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Meet Minneapolis Author Emma Törzs, Whose ‘Ink Blood Sister Scribe’ Is a ‘Good Morning America’ Book Club Pick

The debut author will be at Moon Palace Books for a reading Thursday.

Left: the cover of Ink Blood Sister scribe, with yellow text on a purple background and a pen dripping ink. right: author emma törzs
Provided

Emma Törzs knows better. But she's reading the Goodreads reviews anyway.

"Of course I'm not supposed to," she says, "but I haven't read anything that crushes my soul yet. I'm sure it's coming, and that's when I'll stop reading them."

Törzs's debut novel, Ink Blood Sister Scribe, just hit shelves this week, and reader reviews have been rolling in—nearly 400 of them on Goodreads already, where the book currently boasts a very solid 4.28 out of five stars. Early community critics who've gotten their hands on ARCs say it "seamlessly meshes together fantasy, thriller, and dark academia," and that it's "twisty, dark, and exciting."

("Some people think it starts slow, and that's fine," the Minneapolis author chuckles.)

Other early fans include the folks at Good Morning America, who just named it their book club pick for June: "We've never done a GMA Book Club pick quite like this one," says ABC's Becky Worley of the "magical, spellbinding" novel.

Ink Blood Sister Scribe is an adult contemporary fantasy—"so it's set in our world, but there's magic"—about a pair of estranged half sisters who haven't seen each other in about a decade.

"They were raised in Vermont, and trained to protect their family's library of magical books," Törzs explains. When the story begins, one has been in Antarctica, and the other in Vermont, in the family home; they're drawn together after their father dies while reading one of their books ("on page one, so it's not a spoiler"). Meanwhile, across the globe, a wealthy man living outside London begins to wonder whether his privileged life contains some dark secrets.

Here in the Twin Cities, Törzs is a full-time creative writing professor at Macalester College, and she does a little translating on the side. Her Mac colleague Marlon James, bestselling author of A Brief History of Seven Killings and Black Leopard, Red Wolf, is among those who've blurbed her new book.

This is Törzs's debut novel, but it's not the first novel she's written—that was a work of literary realism that her agent never sold. "I was crushed, but actually not for that long, because I don't think it was a very good book," Törzs laughs. She says it had "first-novel energy," while Ink Blood Sister Scribe is a more sure-footed, self-assured book.

You can get a sneak peek of the new novel, or a copy to take home, on Thursday at Moon Palace Books, where Törzs will do a short reading. She'll be joined by local writer friends Lesley Nneka Arimah, Sally Franson, and Abbey Mei Otis, who will each do a short reading of something they're working on, followed by a super-brief Q&A session between the writers and refreshments on the patio. Then, there's an afterparty at Arbeiter Brewing: "There will be balloons and book swag," Törzs promises.

As a fan of fantasy herself, Törzs says this story is a little nostalgic. She grew up reading novels full of magic and mystery, laying on the couch for hours with no smartphone to distract her, and she's packed this book with elements she loved as a young reader, just made more mature.

"I'm really hoping that adult readers—even those who do not read fantasy anymore, but perhaps did as young people—I want them to feel the same magical excitement about reading a novel that they used to feel when they were young readers," Törzs says. "I hope adults have a childlike experience reading it, in some ways."

Book launch @ Moon Palace Books
Featuring Lesley Nneka Arimah, Sally Franson, & Abbey Mei Otis
6 p.m.
Thursday, June 1
Free; this is a masked event

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