SouthWest Writers (SWW) is full of authors actively working their dreams. Michael Backus, Darynda Jones, Neill McKee, and Pat Moorman are a few SWW members with new releases for 2021. The releases in this post couldn’t fit into this year’s interview schedule, but look for interviews or updates for most of these authors in 2022.
A list of interviewed SWW authors with 2021 releases is included at the end of this post.
Michael Backus’ newest release, The Vanishing Point (Cactus Moon Publications, September 2021), is about disappearance, trauma and memory, and the possibilities of redemption through a great American road trip and a peek into a mid-western childhood. It is a meditation on Karma and the way we lose and find ourselves over and over again. How did Henry Dolan end up here, heading to Santa Fe, New Mexico? The one place in the world he swore he would never set foot in again—the town where he lost his wife and daughter nearly a decade ago. Maybe it’s the eleven pounds of high-grade weed in the trunk of his car that he can’t sell anywhere else. Maybe it is something much deeper. It is time for him to finally meet his daughter and reckon with the harm he caused. Cadence, now ten, helps Henry open his long locked-away heart, exposing the wounds he has kept concealed. In healing, he finds a mysterious connection between his daughter and his own tragic childhood.
The Vanishing Point is available on Amazon.
Darynda Jones released three books in 2021 with a fourth set to publish in mid-December. In Beguiled (Betwixt & Between Book Three, February 2021), newly indoctrinated witch Defiance Dayne discovers there’s more to life after forty than she’d ever imagined possible. Especially if one is a charmling with enough magics to make her a target for every power-hungry warlock out there. When one of them sends a hunter to town, she knows it’s time to take her talents seriously before the hunter takes her life. The Gravedigger’s Son (1001 Dark Nights Press, May 2021) is a Charley Davidson Novella that follows demon hunter Quentin Rutherford and private investigator Amber Kowalski as they try to stop a supernatural entity before it kills again.
A Good Day for Chardonnay (St. Martin’s Press, July 2021) is book two in the Sunshine Vicram series. All small-town sheriff Sunshine Vicram really wants is one easy-going day. The kind that starts with coffee and a donut and ends with take-out pizza and a glass of chardonnay (or seven). Before she can say iced mocha latte, Sunny’s got a bar fight gone bad, a teenage daughter hunting a serial killer and, oh yes, the still unresolved mystery of her own abduction years prior. Moonlight and Magic is the fourth book in the Betwixt & Between series. Available for pre-order, it will release on December 17, 2021. Darynda also has several other books on pre-order set to release in 2022.
Kid on the Go! (August 2021) is Neill McKee’s third work of creative nonfiction. The memoir is a standalone prequel to his award-winning Finding Myself in Borneo. In this new book, McKee takes readers on a journey through his childhood, adolescence, and teenage years from the mid-40s to the mid-60s. McKee’s vivid descriptions, dialog, and self-drawn illustrations are a study of how a young boy learned to play and work, fish and hunt, avoid dangers, cope with death, deal with bullies, and to build or restore “escape” vehicles. The author recalls his exploding hormones, attraction to girls, rebellion against authority, and survival of 1960s’ “rock & roll” culture, emerging on the other side as a youth leader. He describes his intensely searching university years, trying to decide which career path to follow. Except for a revealing postscript, the story ends when he accepts a volunteer teaching position on the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia.
Pat Moorman’s debut mystery novel, Mad Beach, was released in September of 2021. For Claire Chapman, life in Florida in the 1970s is anything but boring as she spends her days managing the employees of a Publix delicatessen and finessing the art of dealing with some of the deli’s quirkier customers. And though her work-life may be hectic at times—especially around the holidays—she’s happy, spending her nights at home with her cats, wondering what shenanigans her beloved husband, Matt, will get into after work. But when her normal life takes a sudden turn following the disappearance of one of her employees, Claire is determined to find out what happened to her, not knowing the potential cost.
SWW Author Interviews: 2021 Releases
• Jeffrey Candelaria
TORO: The Naked Bull
• Marty Eberhardt
Death in a Desert Garden
• Melody Groves
When Outlaws Wore Badges
• Holly Harrison
Rites & Wrongs
• Robert Kidera
A LONG TIME TO DIE
• BR Kingsolver
• Marcia Meier
Face, A Memoir
• Victoria Murata
• Barb Simmons
The War Within: A Wounded Warrior Romance
• Gina Troisi
The Angle of Flickering Light
KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kathy posts to a speculative fiction blog at klwagoner.com and writes about memoir at ThisNewMountain.com.