For this reason, high school girls from rural backgrounds were sought out by recruiters, who thought they were “easy to instruct,” and “did what they were told.” They were also fast learners, it turned out. Once trained in the operation of calutrons—the devices used to separate uranium isotopes, developed for the Project by Nobel laureate Ernest O. Lawrence—the “hillbilly” girls, “fresh off the farm with nothing more than a public school education,” beat Lawrence’s team of Ph.D.s in a contest to see who could generate the most enriched uranium.
Denise Kiernan
  • Denise Kiernan
  • NPR Radio Weekend Edition Sunday
  • "Secretly Working to Win the War in 'Atomic City'"

You can hear my wife Denise Kiernan talking about her new book The Girls of Atomic City via this link from this interview which aired this morning on National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition Sunday.

Denise was interviewed along with two of the women she profiles in the book.

The article accompanying the audio link also includes a free chapter of the book.

* * *

Geez, I hope this post comes through okay. Been having problems. More stuff has been going on, too. Will post about it soon.


My wife and her publisher are running a giveaway to drum up pre-orders for her book The Girls of Atomic City, which pubs in March. If you buy the book and forward a receipt, you’ll be entered in a giveaway to win a Nook ereader. Details found here.

Denise was told that more and more publishers are going with minimalistic language on the back cover copy for advance reading copies (ARCs). In fact, say the publishing geniuses, they want them to sound like movie trailers. Hence the copy here.

Some quick news before I’m out the door:

Please listen to National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition this Sunday, March 3, to hear my wife Denise Kiernan talk about her new book, The Girls of Atomic City. The book pubs next Tuesday, and it’s pretty much all this house is thinking about right now. Denise will be talking with two of the ladies in the book, still spry at about 90 years old for each of them.

I’ll post a link to the interview as soon as NPR puts one up.

In other news:

* It was a good week writing-wise for me. Managed to place two more short stories, which were sent out deep in the heart of 2012. I’ll let you know when they’re out. Maybe I am getting the hang of this fiction business after all. I’m happy with the progress on my current book, though my last (The Marshal of the Borgo) has been delayed because I’ve been busy with client work and doing some promo for Denise’s book.

* At least three of the ghostwriting projects I’ve been involved with this year and last are all coming out this spring. Two in late April, one in mid-May. That’s three excited authors we’re teaching one of two things about promotion. (“The links to your book should be on your website.” “You don’t think it’s a bit much?”) 


As I added The Girls of Atomic City to my list of completed audiobooks a few weeks ago, I noticed a trend: a good portion, maybe a tenth, of the audiobooks I’ve logged over the last four years have been about World War II. At the same time, I don’t think I’ve picked up a single non-audiobook about the war. This might be because I tend to read more non-fiction in audio, but I think it’s also because WWII was such a big, theatrical war with so many giant characters, that the extra drama added by a really great audiobook reader helps bring it all into focus.

I’ve also noticed that reading a mix of fiction and non has brought a richness to the subject that I never got in my history classes in school. When one book raised a question, the next would answer it. The non-fiction gave me a foundation and the fiction added some flesh. (This must be why people read books, I guess? Weird, I know.)

So, with Unbroken in theaters and Agent Peggy Carter on TV, I thought I’d give an overview of some of my favorite WWII audiobooks.


Coming soon: paperbacks!

This never happens, but it just did. The postman came by with a proof copy of my book, The Mesmerist, and UPS dropped off copies of Denise’s paperback as well.

As usual, I have no idea when my book will be available, but paperbacks of The Girls of Atomic City will hit stores March 11. Which gives me a chance to post Denise’s tour schedule. It’s subject to change, of course, but you can always double-check the dates, times, and places on the official Girls of Atomic City website.

Monday, February 24, 2014

New York, NY

Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

*Event Closed


Saturday, March 1, 2014, 9:15 AM

Long Beach, CA

Long Beach Festival of Authors

Long Beach Convention Center, 110 Pine Ave.


Monday, March 3, 2014, 11:15 AM

Denver, CO

American Physical Society - Annual Meeting

Colorado Convention Center, 700 14th Street

*Registration Required


Tuesday, March 11, 2014, 7:00 PM

South Hadley, MA

Odyssey Books, 9 College Street


Thursday, March 13, 2014, 7:30 PM

Fredericksburg, VA

University of Mary Washington

Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall

1301 College Avenue

*Ticketed Event


Tuesday, March 18, 2014, Noon

Oak Ridge, TN

ALTRUSA Literacy Luncheon

Oak Ridge High School

1450 Oak Ridge Turnpike

*Ticketed Event


Friday and Saturday, March 21 - 22, 2014, 2:00 PM

Charlottesville, VA

Virginia Festival of the Book


Monday, March 24, 2014, 7:00 PM

Austin, TX

Book People

603 N Lamar Boulevard


Tuesday, March 25, 2014, 7:00 PM

Houston, TX

Brazos Bookstore

2421 Bissonnet Street


Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 3:00 PM

Oxford, MS

Oxford Conference for the Book

Journalism Panel moderated by Curtis Wilkie

Overby Center at the University of Mississippi

555 Grove Loop, Suite 247


Tuesday, April 1, 2014, 7:00 PM

Ann Arbor, MI

Nicola’s Books

2513 Jackson Ave. (in Westgate Shopping Center)


Wednesday, April 2, 7:00 PM

Cincinnati, OH

Joseph-Beth Booksellers

2692 Madison Road


Monday, April 7, 2014, 7:00 PM

Naperville, IL

Anderson’s Book Shop

123 W. Jefferson Avenue


Tuesday, April 8, 2014, 6:00 PM

Wichita, KS

Watermark Books

4701 E. Douglas Avenue


Thursday and Friday, April 10 - 11, 2014

Boone and Hudson, NC 

Caldwell Community College

Details forthcoming