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Powell’s Q&A: Alice Hoffman

Describe your latest book.
My new book, The Museum of Extraordinary Things, is a magical historical mystery that takes place in 1911 New York City — it's a love song to New York, to the labor movement, to magic, and to love itself.

What fictional character would you like to date, and why?
Heathcliff. Wouldn't everyone?

What's the strangest or most interesting job you've ever had?
I was the secretary at a sex clinic. Very bad job for someone who can't spell.

Introduce one other author you think people should read, and suggest a good book with which to start.
Ray Bradbury. Something Wicked This Way Comes. I still remember sitting in the basement turning the pages and thinking this is what a book should be.I still remember sitting in the basement turning the pages and thinking this is what a book should be.

Writers are better liars than other people: True or false? Why or why not?
Writers are better truth tellers because you can't write a good novel without the truth seeping through.

How do you relax?
Books, of course.

Have you ever made a literary pilgrimage?
With my son — to Chincoteague Island in Virginia — he was a fan of the Misty of Chincoteague series and a horse fanatic, so we went to see the wild ponies. And to the house where Nathaniel Hawthorne lived as a young man, to see the writings he and his wife left for each other in the window glass.

What is your astrological sign?
Pisces, the reason I write about mermaids.

Fahrenheit, Celsius, or Kelvin?
Fahrenheit 451.

Name the best television series of all time, and explain why it's the best.
The Twilight Zone. Rod Serling was a literary genius.

Five magical books for a rainy vacation:
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
Moonheart by Charles de Lint
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

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Alice Hoffman has published a total of 28 works of fiction. Her novel Here on Earth was an Oprah Book Club choice. Practical Magic was made into a Warner film starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. Hoffman’s work has been published in more than 20 translations and more than 100 foreign editions. She currently lives in Boston and New York. Her new novel is The Museum of Extraordinary Things.

Books mentioned in this post

  1. Here on Earth (Oprah's Book Club)
    Used Trade Paper $4.50
  2. Practical magic
    Used Hardcover $4.95
  3. The Museum of Extraordinary Things
    Used Hardcover $9.95
  4. The Ocean at the End of the Lane
    Used Hardcover $11.50
  5. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar...
    Used Hardcover $6.95
  6. Moonheart
    Used Trade Paper $7.50
  7. The Left Hand of Darkness
    Used Trade Paper $10.95
  8. Fahrenheit 451
    Used Trade Paper $6.95
  9. Misty of Chincoteague Used Trade Paper $3.50
  10. Something Wicked This Way Comes
    Used Hardcover $12.50
  11. Wuthering Heights (Modern Library...
    Used Trade Paper $4.95

Alice Hoffman is the author of The Museum of Extraordinary Things

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