Friday, November 27, 2009

Erin Dionne

Erin Dionne’s debut novel, Models Don’t Eat Chocolate Cookies, was inspired by events that occurred in seventh grade, when she wore a scary peach bridesmaid dress in her cousin’s wedding and threw up on her gym teacher’s shoes (not at the same event). Although humiliating at the time, these experiences are working for her now. Erin lives outside of Boston with her husband and daughter, and a very insistent dog named Grafton. She roots for the Red Sox, teaches English at an art college, and sometimes eats chocolate cookies.

Her new novel, The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet, is out in early January 2010.

Earlier this month I asked her what she was reading. Her reply:
I read in a range of genres, but I'm streaky: I'll immerse myself in middle grade or YA fiction for a while, then switch to nonfiction, short stories, or adult contemporary or literary fiction. The giant To Be Read pile next to my bed never seems to shrink in size. As a matter of fact, my daughter frequently uses it as a step to help her climb up and down off my bed!

I'm nearly done with Stephen King's Just After Sunset, a story collection that came out several months ago. I'm an unabashed King fan, and I always find a gem or two in his story collections. In this one, "The Gingerbread Girl" is a standout. Originally published in Esquire magazine, it's a suspenseful story with a resourceful heroine. King also added notes at the end of Sunset that detail the origins of each story, which I really appreciate. It's fascinating to get a glimpse into other authors' processes.

Before that, I read Ulrich Boser's The Gardner Heist. I live outside of Boston, and the art theft at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has been a source of fascination for me for years. Boser's book sifts through different theories, possibilities and suspects, giving readers not only an insider's view of the Gardner investigation (the art is still missing, BTW!), but art theft and recovery in general.

I'm also constantly reading advance copies of YA and middle grade titles by other members of the 2009 Debutantes group. We send ARCs (advanced reader copies) of our books around to one another to celebrate our debut year. Currently I have Donut Days by Lara Zielin and Ash by Malinda Lo.

Lastly, as the mom of a toddler, I read a LOT of picture books and board books. The ones in heavy rotation right now are Barnyard Dance! by Sandra Boynton, Eric Carle's Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?, and Good Night Hawaii (yes, we're raising her with an appropriate adoration for tropical locales!).
Visit Erin Dionne's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue