my review of Force of Nature at the CHIRB

I've become a semi-regular contributor to the Chicago Review of Books, and what fun it is! Lots of author interviews, page-to-screen adaptation coverage, and good old fashioned book reviews are on the way.

My latest: a review of Jane Harper's second novel, Force of Nature. I love a good thriller, especially with a strong cast of complex women at its core, which this one has. "Nearly all of the main characters of Jane Harper’s new Australia-set thriller... are more unpleasant than pleasant, more misbehaving than misunderstood. And you’ll enjoy the book a lot more because of it.."

Check it out here.

great time to subscribe!

Hi there! Some fun things in the works here, like the #womenshistoryreads interview series coming up in March, the paperback release of GIRL IN DISGUISE (coming March 6!) and the upcoming reveal of my next novel... will keep you in suspense a bit longer on that one.

Want to make sure you get all the newest news? Definitely subscribe to my author newsletter! You can do that here.

(So much fun stuff to come...)

#WomensHistoryReads interview: Marie Benedict

I'm so thrilled to publish this interview with Marie Benedict, author of THE OTHER EINSTEIN and CARNEGIE'S MAID, as a preview of my month of #WomensHistoryReads interviews. Marie and I are both published by Sourcebooks and love to explore untold stories -- especially about women who struggled in the past with the issues women still struggle with today. So here's my interview with Marie! 

Greer: Tell us about a woman (or group of women) from the past who has inspired your writing.

Marie: While there are countless historical women who motivate me and shape my understanding of the past, those who have inspired me most are my own ancestors, particularly those described in tales by my great-grandmothers and great-aunts. They told me about my strong-willed immigrant ancestors who arrived in this country with nothing but their will to succeed and pushed my family to make the ascent from uneducated immigrants to Ivy League professionals — step by step, of course. Those women influenced the character who would become Clara Kelly in CARNEGIE’S MAID, the story of a bright, but uneducated Irish immigrant who becomes Margaret Carnegie’s lady’s maid and goes on to influence Andrew Carnegie’s transformation from ruthless businessman to the world’s first philanthropist and creator of the free libraries. And I feel them pushing me along every single day.

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Greer: How would you describe what you write?

Marie: I endeavor to excavate from the past stories about remarkable women, whose contributions are relatively unknown and whose tales have both historic and modern significance — in an effort to ensure that the negative preconceptions our society might still hold about women’s abilities are changed.

Greer: What’s the last book that blew you away?

Marie: There are so many books that regularly blow me away!  If pressed on the best, very recent reads (I read several books every week), I would have to list:

1.       Ya’a Gyaasi’s Homegoing

2.      Lily King’s Euphoria

3.      Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace (a re-read, but recent)

Greer: If you could pick one woman from history to put in every high school history textbook, who would it be?

Marie: This might be a cheat, but honestly, I could never, ever pick just one. I’d want to insert into each segment of the traditional, high school history curriculum at least one woman (loads more, if I had my way!)— so students can understand that women have played an integral part in each era and that their contributions reverberate to this day.

Greer: What’s your next book about and when will we see it?

Marie: My next book after CARNEGIE’S MAID is a novel entitled THE ONLY WOMAN IN THE ROOM, which releases next January.  Set in 1930s Austria, it is a story of a young Jewish women who marries the country’s richest man, a munitions manufacturer who ends up supplying weaponry to Mussolini and Hitler in deals struck over their dinner table. When my character learns not only the Third Reich’s military strategy but the horrific plans for the Jewish people, she escapes to London, where she’s swept up in a wave of Jewish actors, writers and directors heading for Hollywood. Very quickly she becomes an actress, but she suffers from intense survivor’s guilt as the plans she overheard begin to manifest — and the only person she saved is herself. As her means of recompense, she utilizes the secret military information she learned at her ex-husband’s dinner table to develop an incredibly effective weaponry system which she delivers to the Navy for its use in the war. But because she’s a beautiful woman, they reject her invention — a communication system we use everyday in our cell phones — and relegate her to selling war bonds. It is the story of Hedy Lamarr.

Greer: Do you consider yourself a historian?

Marie: If a historian is defined as someone who’s a student of history, absolutely! Since I was a child, I’ve been enamored of dipping into the past, and as I got older, I even fancied that I might become a professor or an archaeologist, in constant study of historical times. But, after a long detour as lawyer, I am incredibly fortunate to spend my days in the company of historical women who led important lives, exploring and learning about the world which they inhabited. What could be better?!

Greer: Who are some of your favorite authors working today?

Marie: Well, I love a fabulous author by the name of Greer Macallister!  [Ed. note: Aw, shucks!] Aside from her, there are so many writers creating important stories about women, both historical and modern day, that I couldn’t begin to list them all — I’d be afraid that I left a critical contributor out!  On another note, I’ve recently discovered (late to the party, I know!) Louise Penny, who I’m thoroughly enjoying.

Greer: What do you find most challenging or most exciting about researching historical women?

Marie: Well, I always wanted a time machine as a kid (still do), and the closest I’ll ever come is the rabbit hole of historical research that I do with my novels — so that’s definitely the most exciting part of the process. The most challenging aspect of researching these historical women is making certain that I don’t examine their world and lives and choices with a modern day lens. I have to remind myself to view them with a lens forged in their own times.

