Kate Quinn is an international bestselling author of World War II stories like The Alice Network and The Rose Code. Now she’s back with her latest, The Diamond Eye, based on a true story of a mother who became a reluctant soldier and then deadliest female sniper, in a place where she changed history.
Hi there, I’m your host Jenny Wheeler, and on Binge Reading today Kate talks about the romance at the heart of her World War II story about a lethal female sniper, and about having a book overtaken by current events in the Ukraine.
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Links to be found in this episode:
Lyudmila Pavlichenko: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyudmila_Pavlichenko
Bletchley Park: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bletchley_Park
Eva Ibbotson: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eva_Ibbotson
James S. A. Corey: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Expanse_(novel_series)
Her books: https://www.katequinnauthor.com/book-table/
The Rose Code: https://www.katequinnauthor.com/books/the-rose-code/
The Huntress: https://www.katequinnauthor.com/books/the-huntress/
The Alice Network: https://www.katequinnauthor.com/books/the-alice-network/
The Empress of Rome Saga: https://www.katequinnauthor.com/series/the-empress-of-rome-saga/
The Borgia Chronicles: https://www.katequinnauthor.com/series/borgia-chronicles/
Where to find Kate Quinn:
What follows is a “near as” transcript of our conversation, not word for word but pretty close to it, with links to the show notes in The Joys of Binge Reading.com for important mentions.
Introducing Kate Quinn, popular historic fiction author
But now, here’s Kate.
Jenny Wheeler: Hello there Kate, and welcome to the show. It’s so good to have you with us.
Kate Quinn: It’s lovely to be here. Thank you for having me.
Jenny Wheeler: Kate, you are a New York Times bestselling author with a string of historical hits to your credit, including The Alice Network and The Rose Code, but the one we are focusing on today is your latest book, The Diamond Eye.
It is about a remarkable woman, the Second World War’s most lethal female sniper, and in fact the most lethal female sniper of all time that we know of. This was another story that has been buried, even though she has a pretty remarkable claim to fame. Very few people had heard of Mila, so how did you come across the story?
Kate Quinn: It’s the classic case of when you are researching one book, your research drops the idea for a new book in your lap unasked for, which is a wonderful thing. This came about when I was researching one of my last books just before The Rose Code called The Huntress, which was centering around the Russian female bomber pilots who flew against Hitler’s Eastern front.
When I was researching the Night Witches, (which became the book The Huntress) I happened to run across all kinds of stories about other Soviet women war heroines, because the Soviet Union was the only allied nation to involve women officially in combat which none of the others did.
How Kate Quinn discovered Mila’s story doing research
I happened to run across all kinds of women who had incredible stories. Most incredible of all was Lyudmila Pavlichenko who went from being a very ordinary woman indeed to being a war heroine and a star of the front line, and even to what we would now think of as a media sensation in the United States, thanks to a goodwill tour in 1942.
As soon as I read about this woman, I knew I had to write about her. It just took another book or two before I was able to realize that this was the time for her story.
Jenny Wheeler: The other thing we’ve already mentioned together off air that is remarkable is that her actual career in terms of active service was quite short. She was injured and then she was sent on that goodwill tour. How many so-called strikes did she have and where did they occur? What was the front and what was the conflict she was involved in?
Kate Quinn: She was sent right at the beginning of the war because she enlisted very quickly, as soon as her nation was invaded. She enlisted fast, she was shipped out fast and she was involved in first the siege of Odessa and then the siege of Sevastopol for less than 18 months of really fierce, focused, horrendous fighting, which was how she was able to rack up such a high number so quickly.
Mila: An object of fascination when she visited the United States
She ended up being wounded something like four or five times. In spite of all that, in her brief career at the front lines, she racked up a tally of 309 official kills. That was really quite extraordinary. It made her a war heroine in her own country, and it certainly made her an object of fascination when she came abroad to the United States.
