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 julia heaberlin - press-kit
julia heaberlin

PRESS KIT

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Black-Eyed Susans

Now out in paperback!

 SUNDAY TIMES TOP 5 BESTSELLER
 One of Amazon's Best Books of the Month
 A GoodReads Best Book of the Month
 LibraryReads Top Ten Pick For August
 Simon Mayo BBC Radio 2 Book Club Pick
 Times of London Book of the Month
 A UK iBookstore Best Book of the Month
 Audible UK Editor Pick for Audiobook of the Year
 Foreign rights sold to 16 countries

"Both as a portrait of modern, urban Texas, and in terms of suspense, characterizations and storytelling, Black-Eyed Susans is outstanding. . . . The answers are as astonishing as they are finally believable. [Julia] Heaberlin's work calls to mind that of Gillian Flynn. Both writers published impressive early novels that were largely overlooked, and then one that couldn't be: Flynn's Gone Girl and now Heaberlin's Black-Eyed Susans. Don't miss it."
The Washington Post

Read more praise for Black-Eyed Susans

Playing Dead

"Feverishly compelling ... Heaberlin tells the story with whip-smart dialogue, an insistent pace and keen wit."
The Dallas Morning News

Lie Still

"Heaberlin combines a culturally pertinent suspense story (the plot revolves around ... repercussions of an unreported date rape) with satirical observations about Texas' moneyed suburban elite."
The New York Times


Please do not hesitate to email any of us below, and we will make every effort to promptly take care of interview requests and anything else you may need that is not included on this page.

Email Julia
Email Julia's publicist in the US: Alexandra Coumbis or in the UK: Francesca Russell
Email Julia's literary agent: Kimberly Witherspoon of Inkwell Management


About Black-Eyed Susans

Never let me remember.

Black-Eyed Susans opens with the unforgettable voice of Tessie, a teen-age girl found barely alive in a wildflower field with a scattering of bones, a fragmented memory and the voices of dead girls in her head. Eighteen years later, a cutting-edge forensic scientist is trying to find clues to a serial killer in DNA extracted from old femurs and skulls. A death penalty attorney is trying to halt the Texas death train as it speeds toward a client he believes was wrongly convicted. A grown-up Tessie, now an artist and single mother, is still struggling to quiet the Susans who live in her head and find out the truth. For Julia Heaberlin, an award-winning journalist, it was important to portray these characters with as much truth as possible. Because of that, Black-Eyed Susans, her third novel from Random House, is also her most researched, intimate, suspenseful book yet. She credits the real-life experts who told her their stories: mitochondrial DNA expert Rhonda Roby, who spent years identifying victims of 9-11, serial killers, and plane crashes; David Dow, a renowned Texas death penalty attorney and author; child psychologist Nancy Giles; and University of Florida geochemist George Dimitrov Kamenov. There are many contemporary themes in Black-Eyed Susans, but it's the heroine's compelling voice and the maze of surprises that set this book apart from any thriller you'll read this year.


About Lie Still

Target Emerging Author

Lie Still is Julia Heaberlin's second psychological thriller set in the wild landscape of Texas. Only this time, the protagonist is a New Yorker, and the wild landscape is a wealthy small town near Dallas. When Emily Page arrives in Clairmont, pregnant and hopeful, she is ready to leave her haunting past behind. Instead, she is almost immediately swept into a club of crazy Texas women who carve potatoes into Russian dictators for their children's private school homework and their secrets into each other's conniving hearts. When one of the women disappears, Emily's past and present explode on this small dot on the map. Haunting and entertaining, Lie Still peers into both the southern suburban jungle and one of the most secretive and misunderstood crimes against women.


About Playing Dead

Target Emerging Author
Amazon UK Editor's Pick (Playing Dead, one of "Best Books of July")

Playing Dead was loosely inspired one day when Julia Heaberlin opened up a handwritten letter from a stranger. The woman, hundreds of miles away, was hopeful that Julia could be her real daughter, who she claimed was kidnapped years ago as a child. It was a shot in the dark, based on a first name and a birth date. Julia wasn't, but that brief, stunned feeling stuck in her imagination for a long time. The result is Playing Dead, a completely fictional book about a deeply rooted Texas girl with a similar letter in her hands. She finds herself inextricably linked to a bloody past: the slaughter of a family in Chicago, the murder of an Oklahoma beauty queen and the kidnapping of a little girl named Adriana. With everything she has ever believed in question and a stalker determined to stop her, Tommie must discover the truth about herself, her family's secrets and the girl who vanished. Perfect for summer reading lists, Playing Dead is Julia's riveting debut novel and a mesmerizing story of family, identity, and secrets that can kill.

publishing jungle
My Path into the
     Publishing Jungle

About Julia Heaberlin

Julia Heaberlin is an award-winning journalist who has worked for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Detroit News and The Dallas Morning News. Before launching her career as an author, she was an assistant managing editor over features sections at large metropolitan newspapers. Many of those sections won national and state journalism awards. The Star-Telegram Life & Arts section was named as one of the Top 10 sections in the country during her tenure. She has edited real-life thriller stories that inform her writing, including a series on the perplexing and tragic murders of random girls and women buried in the desert in Mexico and another on the frightened women of domestic violence. She lives with her husband and son in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, where she is a free-lance writer and is at work on her fourth book.

Read a Q&A with Julia


More Background

Praise and Reviews
Full Media Reviews


Interviews with Julia

BBC Radio: Radio 2 Book Club

Black-Eyed Susans is a Radio 2 Book Club pick! Listen to the legendary BBC broadcaster Simon Mayo and his panel of reviewers chat up Julia during England's drivetime. (Fast forward 1 hour and 8 minutes in for the interview.)
Listen to the interview


KERA public radio's "Think" program

Krys Boyd of KERA public radio's "Think" program talks with Julia about how to build a mystery and the forensic and death penalty experts who inspired Black-Eyed Susans.
Listen to the interview


Good Morning, Texas (Black-Eyed Susans)

A dual interview with Julia and a forensics expert from the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification, one of the top labs in the world at identifying old bones. August 2015


Good Morning, Texas (Playing Dead)


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Black-Eyed Susans  Black-Eyed Susans  Lie Still  Playing Dead
  US cover                 UK cover

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Julia Heaberlin  Julia Heaberlin  Julia Heaberlin

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