The Red and The Black
This masterpiece of social observation was published in 1830. My character, Michael, is writing a modern version of this book, about Julien, a man who craves the attention of society and at the same time distains it. Michael and Lizzie are a window into the literary world of New York, and Michael identifies with Julien.
To Each His Own
A great fun Italian mystery writer. When I travel, I like to read books that take place where I am, and his mysteries take place in Sicily. Lizzie reads this book on the vacation.
“Husbands and wives collaborate,” Lizzie says, “hiding even from themselves who is calling the shots and who is along for the ride.”
My novel Siracusa follows two couples and a child on vacation in Italy. Michael, a famous writer, and his wife, Lizzie, a journalist, travel with their friends from Maine—Finn, Taylor, and their daughter, Snow.
Told Rashomon-style with alternating points of view, the couples stumble upon lies and infidelities past and present. “From the start,” says Taylor, “it was a conspiracy between Lizzie and Finn to be together.” Snow, ten years old and precociously drawn into the adult drama, becomes a catalyst for catastrophe.
When I was researching Siracusa, I read books that I thought I my characters would read on their vacation, books about Sicily, novels I admired because they had emotional depth and, at the same time, kept you in their grip, riveted, wondering what would happen next. I wanted both things to be true in my book.
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Siracusa should provoke intense opinions and discussion because, while it has the pacing of a psychological thriller, it’s also an exploration of marriage, motherhood, friendship, and the meaning of travel. I hope you will find it a lens to examine your own relationships—hopefully in a book club and among friends, with an Aperol Spritz in hand.
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