Today's guest: Carolyn Turgeon Why we love her: We love that she created a fresh spin on the classic stories of Rapunzel and Snow White. What little girl didn't love fairy tales and that little girl is still very much inside of us!
Her latest: The Fairest of them All
The scoop: In this kingdom, only one fairy tale can end with happily ever after.
Our thoughts: A new twist on a classic fairy tale? What's not to love? (Plus, we like that it's a little bit twisted too!)
Fun fact: She went on to graduate school at UCLA, where I studied medieval Italian poetry. (Who knew that was a "thing"?)
Giveaway: Two copies! Just leave a comment to be entered. We'll select the winners on Sunday, August 25th after 12 pm PST.
CHICK LIT IS NOT DEAD PRESENTS...CAROLYN TURGEON'S 5 LOVES & A DUD
I love everything about rain: the sound of it pattering on a sidewalk or a rooftop or a river, the raw smell of it, the feel of it on the skin, the look of it as it lowers this gauzy veil over everything. I love the massive thunderstorms that used to break everything open when I was a kid in Illinois, where we had a big covered porch that looked over the backyard and where I’d sit with my father and watch it raging down. We only lived there until I was eight, so those memories of sitting on that porch, watching the back yard through that haze of rain, sort of define my childhood for me. I love those hot, tropical mid-afternoon rains in Florida, where my grandparents lived, that last for less than half an hour and leave everything wet and sparkling. I love a chilly autumn day where you sit inside by a fire as the cold rain hammers down, shaking the leaves from the trees. I even named my first book Rain Village, after a lush, magical fantastic place where it always rains. That book isn’t about rain, though, but about a tiny misfit girl who becomes a very glamorous star on the trapeze in an old-time circus and side show. Which leads me to my deep love of…
I spent ten years working on my first novel (on and off) and did a ton of research on circuses so that I could get the details right and imagine what it might be like to be in one. I went to a bunch of circuses and read plenty of books, and I also traveled to some of the big circus towns in the U.S, including Bridgeport, Connecticut (where PT Barnum was from), Sarasota, Florida (where the Ringley Brothers settled), and Baraboo, Wisconsin, where the Ringley Brothers were from and where the Circus World Museum is now. I flew to Baraboo from Los Angeles (where I went to graduate school) and my mother flew in from Pennsylvania to meet me and that first night we heard a bunch of buzzing from across the street from our hotel and we realized that there was a huge county fair going on, complete with funnel cakes and Ferris wheel and a full-on tractor pull. How can you resist a town where county fairs are happening and that’s steeped in circus history? Anyway, I loved researching that book, and I still love the idea of the old-time circus, all that magic and razzle dazzle sweeping into town and then up and leaving a day or two later, as if it’d never been there at all.
There is nothing I like more than being in a car, on the highway, either with friends or by myself, with the whole road stretching out in front and something like Johnny Cash playing and everything just full of possibility. Maybe it’s from moving around so much as a kid, but I love the open road. One summer in my 20s, my sister and I took six weeks to get from New York to Los Angeles and we followed an elaborate route that took us through Dollywood and Nashville and Graceland and down to Dallas, Texas, where we’d lived after we left Illinois and where we remembered the Traildust Steakhouse as being the most magical place in the world, since there was a dance floor where we did the Cotton-Eyed Joe and a slide that swooped down into the dance floor. It was funny, seeing that place with adult eyes, how much it seemed to have shrunk.
Old movie palaces.
I went to high school and college in Pennsylvania and I was this huge film buff who constantly lamented the lack of a real at cinema in my town. When I finally moved to New York City for a brief spell after college, I gorged on movies and loved going to little art houses to see all those indies and foreign films my town never got. But then I moved to Los Angeles for graduate school, a city full of old-time movie palaces. I was dazzled by them, the velvet seats and curtains, the swooping art deco curves, the sheer glamour of all of it. Going to the movie felt like a spectacular event, and I loved that after a day of classes (I was studying Italian literature, of all things, in that surreal city) and teaching I could escape into a dark room with soft chairs and get lost in another world completely.
I didn’t grow up around the ocean and always found it sort of terrifying and full of gross things that might bite me. I was also super pale and burned easily and had body issues and so basically avoided beaches and the ocean, and being in a bathing suit generally. But then I wrote my novel Mermaid and ended up creating a mermaid blog, which led to all kinds of experiences and encounters I never could have anticipated, including me in a bathing suit and a mermaid tail participating in mermaid camp at Weeki Wachee Springs. Once I started talking to all these mermaid-loving women, I couldn’t help but want to get in the water myself. A few months after that camp, I got scuba certified. Being 50 feet under the surface of the ocean, surrounded by the most strange, colorful fish, and sharks, and eagle rays, and sea turtles—it’s all just mind-blowing, like being on another planet. Now I have a whole list of places I want to dive and magical creatures I want to encounter!
I am very opposed to parsley, celery, and green peppers, those devilish greens that sneak their way into many dishes and sabotage them completely. It’s not right.