Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Jacquelyn Mitchard

Jacquelyn Mitchard is the New York Times bestselling author of 23 novels for adults and teenagers, and the recipient of Great Britain’s Talkabout prize, The Bram Stoker and Shirley Jackson awards, and named to the short list for the Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Her newest novel, A Very Inconvenient Scandal, the story of Frankie Attleboro, an acclaimed young underwater photographer reeling from her mother’s shocking death, whose famous marine biologist father shatters the family by marrying Frankie’s best friend, is out from Mira/HarperCollins.

Recently I asked Mitchard about what she was reading. Her reply:
I like to read several different kinds of things, especially while I’m writing a novel. It once was true that I couldn’t let myself read any fiction for fear that I might steal from the author or fall into despair, but I can manage now (I hope). The books I’m reading now really span the globe of styles and topics and, while I never get bored with any of them, I switch back and forth among them because I’m such a fast reader I’m afraid I’ll gobble them up too quickly if I don’t.

At this point, I’m reading:

The Child 44 trilogy by Tom Rob Smith … it’s a cracking good historical mystery series about a disgraced military detective who chases a serial killer of children in the early days of the Soviet Union, when the official position of the state was that crime could not exist in a society in which people were emotionally fulfilled and happy because all their needs were met – which was anything but the case.

Let Us Descend by Jesmyn Ward … A reimagining of American slavery by the most powerful young author in the land, this book absolutely hammers the heart but also opens it to hope.

Bright Young Women by Jessica Knoll. Jessica Knoll is absolutely on fire, having written Luckiest Girl Alive, recently adapted for a film with Mila Kunis, about a young woman who survived a school shooting. In her newest, Knoll tells the story of a woman whose fate it was to be the eyewitness to the man who carried out a fatal rampage at a Florida sorority house: While clearly based on the last murders by serial killer Ted Bundy, Knoll’s protagonist, Pamela Schumacher, refuses to speak the name of the man she calls only “The Defendant,” undercutting the media perception of him as bright, handsome, and charming – a fictional critique of the real-life reporting on Bundy.

A Haunting on the Hill by Elizabeth Hand – This eerie and frankly ghostly story is the only officially sanctioned continuation of Shirley Jackson’s terrifying classic The Haunting of Hill House. It tells of Holly Sherwin, a playwright who fears she’s washed up but who gathers a group of actors and musicians for a two-week rental at Hill House (which still stands against its hills, not sane, holding silence within) to work on her comeback, a production about a woman charged with witchcraft.

I Have Some Questions for You by Rebecca Makkai – I was so looking forward to this new novel by the acclaimed author of The Great Believers that I almost wouldn’t let myself begin it. And, of course, once I did, I devoured this boarding-school mystery about a murder and its echoes, which manages to be deeply personal and sharply political too.
Visit Jacquelyn Mitchard's website.

My Book, the Movie: Two If by Sea.

The Page 69 Test: Two If by Sea.

The Page 69 Test: The Good Son.

Q&A with Jacquelyn Mitchard.

My Book, The Movie: The Good Son.

--Marshal Zeringue