Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Another Wonderful Review for EVERY NOW AND THEN

 What a wonderful birthday present!  A coveted starred review from Publishers Weekly!

"Kagen (The Undertaking of Tess) skillfully spins a nostalgic tale about a group of preteens who uncover their town’s terrible secret. As headstrong 11-year-olds in tiny Summit, Wis., Elizabeth “Biz” Buchanan, Frances “Frankie” Maniachi, and Vivian “Viv” Cleary spend the sultry summer of 1960 looking for adventure and trying to stay in the good graces of Biz’s Aunt Jane May, who has helped Biz’s physician father raise Biz after her mother died shortly after Biz was born. In addition to speculating about Jane May’s romantic prospects and the meddling of a busybody out to depose Summit’s elderly mayor, the girls agree on a dare to explore their town’s creepy mental hospital, Broadhurst, home to the criminally insane (including a notorious child-killer). In between harmless preteen pranks and innocent explorations, the girls enjoy an idyllic summer—until their fascination with Broadhurst as a “Chamber of Horrors” turns into a nightmare. Kagan perfectly portrays the sense of invincibility felt by the young girls, whose lives have not yet been touched by tragedy. Colorful secondary characters, especially Mayor Bud, underpin a taut plot. This fast-paced and suspenseful outing will captivate Kagan’s fans and do much to win her new ones. (Oct.)"

It won't be long now until Every Now and Then will available at your local bookstore. This story is so near and dear to my heart and I can't wait for you to read it!

Tuesday, June 30, 2020



Just three more months until EVERY NOW AND THEN comes to a bookstore near you! (Oct. 6th.)

I'd love to say that time is just flying by, but it took me three years to write this book and another year until it was published and I can't wait for you to read it.

Sometimes readers ask me where my inspiration comes from. For this book, stumbling upon a secret little cemetery in a stand of secret little woods while I was out hiking knocked my socks off. The three almost twelve-year-old girls in the story---Biz, Frankie, and Viv---spend a lot of time on a path that wends its way through "Founder's Woods" during the summer of '60.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Some Really Kind Words

I'm thrilled and humbled by these kind words about EVERY NOW AND THEN from authors I admire and respect. Hope you'll love the story, too!

Every Now and Then is a perfect summer sky of a story, in which lots of lovely blue is mixed with a few dark, descending clouds. Lesley Kagen offers a wry, winning story told in the enchanting voice of adolescence and with the pitch perfect vernacular of 1960. Filled with secrets, lies, and all the truth of what is to be human, especially in a small town, Every Now and Then is a story every heart will embrace.”
—William Kent Krueger, New York Times bestselling author of Ordinary Grace and This Tender Land

“With a grace reminiscent of Pat Conroy’s The Prince of Tides, Lesley Kagen paints a tragic and evocative picture of a childhood summer disrupted by tragedy in 1960s Wisconsin. Every Now and Then, a haunting story of three young friends besieged by unthinkable horror, is both a memorable coming of age tale and a suspenseful page-turner. Longtime and new fans of Lesley Kagen will delight!
          Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Girls of Paris

 “Lesley Kagen’s Every Now and Then ticks all the best boxes. Bygone small-town life so well described you can taste it? Check! Three BFF girlfriends scraping knees and taking names and having the summer of their eleven-year-old lives? Check! Compelling escapades featuring the likes of mental institutions, escaped murderers, and witches? Check! This novel is delightful and the perfect summer read.” 
                          Laurie FrankelNew York Times bestselling author of This Is How It Always Is

“Kagen’s trademark blend of childhood curiosity and hidden mysteries shines in this richly imagined coming-of-age adventure. In the sweltering summer heat of 1960, three young friends become entangled in secrets and life-threatening evil that shakes their small Wisconsin town to its core and impacts their lives forever.”
                        Beth HoffmanNew York Times bestselling author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

"Part mystery, part coming of age, EVERY NOW AND THEN brought back wonderful memories of my childhood, when the summers were endless and my best friend and I found ourselves in the middle of numerous bizarre adventures. A rollicking good read!” 
Ellen Marie Wiseman, bestselling author of WHAT SHE LEFT BEHIND and THE ORPHAN COLLECTOR   

Lesley Kagen’s Every Now and Then is a poignant, beautifully told story about family, friendship, and foul-play in a small town in Wisconsin in 1960. It centers around Biz, Viv, and Frankie—three eleven-year-old best friends—and the summer adventures that will change their lives forever. With characters that leap off the page, mysteries both innocent and evil, multi-layered humor, and twists you never see coming, this novel is delightful and unputdownable. I can’t recommend enough!
                                                                —Jane Healey, bestselling author of The Beantown Girls

"At turns nostalgic, haunting and edge-of-your-seat suspenseful, Every Now and Then is another triumph from Lesley Kagen.”
                           —Wendy Webb, #1 Amazon Charts bestselling author of Daughters of the Lake

Thursday, January 30, 2020


So happy to let you know that EVERY NOW AND THEN is available now for preorder! Check with you local indie bookseller or all the usual places online! Thank you!

