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Wisconsin Native Cynthia Swanson Pens a Character-Driven Thriller in 'The Glass Forest'

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Simon & Schuster
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The Glass Forest

Lake Effect first talked with writer and Wisconsin native Cynthia Swanson a few years ago, when her debut novel, The Bookseller, was published. It went on to become an award-winning New York Times bestseller.

The Bookseller took place in the Denver of the early 1960s, a time in US history Swanson finds fascinating. So it’s no surprise that her latest book, The Glass Forest, is also set in that era - although this book is set in Brooklyn and Westchester County, New York, and in Door County, Wisconsin.

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Credit courtesy of the author
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Author Cynthia Swanson

Swanson says the enormous changes going on in our society in the late '50s and early '60s, especially for women, provide a writer with a rich backdrop to place all kinds of characters and situations. In The Glass Forest, what appears to be an idyllic life in a sleepy town on the Hudson River is slowly revealed to be far different from its outward appearances.

Swanson says while it's fine to think of the book as a thriller, it is a character driven thriller: "I love that being on the edge of your seat and having that suspense in the story," she explains. "But I also really want that to be driven by who the people are. I want to know about their motivations."

She pauses for a minute. "It's not a whodunit, it's a whydunit."

Cynthia Swanson will be in conversation with Lake Effect's Bonnie North Thursday evening at Boswell Book Company.

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Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.