Category Archives: Author of the Week

Author of the Week, Shirley Jackson, June 13

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   June  13

Shirley Jackson

(Mysteries, Supernatural, Gothic Horror, “Quiet Horror”)

“In the country of the story the writer is king.”

“I have always loved to use fear, to take it and comprehend it, and make it work, and consolidate a situation where I was afraid and take it whole and work from there.”

“I began writing stories about my children because, more than any other single being in the world, children possess and kind of magic that makes much of what they do so oddly logical and yet so incredible to grown-ups.”

Shirley Jackson is American novelist and short story writer.  The Lottery is her most famous short story but most of us admire her novel The Haunting of Hill House. She wrote six novels, two memoirs, and more than 200 short stories. The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle established her as a master of gothic horror and psychological suspense.

Listen to Shirley Jackson read her short stories,

The Lottery and The Daemon Lover:

 

The writing of Hangsaman, Shirley Jackson’s second novel, has inspired one of the most anticipated films of  2020. Shirley, won awards at Sundance Festival in January, is a psychological thriller that reflects on writing, womanhood and what it means to be a wife in 1950s America. Elisabeth Moss plays Jackson.

The film opens with a shot of the infamous short story The Lottery in The New Yorker. In actuality, Jackson started writing Hangsaman in 1950. The film focused on when Jackson was living in Bennington, Vermont, before she moved to Westport, Connecticut.

 

Hangsaman’s narrative structure descends into a shapeshifting ambiguity that left some critics at the time rather confused. But this is where Shirley really comes into its own in illustrating Jackson’s potential thought process behind the novel. “So what will become of your heroine?” asks Hyman, to which Jackson replies: “What happens to all lost girls: they go mad.”

Watch the trailer:

(Classic “Quiet Horror”)

 

Library of American interviews Joyce Carole Oates about Shirley Jackson (6 pages:

Click to access LOA_Oates_on_Jackson.pdf

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on Mondays once a month at Reading Fiction Blog! 

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 250 free short stories by over 150 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary or classic authors. Audios too.

Follow or Join me here every month.

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Author of the Week, Algernon Blackwood, March 14

Author of the Week,  March 14,  Monday

Algernon Blackwood

(Short Story Writer and English Novelist of Mysteries and Supernatural)

 

“Certain houses, like certain persons, manage somehow to proclaim at once their character for evil.”

“But the wicked passions of men’s hearts alone seem strong enough to leave pictures that persist; the good are ever too lukewarm.”

“Ritual is the passage way of the soul into the Infinite.”

 

 

Algernon Blackwood (1869 to 1951) was one of the most prolific writers of ghost stories in the history of the genre. His two best known stories are The Willows and The Wendigo. His first book of short stories, The Empty House (1906) was when he became a full-time fiction writer. Later collections include John Silence (1908), stories about a detective sensitive to extrasensory phenomena, and Tales of the Uncanny and Supernatural (1949), 22 stories selected from his nine other books of short stories.

Today is Blackwood’s anniversary of his birth, March 14, 1869.  As fiction readers we love to pay tribute to authors on the birth or death dates as a memoriam by reading their work.  Blackwood’s mysterious tales and atmospheric ghostly stories  bring our imaginations into other worlds. He is a master at going deep into the psychological elements of ghosts and the element of human fear and desire. His stories are a treat into vintage fiction!

On this blog, I have featured seven of Blackwood’s stories (In the Index of Authors’ Tales above). He is a worthy favorite of mine. You won’t be disappointed.

Interview with Andrew McQuade about Blackwood’s Fiction: http://satanicpandemonium.blogspot.com/2012/12/algernon-blackwood-interview-with.html

 

Audio of Algernon Blackwood Reading Pistol Against a Ghost. A quick story that will make you smile! (7 minutes):

 

 

And here is audio of The Wood of the Dead (35 minutes):

 

 

 

 

 

Visit Algernon Blackwood’s Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Algernon-Blackwood/e/B001IO9NQO 

There are a number of Blackwood’s stories free on Kindle.

 

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on Mondays once a month at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 250 free short stories by over 150 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary or classic authors. Audios too. 

Comments and Likes are welcome!

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Author of the Week, Susan Hill, February 7

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   February 7   Monday

Susan Hill

(Novels/Short Stories, Mystery and Ghost Fiction)

 

“Ghost stories … tell us about things that lie hidden within all of us, and which lurk outside all around us.”

“I wrote ghost stories because I’d always enjoyed reading them, and they seemed to be fizzling out… I don’t take them terribly seriously. It’s like a cake, with ingredients.”

“Though they don’t always have to be set in fog, weather is incredibly important in ghost stories. As is suspense: you’ve got to turn the screw very, very slowly.”

