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ABQ author gets it right, lands a publisher

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque’s Amanda Searcy is probably taking lots of deep, satisfying breaths these days. Her debut novel, the thriller/mystery “The Truth Beneath the Lies” is finally out.

Amanda Searcy signs, discusses “The Truth Beneath the Lies” at 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 11 at Bookworks, 4022 Rio Grande NW.

In a way, Searcy said, the book has been some 15 years in the making.

She didn’t start the book that long ago. It’s the fifth manuscript she’s written, but the first one published.

“The previous ones I sent out to agents and editors. I got good comments and compliments, but they didn’t go anywhere until this one,” Searcy said.

The engine that led to publication was a contest she entered called Pitch Wars.

“You’re mentored eight weeks, and you do a big rewrite of the manuscript. There are several agents who participate and they look at the pitches. That’s how I got my agent,” Searcy recalled.

Random House’s imprint Delacorte Press is the publisher. It’s the first of a two-book deal.

“The Lies Beneath the Truth” is aimed at readers ages 14 and up. But the author thinks it has a wider audience, that “and up” includes adults who like thrillers and mysteries.

The novel’s plot is viewed from the perspective of two girls whose lives eventually intersect. One girl is Kayla, who wants to run from her dicey mother and their unsafe living environment. The other is Betsy, who wants to survive new rules, a new school and new classmates.

Searcy is the Collection Development supervisor for the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County library system. She graduated from Eldorado High School, New Mexico State University and England’s University of Essex.

Searcy signs, discusses “The Truth Beneath the Lies” at 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 11, at Bookworks, 4022 Rio Grande NW.

With the winter holidays here, please find below some more suggested book titles for holiday gift-giving.

• “Tortillas Tiswin & T-Bones, A Food History of the Southwest” by Gregory McNamee. Sure, you know tortillas and T-bones. But what’s a tiswin? McNamee, a respected author of books on the American Southwest, can tell you: It’s a “lightly alcoholic drink” made of boiled corn, water and sometimes with a sweetener such as honey, blended, then fermented. McNamee’s book considers the ethnic traditions of many foods, ancient (chile pepper, chocolate) and more recent.

• “The Book of Archives and Other Stories from the Mora Valley, New Mexico” by A. Gabriel Meléndez. This book brings alive people and occurrences that are part of the history of this northern New Mexico region. The archives, once written, were lost in a bomb blast in the Mexican-American War. But the intriguing tales live on thanks to the memories of poets and storytellers, including Meléndez, a professor of American Studies at the University of New Mexico.

• “Roadsouls” by Betsy James. Inside this exciting fantasy novel are Duuni and Raím who are desperate to escape the hands they’ve been dealt. They enter an unpredictable life of wandering and demonstrate the importance of creativity to transform lives. The book was a finalist for the 2017 World Fantasy Award. James is an Albuquerque writer of books for young readers.

• “Joy: 100 Poems” edited by Christian Wiman. Leave it to the poets of the world to enrich us with their penetrating takes. In this anthology, the subject is joy. Read what contemporary Chicana poets Sandra Cisneros and Lorna Dee Cervantes have to say. They stand tall alongside many famous poets, among them William Carlos Williams, Ted Hughes, Grace Paley, Marianne Moore, Robert Frost and Denise Levertov.