Jenny Wheeler: She wasn’t, as you say, a particularly amazing woman before the war. She was not your stereotype of the psychopathic killer by any stretch of the imagination, was she?
Kate Quinn: She wasn’t, and that was the thing I loved about her, because the more I researched her, the more she became very human and very warm. We have this idea that snipers have to be cold blooded killers, at worst they are militarized serial killers, at best they are the odd man out on a team of ordinary guys, the one who gives everybody else the shivers. But she was quite human, and I loved finding that out about her.
She was a single mother. She was a graduate student. She wanted to be a historian. She was working on her dissertation at the time when her country was invaded and she left school to enlist. She was working as a library researcher at the Odessa Public Library at the time, and I found that delightfully wonderfully nerdy. She was a woman we could absolutely imagine having in our book club, a woman we could imagine working with or checking your book out at the library.
Target shooting practice turned into a deadly military career
And yet she had this extraordinary willpower and this extraordinary skill in her, which, when it was tossed into the incredible crucible of war turned into a very, very fine steel indeed.
Jenny Wheeler: Unusually, she had had training in marksmanship before the war, hadn’t she, so when she picked up a rifle in the Forces she already had quite a lot of training with hitting targets.
Kate Quinn: She did. When she was a young mother and working in a factory and going to night school trying to get her degree – she’d been a teenage mother so she was very much scrambling to get her life back on track – she and some of the other factory workers sometimes went after work to the range and did a little target shooting for fun.
Nothing particularly serious, but she enjoyed that enough that she decided to go in for an advanced course so that she could learn ballistics and proper target shooting and tables of multiplication and so forth for learning how to use a scope. She enjoyed that. She did the two-year course and got her advanced marksmanship certificates.
You get the feeling she was a woman who really liked her school certificates. She is a great student, clearly, and she kept up her skills there, really just as a hobby on the side. By the time war broke she realized that she could be of use. The maddening thing was that at the first place she tried to enlist the man who was taking charge of the enlistments immediately tried to shuttle her into the nursing or the medical battalions and told her, you’ll just be a nurse.
Making friends with Eleanor Roosevelt
Here she is waving her advanced marksmanship certificate saying, I can be more useful than that. But he wasn’t having any of it, so she stamped out in a rage and walked off and found another recruitment center where they were a little bit more willing to listen to what she had to say and to realize, I think we can make better use of you than to stick you in a nursing uniform.
Jenny Wheeler: We mentioned this mission she went on to the USA. At this point in the war, the Soviets were doing very badly. They were coming up to the siege of Stalingrad and they were desperate to get the U S into the war, to get Hitler engaged on the other front, and so they sent this group of people to President FDR Roosevelt.
She had quite a good rapport with Eleanor, his wife. Your publisher’s blurb says that she changed the course of history forever, and I guess that was because her intervention and particularly her relationship with the Roosevelts probably did help escalate the U S entry into the war. Would that be right?
Kate Quinn: You can’t say that it wouldn’t have been a factor. We would like to think now – the way we’re taught history in America – that as soon as the attack on Pearl Harbor happened, America’s all in, and at that point, that’s the moment the war is won. This is how we are taught history, I’m afraid, in some ways.
The struggle for the United States to enter WW II
But there really was an opposition in some places, very strong opposition, to opening that second front in Europe. There was the idea, well, we have to go to war with Japan now, but do we really have to get involved in Europe? The Roosevelts were trying to drum up support for the second front and the Soviets were desperate for help because they were getting absolutely pushed back and pushed back and they were losing millions to German bullets.
There was this idea that the Soviets would send some ex-soldiers and ex-students over to join this International Student Conference that Eleanor Roosevelt was setting up, and Eleanor really took them under her wing.
She made a point of being photographed with them, of hosting them in the White House as some of the first overnight Soviet guests the White House had. She was the one who spearheaded the goodwill tour afterward that ended up happening and being a chaperone and a partner for Ludmilla when she went around the country speaking to people about the need to fight Hitler.
