Publisher: NAL Trade (NAL Accent Novels)
Released Date: September 7, 2010
Format: Mass-market Paperbacks
Clara Fitzgerald has been deeply affected by the recent death of her mother and has lost interest in her stalled career as a college professor. She can only watch as her fiancé Anthony’s career as a scientist, researching a new anti-cancer drug, is quickly ascending. Clara’s mother always told her they were related to Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein, and at a loss with what to do with herself, she throws herself into researching Mary Shelley and is stunned to find out her mother was right. Spurred on by this discovery, and aided by Kay, an elderly Shelley scholar, Clara begins to search through boxes of Kay’s old papers, looking for Shelley’s long-lost childhood letters and journals. As she gets deeper into her research, Anthony begins acting strangely, appearing to become lost in his work, and Clara begins to worry even as Mary Shelley’s papers create a link between Clara’s past and her future. Out of the Shadows is a clever novel that smartly intertwines literary fiction with modern science. --Hilary Hatton
A woman's unexpected connection to a nineteenth-century writer changes her life in the new novel from the author of Crossing Washington Square
Clara Fitzgerald's recent losses have set her adrift, personally and professionally. Remembering the stories her mother used to tell her, Clara decides to research her ancestry-only to uncover an extraordinary link to Frankenstein author Mary Shelley. With her sister in tow and the help of Kay, a retired Shelley scholar, Clara embarks on a search for the author's long lost journals and letters. As a bond among the three women grows, and as the profound connection between the past and present deepens, Clara comes closer to realizing where her heart truly belongs.
Author of the Day
Over the Edge Book Reviews
I love the craft of writing and how, as I go along, I’m learning more and more about the way writing works and how I can try and make my writing better. It must be how a carpenter feels when he or she is working on a new table or door or joint in a window and they see how their craft has evolved and how their sanding or joining or finishes are improving day by day. They may still have a lot to learn, but they are proud of their craft: what they have labored over and achieved so far. I feel like that about writing. And the worst part of writing? Spending too much of my life sitting on my backside!
2. Why do you write?
I write so that I can tell all the stories kicking around in my head! When I watch my seven year old son and his friends, I see how much kids love their own stories and how they enjoy playing out these stories and bringing them to life with toys and play. When we grow up we’re socialized into not voicing our own stories anymore…except if we are writers.
3. Name one eye-opening thing you learned from your book research.
Out of the Shadows is about Clara Fitzgerald, a contemporary woman who thinks she’s related to Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein. The book goes back and forth between Clara’s story and the story of young Mary Shelley before she wrote her most famous novel. I had to do a lot of historical research and early on I was surprised to discover that, although Mary Shelley’s adult life is well documented, all Shelley’s childhood journals and diaries were lost when she eloped to France with Percy Shelley. This discovery prompted one of the main plots in Out of the Shadows. Like the protagonists of A.S. Byatt’s Possession, my protagonist goes in search of those lost documents.
4. Do you have a favorite motto?
Be. Here. Now.
5. Do you have a favorite fictional hero? Favorite fictional heroine?
I recently read Jerry Spinelli’s teen novel, Star Girl. For those who haven’t read it, Star Girl is a story about the beauty, trials, delicacy, and profound potential of non-conformity. It’s a modern fable that celebrates difference and being-out-of-the-box (and being a little crazy too!). Star Girl, the main character, is so great in her strength, her unconditional love, and the example she sets. She’s a modern day Lizzie Bennet, with a more colorful wardrobe!
6. Which fictional character would you hang out with?
Star Girl (see above) and Lizzie Bennet (see above)!
7. What is one of your favorite book covers, your own or someone else’s?
As many people know, authors don’t get a whole lot of say in their covers these days. But I have been blessed by the cover gods, I have to say. The cover for Out of the Shadows is my favorite of all three of my books. It seems other people are really loving the cover too and I was recently interviewed by Melissa Walker about my cover for her Barnes and Noble blog. (link: http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/t5/Unabashedly-Bookish-The-BN/Cover-Stories-Out-of-the-Shadows-by-Joanne-Rendell/bc-p/659924)
8. What would readers be surprised to learn about you?
I gave birth at home watching Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator movies – and then I wrote about it for Mothering magazine! (link http://mothering.com/pregnancy-birth/a-homebirth-with-the-terminator )
9. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever learned by Googling your name?
