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Marisa de los Santos

Location: Wilmington, Delaware

Reading spot: My gym

The best-selling author of Love Walked In and Belong to Me publishes her third novel, Falling Together, this month.

After dropping my kids at school I go to my local YMCA and read on the elliptical machine. People ask, "How can you turn pages and move your arms and legs at the same time?" I've got it down to a science. An absorbing book gets my mind off how much I'm sweating. And somehow the combination of endorphins and good words often results in epiphanies about whatever I'm working on. A friend of mine calls them "epiphticals." I'll choose a novel because it's similar to what I'm writing -- or totally different. Sometimes it turns out to be both. When I was writing Falling Together I devoured the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith. The books are set in Botswana, so I figured they'd have nothing in common with mine. But their beautiful depiction of place was useful when I realized my own plot involved a trip to the Philippines.

Just read it and loved it:

Instruments of Darkness, by Imogen Robertson
"A historical mystery, set in England in 1780, which I've been recommending to everyone. The plot just pulls you along."

The Weird Sisters, by Eleanor Brown
"Three daughters of a Shakespeare professor come back together as adults. It's funny and clever, but also quite powerful."

Faith, by Jennifer Haigh
"It's about a priest accused of abuse, but the story rises out of the characters, all of them carefully drawn. It's not ripped from the headlines."

Continued on page 3:  Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella


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