North of the Tension Line

Called a “modern-day Jane Austen,” J.F. Riordan’s lyrical prose and rich characters are a tribute to small town life and the beauty of the ordinary. Peopled with sharply drawn characters whose experiences are by turns serious, mystical, and ridiculous, her books bring into sharp focus the pitfalls and vicious politics that prevail in small towns everywhere.

J.F. Riordan

Before she began writing J.F. Riordan earned her living first as an opera singer, and later as an English teacher in an inner city high school.  A transplanted Midwesterner, she lives in exile from Washington Island with her husband and three dogs.

Peopled with sharply drawn characters whose experiences are by turns serious, mystical, and ridiculous, her books bring into sharp focus the pitfalls and vicious politics that prevail in small towns everywhere.

“J.F. Riordan writes with a seductive immediacy which reveals the extraordinary in the lives of people we too carelessly think ordinary. A Small Earnest Question combines keen social observation, engaging characters, quiet humor, and rich sense of place. Rewarding from first page to last.”   ~  Richard North Patterson

Latest from the Blog

Burial at Sea

It seems strange that so deep a change should go unnoticed in the universe. It strikes me anew each time someone I care about dies. It feels to me as if it were a burial at sea, when the one you love dips beneath the waves of time and disappears forever.

Pandemic Idyll

It’s difficult to explain the dreamy quality of life these days. I tell myself it should be a time of joy and productivity, but somehow it isn’t. It’s not a happy dreaminess—I don’t know how it could be—but it’s not unhappy, either. It’s a sense of unreality; as if time has stopped.

Unfinished business

My decision to start had nothing to do with the approaching deadline for the completion of my novel, or my writer’s block, or the peculiar urges for home projects that come upon me when I should be writing. I