You would think that someone like Ludmilla would not be a social media darling, the way they would put it today. But she was tremendously popular. She was a good speaker. She was charismatic, and she had this friendship that was blossoming with Eleanor, who certainly was encouraging her to take her place in the spotlight.
Months at the Ukraine front in winter captured graphically
It’s one of those things that may have been a small tipping point, but perhaps a rather important one. Who can value what moment is the moment when something finally tips over from this might happen to this is going to happen, but it is very true that after this, the opposition to the second front in Europe was something that started to wither.
Jenny Wheeler: You capture the surroundings of those months when she was at the front amazingly – what the climatic conditions were like and the incredible cold. Also, there is a very touching aspect where she’s desperately trying to keep in touch with her son and she sends him leaves because he’s doing some botanical project for school. You make it very real. Did you have journals or something that you could use or did you go to the Ukraine yourself? How did you do that research?
Kate Quinn: I would have loved to go to the Ukraine and to Odessa and Sevastopol. Unfortunately, this was written at the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, long before I was vaccinated or the vaccines were available, and there was no travel happening whatsoever. I had to make do with Google earth and Google maps and all kinds of research – historic photographs, vintage photos.
Fortunately, the most useful thing of all was the fact that Lyudmila Pavlichenko wrote her memoirs later in life. She is really very descriptive of her time at the front, what it was like, from the smallest details of what kinds of plants there were around her.
The hardest thing about writing The Diamond Eye
This is what gave me the idea that she learned that particularly because she said she was a city girl. She was not a country girl who knew all of her plant names but she knew all the names of the trees and it made me wonder if she was learning that for a particular purpose.
I do know that she missed her son dreadfully. He was only about eight years old and she missed him horribly while she was at the front. She knew there was at least a good chance she would be killed without ever seeing him again, so her letters to home became something of a lifeline for her as she was involved in this horribly tense and bloody work.
Jenny Wheeler: What was the hardest thing for you in writing the story overall? Was it getting into Ludmilla’s head? Was it getting a grasp on the wide frame of history?
Kate Quinn: The thing that was the most difficult and the thing that concerned me the most was that I wanted my modern-day readers to not be put off by the fact that I’m asking them to sympathize with a Soviet woman who literally has killed more than 300 people. I was worried that that was going to be a little bit of a stretch for a reader’s sympathy because nowadays in the U S our relationship with Russia is not particularly warm.
We are stepping into a different world with The Diamond Eye
It’s a little bit harder to drum up sympathy for someone who is very much a believer in the Soviet system because now we know, with the hindsight of history, how very misguided that system could be and how many people suffered under it and how many died under Stalin. It is a very different world I’m asking them to step into.
Then there’s the fact that she did kill so very many people, even though she was a soldier and it was her job and she was certainly not a murderer.
To do that, I ended up trying to dig into what are the things that are universal about being human and about being female. Those were the things I thought would help a reader, any reader, sympathize and empathize with what Mila’s experience was, because there are certain experiences that are universal.
She talks about what it’s like to have your period on the front line, and the fact that the army has no idea what to do with that and would rather not know. She is continually being boxed in by sexist superior officers who were either hitting on her or punishing her because she’s rejecting them when they hit on her, or who are continually questioning her expertise. Or there’s the fact that she is dealing with an ex-husband who is trying to make her life as difficult as possible, but she has to be nice to him and swallow all this anger, just so that she can get things done in her ordinary life.
The way history can mock our best efforts…
And the fact that she has this perfectionism in the way she approaches her world. She feels she can’t ever make mistakes. I think that’s the kind of thing most women can empathize with. We have the feeling that we cannot make mistakes or we’re going to tumble off the track and we’re not going to be able to get back on it.
These are the things I really leaned into in my efforts to make sure Mila was a heroine the reader could like, and that the reader could feel. She is very different from me, but I understand how she feels here.
