Melanie Benjamin is the author of the nationally bestselling Alice I Have Been and The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb.
Her latest book is the historical fiction, The Aviator’s Wife.
Benjamin lives in Chicago, where she is at work on her next historical novel.
Visit the Author:
Welcome Melanie. It's wonderful having you visit, and thanks for taking this time to answer some of my questions. Where do you dream of traveling to and why?
Recently, I turned 50 and decided that it was time to stop putting off the things I’ve always wanted to do, and one of these things is traveling. So this year I’ve gone to Paris and London; the first time I’ve ever traveled overseas. I’m bitten by the travel bug now! One of the top things I’d love to do is a luxurious river cruise from St. Petersburg to Moscow, on the Volga.
Does travel play in the writing of your books?
It does now! Early in my career I couldn’t afford it, so relied on my imagination and books and websites. Now, I can go off and see a place if I want – but I need to be careful. There’s a danger in over-researching; you want to put in every detail you see, whether or not it’s really necessary. I try very hard not to do that; I try to filter the things I see, remembering always that it’s the characters and relationships in a book that are the most important things, not the location.
Tell us about your current release.
THE AVIATOR’S WIFE is about the marriage between Anne Morrow Lindbergh and Charles Lindbergh; this difficult marriage between two opposites. It’s very much about Anne’s journey from shy ambassador’s daughter to daring aviator’s wife, from tragic mother to the confident woman who wrote GIFT FROM THE SEA.
I love to hear from readers; I meet with book clubs all the time, either in person or via Skype or phone. I sometimes test out an idea with a group of readers, just to see if there’s any interest; I did this with THE AVIATOR’S WIFE and was thrilled by how excited people were to read about the Lindberghs. I do get asked, quite often, what I’ve fictionalized in the novel, and what is historical truth. This question puzzles me, as a writer and reader of novels; I’m more interested in getting caught up in a good story, personally, than I am about what really happened. That’s for the history books, not the novel. But I respect this question, and provide a little guide at the back of every book that outlines the most important novelistic departures from the historical record, for those who are interested.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an actress; I dreamed of winning an Academy Award. I did quite a lot of theater up until my early thirties, when I lost interest. But soon after, I transferred my love of being other people, in other places, to the page, not the stage. That’s when I began writing.
Not surprisingly, I love a good historical series. I loved DEADWOOD, and adore MAD MEN. Currently, though, I’m obsessed with PARKS AND RECREATION; I’m catching up on early seasons on Netflix.
What are the most important attributes for remaining sane as a writer?
I think realizing that you’ll never run out of words or stories is important; it helps you be professional and objective about your current novel, if you know for sure you will write another. And another, and another. Also, a lack of sentimentality about writing and the business. I pour my sentiment out on the page, but keep it in check when dealing with the business of publishing, and my career as a whole. Writing is work; it’s not all inspiration and dreams. It’s about marshaling those inspirations and dreams into a story, and then simply sitting down and writing it, every day, without waiting for visits from the muse.
Tell us about the absolute BEST fan letter you have received.
I’ve received so many lovely fan letters! The most moving are usually those from grieving people who have found solace in my writing. I received a letter from a woman who, soon after losing her husband, read ALICE I HAVE BEEN, and she quoted a passage in that book that resounded with her, and that she now recites daily, to help her through her grief. I’ll never forget that letter.
Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?
Because it’s an epic story about a woman who made history. And because it’s very good!
ABOUT THE AVIATOR’S WIFE
Charles sees in Anne a kindred spirit, a fellow adventurer, and her world will be changed forever. The two marry in a headline-making wedding. Hounded by adoring crowds and hunted by an insatiable press, Charles shields himself and his new bride from prying eyes, leaving Anne to feel her life falling back into the shadows. In the years that follow, despite her own major achievements—she becomes the first licensed female glider pilot in the United States—Anne is viewed merely as the aviator’s wife. The fairy-tale life she once longed for will bring heartbreak and hardships, ultimately pushing her to reconcile her need for love and her desire for independence, and to embrace, at last, life’s infinite possibilities for change and happiness.
Drawing on the rich history of the twentieth century—from the late twenties to the mid-sixties—and featuring cameos from such notable characters as Joseph Kennedy and Amelia Earhart, The Aviator’s Wife is a vividly imagined novel of a complicated marriage—revealing both its dizzying highs and its devastating lows. With stunning power and grace, Melanie Benjamin provides new insight into what made this remarkable relationship endure.
Praise for the Book:
“Vivid and mesmerizing, The Aviator’s Wife takes us behind the scenes and into the heart of the woman who loved and married Charles Lindbergh. That was her destiny – a life that took her soaring into the skies and then plunged her to earth, a story of both triumph and pain that will take your breath away.” —Kate Alcott, author of The Dressmaker
Purchase the Book:
Join Melanie Benjamin, author of the historical fiction, The Aviator’s Wife, as she tours the blogosphere February 4 – 28 2013 on her third virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!
Tuesday, February 5
Interview & Book Giveaway at Laurie’s Non-Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews
Book Review at A Casual Reader’s Book Blog
Wednesday, February 6
Book Review at BookNAround
Thursday, February 7
Book Review at A Bookish Affair
Friday, February 8
Book Giveaway at The Musings of ALMYBNENR
Enter for a chance to win a Print copy of The Aviator's Wife.
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