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We’re delighted to welcome this week’s guest on BOOKCHAT, novelist Kris Neri. Kris is a prolific author in several genres: fantasy, mysteries – including her well-known Tracy Eaton series – and women’s fiction. Originally from New Jersey, Kris found her way to Silver City via California and Sedona. We’re lucky to have her!

Kris Neri

When were you happiest?

In book terms, it had to be when my first book, Revenge of the Gypsy Queen, was published. I lived in Southern California at the time, and there were so many bookstores there. I did appearances in bookstores from San Diego to Sacramento, as well many as other parts of the country. That novel became a bestseller, and was honored with multiple awards, thanks to the hand-selling of all the amazing booksellers who believed in it. Bookstores remain my happy places. I’m sorry that so many have gone away.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure?

Spending a day in bed reading. I call it “cocooning.” It’s my version of a mental health day.

What’s the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Being impatient, and trying to do too much at once. I should recognize that there are realistic limits to my ability to multi-task.

What’s the trait you most deplore in others?

I’m not sure this rises to the level of “deploring,” but I’m troubled by the fact that so many people no longer seem to believe in democratic principles. This trend saddens me greatly. It’s hard to trust the ballot box, but I trust it more than anarchy.

What’s the most important lesson life has taught you?

I believe the most important part of life is being grateful for the blessings we’ve received. Unfortunately, it’s a lesson I need to keep re-learning.

What book(s) are you reading now?

Kristin Hannah’s Comfort & Joy and Anne Lamott’s Small Victories.

What books might people be surprised to find on your shelves?

I don’t think there’s anything that would surprise people, except perhaps that we only have many hundreds of books today, as opposed to the many thousands we once shelved in our home. Downsizing is brutal. There aren’t many books or subjects I won’t try. Just because you read a title and shelve it doesn’t mean you agree with the principles the author expresses.

Which genres do you read? Which do you avoid? Why?

There are no genres I avoid. I write in the mystery, suspense, and fantasy genres, and I read in all of those categories. I love women’s fiction, which I now also write, and general fiction, and science fiction. In the nonfiction arena, I read self-help, spirituality, nature, poetry, and politics. I owned a bookstore for a long time. As a bookseller, I read absolutely everything; now I’ve cut it back to most everything.

What book(s) “should” you have read but haven’t, or what “classic” couldn’t you finish?

It’s been so long since I read any classics, I can’t remember. I remember being obsessed with Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment for a while. I liked most of Victor Hugo’s works, and loved Henrik Ibsen’s plays. I do remember a high school English teacher absolutely destroyed Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar for me, but I know I finished it because she tortured my class through every page of it.

You’re organizing a literary dinner party. Which three writers, dead or alive, do you invite?

I probably wouldn’t choose any long-dead literary lions, I would choose author friends who’ve passed on, and who I would love to spend time with again. If I had to narrow it to three, I might choose Barbara Seranella, Barbara Burnett Smith, and Joan Hess. Sadly, the pool of author friends who are no longer with us keeps growing.

Tell us about your latest book in no more than 50 words.

In Hopscotch Life, quirky protagonist Plum Tardy feels she’s living a country song, having lost her job and her man. Though Plum finds a new life, she could never have predicted the way her past would collide with her future, nor how it would plunge her into hopscotch hell.

Where can we find this book?

It should be available from most online sellers, and some brick and mortar stores. Here’s one link:

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Southwest Word Fiesta™ or its steering committee.

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We respectfully acknowledge that the entirety of southwestern New Mexico is the traditional territory, since time immemorial, of the Chis-Nde, also known as the people of the Chiricahua Apache Nation. The Chiricahua Apache Nation is recognized as a sovereign Native Nation by the United States in the Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Friendship of 1 July 1852 (10 Stat. 979) (Treaty of Santa Fe ratified 23 March 1853 and proclaimed by President Franklin Pierce 25 March 1853).

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Mimbres Press of Western New Mexico University is a traditional academic press that welcomes agented and unagented submissions in the following genres: literary fiction, creative non-fiction, essays, memoir, poetry, children’s books, historical fiction, and academic books. We are particularly interested in academic work and commercial work with a strong social message, including but not limited to works of history, reportage, biography, anthropology, culture, human rights, and the natural world. We will also consider selective works of national and global significance.