Q&A with Our Youngest Book Reviewers

Bas Bleu‘s annual Book a Month packages deliver a year’s worth of wonderful reads to your door; simply choose from Bluestocking (a mix of fiction and nonfiction), Life Stories (biographies, memoirs, and histories), or Mysteries (whodunits, thrillers, and cozies). This year, we introduced a fourth package: Young Readers, for budding bibliophiles ages 9-12. To make sure we were choosing books that kids actually want to read, we recruited two young readers from the extended Bas Bleu family. Caroline (age 13) and Eliza (age 11) both contributed reviews to our Young Readers package. Recently, we sat down with them to get their opinions on books, the joy of reading, and life in general. Continue reading

Artist Profile: Alison Gardiner

Illustrator Alison Gardiner enjoys tea and cake on china from her Royal Collection. The limited-edition mugs, plates, and teapot were designed to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

The start of Advent season is just around the corner (December 3!), which means our warehouse elves are busy packing up and shipping out Advent calendars every day. Some of our favorite Advent calendars in recent years have come to us by way of Alison Gardiner, a small family-owned company in southern England. At its heart: namesake illustrator Alison Gardiner, whose vivid and whimsical creations have quickly become Bas Bleu customer favorites. Recently, Alison took a break from the studio to talk to us about her creative journey, the benefits of supporting traditional artisans, and Prince William’s pet spaniel. Continue reading

Girl in Disguise: Q&A with Greer Macallister

Greer Macallister (Photo courtesy of Sourcebooks Landmark)

Several years ago, Greer Macallister’s debut novel, The Magician’s Life, was featured in the Bas Bleu catalog. Our reviewer was enchanted by Macallister’s imaginative tale of a famed female illusionist accused of murder, so we jumped at the chance to read her second novel, Girl in Disguise, as soon as an advance copy arrived in our office. Told from the point of view of the first female Pinkerton agent, Macallister’s novel offers a glimpse into what was an unusual trade even for a man—and a virtually unheard of life for a woman. Recently, we were fortunate to chat with the author about her trailblazing heroine, the challenges of making up stories about real people, and her film-adaptation casting dreams. Continue reading

Sales Rep Extraordinaire: Q&A with Bianca Miele

Bas Bleu’s readers often ask us: “How do you find all of those wonderful books?” Our answer: With a lot of help from our wonderful sales reps! We work closely with reps from dozens of publishers, big and small, to find the books we think we will be perfect for Bas Bleu. One of our most enduring relationships is with Bianca Miele, Director of Category Sales (Special Retail) at Penguin Random House. Recently, we met up with Bianca at BookExpo in New York, where we discussed changes in the publishing industry, her lifelong love of books, and how she’s sharing that love with her young daughter. Continue reading

May Book a Month : The Improbability of Love Q&A with Hannah Rothschild

As part of Bas Bleu’s 2017 Book a Month program, each month we’re offering discussion questions, author interviews, or other bonus material about our Bluestocking BAM selection to enrich your reading experience—for book clubs as well as thoughtful individuals. (We’ll do our best to avoid plot spoilers, but you should proceed with caution!)

Our May Book a Month selection, The Improbability of Love, is a high-energy romp through London’s art world, a multi-character saga—one of the novel’s narrators is a centuries-old painting with a very high opinion of itself—that is by turns romantic, heartbreaking, and laugh-out-loud funny. Recently, we chatted with novelist Hannah Rothschild about her inspiration, the cultural value of art, and more. Continue reading

The Detective’s Daughter: Q&A with Lesley Thomson

In Bas Bleu’s Autumn 2016 edition, we featured Lesley Thomson’s mystery The Detective’s Daughter, which our reviewer hailed as “one of those page-turning, satisfying mysteries that may have you canceling plans in favor of staying in to read.” Our readers snapped it up, so we added the other three installments in the series to our line-up…and you loved those too! Recently, we reached out to the British novelist to find out more about what housekeepers and detectives have in common, how photography aids her writing, and her love of the subway. Continue reading

Hissing Cousins: Q&A with Marc Peyser and Timothy Dwyer

Peys_9781101971628_cvr_all_r1.inddWe’ve published the Bas Bleu catalog for twenty-three years, but we can’t always predict which books will resonate with our readers. (You never fail to surprise us, and we love that about you!) When Hissing Cousins: The Lifelong Rivalry of Eleanor Roosevelt and Alice Roosevelt Longworth landed on our shelves, we thought it offered a unique perspective on two influential women…which is right up our alley. Yet we were caught off-guard (delightfully so) when Hissing Cousins became a surprise bestseller in our Winter 2017 edition! This week, we’re going behind the scenes of this “compelling and entertaining saga,” reaching out to authors Marc Peyser and Timothy Dwyer to learn more about why and how they created this fresh take on the complex relationship between the Roosevelt cousins. Continue reading

February Book a Month: Lilac Girls Q&A with Martha Hall Kelly

lilac-girlsAs part of Bas Bleu’s 2017 Book a Month program, each month we’re offering discussion questions, author interviews, or other bonus material about our Bluestocking BAM selection to enrich your reading experience—for book clubs as well as thoughtful individuals. (We’ll do our best to avoid plot spoilers, but you should proceed with caution!)

More than seventy years have passed since World War II ended, yet stories of heroism and horror during that global conflict continue to emerge. Novelist Martha Hall Kelly tapped a real-life, little-known story of one American’s wartime efforts in order to write Lilac Girls, our “riveting, sometimes brutal” February 2017 Book a Month selection. The novel traces the experiences of three women—American socialite Caroline Ferriday, Polish teenager Kasia Kuzmerick, and concentration-camp doctor Herta Oberheuser—during and after the war. Recently the author took a break from her busy writing schedule to answer several (we had so many!) questions about this remarkable story. Continue reading

A Bluestocking in Malawi

Teachers 1In April, Bas Bleu editor AG’s beloved mother, Karen Kimball—invaluable grandmother to her kids and Bas Bleu “mom-tern” extraordinaire!—embarked on a life-changing journey to Malawi, Africa, where she would stay for six months in order to start up an educational program providing literacy training to teachers. Since Bas Bleu’s readers are ardent devotees of the written word and such great ambassadors for the importance of literacy, we thought you might be interested in Karen’s extraordinary adventure, so we reached out for an interview.

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Girl Waits With Gun: Q&A With Amy Stewart

Girl Waits With GunAs part of Bas Bleu’s 2016 Book a Month program, each month we’re offering discussion questions, author interviews, or other bonus material about our Bluestocking BAM selection to enrich your reading experience—for book clubs as well as thoughtful individuals. (We’ll do our best to avoid plot spoilers, but you should proceed with caution!)

We’ve been fans of author Amy Stewart for years; when Bas Bleu featured her book The Drunken Botanist, she even created a cocktail just for us—the delicious Bluestocking’s Crush. So of course we snatched up her debut novel, Girl Waits With Gun, as soon as it hit our shelves. A fictional take on the true story of America’s first female deputy sheriff, this novel has it all: nuanced characters, family secrets, mystery, gangsters, humor, danger…and, yes, one amazing girl with a gun. Recently, Amy took a break from her busy national book tour to talk about her heroine Constance Kopp, separating fact from fiction, and even her take on the 1910s cocktail the Automobile. Continue reading