|photo: Nora Kenny
A native New Englander, Erica Boyce is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School and an associate fiction editor at Pangyrus. She lives near Boston with her husband and their dog, a corgi named Finn. Her first novel, The Fifteen Wonders of Daniel Green, was just published by Sourcebooks.
On your nightstand now:
I'm rotating between Isabel Wilkerson's The Warmth of Other Suns and Elif Shafak's The Forty Rules of Love. I've been trying to read more nonfiction lately, but I always need some fiction in the mix. I found The Forty Rules of Love tucked away on a shelf in the Harvard Book Store, and I've loved Rumi's poetry since college, so I was immediately drawn to it.
Favorite book when you were a child:
L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables--so much so that it makes a cameo in my novel! I related (and still do relate) very much to Anne's tendency to feel everything so keenly, whether it's joy or pain.
Your top five authors:
Colum McCann's simple, gorgeous prose always sticks with me. I love J. Courtney Sullivan for making me see New England in a new light, and Celeste Ng for the beautiful way she writes families. Barbara Kingsolver if I want to feel closer to nature, and Mira Jacob if I need a good laugh or cry.
Book you've faked reading:
Pride and Prejudice. A good friend of mine gave me a compendium of all Jane Austen's work as a gift in college, and I couldn't even make it a few pages into her most famous book. Sorry, friend!
Book you're an evangelist for:
Though I'm well outside the intended age bracket by now, I will never stop talking about Tanuja Desai Hidier's Born Confused. I first read it when I was 16, and it was just jaw-dropping to me the way she used words; so lyrical and distinctive. I've read it several times since then, and my copy is filled with penciled-in underlines!
Book you've bought for the cover:
I'm pretty sure I would've bought anything with a cover as texturally beautiful as the hardcover edition of Edgar & Lucy by Victor Lodato. Luckily for me, the story and writing was just as magical as the dust jacket.
Book you hid from your parents:
I may or may not have read every volume in the novelizations of Sabrina the Teenage Witch (the version from the 1990s starring Melissa Joan Hart). One of my best friends and I would secretly pass our copies back and forth to share when we were in fourth grade!
Book that changed your life:
Ann Patchett's This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage--specifically, her essay, "The Getaway Car." She describes her writing life and what it's like to write a story and put it out there in the world. For years, I'd been meaning to revisit the few chapters of a novel I'd written in college and actually finish that story, but there was always some little voice holding me back. I remember reading "The Getaway Car" in 2016 and just looking up and thinking, "Damn." That week, I went home and started writing the manuscript that, after several rounds of edits and more than a few tears, became The Fifteen Wonders of Daniel Green.
Favorite line from a book:
In "The Getaway Car," Ann Patchett describes the process of writing as, "Imagine running over a butterfly with an SUV. Everything that was beautiful about this living thing--all the color, the light and movement--is gone. What I'm left with is the dry husk of my friend, the broken body chipped, dismantled, and poorly reassembled. Dead. That's my book." That's the image that made me realize I had to get over myself and crush that butterfly.
Five books you'll never part with:
Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann--I've made so many people read this one, I've lost count. Trevor Corson's The Secret Life of Lobsters is an amazing work of nonfiction that made me care about lobsters and marine life so much that I built my day job around it. Leni Zumas's Red Clocks, because so many of my favorite books involve interweaving a handful of people's lives and Zumas really nails it here. Mira T. Lee's Everything Here Is Beautiful for the compassionate way she describes living with a mental illness. I have obsessive-compulsive disorder, myself, and I'm always on the hunt for books about people who have mental illnesses and live full, complicated lives. And finally, the aforementioned marked-up copy of Tanuja Desai Hidier's Born Confused.
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
Tamora Pierce's Alanna: The First Adventure. I read it in fifth grade and, my God, the badassery in that female fantasy protagonist blew me away. I read all the other books in The Song of the Lioness series as quickly as I could, and I was so sad to see Alanna go when I finished.