’s gone, she has no family in the world—until she discovers a centuries-old letter among his belongings. It holds the key not just to her own past, but to an eerie mystery surrounding Mundy’s Landing’s first settlers. Emerson’s longing for family, roots, a place to call home bring her to a seemingly picture-perfect town populated by people who have everything she’s ever dreamed of. But as my longtime readers know, in my books, nothing is ever as it seems!

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

Ideally, I get up between 5 and 6 to sit with a few cups of coffee and deal with email and social media obligations, both of which devour a huge part of most commercial authors’ lives these days. Most days, I head to the gym by 7:30 to swim laps for an hour while plugged into an audio book on my waterfi. If I miss that window, I swim at 11 instead. I eat breakfast and lunch at my desk and write all day until around 7, when I start cooking dinner—I love to cook!—and return to social media and email before calling it a day at 8. While our boys are away in college, my husband and I tend to eat dinner in front of the TV—too late and too close to bedtime. When I’m closing in on a tight deadline, I drag myself back to my desk at 9 and stay there till midnight. 

Where do the ideas come from?

Ideas are triggered everywhere I go, in everything I see and hear (and overhear) and read and watch and do, everyone I meet. A writer’s brain is wired to “what if” all day long. You can’t turn it off. Nor can you possibly write every great idea you have.  Nor will you ever run out. 

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

What I do and what I prefer are two different things! Because I’m under contract to deliver, say a three-book psychological suspense trilogy, my publisher needs some idea what they’ve bought and will be publishing. I don’t outline, and I’m fortunate that my editor cheerfully allows fluidity in my work, which is much easier to accomplish in a standalone than in a series. With a sequel or trilogy, I need a general sense, in book one, of where I want to wind up when the last book is completed. I can’t tell you how often I’ve written myself into a corner with even a minor plot point introduced in a novel that’s been published by the time I’m writing the sequel. Sure, I’d love to tweak or even veer off in an entirely new direction—but I have to stick with what I’ve established, and make it work. 

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

That is a luxury I don’t allow! Everyone has off-days in any job, but you can’t turn it into a day off. I hold myself accountable to a page or word count that is “due” every Friday. I map it out months ahead, using my contract due date and figuring out where I need to be to stay on track, and every Friday on my calendar has a number on it. I’m unlikely to slack on a Tuesday if it means that I’m going to be up around the clock Thursday to get to where I need to be. Sometimes, on a Tuesday, I’ll write pure crap just to get the words down, and promise myself I can go back and fix it later. The first hour or so of writing crap usually frees up the logjam.  

What can we expect from you down the line?

In October, Crooked Lane will be publishing DEAD OF WINTER, the third title in my “Lily Dale Mysteries. Next spring, HarperCollins will publish the first book in a new trilogy I’m writing for them about an investigative genealogist who helps foundlings (people who were abandoned as infants) uncover the secrets of their biological roots.

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

July 20, 2016
Los Angeles, CA

We shall never tell.
Strange, the thoughts that go through your head when you’re standing at an open grave.
Not that Emerson Mundy knew anything about open graves before today. Her father’s funeral is the first she’s ever attended, and she’s the sole mourner.
Ah, at last, a perk to living a life without many—any—loved ones; you don’t spend much time grieving, unless you count the pervasive ache for the things you never had.
The minister, who came with the cemetery package and never even met Jerry Mundy, is rambling on about souls and salvation. Emerson hears only We shall never tell—the closing line in an old letter she found yesterday in the crawl space of her childhood home. It had been written in 1676 by a young woman named Priscilla Mundy, addressed to her brother, Jeremiah.
The Mundys were among the seventeenth-century English colonists who settled on the eastern bank of the Hudson River, about a hundred miles north of New York City. Their first winter was so harsh the river froze, stranding their supply ship and additional colonists in the New York harbor. When the ship arrived after the thaw, all but five settlers had starved to death.
Jeremiah; Priscilla; their sister, Charity; and their parents had eaten human flesh to stay alive. James and Elizabeth Mundy swore they’d only cannibalized those who’d already died, but the God-fearing, well-fed newcomers couldn’t fathom such wretched butchery. A Puritan justice committee tortured the couple until they confessed to murder, then swiftly tried, convicted, and hanged them.
“Do you think we’re related?” Emerson asked her father after learning about the Mundys back in elementary school.
“Nope.” Curt answers were typical when she brought up anything Jerry Mundy didn’t want to discuss. The past was high on the list.
“That’s it? Just nope?”
“What else do you want me to say?”
“How about yes?”
“That wouldn’t be the truth,” he said with a shrug.
“Sometimes the truth isn’t very interesting.”
She had no one else to ask about her family history. Dad was an only child, and his parents, Donald and Inez Mundy, had passed away before she was born. Their headstone is adjacent to the gaping rectangle about to swallow her father’s casket. Staring that the inscription, she notices her grandfather’s unusual middle initial.
Donald X. Mundy, Born 1900, Died 1972.
X marks the spot.

