Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Greer Macallister is a woman to be reckoned with...plus a book giveaway

Introduction by Melissa Amster

I met Greer Macallister at a book signing a couple of years ago. She and Pam Jenoff were talking about their latest historical fiction novels at an independent bookstore in the DC area. After meeting Greer, I decided to give her debut, The Magician's Lie, a try. I loved it and shortly afterward, I purchased Girl in Disguise (which I hope to read soon). I'm excited to check out her latest novel, Woman 99 (Sourcebooks, March 5, 2019), which has a very interesting premise. Greer has one copy to share with a lucky reader! 

Raised in the Midwest, Greer Macallister is a novelist, poet, short story writer, and playwright who earned her MFA in creative writing from American University. Her debut novel THE MAGICIAN'S LIE was a USA Today bestseller, an Indie Next pick, and a Target Book Club selection. It has been optioned for film by Jessica Chastain's Freckle Films. Her novel GIRL IN DISGUISE, also an Indie Next pick, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, which called it “a well-told, superb story.”  A regular contributor to Writer Unboxed and the Chicago Review of Books, she lives with her family in Washington, DC. (Bio adapted from Greer's website.)

Visit Greer online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

When Charlotte Smith's wealthy parents commit her beloved sister Phoebe to the infamous Goldengrove Asylum, Charlotte knows there's more to the story than madness. She risks everything and follows her sister inside, surrendering her real identity as a privileged young lady of San Francisco society to become a nameless inmate, Woman 99.

The longer she stays, the more she realizes that many of the women of Goldengrove aren't insane, merely inconvenient — and that her search for the truth threatens to dig up secrets that some very powerful people would do anything to kep.

A historical thriller rich in detail, deception, and revelation, Woman 99 honors the fierce women of the past, born into a world that denied them power but underestimated their strength.
(Courtesy of Amazon.)

What was your inspiration for writing Woman 99?
Two very different things came together to inspire Woman 99. One was the amazing true story of Nellie Bly, intrepid 19th-century reporter, who wanted to expose the terrible conditions at a notorious New York City asylum called Blackwell’s Island. So she decided to see if she could act insane and get herself committed in order to investigate from the inside. And it worked. Secondly, and this will sound a little odder, I was listening over and over to the Elvis Costello song “(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea” because it has this insistent, intense beat I couldn’t shake. When I heard this section in the lyrics – “Men come screaming, dressed in white coats/ Shake you very gently by the throat” – the fictional Goldengrove Asylum started to come together in my mind.

What is the best compliment you received on a previous novel and what is feedback you used when you wrote Woman 99?
Whenever someone tells me Girl in Disguise made them cry, I never know quite what to say in the moment, but it always makes me really happy. It means my work had a real emotional impact. That’s a huge compliment to a writer.

The feedback I incorporated into Woman 99 was feedback on the idea rather than the text itself. After I’d sold the book but was early in the stages of writing it, as soon as I described the book as “set in an insane asylum,” about half of the people would respond with “oh, that sounds depressing.” But it’s really not a depressing book! So I got very conscious of balancing the darker aspects of the setting with sisterhood and wit and flashbacks and an overall arc that’s inspiring, not depressing. And I think it’s a better book because there’s light to balance the darkness.

If you could cast Woman 99 as a movie, who would play the lead roles?
I had very clear mental models for most of the main women as I was writing: the Fanning sisters, Elle and Dakota, as Charlotte and Phoebe; Krysten Ritter of “Jessica Jones“ as Nora; and Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Martha.

What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?
After I heard the statistic that we only use 10% of our brains – I think I was in fourth grade – I was convinced that the only reason people can’t move objects with our minds is that no one has the patience to practice enough. So I was pretty sure that if I practiced every night for a year, my telekinesis would kick in. As you might guess, I did not make it a whole year. Maybe a week and a half.

What is the last thing you purchased for yourself?
Two chocolate bars from the gift shop at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, where I learned about “bird-friendly” chocolate—they had a whole program about making sustainable choices to help preserve bird habitats. So I got to support conservation efforts… and eat chocolate. Win/win.

What is something you are looking forward to this spring?
Besides the release of Woman 99 (yay!), I’m reviving my WomensHistoryReads Q&Q&Q&A interviews for Women’s History Month this March. Last year I ended up interviewing 60+ writers inspired by women from history over two months; this year my plans are a little more modest. I’ve got some great interviews coming, including Amy Stewart, Chanel Cleeton, Jennifer Robson and more. Q&Q&Q&As will be appearing regularly at greermacallister.com/blog all March long.

Thanks to Greer for visiting with us and sharing her book with our readers.

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends March 3rd at midnight EST.


Angie said...

A Beautiful Mind

traveler said...

Everything Here is beautiful.

Janine said...

I honestly don't know

Kelley B said...

Brain On Fire!

Mary C said...

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

diannekc said...

A Beautiful Mind

jean602 said...

I'm not sure its really hard to comment about that.

Elena Y. said...

"Shutter island" portrays well mental illness.

Mary Preston said...

I have to agree with A BEAUTIFUL MIND.

Grandma Cootie said...

I think a Beautiful Mind.

The Book Sage said...

I will have to get a hold of The Magician’s Lie.

Kate Vocke said...

Definitely A Beautiful Mind! Incredible portrayal of John Nash!

Bonnie K. said...

A Beautiful Mind was well done. I could really feel it.

bn100 said...

A Beautiful Mind

Unknown said...

Sounds absolutely fabulous. Great author chat. 💕

Dianna said...

Cake was very realistic, and Jennifer Aniston's performance was fantastic.

RD said...

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest