I’m so happy to welcome my friend, author Laurie Lico Albanese to The Debutante Ball! I met Laurie through a writer group we both attend, and I adored her right off the bat. A fellow Atria author, Laurie recently published her novel STOLEN BEAUTY which instantly became a favorite of mine, and I have been recommending her book to everyone ever since. A book The Wall Street Journal called “a work of art itself,” STOLEN BEAUTY is a captivating, important novel that “draws readers into a world of glamour, art, intrigue, power and fear…In this complex yet utterly readable novel, historical characters are brought to life against the setting of a city on the verge of artistic greatness and societal collapse” (Library Journal, Starred Review).
STOLEN BEAUTY brings to life the art, politics and intrigues behind Gustav Klimt’s famous 1908 golden portrait, “Adele Bloch-Bauer I.” The NY Journal of Books calls it, “A gripping historical novel… love, sex, tense relationships, events spiraling out of control…”
In the dazzling glitter of 1900 Vienna, Adele Bloch-Bauer—young, beautiful, brilliant, and Jewish—meets painter Gustav Klimt. Wealthy in everything but freedom, Adele embraces Klimt’s renegade genius as the two awaken to the erotic possibilities on the canvas and beyond. Though they enjoy a life where sex and art are just beginning to break through the façade of conventional society, the city is also exhibiting a disturbing increase in anti-Semitism, as political hatred foments in the shadows of Adele’s coffee house afternoons and cultural salons.
Nearly forty years later, Adele’s niece Maria Altmann is a newlywed when the Nazis invade Austria—and overnight, her beloved Vienna becomes a war zone. When her husband is arrested and her family is forced out of their home, Maria must summon the courage and resilience that is her aunt’s legacy if she is to survive and keep her family—and their history—alive.
— The Debutante Ball (@DebutanteBall) July 22, 2017
You can also enter by sharing the post on Facebook. We will select and contact the very lucky winner on Friday, July 28th at noon (US Only).
Talk about one book that made an impact on you.
Just one? I need two! THE PARIS WIFE and EUPHORIA were companions and models while I was writing and re-writing (six or more times!) STOLEN BEAUTY. Both novels imagine the lives of real women who defy gender stereotypes or cultural expectations, and give us a tangible, vulnerable feminist or proto-feminist heroine.
THE PARIS WIFE, because Paula McClain launches us into Hadley’s story with the delicious and vivid opening line: “Though I often looked for one, I finally had to admit that there could be no cure for Paris,” and then makes Hadley’s more alive for us than Hemingway — a man who always outshined the women who loved him, and left them a little bit heart-broken.
EUPHORIA, because Lily King starts with a dramatic moment in Margaret Mead’s life and gives it to Nell Stone, whose own fate and passion show us what the daily life and death moments may have been for Mead in Papua, New Guinea.
Who is one of your favorite (fictional or non-fictional) characters?
David Copperfield, because he tells us right from the beginning that whether or not he is going to be the hero of his own life, he will leave to us to decide. For memoirs, I’ve always adored Alexandra Fuller in DON’T LET’S GO TO THE DOGS TONIGHT. But that was before she gave Paula McClain’s novel a great big anti-feminist dusting on the cover of the NYTBR.
Talk about one thing that’s making you happy right now.
I’m teaching a writing boot camp at the Stonecoast Writers Conference in Brunswick, Maine right now, which is like being at summer adult writers. It’s my fourth July in Maine, because I spent the last few years as a student at the Stonecoast MFA program, which is low-residency, high-intensity, and that perfect mix of challenging, nurturing and inspiring. teaching is one of my very favorite ways to break through tedium or predictability in my own writing life, and my students are kicking ass right now.
Also, I have amazing colleagues here – Justin Tussing, Breena Clarke, Elizabeth Hand, Aaron Hamburger and the whole gang, plus this year the fabulous Porochista Khakpour joined us. I can’t wait to come back again next year.
Where do you love to be?
Which talent do you wish you had?
I wish I had an amazing memory for facts. I remember things, but not always the things that I want to remember, and I often forget where I learned said things, facts, or stories. I’m the person who can tell the story completely wrong, but get the essence of it absolutely right. Thank God I’m a creative person so I can follow in Picasso’s credo: Art is a lie that makes us realize truth, at least the truth that is given us to understand.
What’s your secret or not-so-secret superpower?
My not-so-secret superpower is that I remember almost anything anybody ever tells me about themselves. I don’t mean that I remember where you were born, per se, but more like I might remember you as “Oh yeah, didn’t your dad have to move away from Brooklyn when he was a kid because he did was arrested for _____.” Often it flatters people, but just as often it freaks them out.
A fellow writing/teaching colleague told me at a cocktail party that he was the “ultimate procrastinator.” He was pretty floored when I asked, the following year, if he’d been procrastinating on his new project.
Find out more about Laurie by checking out her website: www.laurielicoalbanese.com
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