In her new book, The Astronaut Wives Club, Koppel weaves together memories of the wives of the original astronauts of the 1960s. "It was coincidence, but I actually came up with the idea for the book on the Fourth of July (in 2010). I was somewhere where I came across the book on Norman Mailer's work he did for Life magazine (MoonFire: The Epic Journey of Apollo 11). "I asked my husband if he remembered if a book had ever been written about the wives, and he said that he didn't think so. That's when I decided to write a book. It was a project to shed light on this exclusive group of women.'' Koppel is also the author of The Red Leather Diary: Reclaiming a Life Through the Pages of a Lost Journal, which is about her discovery of a young woman's diary kept in New York in the 1930s.
What's on your nightstand?
On the book tour, I've been spending so much time in book stores that I keep adding more books to carryons to read later. I've got Curtis Sittenfeld's Sisterland and Jeannette Walls' new one (The Silver Star). She was known for memoir, and I'm curious as to how she'll translate into novel form. I also have Carl Hiaasen's Bad Monkey. I love how comic he is.
He's certainly loved here in Florida, but since you're a non-Floridian, how do you think he finds success in so many different regions?
He's wacky. Americans love outrageous things. He's also so pop, with a bit of Andy Warhol in him.
Piper Castillo, Times staff writer