Dayton-area author Erin Flanagan keeps building her national readership



Erin Flanagan is persistent. Flanagan, a professor of English language and literatures at Wright State University, received 66 rejections for her first novel, “Deer Season,” before she finally found a publisher, University of Nebraska Press, on her 67th try. That book went on to win a prestigious Edgar Award for Best First Novel by an American Writer.

Flanagan just published her third novel, “Come With Me,” and most of the story takes place in Dayton. This is the convoluted tale of the friendship between two women, Gwen, and Nicola. Early on in the story, Gwen is having dinner with her husband Todd at a restaurant in Boulder, Colorado. Everything appears normal. Then Todd collapses and dies.

Gwen’s world implodes. She has a young daughter, Whitney, and zero comprehension of family finances and other crucial issues. Her late husband took care of those things. After she gets a grip on their situation she realizes Todd was concealing a lot of stuff from her.

Todd’s software business was failing and to Gwen’s shock and dismay she finds out they have massive debts. Gwen has been out of the job market for a decade and now she needs to generate some income, pronto. Her last job was an internship at an advertising agency in Dayton.

Through some internet sleuthing she determines that Nicola, a woman who once interned with her, is presently the COO of that agency. She calls Nicola, hoping to obtain a reference. Nicola is delighted to hear from her and suggests Gwen come back to Dayton to interview for a job at the agency.

Nicola is an executive who has reinvented herself. Flanagan offers us the occasional tantalizing flashback to Nicola’s origin story. Nicola, formerly Nikki, has lifted herself up from a troubled past. Nikki grew up in rural Ohio. Her mother was a drug addict. Nicola eventually seized control of her life and of her narrative.

Gwen is hired to fill a position Nicola created for her. Nicola invents a new life for her new friend Gwen and daughter Whitney. Initially Gwen is grateful for this amazing opportunity. Every day she has lunch with Nicola. Nicola is a control freak and she begins taking over Gwen’s life.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Flanagan adroitly shifts us back and forth between these two women as we watch their relationship becoming weirder by the minute. Gwen obtains troubling insights from Nicola’s husband Derek; she doesn’t know what to believe anymore.

As their friendship disintegrates daughter Whitney becomes a pawn and when that happens Gwen attempts to try to distance herself from Nicola. That is when this domestic suspense morphs into a full blown thriller.

You can listen to my latest interview with Erin Flanagan on Sunday, Aug. 27, at 10:30 a.m. on WYSO (91.3FM). She also has a book signing scheduled for Sept. 9.

Vick Mickunas of Yellow Springs interviews authors every Saturday at 7 a.m. and on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. on WYSO-FM (91.3). For more information, visit Contact him at

How to Go

What: Book signing with Erin Flanagan for “Come With Me” and Katrina Kittle for “Morning in this Broken World.” Flanagan and Kittle will be interviewed by the novelist Sharon Short/”Jess Montgomery.”

When: 2 to 4 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 9

Where: Barnes and Noble, The Shoppes of Beavercreek, 2720 Towne Drive #200, in Beavercreek.

More info: 937-429-1660

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