I was incredibly disappointed to find out that the Tucson Festival of Books was canceled. It’s the major event that I look forward to the most every single year. As a bibliophile, I love connecting with all my fellow book lovers and over the years I’ve also been so privileged to connect with some of my favorite authors including Janet Fitch, V.E. Schwab, T.C. Boyle, amongst so many others. What can I say? TFOB is my happy place. It’s also one of the major ways that literacy organizations like Literacy Connects get funded so that they have the resources to educate their communities.

With so many authors becoming “stranded” in the Tucson area with the cancelation of the festival, the Tucson Bookmans locations banded together and created the Second Chance Book Fest, a three-day event showcasing a wide variety of local and out of state authors. Best of all, it gave us one last chance to help Literacy Connects get some of their much-needed funds.

We loved having everyone that came out to meet and support these amazing authors. For those of you who didn’t, I thought you’d like to get to know some of them and maybe get some great recommendations from them.

authors' favorite book

Carly Herriges

What was your favorite book that you’ve read in the last year?

I read Jane Anonymous by Laurie Faria Stolarz right at the beginning of the year. It is really cool crime, thriller, sort of suspense, and I’ve recently gotten into that as I’m working on my fear of being murdered all the time. So I’m engaging in it more. It’s really cool because it’s told in the before and after of how she dealt with her trauma while it was happening and now that she’s back in her normal life how she’s dealing with it. So it’s really interesting to see her shift her mindset where she is now. It’s really good.

What book are you most looking forward to reading?

Libba Bray just came out with King of Crows [the fourth installment of the Diviner’s series]. I’m a little behind on the series so I’m trying to catch up, but I’m really excited about this one. Her imagery is just insane.

What are you currently watching?

I just finished catching up on every episode of My Favorite Murder [the weekly true-crime podcast hosted by Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff] because you can’t have enough murder. They are so funny and so cool. It’s just nice to hear that other people are anxious about being murdered all the time and it’s not just me. But, yeah, they’re great.

stay sexy and dont get murdered kilgariff and hardstark book cover

What is the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?

I got to meet Stephen Chbosky [author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower], who is so nice, and I don’t usually speak at author events because I’m nervous, but I decided to raise my hand. I asked, “what advice do you have for someone who wants to be a writer?” And he said, “find your best friend in the entire world and ask them what story they want you to tell? Because they know you better than you know yourself and they know your voice better than you know it and what story you can tell well.”

Carly Herriges is a Tucson native though she studied journalism and creative writing at Falmouth University in Cornwall, England. Her first book “Good Advice from Bad Women”, a collection of poetry with an unusual take on famous women, was published in 2019. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Jessica Feinberg

What was your favorite book that you’ve read in the last year?

Definitely Ninth House [by Leigh Bardugo], because I understand that when Bardugo was writing her other books she really wanted to write adult fiction set in our world and at the time her publisher and agents wanted her to write Young Adult, so this is the book she’s been wanting to write for a long time. You can tell, it’s amazing.

What book are you most looking forward to reading?

I’m really hoping that Louise Penny has a new book coming out, she usually writes one a year. She writes the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache books which are these amazing Canadian murder mysteries. She’s just been through a ton in her life and then turned around and still kept writing. I love her books. I’ll stay up all night just to finish one.

louise penny the cruellest month book cover

What are you currently watching or listening to?

I’m watching The Magicians. I’m heartbroken that I only have 3 more episodes and it’s over. Everyone should write Netflix to pick up the show. And I listen to everything…except polka.

Tell us something many people wouldn’t know about your books.

My books appear to be field guides, but the events and characters in the books actually carry through to tell stories. If you get Metal Dragons and you read about the Clockwork Zoo, the granddaughter of the guy who starts tries to start the Clockwork Zoo, which it goes terribly in that book, she actually turns up in my newest book and ends up time traveling back in time to live with clockwork dinosaurs. Hopefully, in the works, there will actually be fiction short stories of those characters that tie in. Even if you get my kid’s picture books a lot of those characters can be looked up in the field guides too.

Jessica Feinberg is a quirky creator who is best known for mixing mundane and magic in her paintings of wildlife, trees, dragons, faeries, clockwork, and strange creatures. She writes and illustrates books including field guides to fantastical creatures, coloring books, and more! She has also created decks of playing cards, oracle decks, and games. You can preorder her next collection “Dragons and Other Rare Creatures: Vol 2” on her website. She can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Eric Wood

What was your favorite book that you’ve read in the last year?

