Category Archives: Backstory

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s First Draft

2012 is shaping up to be a big year for all of my childhood obsessions. The Lost Colony may have been found! We may know what happened to Amelia Earhart! And now it appears that Laura Ingalls Wilder’s original autobiography, “Pioneer Girl,” may at long last be published. (If C. Thomas Howell makes a big […]

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Hilary Mantel on Anne Boleyn

On Wednesday, Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies landed on my doorstep. This is (as you probably know) the second book in Mantel’s trilogy about Thomas Cromwell and features the fascinating Anne Boleyn as a major character. I’d been awaiting this book as eagerly as I anticipated A Dance with Dragons last year, which is […]

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MJ Rose’s Backstory: Norman Chance

“You must promise never to reveal the source of what I am about to tell you.” “Of course,” I answered, still completely in the dark as to what the woman sitting next to me planned to say. The promise was made during a luncheon at Dartmouth College’s Hanover Inn where I was attending a conference […]

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MJ Rose’s Backstory: Jonathan Cullen

During the 1970s Boston underwent a process of school desegregation which resulted in “forced busing,” where children from white neighborhoods were assigned to schools in neighboring black neighborhoods in order to achieve racial balance across the school system. My earliest memories were of boarding a bus in my safe and middle-class white neighborhood and driving […]

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MJ Rose’s Backstory: Tracy Marchini

I would love to say that the idea for Pub Speak: A Writer’s Dictionary of Publishing Terms came to me as I was browsing dictionaries in a library in Rome, or speaking about book publishing with my favorite author in a French café. But actually, the idea came to me while I sat on a […]

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MJ Rose’s Backstory: Susanne Dunlap

I have a confession to make. The idea for In the Shadow of the Lamp, my new young-adult historical novel, wasn’t entirely mine. It was actually my editor at Bloomsbury, Melanie Cecka, who said while we were having lunch near Union Square one day about a year and a half ago, “I’d love to see […]

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MJ Rose’s Backstory: Deborah Noyes

Unpuzzling Maggie Fox: Spirit Photographs, Canal Packets, and a Town that Talks to the Dead As soon as I read about them, I was drawn to the real-life rags-to-riches story of the Fox sisters. Two ordinary farm girls from Western New York, Maggie and Kate Fox gripped their community by claiming to be able to […]

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MJ Rose’s Backstory: Gayle Brandeis

Delta Girls is a book born from rejection. When Ballantine Books bought my novel Self Storage, they offered me a two book deal, which of course was thrilling and affirming to me as a writer. I wrote a novel with a 12-year-old narrator, My Life with the Lincolns, and turned it in, thinking I had […]

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MJ Rose’s Backstory: Susan Henderson

When Tillie Harris goes into premature labor, she has no one to turn to but her estranged father. Their relationship has been strained since Tillie was eight years old and her mother mysteriously vanished. Up From the Blue follows young Tillie’s startling discoveries about what happened to her mother, as well as grown Tillie’s struggle […]

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MJ Rose’s Backstory: Laura van den Berg

The title story of my collection, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us, began with me falling in love with a word: Madagascar. I fell head-over-heels for the cadence, for the way it evoked a Jacques Cousteau-esque sense of adventure and mystery. What did I know about Madagascar? Not much. […]

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