“I have only read very classic traditional English ghost stories, other than Henry James, who wrote some magnificent short ones as well as the longer ‘Turn of the Screw.’ He, Dickens, and M.R. James are my influences.”

 

 

Dame Susan Hill, Lady Wells, DBE is an English author of fiction and non-fiction works. Her novels include The Woman in Black, The Mist in the Mirror, and I’m the King of the Castle, for which she received the Somerset Maugham Award in 1971. Other awards include Whitbread Novel Award for The Bird of Night (1972); and the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for The Albatross (1971), a collection of short stories.

Her Simon Serrailler Crime Mysteries are popular novels, beginning with the first in the series The Various Haunts of Men.

Reviews:

“A gripping whodunnit and a subtle study of the mind of a psychopath”  Daily Mail 

“I loved this book. Masterly and satisfying” Ruth Rendell 

“This book must be judged as a potential successor to the great sequences of detective writing by PD James and Ruth Rendell…excellent” Daily Telegraph 

“She has the priceless ability to construct a solidly-researched narrative that keeps the reader turning the pages”  Independent  

Interview with Susan Hill speaking about wickedness, her dark new novella – and why she would never read the latest Man Booker winner.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/oct/25/susan-hill-books-interview

Interview about ghost stories:

 

Here is the trailer for The Small Hand, a short story by Susan Hill

Visit Susan Hill’s Amazon Book Page: https://www.amazon.com/Susan-Hill/e/B096X8W23Z

 

 

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author

on Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over

200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors.

Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors, audios too.

 

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Author of the Week, Rod Serling, January 3, 2022

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK,  January 3, Monday

Rod Serling

(Screenwriter, Playwrite, Television Producer, Narrator of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror)

 

 

“Fantasy is the impossible made probable. Science Fiction is the improbable made possible.”

“I find that, within the framework of the science fiction or fantasy genres, the use of travelling back in time is a very effective way of producing contrasts, of  producing contrasts, of producing a kind of free-wheeling storytelling device.”

“I take off and write out of a sense of desperate compulsion.”

“The instinct of creativity must be followed by the act. The physical act of putting it down for a sense of permanence.”

“There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man … a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination.”

Rod Serling  (1924 to 1975) was one of the most talented storytellers of our modern times. Well known for his science-fiction anthology TV series, The Twilight Zone, he won a 1955 Emmy Award for his script Patterns, a 1957 Emmy for his script Requiem for a Heavyweight, and a 1959 Emmy for The Twilight Zone. He was also co-author of The Planet of the Apes. Serling taught dramatic writing at Ithaca College in New York.

In his youth he enlisted in the U.S. Army the morning after his high school graduation, fought in World War II, and earned the  Purple Heart, the Bronze Star and the Philippine Liberation Medal.

Rod Serling died at age 50 after heart surgery.

 

Interview with Rod Serling, University of Kansas, by James Gunn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rod Serling’s Author Page on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Rod-Serling/e/B001H6OHVE

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

Keep the holiday season joy and peace into the entire new year, 2022!

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Author of the Week, Michael Cunningham, November 29

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK    November 29

Michael Cunningham

(Literary, Novelist and Screenwriter)

“I revise constantly, as I go along and then again after I’ve finished a first draft. Few of my novels contain a single sentence that closely resembles the sentence I first set down. I just find that I have to keep zapping and zapping the English language until it starts to behave in some way that vaguely matches my intentions.”

“Here’s a secret. Many novelists, if they are pressed and if they are being honest, will admit that the finished book is a rather rough translation of the book they’d intended to write.”

“Literature is, inescapably, an act of seduction, whether the writer hopes to seduce millions with a story of an adolescent vampire in love, or a handful of readers, who are willing to take a darker, strange, more enigmatic ride. Which involves a certain element of what I’ll call: You Won’t Believe What Happened Next.”

 

Michael Cunningham (born November 1952) is an American novelist and screenwriter, best known for his 1998 novel The Hours, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award in 1999. He is a senior lecturer of creative writing at Yale University. His fiction includes A Home at the End of the WorldFlesh and BloodSpecimen DaysBy Nightfall, and The Snow Queen, as well as the collection A Wild Swan and Other Tales.

Interview with Michael Cunningham at University of Iowa (20 minutes):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trailer for film The Hours:

 

Visit Michael Cunningham’s Amazon Book Page: https://www.amazon.com/Michael-Cunningham/e/B00456O74U 

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on

Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

 

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Author of the Week Deborah Harkness, October 11

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   October 11

Deborah Harkness

(Scholar and Novelist: Historical Fiction, Magical Realism, Mythology, Paranormal, Supernatural)

 

“I definitely see my historical work as a process of detection. Historians fit pieces of evidence together and hope that they eventually form a coherent picture. Often, a historian’s most compelling questions—and the most difficult to answer—concern personal motivations and why something happened the way it did. These are questions we have in common with detectives.”

