Melanie Benjamin is the author of Alice I Have Been (2010), The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb (2011), and the newly released The Aviator's Wife.
From her Q & A with Molly Driscoll at the Christian Science Monitor:
Q: What about historical figures makes you want to focus a novel around them?Learn more about the book and author at Melanie Benjamin's website.
A: Now that I've got three under my belt, I can sense a pattern. The first one, "Alice I Have Been," was just kind of blindly stumbling across what I thought was an interesting story. But I think I am looking for women who were well-known in their time, or for a short period of time, and have kind of fallen off the public's collective consciousness.
And I also am looking for women who I suspect are not entirely truthful with the historical record or even to themselves – not intentionally, maybe. I think I'm attracted to those stories where I suspect there are a lot of locked doors and hidden closets that we haven't explored.
Q: What have readers or people you know been most surprised by about Anne [Morrow Lindbergh, wife of aviator Charles Lindbergh, and the protagonist of The Aviator's Wife]?
A: I think a lot of people were surprised primarily to hear of her aviation exploits. During the height of their fame in the early '30s, they were Lindy and Anne together, one breath, and she was certainly admired for her aviation and her exploits at that time. Though I think even at the time, everyone assumed it was Lindy doing everything and Anne was tagging along. Certainly female reporters would not ask her about her skills as a pilot, they would ask her how she was going to set up housekeeping in the plane.
I think that what happened was the kidnapping [of the Lindbergh's baby] so...[read on]
The Page 69 Test: Alice I Have Been.
The Page 69 Test: The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb.
My Book, The Movie: The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb.
Writers Read: Melanie Benjamin (August 2011).
The Page 69 Test: The Aviator's Wife.
Writers Read: Melanie Benjamin.