Jenny Wheeler: Also, there does come through that she is from the Ukraine. Ironically, we’ve got this situation that’s developed suddenly in the last weeks with the confrontation that’s unfolding there. Your book is being released in March, so you’ve got that background.
Goodness knows what’s going to happen with the Ukraine in the meantime, but she makes a comment now and then about how she allows herself to be referred to as a Russian, even though she identifies more as someone from the Ukraine. That’s an interesting distinction, isn’t it?
Kate Quinn: This was something I tried to be sensitive with because in the modern day we know that these are not countries that are analogous at all. Ukraine is very separate from Russia. But at the time they were, however unwillingly, part of the same Soviet Union, and so Mila, in her day, although she was Ukrainian by birth, would have considered herself Russian or Soviet by nationality.
World War II was an international war – let’s remember that
This is something she makes very plain in her memoir. When someone does ask her, are you Ukrainian, she says, I am Soviet, I am Russian. That is something she believed in her day, so I had to go with that because that is something she was very definite about in her recollections. At the same time, from the modern-day standpoint, I would certainly refer to her as a Ukrainian heroine as well as someone who was a heroine of the Soviet Union.
Jenny Wheeler: Sure. You have dug into a number of other World War II stories as we mentioned at the beginning, with The Rose Code and The Alice Network. You also mentioned The Huntress which is another Soviet story. What has drawn you to the Soviet stories, because as far as I know, you’re the only popular fiction author who’s ventured into this area.
Kate Quinn: It’s one of those things where there are so many World War II stories happening right now, but we want to branch out. When you’re talking about a world war you are talking about a war that certainly covered more than France and England and the United States. I want to see more stories set in Canada. I want to see more World War II stories set in Australia with Australian heroines and heroes. I would like to see more of the world involved in it than just the popular locations.
Soviets were the only Allied nation to put women at the front
What fascinates me especially about the Soviet Union and the Soviet war stories is the fact that, as I said earlier, they were the only allied nation to put women in the front lines in contrast to when you have heroines who were American or French or English.
These are women whose fighting would have been limited either to being spies or partisans or frontline support networks or to life on the Homefront. Not to denigrate any of those jobs because all of them are crucial during the war, but in those countries you did not see women fighter pilots, women bomber pilots, you did not see women snipers, but you saw all those kinds of women in the Soviet Union.
All of a sudden there’s a possibility, simply by going into Russian history, of being able to tell an entirely different kind of female war story where the women are in the front lines. They are driving the tanks, they’re firing the rifles, they are flying the fighter planes and the bomber planes. They’re doing things they were not able to do in any other nation in quite the same way. That is one reason I am fascinated by Soviet women’s war stories. They look very different from the women’s war stories of almost any other country.
Jenny Wheeler: The Rose Code, which was set in Bletchley Park, focused on the presence of a mole in that famously super-secret institution – something quite shocking to contemplate. I’m sure at the time they would have been utterly devastated to realize something like that was going on.
More Russian history is becoming available in translation
I wondered how much the relaxation of the 50-year secrets law has helped with the research, and also whether that influenced the information you could find for The Diamond Eye.
Kate Quinn: I’m not sure a 50-year rule is going to stop a lot of secrets from remaining buried in the Soviet Union’s history. I think there’s a lot there that they would still rather did not come out, no matter how much time has passed. I do think though that there has been an increase of interest in war time history which has led to more translations of stuff originally written in Russian. I’m very grateful for that because for one thing, Lyudmila Pavlichenko’s memoir was, of course, originally written and published in Russian.
As soon as I got the idea of writing about her, I was so incredibly relieved that within the last five or ten years there had been an English translation of it. I don’t know what I would have done without that English translation. It would have been a lot of work to try to decipher the Russian Cyrillic on her original, and it would not have been nearly as easy to read her own words in her own voice and get an idea of what she was like.
So, I am grateful for the renewed surge of interest in war history because I do think that is leading to more translations, which certainly makes life easier for someone like me, who very regretfully does not speak Russian.
