|photo: Marea Evans Photography
Stacy Robinson, who holds a B.A. in International Relations from Stanford University, spent a three-year consulting and teaching stint in Japan, then returned to her hometown of Los Angeles to continue her career in international marketing. Eventually she moved to Denver, where she joined the Lighthouse Writer's Workshop and drifted back into the work she loves most--writing. Robinson enjoys the Mile-High City and nearby mountains with her husband, three children and chocolate Labrador non-Retriever, Jagger. Her debut novel, Surface (Kensington, paperback, February 1, 2015), explores the consequences of flawed choices, the complex nature of betrayal and forgiveness and the intriguing possibility of second acts.
On your nightstand now:
My stack runneth over: The Secret History by Donna Tartt, Gemini by Carol Cassella (novelist, physician, mother of two sets of twins and a master of the medical/family drama), Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead, All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner, What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman and the last three issues of Vanity Fair.
Favorite books when you were a child:
The entire Nancy Drew series, which was my gateway drug to Agatha Christie's detective novels (I preferred Miss Marple to Monsieur Poirot), which led me to the Sherlock Holmes canon. And, of course, the bible of every preteen girl in the late '70s: Judy Blume's Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. I also read From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg no fewer than 20 times.
Your top five authors:
F. Scott Fitzgerald, Joyce Carol Oates, Jodi Picoult, Nick Hornby and the great sharp-tongued satirists Dorothy Parker, Oscar Wilde, P.G. Wodehouse, David Sedaris--a bit of a cheat, but you know what Mr. W. says about excess.
Book you've faked reading:
Ulysses by James Joyce. I've tried. Multiple times. Even on CD for a long road trip. One day, though, I will make it through.
Book you're an evangelist for:
I think it would have to be The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. Epic, moving, thought-provoking, masterful. I recommend it frequently.
Book you've bought for the cover:
Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple, and what a sublimely screwball and clever story it turned out to be. A snarky, unhinged mother, a precocious daughter, helicopter parents, the Russian mob and a trip to Antarctica--what more does one need in a read?
Book that changed your life:
Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins. Here's the scene (mine, not Tom's): Finals week, sophomore year, brain-fried college student only five pages into a 20-page research paper due in two days, who is cramming for multiple exams. Drained of all creativity, I do what any harried student would--grab a Diet Coke from the mini fridge (or possibly a Coors Light, but it was definitely a Diet or Light something) and wander through the dorm in search of... anything. What I came back with was this wild, wise, fabulous book, which had me engaged and smiling within minutes of cracking the cover. What I learned was that reading for sheer pleasure, at a time when you least think you can afford to, often provides the jolt of needed inspiration. To this day, I start my writing by reading. And, really, there's no better way to procrastinate.
Favorite line from a book:
A giggler from Ham: Slices of a Life by Sam Harris: "I fear that my karmic lesson in this lifetime is humility. And I think that lesson is beneath me."
Which character you most relate to:
I recently took one of those online quizzes that promised to answer this very question. After computing my responses to questions about flaws, favorite animals and weekend plans, the gurus came up with Hermione from Harry Potter, for her wit, intelligence, love of a challenge and, above all else, her stability and rationality in all things. While that describes my personality to a fair degree, my nubile schoolgirl days are looong past, and I'd much rather have gotten Lady Brett Ashley, for her seductive glamor and irresistible power over men, with that hint of vulnerability. Or Nora Charles, for her sly repartee and martini-swilling heiress ways. But most of all, I'd go with Thursday Next, the wit-slinging literary detective who's part Nancy Drew part John Cleese, bursting with clever wordplay, allusions and trivia. Thursday has the coolest job in fiction.
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
The Book Thief. The unexpected narrator had a profound impact on me, and Zusak's mesmerizing, often chilling prose reminds readers of the resilience of the human spirit and the power of words. It's always good to get a fresh dose of that.