Sena Jeter Naslund
As a featured writer at the St. Petersburg Times Festival of Reading on Oct. 23, Jeter Naslund will focus on her latest book, Adam and Eve. The native of Birmingham, Ala., is the author of five novels and two short story collections. Ahab's Wife, a national bestseller, was selected by Time magazine as one of the five best novels of 1999.
What's on your nightstand?
A galley of Susan Vreeland's Clara and Mr. Tiffany. It won't be out for several months yet, but I had read Vreeland's The Girl in Hyacinth Blue, and I wanted to read her new one.
How did Herman Melville and Moby-Dick come to be the inspiration for Ahab's Wife?
I had first read Moby-Dick when I was 13, so I've been familiar with it a long time, but it was when I listened with my daughter to it on tape that I became more interested. I realized that there weren't any good women characters in it, and that's how I came to write Ahab's Wife.
Was writing Adam and Eve related to that need for strong female characters?
Ahab's Wife is a take on a piece of classic literature, and Adam and Eve is my contemporary look at the classic story we all know. My character of Eve, as with all my female characters, is a strong woman searching for a more authentic sense of her own identity.
I don't want to spoil the book, but is Eve to blame for paradise lost in your story?
They're forced to leave paradise not because of an apple, but because of violence.
Piper Castillo, Times staff writer