Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Claire McMillan

Claire McMillan is the author of The Necklace and Gilded Age, which was inspired by Edith Wharton’s House of Mirth.

She grew up in and around Pasadena, California, but for some reason people always ask if she grew up in Philadelphia. She practiced complex corporate litigation in San Francisco until 2003 and then received an MFA in creative writing from Bennington College.

She currently lives on her husband’s family’s farm near Cleveland with their two children.

Recently I asked McMillan about what she was reading. Her reply:
The Essex Serpent, Sarah Perry – A Dickensian séance of a book that engages with questions of love, faith, science and religion. The main character, Cora Seaborne, newly widowed from a rich and distant man, is an obsessed naturalist who meets an unlikely parson and his beautiful but fragile wife in a town that might or might not be visited by a sea monster not unlike the Loch Ness Monster. The characters were so real and likeable that I thought about them for days afterward. I want one of my friends to read it immediately so I have someone to discuss it with.

Almost Famous Women, Megan Mayhew Bergman – Reading this group of short stories based on the lives of wild and somewhat famous women was to encounter a world-view and an aesthetic that validated my own and gives me heart as a writer. From a story featuring Beryl Markham, to conjoined twins in love with the same man, to a cross dressing heiress, these stories entranced me with their beauty and the encompassing atmosphere they created.

The Hidden Machinery: Essays on Writing, Margot Livesey –I’m very picky about writing books, but this one is a jewel. Her chapter, “He Liked Custard: Navigating the Shoals of Research” probably tells you a lot about how my writing has been going lately.
Visit Claire McMillan's website.

--Marshal Zeringue