Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Mary Sharratt

Mary Sharratt is an American writer currently living in England. A member of the literary organization Commonword, she is active in the Manchester writing community, regularly taking part in public readings and leading writing workshops.

Her acclaimed first novel Summit Avenue, set in Minnesota during the nineteen-teens, "is the story of a young German immigrant who translates fairy tales for an enigmatic older woman." The Real Minerva, her second novel, explores the theme of female outlaws in a 1920s Minnesota town.

Sharratt's third book, The Vanishing Point, a literary novel of dark suspense set in the Colonial Chesapeake, was included in the UK Guardian's readers' Best Literary Discoveries of 2006.

I recently asked her what she was reading. Her reply:
As a Reviews Editor for the Historical Novel Society, I read a lot of new historical fiction in various subgenres, historical mysteries being one of the most popular. The most recent is Gyles Brandreth’s Oscar Wilde and the Candlelight Murders, which I thought worked better as an affectionate homage to Wilde than as a proper murder mystery. My full review will run in the August issue of The Historical Novels Review.

Currently I’m reading Michelle Moran’s debut novel, Nerfertiti, which publishes in July. I will be interviewing the author for Solander, the sister publication of the HNR.

Next on my to-be-read stack is Aryn Kyle’s horse-centric literary novel, The God of Animals. My friend, the British author Cath Staincliffe, gave me this book because she knows how passionate I am about horses.

For the rest, I’m reading a lot of nonfiction to research my new novel about the Lancashire Witches of 1612. So far, I’ve examined the primary and period sources: Thomas Potts’s account of the trial, The Wonderfull Discoverie of Witches in the Countie of Lancaster, published in 1613, and James I’s treatise, Daemonologie. James I was obsessed with the occult and some scholars believe that his paranoia of diabolical powers helped fuel the 1612 witch craze. A modern work I’ve found very helpful is The Lancashire Witches: Histories & Stories, edited by Robert Poole. Next on my list are Carlo Ginzburg’s Ecstasies: Deciphering the Witches’ Sabbath and Emma Wilby’s Familiar Spirits: Shamanistic Visionary Traditions in Early Modern British Witchcraft and Magic. Not exactly beach books!
Read more about The Vanishing Point, including an excerpt, at Mary Sharratt's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Vanishing Point.

The Page 69 Test: The Vanishing Point.

--Marshal Zeringue