Gala Author Tea at United for Libraries Virtual 2023

Thursday, August 3, 2023  |  4-5 pm ET

Enjoy tea and treats while hearing from bestselling writers Jillian Cantor (THE FICTION WRITER), Katia Lief (INVISIBLE WOMAN), Ariel Lawhon (THE FROZEN RIVER), and Lori Rader-Day (THE DEATH OF US) about their writing lives and forthcoming titles. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in Q&A. Moderated by Barbara Hoffert, editor of Library Journal's Prepub Alert.

The 2023 Virtual Gala Author Tea live stream is free and open to all. Make it an event at your library:

  • Promote the Facebook event on your library's social media accounts.
  • Promote the Facebook event on your library's website and your events calendar.
  • Consider hosting an in-person viewing party at your library. Serve tea and snacks while attendees watch the live stream.

NOTE: The two (2) keynotes and ten (10) education sessions are not open to the public and cannot be shared in a group setting.

"The once-rising literary star Olivia Fitzgerald is down on her luck. Her most recent novel—a retelling of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca—was a flop, her boyfriend of nine years just dumped her and she’s battling a bad case of writer’s block. So when her agent calls her with a high-paying ghostwriting opportunity, Olivia is all too willing to sign the NDA.

At first, the write-for-hire job seems too good to be true. All she has to do is interview Henry “Ash” Asherwood, a reclusive mega billionaire, twice named People’s Sexiest Man Alive, who wants her help in writing a book that reveals a shocking secret about his late grandmother and Daphne du Maurier. But when Olivia arrives at his Malibu estate, nothing is as it seems. The more Olivia digs into his grandmother’s past, the more questions she has—and before she knows it, she’s trapped in a gothic mystery of her own.

With as many twists and turns as the California coast, The Fiction Writer is a page-turner that explores the boundaries of creative freedom and whose stories we have the right to tell." --via HarperCollins

Jillian Cantor has a BA from Penn State University and an MFA from the University of Arizona. She is the USA Today and internationally bestselling author of 11 novels for teens and adults which have been chosen for Indie Next, Library Reads, Amazon Best of the Month and have been translated into 13 languages, including, most recently BEAUTIFUL LITTLE FOOLS. Born and raised in a suburb of Philadelphia, Cantor currently lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons. Her 12th novel, THE FICTION WRITER, will be published in 2023 by Park Row Books. 

"Joni Ackerman was once a pioneering filmmaker, one of the few women to break into the all-male Hollywood club of feature film directors. But after she and her husband Paul had a family, her career waned as his, at a premiere television network, ascended. Now they’ve recently transplanted to Brooklyn so that Paul can launch a major East Coast production studio, when a scandal rocks the film industry and forces Joni to revisit a secret from long ago involving her friend Val.

Joni is adamant that the time has come to tell the story, but Val and Paul are reluctant, for different reasons. As the marriage frays and the friends spar about whether to speak up, Joni struggles with isolation in a new city and old resentments start to boil over. She takes solace, of sorts, in the novels of Patricia Highsmith—particularly the masterpiece STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, which inspired her first film, with its duplicitous characters and their murderous impulses—until the lines between reality and fantasy become blurred." --via

Katia Lief’s next novel, Invisible Woman, will be published by Grove Atlantic in winter 2024. She is the author of A Map of the Dark and Last Night published by Mulholland Books/Little, Brown under the pseudonym Karen Ellis.  Earlier work includes USA Today and international bestselling novels Five Days in Summer, One Cold Night, and The Money Kill, the fourth installment of her Karin Schaeffer series published by HarperCollins and nominated for the Mary Higgins Clark Award. She teaches fiction writing at The New School in Manhattan and lives with her family in Brooklyn.

"Maine, 1789: The Kennebec River freezes, entombing a man in the ice. Martha Ballard is summoned to examine the body and determine cause of death. As the local midwife and healer, Martha is good at keeping secrets. Her diary is a record of every birth and death, every murder and debacle that unfolds in the town of Hallowell. In that diary she also documented the details of an alleged rape that occurred four months earlier. Now, one of the men accused of that heinous attack has been found dead in the ice.

While Martha is certain she knows what happened the night of the assault, she suspects that the two crimes are linked, and that there is more to both cases than meets the eye. Over the course of one long, hard winter, as the trial nears, and whispers and prejudices mount, Martha’s diary lands at the center of the scandal and threatens to tear both her family and her community apart.  

In her newest offering, Ariel Lawhon brings to life a brave and compassionate unsung heroine who refused to accept anything less than justice on behalf of those no one else would protect. The Frozen River is a thrilling, tense, and tender story of a remarkable woman who had the courage to take a stand, and in the process wrote herself into American history."
--via Penguin Random House

Ariel Lawhon is a critically acclaimed, New York Times bestselling author of historical fiction. Her books have been translated into numerous languages and have been LibraryReads, One Book One County, Indie Next, Costco, Amazon Spotlight, and Book of the Month Club selections. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband and four sons. Ariel splits her time between the grocery store and the baseball field.

"One rainy night fifteen years ago, a knock at the door changed Liss Kehoe’s life forever.

On that night, Ashley Hay stood on Liss’s front porch and handed over her brand-new baby Callan.

She was never seen or heard from again.

Since then, Liss has raised Callan as her own, and loves him as fiercely as any mother would. But in the back of her mind, she’s always wondered whether Ashley is still out there somewhere—and feared what might happen if she comes back.

When Ashley does reappear, it’s not in the way Liss expected. After all these years, Ashley’s car has been found… in the quarry pond on Kehoe property. But the discovery of the car dredges up more questions than answers. What really happened on the night of Ashley’s disappearance? Was it a tragic accident, or something far more sinister? Someone in town knows the truth, and they’ll go to great lengths to keep it quiet.

As tensions rise in the small community, Liss must fight to protect her family and keep her own secrets hidden—or risk losing everything she loves." --via HarperCollins

Chicago crime fiction author Lori Rader-Day is the Edgar® Award-nominated, Agatha, Anthony, and Mary Higgins Clark award-winning author of The Death of UsDeath at GreenwayThe Lucky OneUnder a Dark SkyThe Day I DiedLittle Pretty Things, and The Black Hour.