Probably the last book in the Malazan Book of the Fallen series by Steven Erikson, I’m a big fantasy fan and that whole series has been amazing to read. It’s literary, it’s dense, it’s got a lot of larger than life characters but it has a lot more to it than most fantasy books I’ve read.

What book are you most looking forward to reading?

I read a lot of fantasy, so I’m excited about the new The Starlight Archive book by Brandon Sanderson. I have been enjoying each book. It takes a little to get it started, but there have been some big cliffhangers so I’m excited to see where it goes.

What are you currently watching?

I’m rewatching Justified, it’s been one of the best shows I’ve seen in a lot time. I just finished The Good Place and I’m looking forward to the upcoming season of Better Call Saul.

Tell us something interesting about one of your main characters from The Horsemen: Embers of the Old World.

I think that Sam Brennan is someone that makes a lot of mistakes and is willing to learn from them even if it’s not at first. He’s very fallible, but also very resilient and has a good humor about himself.

Eric Wood is a YA speculative writer from Traverse City, Michigan. “The Horsemen – Embers of the Old World” and “The Horsemen – Fire and The Free City” are the first books in a trilogy set 20 years after the Horsemen virus has decimated the world’s population. It is a fast-paced action that also explores what it means to be human while discovering the dangerous origin of the virus itself. He can be found on his website.

Melissa Koberlein

What was your favorite book that you’ve read in the last year?

Dan Brown’s Origin. It’s so thought-provoking and makes me think. It’s fiction but it’s about where do we come from and where are we going. It makes you think about what our future is.

dan brown origin book cover

What book are you most looking forward to reading?

If there is a new Charlaine Harris, that. If Diana Gabaldon would finally write another one because I need to know why Jamie is in a window in book one of Outlander. I read all of her books.

What are you currently listening to and watching?

I listen to a lot of 80s Spotify stuff because I do playlists with all my novels that I’m writing. I just finished the Mandalorian a month ago. Baby Yoda, that’s all I have to say.

Tell us something interesting about one of your main characters from Ashwater.

Adam is an android and he’s Bluetooth’d to an old lady’s jukebox.

Melissa Koberlein is an author and professor in eastern Pennsylvania. he enjoys reading and writing about the spectacular, sci-fi, technology, and romance. She embraces her geekiness and enjoys sharing it with the world. Fireflies, a young adult trilogy, melding romance and light science fiction is a fun and quirky allegory for the future of nanotechnology. She’s also written about virtual reality (Deadlock), space (Raven’s Sphere), and androids (Her newest series, Ashwater). But don’t let the sci-fi elements deter you, there’s lots of humor and heart. She can be found on her website, Twitter, and Instagram.

Geri’ Myers Goodwin

What was your favorite book that you’ve read in the last year?

A book by Nikki Sixx called This is Going to Hurt. It’s so honest about some of the trials in his life. It’s brutally honest and very motivational moving forward in going after what you want no matter what.


What book are you most looking forward to reading?

Spiritual Hacking: Shamanic Keys to Reclaim Your Personal Power, Transform Yourself and Light Up the World by Shaman Durek

What are you currently watching and listening to?

I just finished the first season of The Stranger and it was very intense. I’m an 80s big hair band girl, so I don’t really stray away from that too much. My favorite band is Motley Crue.

Tell us something interesting about one of your main characters from Mason’s Gray.

Morgan Gray is facing some life challenges and big transitions in her life. She pushes herself off the fence to go after her dreams despite the fear and uncertainty. She goes after it in an effort to maintain health and happiness.

Geri’ dreamed of becoming a writer for 20 years, and with the prospect of her kids growing up and moving out, she knew it was time to make her dream a reality. She’s grateful to have had the support of her husband, family, and friends on this new journey, and for the chance to learn first-hand that it’s never too late to follow your dreams! She can be found on her website.

Chris Rush

What was your favorite book that you’ve read in the last year?

Probably one I’m in the middle of because I always love the book I’m reading. I got it here at Bookmans Midtown, for a matter of fact. It’s called The Darkening Age: The Christians Destroyed Classical Rome [by Catherine Nixey]. It’s quite shocking as an ex-Catholic boy. I always thought the monks saved the manuscripts of the Romans, I didn’t realize they were the ones that burnt them.

What book are you most looking forward to reading?

