Jeremy Finley and Rea Frey on Their New Books, Obsessions, Recommendations & More

Jeremy Finley and Rea Frey are both Nashville authors, both have novels coming out later this summer, and we thought our fellow Nashvillians (and book lovers beyond) might like to know a little more about them and their new books. Frey’s new novel Because You’re Mine will come out Aug. 6; Jeremy Finley’s The Dark Above will be out July 23, and he’ll celebrate with a book launch party here at the bookstore that night at 6:30. To help readers get to know them better, we invited Finley and Frey to fill out our Authors in Real Life questionnaire.

My new book is about …

Jeremy Finley

Jeremy Finley: As an investigative journalist, I am always intrigued by what happens to families long after a child goes missing. Do they crumble? Do they ever give up hope? And what happens if that child is ultimately found under mysterious circumstances? That’s the crux of my new book, The Dark Above (July 23), the sequel to my 2018 novel, The Darkest Time of Night. The book takes place 15 years after the youngest grandson of a U.S. Senator went missing, forcing the wife of the politician to expose her controversial past as a UFO researcher in order to find him. With the government widely discrediting her, accusing her of staging her grandson’s disappearance to further her research, her family is once again thrust into headlines when disasters begin to unfold across the globe, all tied to those who unexpectedly vanished, only to return with frightening abilities.

Rea Frey and family

Rea Frey: Because You’re Mine (August 6) starts with one question: What would happen if you died and left your child without a guardian? For Lee, a single, recovering alcoholic, this is one of her greatest fears. She’s raising a seven-year-old on-the-spectrum-son, Mason, and finds herself falling for her son’s occupational therapist and home-school teacher, Noah. Her best friend, Grace, is also single and raising an only son. But all three have secrets. When Lee, Grace, and two girlfriends decide to go on a quick mountain getaway, Noah insists he can stay with Mason. What’s the worst that could happen? Forty-eight hours later, someone is dead. As their secrets unfold and pasts revealed, a new question surfaces: How well do we ever really know our friends?

I’ve been listening to …

Finley: Nashville’s new soul station, 102.1 the Ville. It’s a life changer. I am constantly turning up the volume in the Jeep and pointing to the dial in gratitude. “They’re playing ‘Car Wash’! They’re playing ‘Superstition’!” My youngest daughter is already hooked on Aretha, but I think my oldest is just glad we’re not listening to classic rock 24/7.

Frey: Billie Holiday and Billie Eilish. Apparently, I have a Billie fetish.

I love to watch …

Finley: Horror movies, and I almost never get to watch them. My girls and my wife are not on board, so I’m relishing in the fact that my nephew is attending Belmont, and together we’ve seen the remake of Pet Semetary and Us, Jordan Peele’s latest, brilliant movie. There’s something about summer, with a chaos of cicadas and crickets outside, that’s proof of something unseen lurking in the dark. [inset: here you might pull an online image from a Jordan Peele movie and link it to a good review/article]

Frey: Dead to Me (please return soon!) and The Bachelorette. YEP. I SAID IT. THE BACHELORETTE IS MY PORN. DEAL WITH IT.

Something I saw online that made me laugh, cry, or think …

Finley: I work as an investigative reporter, thus I exist on a heavy diet of pretty bleak and gruesome information online. Therefore, I am a huge fan of the Instagram site “Drunk People Doing Things,” to remind me that there is a glorious world out there full of intoxicated people falling off tables.

Frey: Anything by Gary John Bishop, but this post in particular: “Thanks for looking. Now shut down your Social Media and go do something to impact your life.”

Best meal I’ve had in the past month …

Finley: The trout at Park Cafe is one of the many reasons that it’s our favorite restaurant in town. They grill it to perfection. The bonus is we know which table to request, because if you sit in the right position with the fireplace behind you, the reflection of the flames in the windows makes it look like the cars in the parking lot are on fire.

Frey: At Cafe Roze — the avocado hummus with grilled bread, miso cauliflower, roasted chicken with polenta and broccolini, a glass of Cab, and olive oil cake. You’re welcome.

David Grann, also a Parnassus staff favorite, gets the nod from Finley.

A creator who’s doing something I admire or envy …

Finley: As I stated above, I’m pretty in awe of Jordan Peele these days. Get Out was such a revelation, and Us really turned out to be something I was never expecting. I aspire to write the kind of stories he produces, thrillers that veil deeper contemplations on humanity.

Frey: Brooke Castillo. From her life-changing podcast to her multi-million dollar life coach school, she is putting out content that’s literally changing the world.

A book I recently recommended to someone else …

Finley: I would stand on the corner and hand out David Grann’s books to everyone who would take one. I bow down to his research that delivered The Lost City of Z and 2017’s blockbuster Killers of the Flower Moon, which delivers the kind of outrage that makes him the king of investigative book-form journalism.

Frey: Save the Cat! Writes a Novel. Where the hell was this book when I was writing my first two books?

The last event I bought tickets to was …

Finley: I didn’t buy them, but the last ticket in my hand was to a Metallica concert. My friend Trevor scored them at the last minute, and oh, the joy; the mass of other 40-something-year-old men and women thrusting their fists in the air, knowing that in meetings the next day, we would scarcely be able to hear because of the ringing in our ears.

Autographs: like mother, like daughter. When they recently saw a copy of Frey’s first book, Not Her Daughter, in a bookstore, “my daughter insisted we buy a copy, so she could sign her name in it.”

Frey: Elizabeth Gilbert’s tour stop for City of Girls here in Nashville. I bought two tickets for myself and my seven-year-old daughter, because I wanted to treat her to a REAL author event. Right on time, she came down with a nasty virus. Instead of taking someone else, I snuggled my daughter and read her a book. Elizabeth Gilbert is one of my personal heroes, and I hated to miss it, but I was right where I needed to be. #motherhood

Most meaningful recent travel destination …

Finley: I just attended a conference in Houston for the journalism association Investigative Reporters and Editors. Aside from the fact that the hotel had a lazy river IN THE SHAPE OF TEXAS, it was a much-needed boost to learn and be encouraged by other reporters in the investigative trenches. It was a rejuvenation of the soul to remind each other that challenging the powerful is work worth doing, and it was fun to have people come up and say, “Hey, didn’t you write a book about aliens or something?”

Frey: We just got back from Blue Mountain Beach, a yearly vacation we take with my family on my daughter’s birthday. Every year, she turns one year older by the ocean. There’s magic in that.

I wish I knew more about …

Finley: Cryptozoology. (Huh, is the usual reply. It’s the study of hidden animals. It’s a deep rabbit hole that I hope I will emerge from, clasping the outline of my next thriller.)

Frey: That the key to life isn’t happiness, money, success, or relationships — it’s managing your mind. The only thing that’s ever “not working” is your thinking. My daughter, who is homeschooled, goes to Acton Academy, and is learning all of this at seven. She’s receiving an emotional education — not just memorizing facts she won’t use later in life.

My favorite thing about bookstores …

Finley: The thriller/mystery and science fiction sections. As someone who is deeply entrenched in the realities of our time in my daily work, I tend to make a beeline for worlds that I can escape to in order to briefly escape our own.

Frey: That I can walk into any bookstore in the world and feel instantly at home. And the fact that I can sniff books in public and not be considered a total weirdo.

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Meet the Authors!

Jeremy Finley
Author of The Dark Above
Parnassus Books
Tuesday, July 23 at 6:30pm

Rea Frey
Author of Because You’re Mine
Nectar Urban Cantina
Tuesday, August 6 at 6pm