Bringing romance into a war story with tact
Jenny Wheeler: At the center of the story of The Diamond Eye there is a beautiful romance relationship. It shows the heart beating away at the center of the story, and in your author’s notes at the end you tease out the factual basis for that. There is a factual basis but it’s a bit more complicated than what might come through in the story. Tell us a bit about your sense of balancing fact with fiction when you write these stories.
Kate Quinn: When you are trying to figure out how to balance those things, for someone like me, I always take the historical fact – what we know – and use that as the framework, and then layer what is fictional on top of that. But that doesn’t always mean it’s quite as simple as this is fact and this is fiction, because quite often, for a document like Ludmilla’s memoirs, it is also a bit of a propaganda document.
There are places where the propaganda office of the Soviet Union had certain embroideries on the facts. It’s pretty well certain for instance, that there’s a meeting with Stalin in the middle of that memoir we don’t think actually happened because none of the other people who were at that meeting, when they wrote their own version, mentioned that meeting happened at all. I think that was probably a case of the propaganda office including a mention of the boss as a bit of a flattery for the past.
That’s the kind of thing. I’m going to take the other accounts into account, and then try to figure out, where do I parse out what the truth is and where do I think there might be some embroidery. Then the other way around from embroidery is when you look at the facts and there are gaps or there are contradictions in the facts.
Settling fact from fiction when writing historic fiction
For example, you mentioned Ludmilla’s particular romances. The man in her life who was the big frontline romance of her war was very real. It did happen. He is sometimes listed as being her lieutenant and he is sometimes listed as being her sniper partner. It’s not really clear which one he was.
I made the choice, at least for this particular book. I think she may have been involved at different points with two different men, one of whom was her lieutenant and one of whom was her sniper partner. Therefore, I used her version – talking about her lieutenant – and then I had to flesh out what the relationship with her sniper partner would have been because that wasn’t in her memoir.
These are the kinds of choices you have to make when you’re writing. Sometimes it’s a matter of filling in the gaps where history is, frustratingly, a little incomplete. Sometimes it’s choosing what you think is the correct course when history offers you conflicting versions, and sometimes it is trying to figure out where things may have been a little bit embellished from the record, and you have to pare back to the truth. It’s always a choice being made.
I am never going to claim that my version is the truth. I am making my choices based on the book I want to write and also what I think is the truest according to the story I’m trying to tell. But I don’t know if that is the truth or not.
Kate’s fiction beginnings – in Ancient Rome
All I can do is guess, so I always put the author’s note in the end to make sure that people know this is where I did a little bit of embellishment. This is where the record is a little bit different. Please refer to the original sources yourself if you would like to read the words from the horse’s mouth and read a little bit more about how it could have been.
Jenny Wheeler: The first books you wrote were set in quite a different time and place, ancient history or medieval history. Tell us a bit about the trajectory of your career as an author. Were the ones that were published the first books you wrote, or did you have a little bit of a training time before you got anything published?
Kate Quinn: I’ve been writing books since I was probably about 10 years old, so I have any number of trunk novels under the bed which are never going to come out. They’ll never see the light of day. That’s where they belong. So I have a great many books that have never been published long before I got to the ones that finally were.
I did write four books set in 1st century Rome. That’s a period I gravitate to because my mother was not only a librarian but had a degree in ancient, medieval history, so I was getting these stories about the past at a very young age.
And then Kate Quinn moved on to the Italian Renaissance
I loved Ancient Rome because it had that great juxtaposition for me of these tremendous advances in civilization, these tremendous feats of engineering and architecture like, the temples being built, the aqueducts, the Coliseum, and yet something as miraculous as the Coliseum was being built for the purpose of mass slaughter for public entertainment.