Thanks to her passion for history and Robert Louis Stevenson, Emerson’s bookworm childhood included a phase when she searched obsessively for buried treasure. Money was short in their household after two heart attacks left Jerry Mundy on permanent disability.
X marks the spot…
No gold doubloon treasure chest buried here. Just dusty old bones of people she never knew.
And now, her father.
The service concludes with a prayer as the coffin is lowered into the ground. The minister clasps her hand and tells her how sorry he is for her loss, then leaves her to sit on a bench and stare at the hillside as the undertakers finish the job.
The sun is beginning to burn through the thick marine layer that swaddles most June and July mornings. Having grown up in Southern California, she knows the sky will be bright blue by mid-afternoon. Tomorrow will be more of the same. By then, she’ll be on her way back up the coast, back to her life in Oakland, where the fog rolls in and stays for days, weeks at a time. Funny, but there she welcomes the gray, a soothing shield from real world glare and sharp edges.
Here the seasonal gloom has felt oppressive and depressing.
Emerson watches the undertakers finish the job and load their equipment into a van. After they drive off, she makes her way between neat rows of tombstones to inspect the raked dirt rectangle.
When something is over, you move on, her father told her when she left home nearly two decades ago. She attended Cal State Fullerton with scholarships and maximum financial aid, got her master’s at Berkeley, and landed a teaching job in the Bay Area.
But she didn’t necessarily move on.
Every holiday, many weekends, and for two whole months every summer, she makes the six-hour drive down to stay with her father. She cooks and cleans for him, and at night they sit together and watch Wheel of Fortune reruns.
It used to be because she craved a connection to the only family she had in the world. Lately, though, it was as much because Jerry Mundy needed her.
He pretended that he didn’t, that he was taking care of himself and the house, too proud to admit he was failing. He was a shadow of his former self when he died at seventy-six, leaving Emerson alone in the world.
Throughout her motherless childhood, Emerson was obsessed with novels about orphans. Treasure Island shared coveted space on her bookshelf with Anne of Green Gables, The Secret Garden, The Witch of Blackbird Pond
She always wondered what would happen to her if her father died. Would she wind up in an orphanage? Would a kindly stranger take her in? Would she live on the streets?
Now that it’s happened he’s down there, in the dirt … moving on?
She’ll never again hear his voice. She’ll never see the face so like her own that she can’t imagine she inherited any physical characteristics from her mother, Didi—though she can’t be certain.
Years ago, she asked her father for a picture—preferably one that showed her mother holding her as a baby, or of her parents together. Maybe she wanted evidence that she and her father had been loved; that the woman who’d abandoned them had once been normal—a proud new mother, a happy bride.
Or was it the opposite? Was she hoping to glimpse a hint that Didi Mundy was never normal? Did she expect to confirm that people—normal people—don’t just wake up one morning and choose to walk out on a husband and child? That there was always something off about her mother: a telltale gleam in the eye, or a faraway expression—some warning sign her father had overlooked. A sign Emerson herself would be able to recognize, should she ever be tempted to marry.
But there were no images of Didi that she could slip into a frame, or deface with angry black ink, or simply commit to memory.
Exhibit A: Untrustworthy.
Sure, there had been plenty of photos, her father admitted unapologetically. He’d gotten rid of everything.
There were plenty of pictures of her and Dad, though.
Exhibit B: Trustworthy.
Dad holding her hand on her first day of kindergarten, Dad leading her in an awkward waltz at a father-daughter middle school dance, Dad posing with her at high school graduation.
“Two peas in a pod,” he liked to say. “If I weren’t me, I’d think you were.”
She has his thick, wavy hair, the same dimple on her right cheek, same angular nose and bristly slashes of brow. Even her wide-set, prominent, upturned eyes are the same as his, with one notable exception.
Jerry Mundy’s eyes were a piercing blue.
Only one of Emerson’s is that shade; the other, a chalky gray.
Excerpt from Bone White by Wendy Corsi Staub. Copyright © 2017 by Wendy Corsi Staub. Reproduced with permission from William Morrow Mass Market. All rights reserved.
Wendy Corsi Staub

Author Bio:

New York Times bestseller Wendy Corsi Staub is the award-winning author of more than seventy novels. Wendy now lives in the New York City suburbs with her husband and their two children.

Catch Up With Wendy Corsi Staub On Her Website , Goodreads , Twitter , & Facebook !


Tour Participants:

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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Wendy Corsi Staub and William Morrow. There will be 3 winners of one (1) Print copy of Bone White by Wendy Corsi Staub. The giveaway begins on March 30th and runs through May 2nd, 2017. This giveaway is for US residents only. Void where prohibited by law.
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