Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Interview with Erika Mailman

Yesterday I reviewed Erika Mailman's marvelous historical novel, Woman of Ill Fame, about a young prostitute in 19th-century San Francisco who struggles for more than her daily income.  I was captivated by this book from the first page, and I'm delighted to share my interview with Erika Mailman.  Read on to learn a little more about her, her writing, and what she does when she's not working on a book.  Be sure to enter the giveaway!

What was the plot of your very first piece of fiction?

I think that was in third grade and had something to do with a group of girls who would ride ponies together. I remember stapling it together and illustrating it. How I wish I still had it!

Do you have any writing rituals or routines?

I used to don lipstick and sometimes a beret…I was tickled when I later learned about Chris Baty’s admonition to wear a Viking helmet (he’s the founder of National Novel Writing Month: I’m lucky in that I can actually write in noisy places like cafes or my own home.

Was Woman of Ill Fame the original title of your book?

It was originally titled “Ill Fame.” I still like the brevity and in-your-faceness of that title, but I think the publisher Heyday Books was wise to add “Woman of…”

As you were writing Woman of Ill Fame, was there a particular scene or character that surprised you?

Well, yes, but it’s difficult to answer without plot spoilers. Let’s just say I wasn’t sure all along who was a good guy and who was a bad guy.

When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?

I like to read, watch Downton Abbey, and try to reconnect with my once-runnerly self (i.e., consider jogging, don running shoes, reconsider).

Read any good books recently?

The Tragedy of Arthur by Arthur Phillips and Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple stick out as two that rocked my world.

Thanks for hosting me today!

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My thanks to Ms. Mailman for her time and answers. To learn more about her and her books, check out her website.


I'm thrilled to offer a Kindle e-book copy of Woman of Ill Fame to one lucky reader!

To enter, fill out this brief form. Open to US readers only, ends 12/27. Only one entry per person; do not enter alternate email aliases or emails belonging to other individuals.

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