These advances in art and architecture and engineering and government and philosophy were at the same time juxtaposed against a time of extraordinary violence. That is what really interested me about Ancient Rome. In a way it interested me as well when I then moved to the Italian Renaissance and did a couple of novels set in that period. Again, it’s another time when there’s a tremendous flowering of art and science and music, and yet at the same time it’s an extraordinarily blood-soaked period where there was a great deal of political upheaval.
That’s something I tend to be fascinated with – when you have an era that’s a contradiction, or you have great beauty and advancements on one side, and yet you have tremendous setbacks and violence on the other. That inherent contradiction means you have a lot of grist for stories.
Jenny Wheeler: Moving from your books – you’ve got so many fantastic books that we could talk about them all day. There is a perennial question I ask everyone which is, is there one thing you’ve done in your writing career, more than any other, that you would say is the “secret of your success”?
Kate Quinn: The one key to success as an author?
Kate Quinn: I would say adaptability. Adaptability is key if you want to make a career out of writing. Now there are many other things you also need. You’re going to need a healthy dose of luck and you are certainly going to need hard work and a little bit of talent as well if you are going to write books that people want to read and get them written and get them out on time.
But I think adaptability is the thing that will give someone, not just me, but give someone long-term success with any luck. When you are looking to write, not just as a hobby for your own joy and for yourself but to put it out there so readers can buy it and so that when they buy it they are paying your bills at home, when you’re looking to make a career of it, you have to keep in mind what the market wants. You have to keep in mind what readers want.
When you are looking for a new book idea, you have to find that Venn diagram overlap between what people want to read and what you want to write that you feel passionate about. If you only write what you want to write but people don’t want to buy it, you’re not going to pay your bills that way. But when you only write to the market and only write what people want to read, but it’s not something you love, that’s not going to come out very well either. You have to find the Venn diagram overlap.
Pivoting to what the market wants as well as what you like
That does mean some changes and some changeability at times because it means that you need to look at the market, look how things have changed and be able to decide, all right, people aren’t buying stories set in Renaissance Italy right now. How can I pivot? What are they buying? What else are people doing, and how can I turn into that?
Jenny Wheeler: We are coming to the end of our time together, so turning to Kate as reader. Because this is The Joys of Binge Reading and we like to focus on popular fiction, what are you currently reading or some old favorite from the past that you occasionally return to? What can you suggest to anybody who’s listening that might be a good escapist, popular binge reading book?
Kate Quinn: Old favorites that I love returning to are the wonderful romantic dramas of Eva Ibbotson. I adore them. They’re poetically written, they’re hilariously funny and they’re wonderfully feel good all around.
What Kate Quinn is reading now – some favorites
For something that is binge-worthy fantastic storytelling, The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey is some of the best space opera around there. I wasn’t even a space opera person, but I love these books so much. Then for transportation historically to another world, ones that I always love are the Tang Dynasty historical fiction novels by Janie Chang, which I just adore.
Jenny Wheeler: Those are all great and they’re not books that are incredibly well-known. None of them have been suggested by other people, so that’s fantastic.
Circling around a little bit and at this stage of your career, if you were doing it all over again, what would you change, if anything?
Kate Quinn: Oh, goodness. That’s a good question. What would I change if I could do it again? I think maybe I would be a little bit stricter with myself at the beginning about not listening to that voice in your head that tells you that you can’t do it.
In the words of Nora Roberts, I can fix a bad page, but I can’t fix a blank page. As a new writer – and I see this in other new writers all the time – it is so very possible to get paralyzed by the voice in your head that says, this is terrible. You can’t do this. What are you thinking? And then they never write it. They never finish it. They get stalled by that voice in your head.
If Kate was doing it over again, what would she change?
What you need to learn is to get past that voice in your head and get the words down, because once they’re down, you can make them better. You can always make them better. I would have learned to put that voice in my head to bed a little quicker when I was first starting out and learn to get the words out so that I could fix them later on.
Jenny Wheeler: I think it would be very encouraging for people who are at that point at the moment to look at what you’ve produced now, because it’s hard to believe you would ever have had that kind of internal dialogue.
