|photo: James J. Kriegsmann Jr.
Evie Manieri grew up in the Philadelphia suburb of Drexel Hill and is the product of a golden age of public education where arts programs were varied and plentiful. She graduated from Wesleyan University with a degree in Medieval History and Theater, disciplines that continue to influence her work. Her debut novel, Blood's Pride (Tor, February 19, 2013), is the first in the Shattered Kingdoms fantasy trilogy. Manieri lives with her family in New York City.
On your nightstand now:
I've been making a point to read outside my comfort zone lately, and right now I've got The City's Son by Tom Pollock and The Rook by Daniel O'Malley. They're both off to a great start, but sadly I'm not that far into either of them yet. I'm in the last hot, sweaty throes of getting my latest ms. ready to submit, and not much else is happening right now.
Favorite book when you were a child:
Too close to call between Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, and A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for pure magic and wish fulfillment. (I was allergic to chocolate when I was a kid.) A Little Princess had a more profound impact: it was the first book that spoke to me in a serious way about adults--like the terrifying Miss Minchin--who are incapable of empathy for children, and that it is possible to hold on to oneself in the face of their arbitrary cruelty, even when circumstances give them authority over you. It's a message I still find heartening.
Your top five authors:
Dorothy L. Sayers, W. Somerset Maugham, Thomas Hardy, Sinclair Lewis, Susan Cooper.
Book you've faked reading:
Well, leaving aside every self–help book anyone's either given or recommended to me... then it would be The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. I've tried to read it at least four times, and I'm sure I've faked my way through dozens of conversations where it came up. That was in my younger days, though, when I was more easily embarrassed by my ignorance.
Book you're an evangelist for:
Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham. Everyone seems to have heard of it, but so few people I encounter have actually read it. Some people are at least familiar with the soul-wilting relationship between Philip and Mildred from the movie adaptations, but there's so very much more to the book. The bleak, unromantic depiction of the Paris art student scene is riveting, and Philip's decision to chuck it when he decides he doesn't have the stuff of greatness still affects me with its courage and self–awareness.
Book you've bought for the cover:
Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffrey. It was a paperback and the first book I ever bought with my own money. It had a wonderful illustration of the fire lizards on the cover. For those of you who don't know, fire lizards are basically miniature pet dragons. I was nine. I couldn't give them my money fast enough.
Book that changed your life:
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle. It was a reading assignment given by my fifth grade teacher, and a whole new universe big-banged into my head when I read it. That book made me want to be a writer, and it's why Blood's Pride is dedicated to that same fifth grade teacher.
Favorite line from a book:
Writer Harriet Vane goes to visit her old college of Shrewsbury in Oxford, and when asked why someone of her caliber is writing popular fiction, she points out that she needs to earn a living. She follows up by saying, "I know what you're thinking--that anybody with proper sensitive feelings would rather scrub floors for a living. But I should scrub floors very badly, and I write detective stories rather well. I don't see why proper feelings should prevent me from doing my proper job." From Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers.
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper. I want to get lost in it again like I did the first time. It felt so much more real and so much more intriguing than the world around me. I re-read it often, but I'll never get back that magic of the first time.