I always want to know what sparks a particular book? What was it about Constance that captivated you?--Marshal Zeringue
It started with one 1915 newspaper article. I was actually researching a gin smuggler named Henry Kaufman for The Drunken Botanist. I wondered what else he might have done, and his named turned up in a New York Times story about a silk factory owner who ran his car into a buggy being driven by the Kopp sisters. I never did figure out if it was the same Henry Kaufman, but the case was interesting, so I kept it.
Now this happens all the time when I'm doing research, and maybe the same is true for you. I run across some unrelated story and think, "Hmmm, that's odd. I'd better keep that." But this was different. I set aside my Drunken Botanist research for the day and kept looking for stories about the Kopps. By the end of the day, I had a stack of clippings and a major crush on these three women. Constance in particular was just so badass. She was a large woman--around six feet tall, 180 pounds--and she was thirty-five and unmarried when this started. When Henry Kaufman started harassing her family, she was just so fierce--maybe because she had nothing to lose, maybe because...[read on]
Saturday, September 5, 2015
Friday, September 4, 2015
David Joy is the author of the novels Where All Light Tends to Go (Putnam, 2015) and Waiting On The End Of The World (Putnam, 2016), as well as the memoir Growing Gills: A Fly Fisherman's Journey (Bright Mountain Books, 2011), which was a finalist for the Reed Environmental Writing Award and the Ragan Old North State Award for Creative Nonfiction.
From Joy's Q & A with Mark Rubinstein for The Huffington Post:
First novels are often semi-autobiographical. How much of your life has seeped into Where All Light Tends to Go?Writers Read: David Joy.
Some of Jacob's characteristics are similar to mine. For instance, his unwillingness to trust people or his sense that things won't turn out well are characteristics we share. His story however, is not mine. But, it is a story with which I'm familiar, having grown up around people who, very early on, were surrounded by drugs, and whose lives were pretty much determined from an early point. It wasn't on a level like Jacob's, but in Charlotte, North Carolina, there were a lot of kids I knew whose parents weren't around. They grew up on the streets where drugs and violence were everywhere. Drugs were the economic means of survival.
In reality, I grew up in a privileged household--not from a monetary standpoint--but in the sense my parents loved me, and would have done anything to ensure my success. That just wasn't the case for most of the people I knew. So Jacob's story, while having some roots in my own experiences, is really a product of my imagination.
Some people have compared your novel to the TV series, Breaking Bad and to the film, Winter's Bone. Are there any connections?
There are definitely connections to...[read on]
The Page 69 Test: Where All Light Tends to Go.
My Book, The Movie: Where All Light Tends to Go.
Thursday, September 3, 2015
Q: How did you first learn about Lady Elizabeth Russell, and what surprised you most in the course of your research for this book?--Marshal Zeringue
A: I first came across the formidable Elizabeth Russell while conducting research for my doctorate. She was, highly unusually, a prolific designer of funerary monuments (normally a male occupation). This intrigued me, so I decided to delve deeper.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered that she had also led an uprising of local neighbours to ban Shakespeare and his fellow actors from their newly built theatre in the Blackfriars district of London! She won that particular battle, and it was one of many battles during her controversial career.
During my research I discovered more of her extraordinary exploits, like the fact that she had constructed her own personal dungeon in the grounds of her country estate, in which she would regularly incarcerate her enemies.
She also instigated several riots, which resulted in acts of kidnapping, breaking-and-entering and armed clashes. Elizabeth Russell was...[read on]
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
I always want to know what sparks a book--but you talk about that in the extraordinary acknowledgement pages of your novel. Please can you tell us about the grief, bravery and courage it took for Hugo & Rose to emerge, and how writing the book changed you? Was there anything in it that surprised you?Visit Bridget Foley's website.
Shortly after I finished the first draft of HUGO & ROSE, I became pregnant with identical twin girls. I edited the book on bed rest, my belly making the reach to the keyboard a bit more difficult each day. The plan had always been for the book to go to market in September because the girls were due in November, which meant that all book business would have been cleared by then. Best laid plans.
On September 1st, the girls’ placenta abrupted which caused them to be born 10 weeks early. They were small but their prognosis was good. My agent called to see if we should put off the book sale; my husband and I talked about it. We were picturing ourselves trying to deal with two newborns at home while undergoing the stress of the sale… so we decided it would be best to do it on the timeline we had planned.
