The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle: An Interview with Stuart Turton

A Bas Bleu Mysteries Book a Month 2019 pick, The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle has the feel of a classic murder mystery, but with a unique twist: The protagonist, Aiden Bishop, is stuck in a time loop, where he inhabits the body of a different guest of an isolated country estate every day until he figures out who will murder/has murdered Evelyn Hardcastle. It’s an enthralling, poignant look at humanity wrapped up in an Agatha Christie-inspired whodunit. This week, we had the pleasure of (virtually) sitting down with the author, Stuart Turton, to chat about how his journalism career informed his fiction writing, the tricks he used to keep his complex plot in order, and how “killing your darlings” really can make a better book. Continue reading

Bas Bleu Family Photos

Our upcoming Spring 2019 edition marks a major milestone: twenty-five years of Bas Bleu! We mailed our first catalog in 1994, and the ensuing quarter-century has been an unforgettable journey made possible only by the support of our wonderful customers. In the coming months, we’ll celebrate our silver anniversary with special features—in our catalog, on our website, and here on the blog—including an interview with Bas Bleu’s founder, behind-the-scenes peeks into our warehouse and call center, profiles of our editors, special discounts and products, and more. In preparation for this monumental event, our editors recently spent an afternoon sorting through old Bas Bleu “family photos” and taking a walk down memory lane! We had so much fun, we’re sharing some of the pictures and memories with you. (Please don’t judge our photography skills; these snaps were shot by an amateur, not the pros who photograph our products!) Continue reading

To Market! Bas Bleu Goes Shopping

trade show booth designed to look like store fronts

How to describe Bas Bleu? In the simplest terms, we’re a catalog and internet retailer that sells books and gifts for avid readers. Last year, we told you a little bit about how we source our books. But what about the “and gifts” part? We pride ourselves on offering our readers fun, thoughtful, occasionally downright odd gifts, items you usually can’t buy at big-box stores or shopping malls. So…where do we find them? Continue reading

Last Christmas in Paris: An Interview with Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

Bas Bleu’s December 2018 Book a Month pick, Last Christmas in Paris, is a heartfelt read any month of the year. But with Christmas only days away, and the multi-year commemoration of the World War I centennial drawing to a close, this historical novel by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb is a timely choice for your end-of-year reading. This week in the Bluestocking Salon, we’re talking with the authors about the technicalities of co-writing a novel (while living in different countries!), the importance of addressing PTSD when discussing WWI, and the unique benefits of old-fashioned letter writing. Continue reading

The Great Hibernation: An Interview with Tara Dairman

black and white photo of author Tara Dairman

Mystery and adventure blend with kid-friendly political suspense in The Great Hibernation by Tara Dairman, a Bas Bleu Young Readers Book A Month 2018 pick. This wonderful novel is set in St. Polonius-on-the-Fjord, a tiny coastal town with some bizarre traditions—like the eating of the sacred bear liver on every Founder’s Day, a practice that, due to a town ordinance, is mandatory for every citizen twelve and older. But when a mysterious slumber falls upon the town, it’s up to twelve-year-old Jean and the rest of St. Polonius-on-the-Fjord’s kids to keep the town running until they can solve the riddle of their parents’ slumber. In our exclusive interview with author Tara Dairman, she talks about why she chose to write for middle-grade readers, how traveling informs her writing, and how learning to cook from a book changed her life. Continue reading

Mrs. Houdini: An Interview with Victoria Kelly

Bas Bleu‘s October Book a Month 2018 pick, Mrs. Houdini, is eerie, haunting, melancholy, and magical—just the thing for Halloween! Author Victoria Kelly spins a gorgeous historical novel: In alternating timelines, the story follows a young Bess and Harry Houdini as their romance and careers blossom, and, after Harry’s death, traces Bess’s attempts to find her deceased husband’s promised hidden message from the “other side.” This wonderfully researched and mysterious love story is just the thing for a chilly fall evening! During a recent conversation, Victoria Kelly offered us insight into how poetry feeds her fiction (and vice versa), some fascinating tidbits uncovered during her research process, and more reading suggestions for fans of the Houdinis. Continue reading

Heart Rending Heart Mending: An Interview with Marylou Kelly Streznewski

heart monitor reading shaped like a heart

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, responsible for 1 in 4 female deaths each year. The statistics are sobering…yet too rarely talked about among women. But when the book-loving mom of Bas Bleu reviewer CH raved about Marylou Kelly Streznewski’s memoir Heart Rending Heart Mending: Saved by Medical Science, Healed by Ancient Wisdom, Bas Bleu’s all-female editorial staff sat up and took notice. This week in the Bluestocking Salon, we’re talking with the author of this “life-and-death epitome of a must-read” about her experience as a survivor of heart disease and heart surgery, the importance of giving patients a voice, and the healing power of “illness as art.” Continue reading

All Things Cease to Appear: An Interview with Elizabeth Brundage

Some of the Bas Bleu editors’ favorite books are the ones we find the most difficult to write about, and that was certainly the case for our Mysteries Book a Month 2018 pick, All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage. Our reviewer praised the novel as “exquisitely written and genre-defying…as much a powerful character study as it as a thrilling mystery.” Today in the Bluestocking Salon, we caught up with Elizabeth Brundage to learn about how her early career as a screenwriter shaped her as a novelist, the parallels she sees between ghosts and faith, and the importance of being an adventurous reader. Continue reading

Odd Child Out: An Interview with Gilly Macmillan

As one of our Mysteries Book a Month 2018 selections, Odd Child Out by Gilly Macmillan transports readers to Bristol, England, where a prank gone wrong leaves one boy in the hospital and his best friend—a Somali refugee in a British community already simmering with tension—in the hot seat. As the suspenseful novel unfolds, both boys’ families are forced to take a hard look at long-suppressed secrets…and face hard truths. This week in the Bluestocking Salon, Gilly Macmillan took a break from her busy writing schedule to chat with us about narrative voice, the importance of fiction in placing readers in the minds of others, and being a visual writer. Continue reading