From the Booking Desk:

Our book loving tribe is certainly one to cherish. Chris Wolak is one of those book bloggers that doesn’t get as much attention as she deserves. Her reviews are both thoughtful and informed and she brings her unique viewpoint and history to all of her writing. With Emily Fine, she also launched the Book Cougars podcast, which is well worth checking out. And as I say with each of these Composite Sketches, I never fail to be surprised and delighted at the revelations these questions bring about. Let’s see what Chris has to share with us.

Name: Chris Wolak
Location: Guilford, CT

This person from my personal life is such an inspiration:

My Mom. She survived the bombing of Dresden, Germany as a child, escaped from Russian occupied East Germany some years after that, and when she arrived in the U.S. in her mid-20s taught herself English (and she kicked everyone’s ass in Scrabble). When her husband/my father died unexpectedly some 25+ years ago, she created her life anew. Again. She has always shown me how to live a meaningful life even after having lost so much.

One of the people I admire most in the crime fiction community is:

Hands down, John Valeri! He was the first friend I made after my wife and I moved from Chicago to Connecticut four years ago. John is one of the nicest guest I’ve ever met. He’s so giving of himself and always sees the good in people and books. I learn so much from John about the mystery community, get great book recommendations, and am striving to be a better reviewer because of his example.

STALKER ALERT! If this fictional character were real, they would likely need to get a restraining order against me:

Everyone in Three Pines from Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Gamache series, but especially Ruth Zardo.

People are always surprised that I am a fan of this individual (singer, actor, or artist):

Dolly Parton. I’ve loved her since I first saw her on TV when I was a kid in the 1970s. Her kindness, warmth, and storytelling through song captured my heart. My cousin Daniel and I would listen to her records for hours together and we finally got to see her in concert in the early 90s (new comer Billy Ray Cyrus was her opener). That she’s such a passionate literacy advocate and has literally put tens of millions of book in the hands of kids is icing on the top of my already great admiration of her.

My personal catch phase is (or should be):

This quote from Willa Cather, “The end is nothing, the road is all,” has become both my overarching philosophy of life and a daily reminder when I need it.