NEW YORK - Inspired in part by an experience she had as a child, Jenny Milchman shapes the story in her literary thriller "Cover of Snow" (Ballantine, Jan. 15, 2013).
Milchman's babysitter confessed to her one night that he was planning to kill himself. By telling her parents when they returned, the babysitter was found and saved.
"That experience was formative," Milchman said. "In years to come I felt terrified that the decision had been left in my 8-year-old hands."
Milchman eventually started a career as a psychotherapist, helping people professionally find a way out of their desperation. And while her expert background influences her writing, so does the work of literary greats such as Stephen King, Gillian Flynn and Nancy Pickard, who describes Milchman's debut as "absorbing from start to finish."
In "Cover of Snow," set in the Adirondacks, Nora Hamilton wakes to find her policeman husband missing from their bed. Minutes later, Nora discovers his body, a victim of suicide. He left no note or sign of why he'd take his own life, and the grieving wife wants answers. Her search in an insular, frigid mountain town that is determined to keep its deadly secrets buried proves more and more difficult as she meets resistance from her husband's friends, partner, and his own mother.
Author Laura Lippman says Cover of Snow gets "the highest praise I can bestow." And author Lee Child raves that the book is "everything a great suspense novel should be-tense, emotional, mysterious and satisfying."
Outside of her writing, Milchman is known across the country for founding Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day. In just two years, the holiday is already celebrated in all 50 states and four foreign countries by more than 350 independent bookstores.
"We need to nurture in kids a deep engagement with text, minus any distractions, and we need to show them a world where every store has its own unique identity," Milchman said. "Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day is a celebration of locavorism, a return to Main Street, and entails giving a child the tactile, interpersonal and physical experience of being in a bookstore."
True to character, Milchman also co-hosts the literary series Writing Matters at Watching booksellers in Montclair, N.J., which attracts guests coast-to-coast and has received national media attention.
"Cover of Snow" has already sold in Germany, Italy and Norway. Milchman's short story, "The Closet," was published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in 2012; another short story The Very Old Man has been an Amazon bestseller; and the short work Black Sun on Tupper Lake appears in the anthology, "Adirondack Mysteries II." The accomplished writer is the chair of the International Thriller Writers' Debut Authors Program, and she teaches writing and publishing for New York Writers Workshop and Arts By The People. Milchman lives in New Jersey with her husband and two children - at least when they aren't traveling the U.S., visiting bookstores together as a family.