Thursday, February 24, 2011
Interview with Julie Chibbaro, author of DEADLY, plus contest
As part of the blog tour for her new historical novel, Deadly, I have an interview with author Julie Chibbaro. I also am giving away five bookmarks signed by her, you can find information on the contest after the interview.
What inspired you to write Deadly? Why did you decide to tell the story in a diary format?
I wanted to write something totally out of my comfort zone, and a book that explores a scientific breakthrough in the early 20th century was exactly that challenge. As a teen, I was not the best student. I wondered if I could write a novel that would make subjects that bored me in school interesting. I feel sometimes I learned more about history from good historical novels than from textbooks. Science and history – I prefer them when someone can really tell me a good story, and explain to me why I should care. I wrote Deadly as a diary to give it that much more intimacy.
What kind of historical research did you do?
I love to look at old pictures and read old newspapers. There were about 20 different newspapers at the turn of the 20th century – and you can read them all on microfiche at the NY Public Library. I read the whole paper – the job section, the rentals, the birth, death, and marriage announcements, the ads – not just the articles that pertained to my story. This gave me a rounded picture of what it was like to live then. I also read source materials, articles written by George Soper about his hunt for the cause of the epidemic. A book by Judith Walzer Leavitt called Typhoid Mary helped enormously as well.
What do you hope readers learn from the book?
I’d like to be careful with the word “learn” because I tried very hard not to be pedantic in any way while writing Deadly. I’d like readers to finish it and say to themselves “Wow, I didn’t know any of that!” Just to give them some perspective on an earlier time in our history, and to think about how it relates to their lives today, and it does, in lots of ways. Typhoid is a salmonella bacteria. Typhoid Mary was a “healthy carrier” similar to some disease carriers today (e.g., HIV). How did they deal with these things then? What do we do differently today?
If you could go back in time for a day (with guaranteed safety!) what place and time would you like to visit?
I always love to read about/look at pictures of the 1960s. Not the war or the pain, but for the joy they seemed to have, a profound celebration of life with both their minds and bodies. They seemed much more willing to take wonderfully exciting risks with their lives.
What are some of your own favorite books and authors?
I am re-reading The Shipping News by Annie Proulx. I loved R.A. Nelson’s Teach Me and Matt Burgess’s Dogfight: A Love Story. One of my favorite books is The Alienist by Caleb Carr – that inspired me to write historical fiction.
Can you tell us anything about your next book?
My next book is about a graffiti artist (though he wouldn’t call himself that) and a poet (though she wouldn’t call herself that) who live in the parks of NYC. That’s about all I can say right now!
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thank you, Rebecca, for this chance to talk about myself and my book! I love to hear from readers, who can visit me and download an excerpt of Deadly from my website juliechibbaro.com. I’m also on FB (Deadly by Julie Chibbaro), and twitter (@juliechibbaro).
To enter to win one of five Deadly bookmarks signed by Julie Chibbaro, comment on this post with your email address.
Contest will run for 2 weeks, until March 10, 2011.