8 Summer Reads from Local Indianapolis Authors

Grab your beach chair and get ready to sit back, relax, and read some fantastic books by local Indiana authors.
Woman reading on beach chair in front of ocean

Created in partnership with Indiana Humanities.

It’s officially summer, and you know what that means… it’s time to find a beach chair read. Whether you are true crime obsessed, a romance fanatic, or want a self-growth novel, we have a list of local Indiana authors that are sure to help you sit back, relax, and enjoy the sun.

For the Maven who listens to true crime in the morning, but reads Nicolas Sparks at night…

All Good People Here by Ashley Flowers
A journalist from Wakarusa, Indiana, uncovers her hometown’s dark secrets when she becomes obsessed with the unsolved murder of her childhood neighbor—and the disappearance of another girl twenty years later.
Ashley is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Audiochuck, the award-winning, independent media and podcast production company known for its standout content and storytelling across different genres, including true crime, fiction, comedy and more. Ashley Flowers was born and raised in Indiana, where she continues to live with her husband, her daughter and their beloved dog, Charlie. She received a Bachelor of Science in Biological Services from Arizona State University.

For the Maven who wants a heart-wrenching, true story…

Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley C. Ford
Somebody’s Daughter steps into the world of growing up a poor Black girl in Indiana with a family fragmented by incarceration, exploring how isolating and complex such a childhood can be. As Ashley battles her body and her environment, she embarks on a powerful journey to find the threads between who she is and what she was born into and the complicated familial love that often binds them.
Ford is the former host of The Chronicles of Now podcast, co-host of The HBO companion podcast Lovecraft Country Radio, seasons one & three of MasterCard’s Fortune Favors The Bold, as well as the video interview series PROFILE by BuzzFeed News, and Brooklyn-based news & culture TV show, 112BK. She currently lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, with her husband, poet and fiction writer Kelly Stacy, and their chocolate lab Astro Renegade Ford-Stacy. 

For the Maven who is ready to accept every part of herself…

Tell Me the Dream Again by Tasha Jun
Tell Me the Dream Again is a memoir-in-essays exploring what it means to be biracial in America today, the joy and healing that comes with embracing every part of who we are, and how one’s faith and spiritual identity is tightly woven with the unique colors, scents, and culture that make us.
Tasha is a Korean American melancholy dreamer, wife to Matt, and mom to Asher, Timo and Everly. She grew up in a multicultural and biracial home, and because of that, she’s spent her life navigating cultural collisions and liminal space. She sees the world best through stories and poetry. She is passionate about helping others notice beauty and embrace themselves as wholly beloved image-bearers. She writes about everyday life and cultural and ethnic identity, and writing has always been the way God has led her toward the hope of shalom. She is also a 2023 Indy Maven Woman to Watch.

For the Maven who loves words painted like pictures…

Painted Over by Sofi Keren
Paige and Ria were childhood best friends, but after a falling out in college, they never spoke again. Now in their 30s, Ria is finding her new path after retiring from professional soccer, and Paige is a successful artist. When they run into each other again in their hometown of Indianapolis, they have to decide if they’re willing to give each other a second chance. Painted Over was nominated for an Indiana Authors Award in 2020.
Sofi Keren is the pen name of homegrown Hoosier Summer Keown. She writes sapphic romance and speculative fiction. Her two novels, False Starts & Artichoke Hearts and Painted Over, were nominated for Indiana Authors Awards. She co-edited the anthology Non-stalgia with Ryan Everett Felton and has a short story in the upcoming anthology Written With Pride. Her day job is helping communities plan cleanup projects. She recently took a Finnish class and has a goal of someday visiting Helsinki and using her new language skills to order a coffee.

For the Maven who loves prose and poetry folded into a sci-fi masterpiece…

The Town of Whispering Dolls by Susan Neville
This award-winning collection of short stories is set in a fictional Indiana town and its environs, a place haunted by the opioid epidemic and its industrial past. A young woman falls in love with the robot who replaced her at the candy factory. An elementary school girl attempts to repair eggs broken in a school project when she can’t repair the adults who surround her. A politician heads to Washington, leaving a toxic underground plume in his wake, while back at home live dolls walk the streets, cradling their empty heads in their arms.  While the situations are surreal, you’ll recognize real places (Carmel’s Main Street, Camp Atterbury, Sugar Creek) and history in these stories of the Midwest during a time of great change.   
Susan Neville’s latest book The Town of Whispering Dolls won the Catherine Doctorow Prize for Innovative Fiction and the 2022 Indiana Authors Award for Fiction. She is also the author of six books of creative nonfiction, a Ploughshares Solo chapbook, and three additional books of fiction/hybrid fiction, including Invention of Flight, winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award; In the House of Blue Lights, winner of the Richard Sullivan Prize; and Indiana Winter. Her stories and essays have appeared in magazines and journals including Oprah, The Missouri Review, The North American Review, Image, Ploughshares, and others. She is the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships and has appeared in two Pushcart Prize anthologies. She is the Demia Butler Professor of English Emeritus at Butler University and a lifelong resident of Indianapolis.

For the Maven who binged “To all the Boys I’ve Loved Before”…

Meant to Be by Nan Reinhardt
Can a near-tragedy help two best friends realize they’re meant to be so much more? Upon his return home to River’s Edge to recuperate from a gunshot wound, attorney Sean Flaherty discovers that his feelings for his pal, Megan, have taken an undeniable turn for the romantic. While Mayor Megan Mackenzie struggles with an unfamiliar longing for Sean, she worries that he may be mistaking a safe place to land for love.
Nan Reinhardt is a USA Today bestselling author of sweet, small-town romantic fiction for Tule Publishing. Her day job is working as a freelance copyeditor and proofreader; however, writing is Nan’s first and most enduring passion. She can’t remember a time in her life when she wasn’t writing—she wrote her first romance novel at the age of ten and is still writing, but now from the viewpoint of a wiser, slightly rumpled, woman in her prime. Nan lives in the Midwest with her husband of nearly 50 years, where they split their time between a house in the city and a cottage on a lake.

For the Maven who wants a book that keeps her on her toes…

Someone Like Them by Crystal Rhodes
Lady C is a superstar! The Grammy-winning diva is the toast of Broadway and on her way to becoming an entertainment legend. In the real world, Lady C is Wanda Carson, a single, middle-aged mother of three and the legal guardian of two teenage grandchildren by her wayward daughter. But when a very dangerous man threatens Wanda’s life, she goes into hiding, and her life changes forever.

Crystal V. Rhodes is an award-winning author and playwright. She is the author of the Sin Series romantic suspense novels, the Stillwaters book series, and the co-author of the Grandmothers, Incorporated cozy mystery book series, written with author/playwright, L. Barnett Evans. Written Word Magazine named Rhodes as one of the Ten Up and Coming Authors in the Midwest. Her most recent novel, Someone Like Them, was nominated by the Romance in Color national organization as the Romantic Suspense Novel of 2022. Rhodes has written for television, radio, newspapers, and magazines. She is a member of the Dramatist Guild, the Sisters in Crime Mystery Writers, and the Crime Writers of Color.

For the Maven who loves suspense woven into politics…

An American Tune, Barbara Shoup
While reluctantly accompanying her husband and daughter to freshman orientation at Indiana University, Nora Quillen hears someone call her name—her real name—a name she has not heard in more than twenty-five years. Not even her husband knows that back in the ‘60s she was Jane Barth, a student deeply involved in the antiwar movement. Now Jane, and her radical past, are about to come into the light.
Barbara Shoup is the author of eight novels for adults and young adults, most recently An American Tune, and Looking for Jack Kerouac, and a memoir, A Commotion in Your Heart: Notes on Writing and Life. She is the co-author of Novel Ideas: Contemporary Authors Share the Creative Process. Her creative nonfiction has been published recently in Atticus, Ocotillo Review, Another Chicago Magazine, and other small magazines. The recipient of PEN America’s Phyllis Reynolds Naylor Working Writer Fellowship, as well as artist grants from the Indiana Arts Commission and Indianapolis Arts Council, Shoup is the Writer-in-Residence at the Indiana Writers Center and a faculty member at Art Workshop International.

Abby Kom is the 2023 Indianapolis Press Fellowship Winner and is a lover of romance and audiobooks. 

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