Underland: A Deep Time Journey [by Robert MacFarlane], it’s a big hit. It’s about everything underground. I opened up to the section about cave diving and it was so terrifying I can’t wait to go through it.

underland-robert-macfarland book cover

What are you currently watching?

I’m a bit commonplace, I’m newly fascinated by the most uncool man of all time, Dean Martin. I’ve decided he’s so drunk it’s beautiful.

Tell us something interesting about one of yourself that’s not in your memoir.

I very much after years of painting portraits look forward to doing abstract art for my next show at Etherton Gallery [located in Downtown Tucson] in January 2021. It turns out, after all, I do love Mark Rothko.

Chris Rush is an award-winning artist and designer whose work is held in various museum collections. The Light Years is his first book and has been nominated for the 2020 Lambda Award for Gay Memoir. He lives in Tucson. He can be found on his website.

Marianne Dissard

What was your favorite book that you’ve read in the last year?

I read Anna Karenina [by Leo Tolstoy] twice, I can’t believe I’ve never read that book before. It’s so well done. I think I might need to read it a third time. I’m a slow reader, so I don’t read that many books. I thought it was all going to be about her, but it’s all about Russia, a great tapestry.

What book are you most looking forward to reading?

Monkey Wrench Gang [by Edward Abbey], it’s a book that’s really inspiring my second book. So I think I need to go back to the basics and make sure I’m covering all the bases.

monkey wrench gang edward abbey

What are you currently watching?

Charles Aznavour, I just covered one of his songs Desormais at a Waterworks Recording Studio with local Tucson musicians. It’s beautiful, very symphonic, full of strings and trumpets. It’s massive. So I think my next few recordings are going to be massive.

Tell us something interesting about one of yourself that’s not in your memoir.

I really don’t like dogs. I’ve tried. That whole thing of looking into a dog’s eyes and falling for the dog and the dog falling for you. I’ve never fallen for it.

French-born Tucson chanteuse Marianne Dissard recorded and toured with members of alt-Americana bands Giant Sand and Calexico before moving back to Europe in 2013 after three decades in the American West. Marianne is now based in Ramsgate, England where she lived for a spell onboard a wooden ketch. She can be found on her website.

Meagan Poetschlag

What was your favorite book that you’ve read in the last year?

I actually just recently got into the Wings of Fire [by Tui T. Sutherland] series and that’s been really fun because I really like dragons. Even though I’m a lot older now and it’s kind of a younger series, I’m really enjoying it. I’m on the third book now. Fantasy is definitely my thing. I think the other fantasy series that inspired my writing is the Inheritance Cycle [by Christopher Paolini].

What book are you most looking forward to reading?

I always like to support other indies and local authors, so I’m really looking forward to reading Geri’ Myers Goodwin’s Mason’s Gray and I’ve never really read a Sci-Fi book, so I’m really interested in Melissa Koberlein’s books. There is a book called Direwolf”s Desire [by Lily Thomas], I met the author on Instagram, it’s a mythological shifter romance book so that sounds fun.

Mason's Gray book cover by Geri' Myers Goodwin

What was the last audiobook you enjoyed?

The Gamadin series by Tom Kirkbride, it’s a teen sci-fi type of book. I met the author at the Tucson Festival of Books last year and I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s a very theatrical kind of book. I’m looking forward to getting more into audiobooks because I haven’t really done that yet.

Tell us something interesting about one of your main characters from Wolf’s Blood: Plague of Snowbrook.

Claire is a vegetarian, but she understands the way around. But, when she becomes a werewolf she starts to crave meat and that drives her a little batty because she doesn’t want to. But, as a werewolf, you don’t have much choice. So she struggles with that for a bit. She’s a very passionate person, so she’s very about “if I’m going to kill and east this animal, it’s not going to go to waste.”

Meagan is a very busy and devoted wife and mother. What time she does not spend at work, she prefers to give to her family and array of pets at home. Sometimes she will have time to work on her next book. Wolf’s Blood was inspired by her love for animals at a very young age. Wolves are majestic, beautiful, smart, and intriguing. Meagan would also like to make note, that given the choice of choosing to be a Lycan or vampire, she would always go with the wolf. Besides the book Wolf’s Blood: Plague of Snowbrook, she has also started a fantasy adventure series, staring an array of enjoyable characters in an amazing parallel world. She can be found on Instagram.

How about you? What was your favorite book that you’ve read in the last year? Tell us in the comments!