Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Erin Blakemore

Erin Blakemore is a writer, entrepreneur, and inveterate bookworm.

Her debut book, The Heroine's Bookshelf: Life Lessons, from Jane Austen to Laura Ingalls Wilder, includes an exploration of classic heroines (such as Anne Shirley, Jo March, Scarlett O’Hara, and Jane Eyre) and their equally admirable authors (like Jane Austen, Harper Lee, and Laura Ingalls Wilder).

From her Q & A at the Christian Science Monitor:

How can characters like Lizzy Bennett or Jo March, who lived hundreds of years ago, inspire readers facing modern-day problems?

It’s the characteristics of a heroine, be it a really strong sense of self or an internal drive, I connect to modern day living.

None of us has been to a 19th-century country dance, but the situation can easily be extrapolated to a social event fraught with the tensions and anxieties that will always exist. For me, the way that Lizzy Bennett looks beyond those social pressures and remains herself throughout gives me a touch point for the next time I’m in one of those situations.

Several of your heroines (Anne Shirley, Laura Ingalls) are from children’s lit. How do their stories remain relevant as you get older?

“Jane Eyre” is actually a good example. I read it when I was far too young. When I was little it was a story about a little girl being oppressed by authoritative people. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve had my own romances and relationships and struggles, and I have come to see the book as the story of a young woman sticking to what’s important to her in really extraordinary and terrible places.

All of the children’s books I write about were written for the girl I was then, when I first encountered them, but they were also written for the women I am now, and hopefully the woman I will be as I age.

All of the authors you profiled had very difficult lives. Do you think that hardship breeds creativity?...[read on]
Visit Erin Blakemore's website and the official The Heroine's Bookshelf website.

The Page 99 Test: The Heroine's Bookshelf.

Writers Read: Erin Blakemore.

--Marshal Zeringue