Michele Norris wrote one of the best nonfiction books, The Grace of Silence, of 2010. Inspired in part by Barack Obama's presidency, the NPR journalist investigates race in America through the experiences of her family's, especially her father's, history. See the Kirkus Reviews interview with her here.
“Rivers are completely indifferent,” says Susan Straight (A Million Nightingales, 2006, etc.). She was thinking of her own home in Riverside, Calif., when she created the fictitious city of Rio Seco, which translates to “dry river” in Spanish. In the book, travel writer Fantine returns to Rio Seco where, five years earlier, her childhood friend Glorette had been found strangled to death in a shopping cart. It’s an event based on a real-life tragedy Straight found in her local newspaper. See the Kirkus Reviews interview with her here.