Right after we pulled the trigger my daughter Giddy took a turn. She was transferred to a different hospital and suddenly we were spending our days talking about blood counts and liver numbers. Our life became shuttling between hospitals, talking to doctors and sitting by the beds of our girls. We got...[read on]
My Book, The Movie: Hugo & Rose.
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Steph Cha's latest novel is Dead Soon Enough: Juniper Song Mysteries (Volume 3).
From her Q & A with Ivy Pochoda for the Los Angeles Times:
So “Dead Soon Enough” is the third installment in your Juniper Song series. How has Song developed, grown or changed in the course of her adventures?Visit Steph Cha's website and Twitter perch.
Song started out as this directionless millennial with an unresolved family tragedy and zero passion in her life, and then I put her through the ringer and ruined things for her even further. She's taken it all pretty well, actually. Made a few new friends, got a job. She's working as a private investigator now, and she's good at it, so there's that. She's had a lot of illusions shattered for her, and she knows people can be pretty crummy, but she still can't help trusting the ones she likes and hoping for the best.
You were pretty young when your first novel “Follow Her Home” came out. How do you feel you’ve changed as a writer since then?
I was 27 when it was published, but “Follow Her Home” is the novel I started writing when I was 22 years old, so, yeah, I've changed a lot. Almost everything I've learned about writing has happened on the job, some while I was writing the first book, and definitely some after. I like to think I've gotten better. I'm more comfortable with...[read on]
Coffee with a Canine: Steph Cha and Duke.
My Book, The Movie: Follow Her Home.
The Page 69 Test: Follow Her Home.
Writers Read: Steph Cha (April 2013).
Monday, August 31, 2015
Critically acclaimed author Charlotte Gordon's newest book is Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley. Earlier works include Mistress Bradstreet: The Untold Story of America's First Poet — a Massachusetts Honor book for non-fiction — and The Woman Who Named God: Abraham's Dilemma and the Birth of Three Faiths.
From her Q & A with Alison Nastasi at Flavorwire:
Both Marys had unconventional romantic and sexual relationships, but both women were married and a part of their legacy is dominated by the men they loved. Can you talk more about this and why they chose to pursue marriage despite their beliefs?Visit Charlotte Gordon's website.
Mary Wollstonecraft truly did not believe in marriage. She saw what had happened to abused wives — an older sister who was abused by her husband and a mother who was abused by her alcoholic father. In the 18th century and the 19th century, if you became a wife, you surrendered all your economic and legal rights to your husband. Anything you had was his. You were really rendered legally, economically, and politically powerless. Divorce was almost impossible without an act of Parliament. I think there were three divorces in the 18th century. You were trapped. Forget ethics, Mary Wollstonecraft thought marriage was a dangerous and oppressive institution. However, she also experienced first-hand what it was like to be an unmarried mother. So, with her first unconventional relationship — she didn’t marry the man — everyone thought she was married, and she wasn’t exiled for that. She was worried about what was going to happen to her little girl after she was abandoned. So when she falls in love with Mary’s father, William Godwin, who was also hugely against marriage, they decided they were going to have to compromise because they didn’t want the baby to be a social exile, especially since Mary had already been on the brink herself. They decided to get married. They were greatly ridiculed by all their radical friends. In the case of Mary Wollstonecraft, she did it to protect the child.
So, 16-year-old Mary Godwin, who will become Mary Shelley, sees herself as the carrier of her mother’s ethical principles. No way is she going to get married. But then...[read on]
My Book, The Movie: Romantic Outlaws.
Sunday, August 30, 2015
David Hofmeyr was born in South Africa and lives in London and Paris. In 2012 he was a finalist in the SCBWI Undiscovered Voices competition, and in 2013 he graduated with distinction from Bath Spa University with an MA in Writing for Young People. He works as a Planner for Ogilvy & Mather in the UK.
Hofmeyr's first novel is Stone Rider.
From his Q & A at My Bookish Ways:
Will you tell us about Stone Rider and what inspired you to write it?Visit David Hofmeyr's website.
Stone Rider follows 15-year-old Adam Stone who has lost everything and joins a brutal race on semi-sentient ‘bykes’ to win the chance to escape a dying future Earth. Think The Hunger Games meets Mad Max meets Cormac McCarthy. An adrenalin-fuelled race across an epic desert.