Kate Quinn: Oh, everybody I know has that kind of internal dialogue at some point, I guarantee you.
Jenny Wheeler: Looking at the next 12 months and glancing back over the last 12, has COVID affected you very much? And then going forward, what are your next 12 months looking like in terms of your writing life?
Kate Quinn: Again, I don’t think there’s any writer out there who hasn’t been affected by COVID and by the lockdown. In one way I am very lucky. I already work from home and my day did not change very much because of lockdown, except for the fact that I now have to work out in front of YouTube instead of going to the gym. I still am able to work at home and I still am able to do much of my work without needing to go to some sort of office or store or anything like that.
Writing The Diamond Eye while in lockdown a ‘great escape’
On the other hand, I did feel for a long time like I didn’t know what I was going to write because it felt like I had the attention span of a goldfish for one thing. It felt very difficult to refill that creative well or to put any creativity out there in a world that seemed increasingly like it was on fire.
The Diamond Eye was a great escape for me. It was truly escapist in every sense of the word because when I began it, it was somewhere around October of 2020. We’d been in lockdown for months and months, the numbers were spiking everywhere and there was no end in sight. Vaccines were not there yet. In the U S we had this continual coverage of the election and then the fallout from that.
I honestly think my muse took one look at everything that was going on in the world and said, I want a break. I want to go somewhere relaxing and calming. How about the Russian front in World War II? She dove into Mila’s world, this horrendous world of the Russian front in World War II with the blood and the mud and the horrors. She went into that like she was going to a spa day and she basically didn’t look up for three and a half months flat.
It honestly only took me about three and a half months to draft The Diamond Eye – just to get that first draft down, which is really very fast, even for me. I think it’s because my creative side was so desperate to escape the world around me at that point that the words happened extraordinarily quickly.
Focusing in and drilling down an acquired skill
That’s how the end of 2020 and the lockdown and so forth went for me as far as the writing went. This last book became an escape hatch and one I was very grateful for.
Jenny Wheeler: It sounds like you might have channeled Mila a little bit because the thing that comes through in the story about her is her capacity to focus, drill down and discipline herself. Even that little project with the leaves, the way you carry it across. She becomes quite clinical in the way she starts collecting botanical specimens. Maybe you took some spirit of Mila on board there.
Kate Quinn: I probably did. I did feel quite close to her while I was writing. I can’t say that my version is the real version, the real woman, because it’s my version of her as close as I can get. But I did come to love my version and she was wonderful to spend time with.
Jenny Wheeler: What are you working on now? Do you have another book going on or are you giving yourself a little break?
Kate Quinn: I do have another book I’m working on. Right now, it is titled The Briar Club and it’s about Washington DC in the 1950s with the whole McCarthyism and Red scare era. I’m diving into that and I’m loving it right now.
Where readers can find Kate Quinn online
Jenny Wheeler: Kate, I imagine you like to be able to interact with your readers in some form or other, and not obviously in person so much at the moment. Where can they find you online?
Kate Quinn: You can find me on Instagram. It’s Kate Quinn 5975. You can find me on Twitter, Kate Quinn author, and you can find me on Facebook. I do have a page and that is again, Kate Quinn author. I tend to post a fair amount when I’m procrastinating from my word count, so you can find me on one of those places for sure.
Jenny Wheeler: Thank you so much. It’s been wonderful talking.
Kate Quinn: It’s been absolutely lovely. Thank you.
What’s next if you loved Kate Quinn? How about Allison Pataki?
If you loved Kate Quinn you might also enjoy Allison Pataki’s World Changing Women novels on The Joys of Binge Reading
Next week on Binge Reading Andy Straka, an award winning and bestselling mystery author will be talking about his new book, Split City, the first in his Jesus Spares series about former pro bowling champions and identical twin brothers trying to make a go of it in a small Midwest town.
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