Kate Manning is the author of Whitegirl, a novel (Dial Press, 2002). A former documentary television producer for public television, she has won two New York Emmy Awards, and also written for the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times Book Review, among others. She has taught creative writing at Bard High School Early College in Manhattan, where she lives with her boisterous family, including a dog named Moon, who walks her regularly.
Her latest novel is My Notorious Life. The novel introduces Axie Muldoon, a fiery heroine for the ages whose story begins on the streets of 1860s New York. The impoverished child of Irish immigrants, she grows up to become one of the wealthiest and most controversial women of her day.
From a Q & A at the author's website:
What inspired you to set your story in 1860s Manhattan?Visit Kate Manning's website.
I wanted to write a good old-fashioned rip-roaring tale, and the drama and hysterics of Victorian New York are perfect fodder for that. The headlines were always screaming about scandal and morality. Good guys and bad guys, the very, very rich and wretched bare-bones poor. Sin, disease, hucksters, con artists. Wild, brash characters trying to reinvent themselves in that very American rags-to-riches way. Immigrants were pouring into the city. The country was at war with itself. Attitudes toward women and children and religion were starting to change. Writing this book, I loved exploring the seeds of current social issues that were planted over a hundred years ago, marveling at was has changed and what hasn’t.
My Notorious Life is told from the point of view of Axie Muldoon. Can you talk a little about her?
Axie is the orphaned child of Irish immigrants and a creature of the New York City slums. She grows up to become notorious for the simple reason that she helps women. Especially pregnant women. And especially women who don’t want to be pregnant. She’s fierce and outspoken and because she stands up to the authorities, she gets herself in a fair amount of trouble with the press and with the law. But really, her main wish is for...[read on]
The Page 69 Test: My Notorious Life.