Kelly DiPucchio may tackle disparate topics in her award-winning, bestselling children’s books—cured meats, zombies, politics, and dog breeds from France—but her approach is never didactic.
“I’m going to write a story about acceptance and belonging!” DiPucchio offers as one example of how not to begin a children’s book. “I’ve never started any story like that—with a message. I always start with a character and get them to tell me their story.”
DiPucchio, whose background is in child psychology ...
Quips on our radar
Kelly Barnhill photographed by Bruce Silcox.
“There are people who encounter the book who are surprised by its political nature. Maybe that did play a role [in winning the Newbery], because we are living in interesting times, when the ramifications of false and manipulated narratives are becoming apparent and we all have to figure out what we’re going to do about that. I’m glad to help kids think about how people can take facts that are true and spin stories that are not true. They have ...
Photo courtesy Darshan Steven
Don’t be afraid of The Dark and Other Love Stories but be warned: Deborah Willis’s delectable fictions aren’t amorous confections.
“I think that title is a bit misleading—actually, I know it is,” says Willis, by phone from home in Calgary. “A lot of people, when I tell them the title say, That sounds so lovely! I can’t wait!”
“I can tell they think it’s going to be romantic,” she says, “and it is a book of stories ...
Photo courtesy Claude Hurlbert
A few months shy of his 60th birthday, Daniel Lowe’s publishing dreams came true—with a novel that proceeds from a nightmarish premise.
In All That’s Left to Tell, a mid-level American executive named Marc Laurent is held captive in Pakistan by two local guards. Each day he is blindfolded and an English-speaking woman, who identifies herself as “Josephine,” questions him. When the ransom she seeks proves unforthcoming, her interrogation turns perversely personal.
“ ‘When I heard that your daughter ...
Photo courtesy Martha Reta
In titling her latest novel, Katie Kitamura fittingly forwent the certainty of a definite article.
“ ‘The Separation’ would refer to the split between the two characters,” says Kitamura, author of A Separation, the story of a wife’s international pursuit of her estranged husband, “but I think it is about a divide within the narrator, between the different versions of herself. She’s experiencing that separation in the present tense, enacting a role that isn’t who she is—pretending to be ...
The Stolen Child may be set on a fairy-filled Irish island, but it is “Magical realism of the best kind, utterly devoid of whimsy,” according to Kirkus’ starred review.
“My friends loved that quote, ‘utterly devoid of whimsy,’ ” says author Lisa Carey, who was recently abroad in Turkey, where we reached her by phone. “They said that should be my calling card now. I’m honored—it’s one of my favorite lines about the book so far. When you’re ...
Photo courtesy David Leyes
Who among us hasn’t dreamed of waking up in an alternate universe (especially recently)?
“We all imagine futures for ourselves that we don’t get,” says Elan Mastai, author of the swirling, comic sci-fi novel All Our Wrong Todays. “This is the future you get. You have to figure out how to live in it—how to close the gap between the world you want to live in and the world you do live in.”
In Mastai’s world (Canada ...
Quips on our radar
Michael Chabon, courtesy of Benjamin Tice Smith
“[There might have been] a cartoon of someone vomiting.”
—Michael Chabon, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, on the humiliating experience of breaking into his college literary journal’s office and discovering his defaced poetry submission in the reject pile, in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
“If you want to blame me [for] the death of Christmas, be my guest.”
—Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants, who bought $23,000 worth ...