“Fiction is more like alchemy, though. You take a little of this, a little of that, combine it, and hope that something wonderful occurs so that your creation is greater than the sum of its individual parts.”

“We make our own monsters.”

“I’m a storyteller, and I have really good material to work with: I’ve been studying magic and the occult since about 1983.”

“A lot of our assumptions of the world are fairly cynical, fairly negative, and assume the worst. What our reading tastes show – in this rush to fantasy, romance, whatever – is that we actually still want to believe in a world of possibility, in a world of mystery.”

 

Deborah Harkness  is an American scholar and novelist. She is best known as the author of best selling novels A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, and The Book of Life.  Before becoming a best selling author, she spent more than a quarter of a century as a student and scholar of history, with degrees from Mount Holyoke College, Northwestern University, and the University of California at Davis. She has researched  the history of magic and science in Europe, especially during the period from 1500 to 1700. Harkness’s scholarly work can be found in John Dee’s Conversations with Angels: Cabala, Alchemy, and the End of Nature (Cambridge University Press, 1999) and The Jewel House: Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution (Yale University Press, 2007). She has received  fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the National Humanities Center.

 

Interview with Deborah Harkness, AuthorMagazine.org (10 minutes):

 

 

“A wonderfully imaginative grown-up fantasy with all the magic of Harry Potter and Twilight” (People Magazine).

“Romantic, erudite, suspenseful.” (The Oprah Magazine)

Trailer for original series Discovery of Witches, Season One:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit Deborah Harkness’s Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Deborah-Harkness/e/B001IO8EOQ

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

Leave a comment

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Author of the Week, Carlos Ruiz Zafón, September 27

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   September 27

 

Carlos Ruiz Zafón

(Contemporary Spanish Novelist: Historical, Psychological, Supernatural/Fantasy, Literary Thrillers)

 

“I am in the business of storytelling. I always have been, always will be. It is what I’ve been doing since I was a kid. Telling stories, making up tales, bringing life to characters, devising plots, visualising scenes and staging sequences of events, images, words and sounds that tell a story. All in exchange for a penny, a smile or a tear, and a little of your time and attention.”

“Sometimes people ask me what piece of advice I would give to an aspiring author. I’d tell them that you should only become a writer if the possibility of not becoming one would kill you. Otherwise, you’d be better off doing something else. I became a writer, a teller of tales, because otherwise I would have died, or worse.”

“I have written for young readers, for the movies, for so-called adults; but mostly for people who like to read and to plunge into a good story. I do not write for myself, but for other people. Real people. For you.”

“I thank the Gods of Literature for I believe that when you pick up something I’ve written and pay for it, both in terms of your money and something much more valuable, your time, you are entitled to get the best I can produce.”

“Books are mirrors. You only see in them what you already have inside you.”

 

Carlos Ruiz Zafón (1964 – 2020) Spanish author of six novels, including the international phenomenon The Shadow of the Wind, published in 42 countries. Cemetery of Forgotten Books, the best-selling Barcelona-based books that began with The Shadow of the Wind. His work has been published in more than forty different languages, and honored with numerous international awards, including the Silver Premio Euzkadi in 2008, the Barry Award for Best First Novel in 2005, and the Best Foreign Book in France in 2004.

 

Marina is a supernatural mystery. The supernatural mystery genre combines fantasy, paranormal, and mystery. Some other authors in this genre are Charlaine Harris, Peter Straub, Mary Shelley, Edgar Allen Poe, and (forgive me) yours truly, Paula Cappa. I love to write ghostly stories that get their power from the invisible world beyond us. The idea of the supernatural in literature is often based on death existing before birth, making death a beginning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit Zafon’s Amazon Page:

https://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Wind-Cemetery-Forgotten-Book-ebook/dp/B000OVLINI

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on

Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

 

 

Leave a comment

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Author of the Week, Susan Cheever, August 30

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK  August 30

Susan Cheever

(Fiction, Memoir, Biography, American History)

“I believe that the memoir is the novel of the 21st century; it’s an amazing form that we haven’t even begun to tap…we’re just getting started figuring out what the rules are.”

“What makes someone want to be a writer? Clearly, one thing this dream requires is a ferocious hunger, a hunger for recognition, a yearning to be heard that roars through the soul with a sound so great that the stories often feel as if they are discovered rather than invented.”

“Obsession is so extreme and so hard to imagine with the rational mind that it has a science-fiction-like quality to it—it’s almost as if the obsessed one has been taken over by a replica, a pod, a facsimile of the rational person. When one is in the grip of an obsession, everything else—children, regular meals, sleep, work—is swept away.”

