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Publication Order of Gus Monet Books

Katie Tallo
Katie Tallo was born in Toronto, Ontario and grew up in the suburbs of Ottawa. As an avid swimmer and movie-goer, she loved to dream up plays for all her friends to act out. She went off to movie camp, taking theatre workshops which led to her eventually landing the role of the spinster librarian in a grade eight school play, which was the pinnacle of her acting career.

After finishing high school, and traveling for a year with the Katimavik youth program, she went on to earn her degree in Film and English. This was followed by a deep dive into waitressing and met and fell in love with a bartender. They married and had Alex, a daughter, who now teaches elementary school in Ottawa.

Katie studied filmmaking at the prestigious Summer Institute of Film and Television and Women in the Director’s Chair and TV Broadcasting at Algonquin College.

During the decades that followed, she had an award-winning career working as a director and screenwriter, collaborating on projects in television, animation, and motion pictures. She got support from the Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts. Her films were screened at the NSI Film Exchange, San Francisco International Film Festival, Sudbury Cinefest, and the Local Heroes International Film Festival.

In her job as a freelance writer, she has contributed articles to Tiny Buddha, Be More With Less, Zen Habits, Problogger, Live Bold & Bloom, and Rowdy Kittens. In the year 2013, her manuscript, called “22 Mondays” (also called “Gone Monday”) won the top prize in the international Mslexia Women’s Novel Writing Competition.

For the story, she wanted to write about the anguish of being ‘in lust’ as opposed to being in love. Then her set-up came to her, not boy meets girl, rather boy puts girl into the trunk of a car. She began wondering how a couple would get into such a situation. So she put Jimmy in the car and allowed him to speak. He was trapped up in the front and Julep was locked in the trunk, so they were able to hear one another but couldn’t escape.

She chose to explain the back-story of their relationship in bits and pieces and in a nonlinear way, since that is how memory works. Katie also wrote in first person present tense in order to be able to show how their voices changed through the years: from when they first meet as teenagers to when Jimmy finally crashes the car during their thirties.

There was a moment when Jimmy’s voice began speaking to her all of a sudden. It was a wonderful sort of feeling. She knew it was her, her sort of book, and her tone.

Over the following four years, with Levi (her golden retriever) by her side, she started writing the novel “Dark August”. The novel is set in Wellington West, the same neighborhood Katie lives in with Andy, her husband. Her beloved pooch Levi lives on in the book.

“Dark August” is the first novel she tried to write. She wrote a lot of it at a table in her writing buddy’s house, overlooking a lake. Everyday for months they would sit opposite one another and write for three hours, then they would take a break and write for two more hours. She rewrote it ten times before she finally showed it to anybody. Then she paid to get feedback from a professional ‘novel doctor’.

Katie’s debut novel, called “Dark August”, was released in the year 2020, published by Harper Perennial, and is from the mystery genre.

“Dark August” is the first stand alone novel and was released in the year 2020. One young woman is haunted by her tragic past, who comes back to her hometown and learns that there might be more to her police detective mom’s death—and final case—than she ever thought possible.

Augusta (Gus) Monet lives an aimless existence with her grifter boyfriend when she learns that her great grandma (her last living relative) recently passed away. Gus, who ditches her boyfriend, returns to the home that she left when she was a young girl. Her inheritance winds up being a dilapidated house and one old dog named Levi. As she goes through her great grandma’s possessions, she finds an old trunk that’s filled with long-lost childhood belongings.

That’s not all this trunk contains. She finds cold case files that once belonged to her mom, a disgraced police detective that died when Gus was eight in a car wreck. Gus remembers her mom obsesssing over these same photographs and documents, particularly a Polaroid of one young ballerina.

Gus spots a front-page news story on the unearthing of a body that’s linked to one of the cold case files in her trunk, and she cannot resist following her mom’s clues. While digging deeper, only determined to finish her mom’s case, her search leads her to one deserted ghost town, which was abandoned when the residents fled in the aftermath of a terrible fire.

While Gus’ obsession with this investigation increases, she stirs up the evils from the past, which puts her life in danger. However, Gus is undeterred and is devoted to uncovering the long-buried secrets. These include the secrets surrounding one missing geology student, one prominent family’s devastating legacy, the young ballerina in the Polaroid, and one toxic blast that blew one whole town off the map.

Could Gus really be ready to learn the truths that culminated on a terrible night in August, more than a decade prior, when lives were taken and secrets were believed to be buried for good?

Readers found this to be a page-turning and electrifying debut novel that was written by a bold new voice. It is sure to keep the reader on the edge of their seat throughout, and guessing until the startling conclusion. The book is well paced with a compelling storyline, chilling atmosphere, and one endearing lead character. Katie’s fluid writing makes it rather easy to read fast, and it makes readers eager to grab ahold of what she writes next.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Katie Tallo

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