The idea was born in a dream. Crossing an alien desert came a group of riders, like horsemen of the apocalypse. Only here, instead of horses, they were riding other-worldly bykes. I knew I wanted fear and adrenalin, dust and blood and vengeance. A primal story. I suppose it sprang from the Westerns I loved as a kid. The Dollars Trilogy. Pale Rider. Once Upon a Time in the West. But also something futuristic. Alien. Mad Max. Blade Runner. Star Wars.
What do you think makes Adam a compelling character?
Adam undergoes a huge change in the book. In the beginning he’s hesitant – both physically and mentally – and unable to express himself, or stand up to bullies. By the end of the story Adam finds an inner strength that allows him to endure. Adam is a loner and a misfit and I think all readers can relate to being an outsider in some sense. Adam has...[read on]
Stone Rider is one of Rachel Paxton-Gillilan's top five YA books for Mad Max fans.
My Book, the Movie: Stone Rider.
The Page 69 Test: Stone Rider.
Writers Read: David Hofmeyr.
Saturday, August 29, 2015
Tracy Daugherty's new book is The Last Love Song: A Biography of Joan Didion.
From his Q & A with Deborah Kalb:
Q: Why did you decide to write a biography of Joan Didion?--Marshal Zeringue
A: I first read Joan Didion in 1978. I was 23, and wanted to be a writer, though I had no ambition then of becoming a biographer.
I was a Beatles fan and probably bought Didion's essay collection, The White Album, because of its Beatle-esque title and the promise on the jacket flap that this book perfectly captured the spirit of the 1960s.
And sure enough, the title essay seemed to me to embody the spirit of the decade that had shaped my young sensibilities.
Its fragmented, collage-like structure was a revelation--not only because I didn't know you could write like that (all those white spaces! all those silences!) but because it showed me...[read on]
Friday, August 28, 2015
Margaret Verble is an enrolled and voting citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and a member of a large Cherokee family that has, through generations, made many contributions to the tribe’s history and survival.
Verble's new novel is Maud's Line.
From her Q & A with Deborah Kalb:
Q: How did you come up with your main character, Maud, and with the idea for this book?Visit Margaret Verble's website.
A: I came up with Maud because I had been told by several people that in order to get a first novel published, it was best to have a single story character.
I knew I wanted to write about Cherokees; I wanted to set the novel earlier than when I set it, but if I did that, I would have to write about a group because it was still such a tribal setting. I had to set it at the time period where a sense of individuality was arising—that was around the 1920s.
Q: So did you come up with the time period first or the story first?
A: The time period first. I wanted to write about the land. It’s my family’s land; it has sustained me through my life. I started reading and thinking about the time period…
Steinbeck had written about the Depression. I went to the 1920s. 1927 and 1929 had been written about a great deal. I settled on the year 1928. Then I settled on ...[read on]
My Book, The Movie: Maud's Line.
Thursday, August 27, 2015
Stefanie Pintoff's latest novel is Hostage Taker.
From her Q & A with Taylor at NewInBooks:
Tell us a little bit about your new release, Hostage Taker.Learn more about her books at Stefanie Pintoff's website.
Hostage Taker represents a new direction for me – specifically a change of genre and time-period. The idea for the novel came to me shortly after Saint Patrick’s Cathedral began its massive renovation project—and I first saw the Cathedral buried in scaffolding. I looked at the chaos and upheaval, and began to think: what if … ?
Those what ifs built upon one another until I conceived a story where the fates of a beloved landmark and an unknown number of hostages were at stake. Where the only hope would be FBI agent Eve Rossi and her unconventional team of ex-convicts—a secret unit with extraordinary talents, oversized egos, and contempt for the rules. Where as a writer, I could blend my love of this city’s history with my desire to write a page-turning contemporary thriller.
Hostage Taker was great fun to write – and I hope readers will enjoy it!
If you could have dinner with anyone, alive or dead, who would you choose and why?
It’s almost impossible to pick just one person, but if forced to choose, I would pick...[read on]
The Page 69 Test: In the Shadow of Gotham.
The Page 69 Test: A Curtain Falls.
Coffee with a Canine: Stefanie Pintoff & Ginger.
The Page 69 Test: Secret of the White Rose.