Rebecca Coleman's manuscript for The Kingdom of Childhood (Mira, September 27, 2011), an unsettling novel set in the controversial Waldorf School movement, was a semifinalist in the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Competition. She lives and works near Washington, D.C.
On your nightstand now:
Stolen Lives by Jassy Mackenzie. Also, The Serial by Cyra McFadden, which is a permanent fixture--I first read it in fourth grade because my parents had warned me it was the one book that was absolutely off-limits.
Favorite book when you were a child:
The Sweet Touch by Lorna and Lecia Balian. In it, a girl makes a wish that everything she touches would turn to candy, but after the fairy grants it and they both eat sweets until they get sick, they decide it wasn't such a great wish after all. Come to think of it, The Kingdom of Childhood is basically about the same thing.
Your top five authors:
Margaret Atwood, Angela Carter, Arundhati Roy, Barbara Kingsolver and Lois Lowry.
Book you've faked reading:
That would be Vineland by Thomas Pynchon. I was a Lit major and had this professor who was into making us read the least-recognized works of great contemporary authors. This one about killed me.
Book you're an evangelist for:
The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall. Wonderful. Heartbreaking. I try to convince all my Mormon friends that they'll love it because it's very affectionate toward Mormon culture, but they just nod very quickly and change the subject. Maybe I should suggest they buy it as an e-book so no one can tell they're reading it.
Book you've bought for the cover:
I bought Pagan Babies by Greg Johnson at the old Lambda Rising bookstore in DuPont Circle when I was a teenager. I carried it around at school, and people would see the cover and ask, "Is that two dudes kissing?"
Book that changed your life:
I'm going to say Lolita by Nabokov. The language blew me away, and the story is just so daring. Reading it opened my eyes to how limitless writing can be, and that it can be simultaneously dark and beautiful.
Favorite line from a book:
"So lively shines in them divine resemblance"-- from Paradise Lost by Milton. I have it tattooed on my arm.
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
Three to Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich. By that one I was in such a hurry to find the juicy bits with Morelli and Ranger that I totally missed the plot.