Thursday, December 12, 2019


Hi All!

Busy preparing for Christmas and I've taken on teaching a Master Class in acting in a children's theatre as well as teaching writing and helping with my two g-kids so busy . . . busy . . . busy! But had to share that you can expect to have EVERY NOW AND THEN in your hands in October 2020.

Very excited! I love this story and hope like heck that you do, too!

xo Lesley

Friday, April 19, 2019


Thrilled to announce that my newest novel, EVERY NOW AND THEN, will be published by Crooked Lane. Hopefully, it will be released in the summer of '20, but stay tuned for updates!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019


Thank you to all the readers who've asked what I'm working on now. Here's a brief description of EVERY NOW AND THEN and a few pages to, hopefully, whet your whistle. I have no idea when, or even if, it'll be published but I'm sure enjoying the characters and in the end . . . really . . . that's all that counts. (But a fancy schmancy book deal wouldn't be horrible either.)❤ . . . always, Lesley

  All that is over is not past and when memories come to haunt they don’t ask our permission to do so.

Summit, Wisconsin, the summer of 1960: Air conditioning was a modern luxury few in town could afford and window fans were flying out of Mike Hansen’s Hardware store so fast he’d begun talking about retirement. Husbands returned home with five o’clock shadows to sit on their front porches and drink bottled beers that wouldn’t hold a chill while their wives fanned themselves with shirt cardboards and prepared cold cut suppers instead of the usual meat and potatoes. For kids seeking relief from the heat, there was a creek to be swum in, sprinklers to run through, and ice cream at Whitcomb’s Drugstore.

But . . . The Tree Musketeers—Francis “Frankie” Maniachi, Vivian “Viv” Cleary, and Elizabeth “Biz” Buchanan—don’t remember that summer only as the one when the heat wave hit their small town. They remember the summer they were eleven-years-old as the one evil paid a visit to their small town and took there lives as they’d known them as a souvenir. The summer when they’d almost lost their lives, learned about prejudice in its many forms, mental illness, forbidden love, murder, and what it meant to be blood sisters.

Narrated by bestselling novelist Biz Buchanan almost sixty years later, There Comes a Time is an unforgettable story about what three young girls did during a long ago summer to keep their lives and those of the ones they loved from coming apart at the seams and what they continue to do to make amends. Told with empathy, humor, and insight, There Comes a Time is both a powerful and emotionally resonant coming-of-age story and of-an-age story about lifelong friendship, the timelessness of grief and guilt, and the hope for redemption.  

                                                             * * *


The girls didn’t blame me at the time and to the best of my knowledge, still don’t, but I’ve never entirely forgiven myself for instigating what happened that night in Founder’s Woods. Then again . . . if I hadn’t done what I’d done, more than one grave would’ve been dug that summer.
Of course, not everyone in town remembers the events that unfolded back then with as much remorse, or gratitude, as I do. “What’s done is done. Forget about it. Time heals all wounds,” someone not old enough to know better is bound to pipe in whenever the summer of ’60 comes up in conversation. But there’ll come a time when they, too, will understand that the border between then and now is more like a cobweb than a brick wall, and when memories come to haunt . . . they don’t ask our permission to do so.
A breeze ruffling oak boughs on a full moon night or the whistle of the late train rumbling down the tracks is all it takes to bring back the press of cold steel on my neck, the sound Frankie’s leg made when it cracked in two, and Viv’s scream cutting through the sultry air on a long ago summer night evil paid a visit to our small town and took our young lives as we’d known them as a souvenir.


                                                                Chapter One

God only knows why my best friends and I loved getting the hell scared of out of us every Saturday afternoon at the Rivoli Theatre or the Starlight Drive-In after the sun went down, but we spent most of our childhood jumping halfway out of our skins.
The radiated ants from Them! sounded an awful lot like cicadas, and after we saw The Fly the three of us strained to hear one calling to us, “Help me . . . please, help me.” The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, whose main character was a doctor—like my father—who discovered his neighbors were being systematically replaced by alien duplicates grown in pods scattered around his small town—like ours—had the girls and I spying into our neighbors’ windows for weeks to ascertain if they’d been similarly afflicted, but it was the The Tingler that almost did us in. Unbeknownst to us, the owner of the downtown theatre had fastened something called the Percepto! beneath the seats and when he activated the vibrating device at just the right time, it felt like that alien parasite had crawled off the screen and into our spines and we ran out the Emergency Door screaming and swatting at each others’ backs.
But while every day back then might’ve felt like anything-can-happen day, to the best of
my recollection, which, if I do so say myself, remains remarkably sharp for a gal on the dusky
side of her sixties, our lives were fairly ho hum. Other than a recluse most of the kids in town believed to be a practitioner of the dark arts, a group of bad boys who hung out in Founder’s Woods, and the occasional escapee of Broadhurst Mental Institution, nothing much out of the ordinary occurred in Summit, Wisconsin—a town deemed so unremarkable at the time that a popular travel brochure left the Points of Interest section blank—until the record-breaking heat ushered in the spring of ’60 like a harbinger of the horror to come.