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Archives - November 2013

: Antoinette van Heugten, author of The Tulip Eaters

Nov 4, 2013

Question: Where did you find your inspiration for writing THE TULIP EATERS?

Antoinette van Heugten: My parents were Dutch and fought in the Dutch resistance during World War II. Although they did not speak of it often, as children we heard stories of how our grandmother hid a Jewish boy in the cellar, how my mother transported microfiche on her bicycle and how my father had blown up munitions depots. We also were made well aware of the hardships their families and others suffered during the five years of Nazi occupation, particularly the starvation conditions during the “Hongerwinter” toward the end of the war. As such, I have always had a personal as well as an historical fascination with that time period. My parents’ heroism, demonstrated when they were only teenagers, was my initial inspiration. Reading the diaries and letters of so many Dutch people during the war inspired me further.

Author Talk: Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief

Nov 4, 2013

Question: How did you become a writer?

Markus Zusak: When I was growing up, I wanted to be a house painter like my father, but I was always screwing up when I went to work with him. I had a talent for knocking over paint and painting myself into corners. I also realized fairly quickly that painting bored me. When I was a teenager, I read some books that brought me totally into their worlds. One was THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA and another was WHAT’S EATING GILBERT GRAPE. I was also inspired by S.E Hinton’s novels — THE OUTSIDERS at the start, but as time went on, more so by RUMBLE FISH. When I read those books, I thought, That’s what I want to do with my life. After many rejection letters, it took seven years to get published, and there were countless daily failures along they way as well. I’m glad those failures and rejections happened, though, because they made me realize that what I was writing just wasn’t good enough — I had to push myself to improve.

Author Talk: Katherine Pancol, author of The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles

Nov 4, 2013

Question: The title of your book refers to Antoine’s new life and livelihood in Africa, but it also seems to work as a metaphor of sorts. What does it mean to you?

Katherine Pancol: One morning when I was in New York I read an article in The New York Times about a man who went off to raise crocodiles because he was sure he would make a fortune. He was like a Forty-Niner during the Gold Rush. As it happens, raising crocodiles can be very profitable, because every part of the animal can be used, from its hide to its blood and claws. Antoine thinks he’ll make a fortune and realize his dream of becoming a rich, powerful businessman. In fact, the opposite happens. He winds up bankrupt and despairing, tracked by the crocodiles who watch him at night, waiting to get close enough to devour him. The crocodiles’ yellow eyes shining in the darkness represent the appeal of riches, the glittering gold that leads men to their doom—and women, too.