Why I loved ‘The Passage’

(I don’t discuss much plot stuff at all, but if you want to remain totally unspoiled about The Passage, do not read this post or the linked reviews.) It will surprise no one who’s read Alcestis that I’ve thought about death often in the last few years. Partly this is an occupational hazard of writing…

Historical fiction and truth

Kate Pullinger, whose The Mistress of Nothing will soon be released in the US, wrote a great post last week about historians who dismiss historical fiction (in this case, Antony Beevor and Niall Ferguson): According to reports, Niall Ferguson says he never reads historical fiction because it ‘contaminates historical understanding’; Beevor says he thinks that…

Apples or pomegranates?

The wonderful Gavin Grant of Small Beer Press posted an interview we did recently about Alcestis, and I think it’s pretty neat! Gavin asked great and funny questions and I got to ramble about Evelina and Samuel Johnson and underworld research, which always makes me happy. Gavin and Kelly were the first people to publish…

Reviews & Mary Sues

Another lovely review came in yesterday, this one from Margaret Donsbach of historicalnovels.info, writing for Heritage Key. (Margaret was also kind enough to interview me for her own site a little while ago.) A tantalizing snippet that shows just how well she gets the book: Freud famously mined the Greek myths, a treasure trove of…

How to write feelings

Today is the last day that you can enter to win a book or gift certificate from my fabulous agent Diana Fox just for buying Alcestis. Details here! I saw this post by Donald Maass about awe linked recently. Interesting stuff, and I think some of the tips — especially the question “Now, how will…

Links for writers (and readers)

Today, a recommendation: the blog of my dear friend and mentor Elizabeth Scott, who writes wonderful YA novels of all sorts. Her next novel The Unwritten Rule will be out in April, and she’s published six other novels already. I recommend them all. She is also the master of useful linkage. Seriously: whether you’re published…

A monument

In Cold Blood is one of my favorite books, but I tend to forget that — as much as I love nonfiction, I always think of fiction first when somebody asks me about my favorites. Little Truman’s slender book gets crushed beneath Middlemarch and Pride and Prejudice. I reread In Cold Blood this summer for…

National Coming Out Day

Today is National Coming Out Day. When I was a Smith student, this was celebrated by lots of supportive chalking all over campus (“Come out, come out, whoever you are”) and by an outdoor celebration at night. All the houses set up tables and handed out fliers and candy and stickers — my house made…

Readers, writers, and money

Via Elizabeth Scott, this fascinating post by Lynn Viehl breaking down the exact amounts of her royalty statements for a New York Times bestselling book. Michelle Sagara/West’s post on writerly delusions and learning to accept reader responses to your own work. In other news, I’m about to mail off my corrected page proofs tomorrow —…