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Author News & Interviews
When I was in grade school, reading was my guilty secret – kids were not supposed to be buried in books if they were to be popular. But one year I was unmasked when the teacher asked the class to make a list of all the books they read that summer. I knew my list would evoke ridicule because it was so long, so I only wrote down every other book. Yet even that was too much. The other kids saw my list and jeered, calling me “bookworm.”
Those kids had no idea what they were missing.
From the moment I could read, books consumed me. I loved everything from fairy tales – those moralistic stories in which those who are cruel or vain or greedy get their just deserts– to books about mountain men. Some stories were unforgettable, like Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. I was stunned by the ending, I never saw it coming.
As I grew older, my list of memorable books changed. Often what I took away from books was not actually the main theme, but it was vivid scenes and lessons that stood out for me.
I read George Orwell’s 1984 when I was in college. I can never forget the scene when Winston Smith was broken by what he feared most – rats. Doris Lessing’s book, The Fifth Child frightened me so much I was afraid to have a third child after having two who were, to my eyes, perfect. It involves a family that has a fifth child who turns out to be the devil himself. He rides off in the end with a motorcycle gang and every time the mother hears about a violent crime she wonders if her child did it.
The Sea and Poison by Shusaku Endo showed me moral ambiguities and how making excuses for inhumane behavior can destroy a person. It is about Japanese medical professionals who found ways to justify experiments on American prisoners of war during World War 2 and the how one doctor who took part was a broken after the experiments were done.
The Joke by Milan Kundera had a message about the futility of living a life consumed by thoughts of revenge. A college student plays a joke that is misunderstood, landing him in prison. He spends his life plotting a way to get back at his enemy, a former classmate. Years later, he gets his chance, playing what he thinks is a cruel joke on his protagonist. But the joke is on him – his protagonist has no memory of the incident that so destroyed the man’s life.
And so it goes. I am never without a book. I read on the train going to work, I read at night, I even read when I knit. I’d like to tell you some books I read recently that are on my Most Memorable list, but it takes time to know if a book really belongs there. I think Philip Roth’s America Pastoral will make it, and so might Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Marriage Plot. It’s been a while since I read them and they still stand out.
Of course, I hope, I really do, that Mercies in Disguise will make it onto your lists. It’s a story that will stay with me. I will never be able to forget that brave family.
GINA KOLATA (M.A.) is a writer and medical reporter for The New York Times. She has previously written several books, including Flu, and edited collections of popular science writing. Ms. Kolata lives with her husband in Princeton, New Jersey.
I’ve always loved the South and have visited Florida, Kentucky, Texas and my beloved Louisiana many, many times. I have several series that are set in the south, my most recent Dark Series novels being in Texas and of course my Ghostwalkers are currently in the Bayou near New Orleans.
I write romance, but my Ghostwalker series could easily be categorized as romantic suspense or a paranormal thriller. This series is one of my most researched. The series deals with military soldiers who’ve undergone experiments to enhance psychic ability and women who have been genetically altered, so there’s a good deal of science fiction in these stories.
I’ve always believed that it’s important to remain as close to actual science as possible when writing fiction. When I’m writing I contact military personnel, scientists, specialists and other professionals to ensure the accuracy of what I’m writing, or to ask if something I’d like to write is feasible under certain, extraordinary circumstances. I take some liberties, since this is fiction, but I try to be as accurate as possible where I can.
It’s a great deal of work that goes into the research and that includes being true to the location I’ve chosen for the books. Louisiana, specifically the New Orleans area, is unique is so many ways. It’s rich history, landscape, architecture, mix of cultures and even language set the area apart from everywhere else in the United States, if not the world. The people are fighters, survivors and they are loyal to each other, especially if they call each other “family”.
I’ve made many trips to New Orleans over the years and it remains one of my favorite cities on Earth. I’ve always felt a connection to that area and to the people. My latest trip took me back out to the bayou to research the area around the Pearl River Wildlife management area with Captain Neil Benson of Pearl River Eco Swamp Tour. Stennis a real-life popular area for military training so I wanted my characters to have access to that in the book. I put the family of Ghostwalkers in the swamp area, in a beautiful and secluded home.
The area is full of danger and full of beauty and the people who live there have such a fierce love for it that I knew I wanted my Ghostwalkers to live there and of course, fall in love there.
About the book:
#1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan is "one of the best storytellers around" (RT Book Reviews). Find out why as two lovers surrounded by greed and corruption discover there's no telling whom you can trust--or who will come out on top. . .
When members of a United Nations joint security force are taken hostage by radical terrorists in Indonesia, Captain Ezekiel Fortunes is called to lead the rescue team. Part of a classified government experiment, Zeke is a supersoldier with enhanced abilities. He can see better and run faster than the enemy, disappear when necessary and hunt along any terrain. There are those in the world willing to do anything for power like that...
A formidable spy genetically engineered to hide in plain sight, Bellisia rarely meets a man who doesn't want to control her or kill her. But Zeke is different. His gaze, his touch--they awaken feelings inside her that she never thought possible. He's the kind of man she could settle down with--if she can keep him alive. . .
About the author
Christine Feehan is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of many novels, including the Carpathian series, the GhostWalker series, the Leopard series, the Sea Haven series, and the Shadow series.
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