Lori Spielman photographed by Matthew Dae Smith
As Lori Nelson Spielman sits at her desk, working at her laptop, she can stare through the open slats of her office’s plantation shutters and watch the deer and blue heron step beneath the oak trees in her backyard. “It’s kind of a nice way of calming me down on those stressful days when the words aren’t flowing,” she says.
The days were very stressful as the No. 1 international bestselling author of The Life List wrote her ...
Mary Kubica photographed by Megan Bearder
Bestselling author Mary Kubica says her second novel, Pretty Baby, came to her with the sudden “pop” of an image: “I saw Willow, standing on that Chicago ‘L’ platform with this baby in her arms. I didn’t know who she was or what her story was—I had no idea what the pieces were going to be.” Kubica then “disappeared into a quiet corner of the house” to write what would become the novel’s opening scene, a fateful encounter between ...
Sophie McManus photographed by Jason Mones
Sophie McManus has perfect pitch for the icy tones of the idle rich.
In an early scene in The Unfortunates, aging heiress Cecilia “CeCe” Somner addresses catering staff aboard a hired yacht:
Bartenders, we will not serve anything with a straw. Mr. Antonopoulos. I am glad to see we no longer have the scuffed-shoe problem of our last engagement. I know there is a tendency to let off steam when you think you are amongst yourselves. I am not a ...
Sarai Walker photographed by Marion Ettlinger
If you happen to be hosting book club on the night your group discusses Dietland, Sarai Walker’s arresting debut novel, do yourself a favor and buy a few extra bottles of wine. As the book jacket’s cheerful pop-art image of a cupcake grenade suggests, there’s a lot to, well, chew on in these pages. Walker begins the book sweetly enough, sketching an intimate portrait of Plum Kettle, a young, “fat” woman trying to make her way at a women’s magazine ...
Peter Nichols photographed by Adrian Kinloch
Peter Nichols literally shipwrecked. Hollywood bigwigs optioned screenplays of his that were never produced. Love came and went. And when he submitted a draft of The Rocks, a novel quite unlike the bestselling nautical nonfiction he’s known for (A Voyage for Madmen, 2001; Evolution’s Captain, 2003, etc.), his longterm literary agent left him.
“Bad things don’t happen to writers; it’s all material,” Garrison Keillor said—and The Rocks is so much richer for the delectable allusions to its author’s adventuresome ...
The novel that birthed a "machine of condemnation"
Thomas Hardy by William Strang.
Thomas Hardy always imagined that he would be better known for his poems than his novels, which he grudgingly wrote, he said, simply to pay the bills. The facts were otherwise. He lived a long life, dying in 1928 at the age of 87, but had given up on writing those novels fully 33 years before—which did nothing to diminish either his reputation or the speculations on the parts of the contemporary press as to just when he would break ...
Our survey of books first published overseas that are making their way to America
Susan Barker photographed by Derek Anson.
U.K.: July 3, 2014 | Doubleday
U.S.: Aug. 18, 2015 | Touchstone
Wang Jun ekes out a living in gruelling 12-hour shifts as a taxi driver in dusty, polluted, crowded Beijing. His mundane life with his pretty masseuse wife and their adored daughter, Echo, in Apartment 404 is thrown into disarray by a series of letters from the mysterious Watcher, who claims to have known him in five previous lives. Wang’s past incarnations take the reader on ...
David Gates photographed by Mary McCormick
David Gates is many things. He’s a former journalist for Newsweek. A musician playing in three bands. A teacher in the University of Montana’s MFA program. He’s a writer, of course, and lately he’s been a writer wondering if he’s past his prime.
This is a trend for characters in his new book—his first in 16 years—A Hand Reached Down To Guide Me, a moving and nuanced collection of stories and one novella filled with aging artists, parents ...