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Mary Kay Andrews, Other 2021 Holdovers to Appear at 2022 Festival of Books

April 1, 2022

Mary Kay Andrews

“The Queen of the Beach Reads” is coming to South Dakota’s party!

Popular suspense and romance novelist Mary Kay Andrews will help celebrate 20 years of reading and writing at the 2022 Festival of Books, Sept. 23-25 in Brookings.

Andrews was originally slated to appear at the 2021 Festival before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the event to go virtual for the second year in a row. She was among a handful of authors who chose to postpone their involvement until they could meet South Dakota readers in person.

“All of our presenters have missed gathering with us in person over the past two years,” Widman said. “They certainly appreciated the virtual Festivals, but by 2021, many were feeling some fatigue around online events. They jumped at the chance to wait a year and fulfill their original contracts in person.”

During the Festival, Andrews will discuss her 30th novel, The Homewreckers, inspired in part by her two favorite pastimes – treasure hunting, or “junking,” and using her finds to fix up old houses. The book, coming out in May, combines a disastrous house flip, a love triangle, and the unsolved disappearance of a young wife and mother.

“Both mystery and romance are popular with many Festivalgoers, and Mary Kay Andrews combines the two in a signature style that keeps readers turning pages,” Widman said. “She is a veteran novelist with many stories to tell, and her presentations are just as entertaining and engaging as her writing would lead you to expect.”

From Journalism to Fiction

Andrews, a native of St. Petersburg, Florida, earned a B.A. in journalism from The University of Georgia. After a 14-year career working as a reporter at newspapers including The Savannah Morning News, The Marietta Journal, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where she spent the final ten years of her career, she left journalism in 1991 to write fiction.

She hasn’t looked back. In 2006, Hissy Fit became her first New York Times bestseller, followed by 14 more New York Times, USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly bestsellers. To date, her novels have been published in German, Italian, Polish, Slovenian, Hungarian, Dutch, Czech and Japanese.

Andrews and her family divide their time between Atlanta and Tybee Island, GA, where they cook up new recipes in two restored beach homes, The Breeze Inn and Ebbtide — both named after fictional places in her novels.

Holdover Authors from 2021 Appearing at the 2022 Festival of Books


Marj Charlier is a former Wall Street Journal reporter and the author of 12 novels and three novellas. Her first historical novel, The Rebel Nun, set in sixth-century Gaul, was published in March 2021 as a BuzzFeed “most anticipated novel.” Her second historical novel, The Candlemaker’s Woman, comes out in 2022. Charlier teaches writing and publishing workshops throughout Southern California and was selected for residency at the Dorland Mountain Arts Colony this past spring.

Lorna Landvik is the author of 12 novels, including the best-selling Patty Jane’s House of Curl, Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons, and Oh My Stars, which has been made into a short “proof of concept” film. Her latest book is the amusing and sometimes poignant Chronicles of a Radical Hag (with Recipes). Also an actress Landvik regularly performs a one-woman, all-improvised show called Party in the Rec Room.

Tommy Orange’s first book, There There, was one of the finalists for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize and received the 2019 American Book Award. Orange is a graduate of the M.F.A. program at the Institute of American Indian Arts, where he is now a faculty member. An enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, he was born and raised in Oakland, and now lives in Angels Camp, CA.

Faith Sullivan is the author of many novels, including Gardenias, The Cape Ann, What a Woman Must Do, and, most recently, Ruby & Roland. A demon gardener, flea marketer, and feeder of birds, she is also an indefatigable champion of literary culture and her fellow writers. Born and raised in southern Minnesota, she spent more than 20 years in New York and Los Angeles, but now lives in Minneapolis with her husband, Dan.

History & Non-Fiction

Sandy Barnard specializes in writing about the Civil War and the Plains Indian engagements of the post-war period. For nearly 25 years, he edited the annual Greasy Grass magazine published by the Custer Battlefield Historical & Museum Association. A U.S. Army veteran who served as an intelligence officer in Vietnam from 1968-1969, Barnard holds degrees from Boston College and the University of Missouri School of Journalism. He is a Professor Emeritus at Indiana State University.

Wayne Fanebust has a penchant for writing about the dark side of history and advocating ardently for the underdog. He was born in Sioux Falls and raised in rural South Dakota and Iowa. After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps and performing in rock bands in California, Fanebust earned a B.A. in history from UCLA and a law degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego. Now retired from practicing law, he has written 11 non-fiction books.

Jon K. Lauck is the author of several books, including the forthcoming The Good Country: A History of the American Midwest, 1800-1900. He earned his doctorate in history from the University of Iowa and his law degree from the University of Minnesota. Lauck currently serves as adjunct professor of history and political science at the University of South Dakota and as Editor-in-Chief of Middle West Review.

Katherine Wiltenburg Todrys is a lawyer specializing in health and human rights research and advocacy. A former researcher with Human Rights Watch, she has reported on health conditions in African prisons, access to HIV treatment for migrants, and police abuses against sex workers in New York City. Her first book, Black Snake, considers the health impacts of fracking in the Bakken and tells the story of four Indigenous leaders in their fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

David Wolff is Professor Emeritus at Black Hills State University where he specialized in South Dakota and Black Hills history. He has written three books: Industrializing the Rockies; Seth Bullock: Black Hills Lawman; and The Savior of Deadwood: James K. P. Miller on the Gold Frontier. Wolff is a member of several history organizations and serves on the Board of Trustees for the South Dakota State Historical Society and Deadwood’s Adams Museum & House. His honors include Black Hills State University’s Distinguished Faculty Member Award.


Lydia Whirlwind Soldier, born on the Rosebud Reservation, is a founding member of the Oak Lake Tribal Writers Society. A graduate of Sinte Gleska University and Pennsylvania State University, she is best known for her poetry but is also a non-fiction writer, teacher, business owner, and Native craftswoman. Whirlwind Soldier received the 2015 South Dakota Living Indian Treasure Award in recognition of her preservation of traditional art forms.

Norma Wilson is author of five poetry books, including Rivers, Wings & Sky with visual artist Nancy Losacker; Frog Creek Road; and Continuity. She also wrote The Nature of Native American Poetry, edited the poetry anthology Memory, Echo, Words, and co-edited One Room Country School: South Dakota Stories. Wilson, a University of South Dakota Professor Emerita, received a Merit Award for her poem “Ms. 2020” featured in Project Ms: Assembled Reformation in March at USD’s John A. Day Gallery.

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