Before the internet, and some would even argue television and Oprah, authors were rather mysterious people. They wrote books and sometimes their photo and a brief bio was included on the back cover. They might review other books, write personal essays, or be interviewed for magazines and newspapers from time to time. They didn’t generally live out loud. Unless he or she was a personality larger than life—think Hemingway—chances are that author could walk down the street of a city without ever being recognized. The internet—particularly blogs and social media—have changed the game for authors.
Have blogs and social media feeds of current authors given us a hunger to know more about the literary legends of the past? Perhaps so. Several novels about or with literary figures as secondary characters are making names for new authors, while revisioning the lives of the legends in fiction. On Friday we’ll welcome Erika Robuck, author of Hemingway’s Girl.
Using Ernest Hemingway as a focus in Hemingway’s Girl could have been an excuse for using this larger than life character as a voyeuristic selling point. However, Robuck’s longtime personal interest and insightful research into the period and Key West setting of this tale elevates the story. Robuck masterfully sets Hemingway as a third in a trio that includes the tough, but tender young protagonist Mariella, and the rugged World War I veteran Gavin. Grieving from the recent death of her father and suffering from the depression in a resort community such as Key West, Mariella takes a job as a maid in the home of charismatic Hemingway and his second wife, Pauline. It’s not long before a mutual attraction begins between the big man and the maid. As Mariella dusts and sweeps her way around the Hemingway abode, dodging advances from Hemingway, parrying barbs from Pauline, she struggles to understand the complicated relationships between Hemingway and everyone else. The trivial way these relationships are played by Hemingway provide a counterpoint to the romantic interest that arises with Gavin. Hemingway may be in the title, but the story is so much more than just him and a girl.
Erika Robuck was born and raised in Annapolis, Maryland. Inspired by the cobblestones, old churches, Georgian homes, and mingling of past and present from the Eastern Shore, to the Annapolis City Dock, to the Baltimore Harbor, her passion for history is well nourished. Her first novel, Receive Me Falling, is a best books awards finalist in historical fiction from USA Book News. Her second novel, Hemingway’s Girl was published on September 4, 2012. Her third novel, Call me Zelda, will follow. Robuck is a contributor to popular fiction blog, Writer Unboxed, and maintains her own blog called Muse. She is a member of the Maryland Writer’s Association, The Hemingway Society, and The Historical Novel Society. She spends her time on the East Coast with her husband and three sons.
Follow Erika Robuck on Twitter: @ErikaRobuck.
There will be no MediaMonday #litchat today as we prepare for the next two days of LitChat Literary Salon. More about it here.