Google myself? Whoever heard of such a thing? Okay, I’m kidding. Of course, I’ve googled myself. I haven’t found anything too strange, as yet. What is amusing is looking at what images are thrown up when you put my name into a Google Image search. Of course, it’s mostly pictures of my books and author shots. But I love that this picture of Starsky and Hutch comes up too. I used the image in an old blog entry and it makes me laugh that my name is now forever tied with the oh-so-hot seventies cop duo!
10. If you could go backward or forward in time which would you chose? Why?
One of the things I always loved about Frankenstein is how Mary Shelley dared to ask “what if?” She looked around at the emerging technologies of her time and she considered their darker sides and how they could turn monstrous (and even make monsters!). She was basically looking in to the future and imagining where the advancements of her day would take her society. I’m similarly fascinated with where our world might be headed and the “what if?’ questions about our future (Out of the Shadows, in fact, asks what happens when modern science becomes increasingly mixed up with the pursuit of profit). I’d love to get a glimpse of the world in 20 years time or the world my son will live in in 50 years time and to see where all today’s scientific and technological advancements are going to take us.
“OUT OF THE SHADOWS” by NAL/Penguin.
Booklist did a great job summing up my book, so I’ll hand over to them: “Clara Fitzgerald has been deeply affected by the recent death of her mother and has lost interest in her stalled career as a college professor. She can only watch as her fiancé Anthony’s career as a scientist, researching a new anti-cancer drug, is quickly ascending. Clara’s mother always told her they were related to Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein, and at a loss with what to do with herself, she throws herself into researching Mary Shelley and is stunned to find out her mother was right. Spurred on by this discovery, and aided by Kay, an elderly Shelley scholar, Clara begins to search through boxes of Kay’s old papers, looking for Shelley’s long-lost childhood letters and journals. As she gets deeper into her research, Anthony begins acting strangely, appearing to become lost in his work, and Clara begins to worry even as Mary Shelley’s papers create a link between Clara’s past and her future. Out of the Shadows is a clever novel that smartly intertwines literary fiction with modern science.”
12. Which do you find is most important to you as a writer, voice or story? Why?
For me, voice and story go hand in had. At least, they do in the book I enjoy the most. A great voice with no story doesn’t work for me, and vice versa. But when you have a crackling, unique, and endearing voice combining with a compelling story then the author has hit the jackpot!
13. Joanne, please tell us where we can find you out in cyber world. For desperate readers like me, we just have to know…:)
You can find me at www.joannerendell.com and also on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/people/Joanne-Rendell/503756646 ) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/joannerendell ). Please friend me or follow me or just drop by my website and say hi!
14. I know this is a difficult question with there being so many amazing authors out there to choose from but who are some of the GOT-TO-HAVE authors in your TBR pile?
My TBR pile is reaching the ceiling at the moment. Between my own writing and homeschooling my son, it’s hard to find time. However, I read whenever chance, a fully charged ipod (I listen to books too) and a sleeping child allow. On my current to-be-read pile I have, One Day by David Nicolls (I loved Starter for Ten so am itching to read this book), Room by Emma Donoghue (the premise is dark but I’m curious nevertheless), and Accidental Family by Rowan Coleman (I love so much of the women’s fiction that comes out of the UK and Coleman is one of my favorites).
15. What’s next in the works for you? When can readers expect to see it out on shelves in their local bookstores?
I just finished a middle grade book, co-written with Dina Jordan. Children’s fiction is new for me, but it has been great fun writing the book and figuring out the tricks and conventions of the middle-grade genre. The book is about a twelve year old girl who must save her best friend, and the world, from a fallen angel. I’m currently working on a new women’s fiction book idea too. The book is in its embryonic stage at the moment, but I will say this…Emily Dickinson!
It has been a blast getting to know more about you and your books, Joanne. Thank you for spending time with me and my readers. :)
Two randomly selected commenters will win a copy of NAL Trades author Joanne Rendell's September 2010 release, "OUT OF THE SHADOWS".. To enter here are a few simple rules.
* +2 Leave a comment for Joanne Rendell including email.
* +2 Spread the Word! ( this means go out into cyber world and post it on any network sites that your are a member of, or on your blog or website. +2 Then come back and leave a link so I can verify the post.)
*Follow me on Twitter. (+5) already a follower--GREAT!+10
* Friend me on Facebook. (+5)- already a follower-AWSOME! +10
* +5 Connect with me at NING.
* Become a follower of Over The Edge! (+3 Already a follower--You ROCK! +2 Become a follower.)
The giveaway is open to All and will be running until October 31, 2010. I'll be picking and contacting the winners directly on November 1, 2010. Please make sure to include your email with your comment. Happy Reading!