The carnival scene in Gilded Age New York City forms the colorful backdrop of Leslie Parry's remarkable first novel, Church of Marvels. Here, she opens up about the inspiration behind this high-wire act of historical fiction, reveals her dream sideshow act and shares her fail-proof cure for writer's block.
Lawyer-turned-author Krassi Zourkova mines the traditions of her Bulgarian childhood in a magical debut, Wildalone. When Thea leaves Bulgaria to study at Princeton, her life becomes entwined with those of two sexy brothers as she works to uncover a long-hidden familiy secret. We asked Zourkova a few questions about love triangles, the literature that inspires her and the appeal of the alpha male.
North Carolina author Charlie Lovett has always had a passion for books and writers—his father was an English professor, and Lovett is an expert on the Victorian writer Lewis Carroll and a former antiquarian bookseller. His 2013 novel The Bookman’s Tale combined these interests to create a compelling story about a bookseller who uncovers a mystery in a used bookstore. In his latest novel, First Impressions, Lovett again combines antiquarian intrigue and a literary mystery—and this time, Jane Austen herself is at the center. We asked Lovett a few questions about books, collecting and, of course, Jane.
For most mere mortals, a position as a full-time historian and tenured professor at the University of Southern California would be sufficiently demanding. But not for Deborah Harkness, who has also managed to squeeze “best-selling novelist” onto her list of already impressive credentials.
Francine Prose has written more than 20 books, including the National Book Award finalist Blue Angel, so the term “breakout book” doesn’t really apply. But her new historical novel, Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932, is poised to become her biggest hit yet. Told from various perspectives, the novel pieces together the life of Lou Villars—auto racer, cross-dresser and eventual Nazi sympathizer—against the turbulent backdrop of Jazz Age Paris. We asked Prose a few questions about the new book. Read on to find out about her own double identity and why she writes for readers like herself.
California-born author Maggie Shipstead returns to fiction with a dazzling second novel, Astonish Me. The story of a ballerina that spans decades, it's as sharply observed as it is entertaining—and was our April 2014 Top Pick in Fiction. We asked Shipstead a few questions about the book.
The Last Days of California centers on a family preparing for the end of world. If you knew you had one week left on earth, how (and where) would you spend it?
I would need more details. Am I sick? Is a meteor about to crash into the earth, i.e. are there a bunch of really great parties going on? I wouldn’t want to spend any of that precious time hungover, though. I’d stay close to home, maybe take a quick trip down to New Orleans. I’d eat whatever I wanted, see the people I love most in the world and tell them how much I love them. Things I would not do: worry, read, watch TV, remain a vegetarian. If the world’s going to end, I’d definitely want a cheeseburger.
In her spellbinding debut novel, The People in the Trees, Hanya Yanagihara drew on her life as a well traveled woman and editor at Conde Nast Traveler to compose stunning, visual descriptions of place. In these fictional memoirs of a scientist who has fallen from grace, readers find themselves seduced by a remote jungle setting and all the...
British author Elizabeth Haynes started a novel one November, little suspecting that her story of a young woman who falls in love with the wrong man would eventually become a big bestseller—and Amazon U.K.'s reader-selected Best Book of 2011. With a movie adaptation and the book's U.S. publication date on the horizon, Haynes took...
The author of Shanghai Girls brings back three of her favorite characters in a new novel set during one of China’s darkest periods. Dreams of Joy is a sequel to one of your previous novels, Shanghai Girls. What made you decide to revisit that story and its characters? I didn’t plan to write a sequel. I thought the end of ...