Monday, June 7, 2021

TBR: The Hive by Melissa Scholes Young

TBR [to be read] is an invitation-only interview series with authors of newly released, interesting books who will tell us about their new work as well as offer tips on writing, stories about the publishing biz, and from time to time, a recipe. 



Give us your elevator pitch: what’s your book about in 2-3 sentences?


The Hive is a story about class in America and the fates of four Midwestern sisters and their family business. After the sudden death of their patriarch, the surprising details of succession in his will are revealed and the mother’s long-term affair surfaces as her apocalypse prepper training intensifies. Facing an economic recession and new civil war amidst the backdrop of growing fear and resentment, the sisters unite in their struggle to save the family foundation they’ve built.


Which character did you most enjoy creating? Why? And, which character gave you the most trouble, and why?


Grace, queen bee and doomsday prepper, was a blast to write. Jules broke my heart and Maggie, the oldest daughter, was the most difficult to imagine. Writing Maggie made me wrestle with a place for a woman in a family structure not built for her.


Tell us a bit about the highs and lows of your book’s road to publication.


Thirty minutes after I signed the book deal, The Hive was optioned to Sony. I agonized over the book cover; the designer gave me two amazing options and I wanted them both.


What’s your favorite piece of writing advice?


It’s more life advice than writing but it applies: You can do hard things.


My favorite writing advice is “write until something surprises you.” What surprised you in the writing of this book?


The affair. I probably shouldn’t say anymore.


What’s something about your book that you want readers to know?


I want readers to know you can disagree with someone about politics and still love them. You can love people that hurt you from a safe distance. Families are messy and empathy is hard, worthy work.


Inquiring foodies and hungry book clubs want to know: Any food/s associated with your book? (Any recipes I might share?)


The Fehlers eat a lot of mac n cheese. Any casserole is a hit.

·       1 1/2 cups dry elbow macaroni shells

·       3 tablespoons butter or margarine

·       3 tablespoons all purpose flour

·       2 cups milk 

·       1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper

·       2 cups of shredded cheese 

Preheat oven to 350. Boil pasta. In a big skillet, melt the butter. Add flour. Whisk for two minutes. Slowly add milk. Salt and pepper. Turn off heat and add cheese. Add pasta to sauce. Bake twenty minutes.

Secrets: I add a chopped jalapeno to sauce. If you want a crusty top (who doesn’t?), mix up panko, lemon juice, olive oil, and parmesan. I make mine in my Grandma’s big cast iron skillet and it goes from stove to oven easily.












READ AN ESSAY RELATED TO THIS BOOK, “What Needs Done: The Love and Burden of a Family Business”:



DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.