I am thrilled to tell you I have a new novel out this month: At the Edge of the Orchard. For me a title is either obvious from the start, or it’s a great struggle to find it. I went through dozens before settling on this one, but now I can’t understand why I didn’t think of it immediately.
Picture yourself as a nine-year-old boy, standing at the edge of an orchard in northwest Ohio. Black Swamp, to be precise. 1830s. Hard, hard life: there is mud, there are mosquitoes, and swamp fever, and it’s hard to get things to grow. Your mother is drunk, again. Your parents are fighting—I mean, really fighting—over apples, of all things. It taints everything, even your father’s carefully tended orchard full of trees bought from a man nicknamed Johnny Appleseed. A few are specially grafted and produce golden pippins: sweet apples with a pineapple finish. You love that taste. You will always love it.
You could stay in this awful swamp, with the simmering violence that is about to boil over. Or you could go. Go West. There are trees there so tall you can’t see their tops. You don’t know that yet, but you will.
What do you do at the edge of the orchard? Your choice will follow you all your life.On Sale March 15At the Edge of the Orchard is published in the US and UK.
I was born in October 1962 and grew up in Washington, DC, moving to England after graduating with a BA in English from Oberlin College (Ohio). For several years I worked as a reference book editor, while writing short stories in my spare time. In 1993 I quit to do an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia (Norwich, England). Afterwards I juggled freelance editing with writing until eventually I was able to write full-time.I live in London with my English husband and son. I’ve written 8 novels and edited 2 short story collections. My second novel, Girl with a Pearl Earring, sold 5 million copies worldwide and was made into a film starring Colin Firth and Scarlett Johansson. Apart from writing, I’ve curated three shows in art galleries/museums.
Facts That Don’t Fit a Standard Biography:
- I’ve lived in the United Kingdom for over 30 years, but I still have an American accent.
- I have not worked in an office since 1993.
- I write novels longhand, typing what I’ve written into the computer at the end of each day.
- I prefer blue ink, and use disposable fountain pens. (Fancy ones don’t work for me.)
- I have a desk in my study but usually I write on the living room sofa.
- I’m left-handed.
- Every year I go to an all-night Oscars party in London.
- My favorite everyday fruit are apples; favorite occasional fruit are raspberries.
- I make quilts, slowly.
- If I were to do college/university all over again, I would study art history.
- I avoid wearing earrings and a necklace together. Less is more with jewelry.
- I read books mostly by women. It’s not deliberate.