Journalist Kira Peikoff has written for the New York Daily News, Newsday, the Orange County Register and New York magazine. Inspired by her experience reporting from the White House in 2006, as President Bush denied federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, she wrote the thriller Living Proof (Tor Books, February 28, 2012). She lives in New York City and is working on her second thriller.
On your nightstand now:
Defending Jacob by William Landay, The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman and I Knew You'd Be Lovely by Alethea Black.
Favorite book when you were a child:
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. I re-read it recently and it was just as good as I remembered.
Your top five authors:
Victor Hugo, Ayn Rand, Michael Crichton, Isaac Asimov and Curtis Sittenfeld.
Book you've faked reading:
I don't know if I ever faked it, but I couldn't get through Lolita. I couldn't stand a whole book from his perspective.
Book you're an evangelist for:
Recently, I've been telling everyone to read Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson. It's one of the most gripping novels I've read. Also, I like to recommend an under-appreciated novel by Ira Levin called This Perfect Day. It's a dystopian thriller in the vein of Brave New World, but better.
Book you've bought for the cover:
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. The little girl next to a man's empty shoes intrigued me. It turned out to be one of my favorite novels.
Book that changed your life:
Atlas Shrugged. I read it in college, when I was living away from home for the first time and deciding whether to embrace the philosophy I was raised with. It was always important to me--and to my parents--that I come to my own independent conclusions. After I finished the book, I finally knew the answer.
Favorite line from a book:
Does a play count? I love the lines from Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand that speak to his love of life and total integrity:
"To travel any road under the sun, under the stars, nor doubt if fame or fortune lie beyond the bourn--Never to write a line I have not heard in my own heart; yet with all modesty to say: 'My soul, be satisfied with flowers, with fruit, with weeds even, but gather them in the one garden you may call your own.' "
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
The whole Harry Potter series. J.K. Rowling is brilliant at plotting and pacing. I know I'll re-read the books again, and this time, even though I won't be surprised, I'll have the pleasure of studying just how she sets up all those exciting twists and turns.
Book you've read with the most clever hook:
Frederic Brown's noir murder mystery called The Far Cry. It starts and ends with the same exact paragraph, which cryptically reveals the identity of the killer. The words take on a whole new meaning at the end of the book and will make you gasp. I have a lot of respect for any writer who can pull that off.