Vanessa: Little Voices is the story of a woman postpartum who is both struggling as a new mom, but then also her friend was murdered actually on the night she went into labor. She very much wants to return to who she was before, to be able to investigate, to be able to help find justice for her friend. It’s the story of an investigation. It’s also the story of motherhood, which is something I really wanted to read. I thought of this story and wrote a lot as a new mom. I wanted to see a new mom at the heart of a thriller, which is my favorite genre.
Tui: I'd written a bunch of books before Wings of Fire, as you mentioned. A unifying theme of all of them is I really am interested in telling stories from different perspectives. When you read one book, you'll see the other characters. You'll find out more about them as you read their books. That was one thing that I was really interested in. I also really just love writing fantasy. I've always read fantasy. I find it one of the most fun genres to read. With Wings of Fire, it started with -- my agent and I were talking about all of my ideas for different projects. He said, “Have you ever thought about doing something that was focused on dragons” -- he knew that I loved dragons -- “with them as the heroes of the story?” I immediately got excited because it fit into those themes I'd been thinking about. All the books that I'd read, the humans were the heroes of the story. The dragon were there, but they were the sidekicks or the transportation or the bad guys. They never got to be the center hero. I thought wouldn't it be interesting to write a whole series where the dragons get to tell their own stories? I thought that would be really fun to do.
Katie: American Royals is essentially Crazy Rich Asians meets The Crown. It is a what-if scenario. What if, instead of being our first president, George Washington had been our first king and present-day America is still a monarchy? It follows the love lives and relationships and adventures of the three children who are all the current generation of heirs to the throne. There's Princess Beatrice, who will be the very first Queen of America, and then her two younger siblings, Samantha and Jefferson.
Danielle: I'm always so interested in writing about women who wrestle with their creative ambitions. I'm particularly fascinated, obviously, with writers and people who are doing it with writing. Working with art and wanting to express yourself through art is something in all of the characters that I explored. I'm always trying to get inside that kind of thing and maybe understand it for myself, but create characters who are trying to do that.
Jennifer: Out of Place is the story of a twelve-year-old girl named Cove who lives on Martha’s Vineyard, which is an island off of Cape Code, with her mom. She's never left the island once in her entire life, which was fine with her until the day that her best friend Nina comes and tells Cove that Nina’s going to be moving to New York City with Nina’s two fathers. In that moment, Cove’s entire life feels like it’s falling apart. She has no idea how to make it better. It’s a story about friendship and mistakes and big acts of courage.
Lauren: The book is about a woman who lives in New York City who has it all. She has everything she thinks she's ever wanted. She puts a lot of importance on her own social capital. She starts to feel as though her star is fading. She takes on a young spin instructor and in a very mammalian fashion, decides that she's going to make her into a superstar, not necessarily out of the kindness of her own heart but to regain some of the social capital that she thinks she's lost.
Holly: I like to set books in a summer community, not just because it’s hot and fun and sexy and lots of great things happen and food is eaten and hopefully good sex scenes and all kinds of juicy stuff, but also because the basis for it is really rife with current issues of inequality and class and differences and learning to talk to each other and deal with each other and have problems. It’s a look at society and where we are today, not just a lite beach read.
Jane: A group of people meet at university in the UK in the 1980s. Half are American. Half are English. They live together at university. They become best friends. They swear that they're going to be friends forever and ever. Of course, life gets in the way. They graduate. One of them is harboring this great secret. She really has to withdraw from the others. We follow them individually throughout their lives. Evvie is a model who then is in an abusive marriage and a single mother. We have Topher who’s a soap actor who is gay but has tremendous issues with intimacy. Then we have Maggie. All Maggie has ever wanted is a big country house filled with animals and children. She doesn't get to have the life that she wants. We follow them throughout the course of their lives. Then at their thirtieth reunion, by which time they’ve all completely lost touch, they all show up at their thirtieth reunion. Within minutes, it’s as if time has stopped. They’ve been swept back to those early days. What starts as a fancy, “Hey, wouldn't it be great if we lived together?” becomes a reality. They all move into together. Of course, there is still this secret from the past that is going to show up and threaten to explode and destroy everything that they’ve created.