 

 

Susan Cheever (born 1943), an American author is the recipient of the PEN New England Award. She is daughter of novelist John Cheever. She is best known for Home Before Dark, a memoir about her father, John Cheever, and American Bloomsbury: Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau: Their Lives, Their Loves, Their Work. Cheever’s most recent book is Drinking in America: Our Secret History. The book chronicles how alcohol has influenced the history of the United States. Her biographies of Louisa May Alcott and E.E. Cummings are critically acclaimed. Her novels are Doctors and Women, The Cage, A Handsome Man, and Looking for Work. One of her favorite books is Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen. She grew up in Tarrytown, NY.

Susan Cheever at New York State Writers Institute (4 minutes):

 

Susan Cheever discusses how she resists “memoir shame” and addresses readers curiosity.

Visit Susan Cheever’s Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Susan-Cheever/e/B001IQZHTY

 

 

 

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on Mondays at

Reading Fiction Blog!

 

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story

by contemporary and classic authors.

 

COMMENTS  ARE WELCOME!

 

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Author of the Week, Dan Simmons, August 9

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   August 9

Dan Simmons

(Short Stories and novels in Suspense, Noir Crime, Supernatural, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror, Historical and Mainstream Fiction)

 

“I knew that I wanted to be a writer even before I knew exactly what being a writer entailed.”

“There’s a unique bond of trust between readers and authors that I don’t believe exists in any other art form; as a reader, I trust a novelist to give me his or her best effort, however flawed.”

“I find that I write more slowly and carefully, even as the deadlines come more frequently. I’ve never been satisfied with the final form of any of my work, but the dissatisfaction may be deeper now — even as some of the quality goes up — because I know I have fewer years ahead of me in which to improve and make-up for my shortcomings.”

 

Dan Simmons (Born 1948)  is a multi-award winning American author.  His first novel, Song of Kali, won the World Fantasy Award; his first science fiction novel, Hyperion, won the Hugo Award. Most readers know him for winning four Bram Stoker Awards, among many other fiction prizes. One of his favorite authors is Charles Dickens (Drood). His short story The River Styx Runs Upstream was awarded first prize in Twilight Zone Magazine story competition. The Terror and The Abominable are his historical fiction novels.  Stephen King had significant praise for Simmons novels:  “Simmons writes like a hot-rodding angel.”

See all Simmons’ literary awards here, 35+  https://www.sfadb.com/Dan_Simmons

Dan Simmons Interview – Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy Podcast #96 (Discusses horror)

 

Steven Silver interviews Simmons on ScienceFiction.com:

https://www.sfsite.com/09b/ds160.htm 

 

The Crook Factory is about Ernest Hemingway while living in Cuba in the 1940s. Simmons states in the afterward that 95% of the novel is true. The story is a thrilling plot about an FBI agent and Hemingway’s amateur spy ring called Crook Factory in Cuba at the beginning of WW II. “Simmons spins, the zesty characters it entangles and its intricate cross-weave of fact and fiction .” Publishers Weekly

 

In A Winter Haunting, college professor and novelist, Dale Stewart,  has been followed to this house of shadows by private demons who are now twisting his reality into horrifying new forms. And a thick, blanketing early snow is starting to fall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit Dan Simmons Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Dan-Simmons/e/B000APQZD6/

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author

on Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

Comments and LIKES Welcomed!

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Author of the Week, Sarah Waters, August 2

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK,  August 2

Sarah Waters

(Historical Novels)

 

 

“I knew I’d always be a second-rate academic, and I thought, Well, Id rather be a second-rate novelist or even a third-rate one.”

“Respect your characters, even the ­minor ones. In art, as in life, everyone is the hero of their own particular story; it is worth thinking about what your minor characters’ stories are, even though they may intersect only slightly with your protagonist‘s.”

“I never expected my books to do even as well as they have. I still feel grateful for it, every single day.”

 

 

Sarah Waters,  born July 1966, is an award-winning Welsh novelist. She is best known for her novels set in Victorian society. Author of six novels, Tipping the VelvetAffinityFingersmithThe Night Watch and The Little Stranger, which have been adapted for stage, television and feature film in the UK and US. Her novels have been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Women’s Prize for Fiction and she has won the Betty Trask Award; the Somerset Maugham Award; The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award; the South Bank Show Award for Literature and the CWA Historical Dagger.

 The Society of Authors interviews Sarah Waters, “Afternoon Tea”: (45 minutes)

 

 

Visit Sarah Waters Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Sarah-Waters/e/B001K86U3C

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

 

4 Comments

Filed under Author of the Week, dark literature, fiction, fiction bloggers, ghost stories, ghost story blogs, Gothic fiction, historical fiction, historical ghost stories, literary horror, literature, mysteries, psychological horror, Reading Fiction, READING FICTION BLOG Paula Cappa