Greer: What book, movie or TV show would your readers probably be surprised to find out you love?

Marie: While I adore historical programs, of course — most recently, Alias Grace, and "The Crown"  — I’m also an ardent fan of fantasy, suspense, and a sprinkle of science fiction. Currently, I am loving "Stranger Things", "Game of Thrones", "An Honorable Woman", and "Top of the Lake."

 

 

happy February (and almost March!)

Hello! Been quiet around here lately, but it's about to get noisier.

I'm SO excited to share with you a big #WomensHistoryReads project I've been working on for a while now. I'll be interviewing women who write riveting books about women from the past who inspire and amaze us.

That'll start on March 1. But stay tuned... I'll have an interview to whet your appetite coming much sooner than that...

have you watched Alias Grace yet?

Margaret Atwood is my favorite writer, and ALIAS GRACE is one of my very favorite books of hers. So, naturally, I was incredibly excited to see the TV adaptation hit screens.

What did I think of it? I wrote a review for Chicago Review of Books.

(Spoilers abound in the review, but here's the short version: loved it, yes, you absolutely should watch it as soon as possible, especially if you've read the book. Not always the case with adaptations!)

a little something about Alias Grace

I'm a huge fan of Margaret Atwood in general, and specifically her book Alias Grace, inspired by the did-she-or-didn't-she true story of 19th-century convicted Canadian murderess Grace Marks. (Readers of The Magician's Lie will note some serious similarities!)

I wrote a little something for the Chicago Review of Books about what I hoped to see in the new Netflix version of Atwood's story. It's a great preview if you haven't seen the series yet, especially if you enjoyed the Hulu version of "The Handmaid's Tale."

Click for Grace.

great books about bad (?) women

I love to read and write about women of the past who are great role models (like, say, Kate Warne) -- but there's also something really compelling about women of the past whose behavior was not so nice. So I rounded up a list for BookBub of great novels about real-life women who did, or were accused of doing, very bad things. Like, say, Marie Antoinette and Lucrezia Borgia.

Great novels about notorious women: add them to your TBR list!

(Also, did you know you can "follow" me on BookBub to be notified when there's a deal on one of my books? There's a sign-up button at the link.)

busy with bylines!

I promise I've been making progress on my third book. Promise! But as you can tell from yesterday's post, I've also been writing a lot more for online outlets lately, and I've got some great stuff in the works I can't reveal just yet. Listicles and essays and interviews, oh my!

My interview with Natasha Pulley, author of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street and now The Bedlam Stacks, just went live on Chicago Review of Books. My first byline with them -- but it certainly won't be the last.

Read our conversation here.

making historical fiction fun

Historical fiction is fantastic, but it can be a little, well, depressing. All those wars, plagues, orphans, and thwarted romances. If you need something a bit lighter for your summer reading pleasure, I've rounded up five great choices -- dare I say they're both historical and hysterical? (Maybe not, but they'll definitely make you laugh more than you cry.)

Laughs From the Past up at TheRefresh.co.

One-day e-book deal for GIRL IN DISGUISE!

 

Today only, July 31! 
If you've been waiting for a great deal on the GIRL IN DISGUISE e-book, wait no more! It's $1.99 today only across all platforms.
That means:
Nook: $1.99
Kobo: $1.99
Kindle: $1.99
iBooks: $1.99
Google Books: $1.99

Please spread the word!

Prefer hardcover? Pick that one up for the regular price, today or any day, at your favorite local independent bookstore or through the links below:
Indiebound
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

"A Spunky Spy Saga." — NPR Books

"Macallister is becoming a leading voice in strong, female-driven historical fiction."—Erika Robuck, bestselling author of Hemingway's Girl

For the first female Pinkerton detective, respect is hard to come by. Danger, however, is not.

In the tumultuous years of the Civil War, the streets of Chicago offer a woman mostly danger and ruin—unless that woman is Kate Warne, the first female Pinkerton detective and a desperate widow with a knack for manipulation. [more...]

in the pink with Bas Bleu

Earlier this summer I shared how very excited I was to see GIRL IN DISGUISE named to the Summer Reading List at Bas Bleu. As a lifelong fan of their catalog, this was way cool -- even more so when I saw the cover featured on their home page. Yay! Kate! So big!

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Then they invited me to do a Q&A on their Bluestocking Blog, and of course I was happy to do so. We talked about everything from women's legacies to The Magician's Lie movie casting to how Allan Pinkerton would feel about how people think of him now. Read it all here!

I'm up at The Millions!

There's writing and then there's writing. I have two published novels and a good handful of published short stories and poems, but it's hard to express how it felt to see my byline on an essay at the highly respected literary website The Millions. I shared my thoughts on whether historical fiction can be feminist (it totally can) as well as some of my favorite recent historical novels that make the case for women as fully realized members of society and pretty awesome individuals to boot.

Read the whole essay here, and I'd love it if you'd share the link around. It's been wonderful to see the positive reactions so far. I'm thrilled to have this one out in the world.