If you’re among the many eagerly anticipating the next thriller by New York Times best selling author Kate Quinn, good things are soon to come to those who have been waiting. On February 26th, Harper Collins is set to release her latest novel “The Huntress.” Much like Quinn’s enormously popular “The Alice Network” this adventurous novel delivers intensity on a cognitive quest that simultaneously tests boundaries of historic chronicles.
Vectors of “The Huntress” fly along the wingspan of the Soviet Night Witches, a regiment of female combat-aviators deployed by Stalin against the Germans on the Eastern Front of WWII. Fusing historical facts with fiction and a broad perspective “The Huntress” imaginatively maps international Nazi-hunting with composites of psychosexual development.
The narrative begins outside Boston in the spring of 1946. Readers are introduced to Jordan, an ambitious wannabe co-ed whose talents exceed the opportunities for women of the times. Her character anchors the five-year plot that snap-shots traditions, danger and intrigue.
In contrast to the proper Bostonian personae of Jordan the author slashes through the night sky with Nina, a fearless Russian woman, emboldened by personal and political terrors. While stylistically different from the woman of bucolic Back Bay the cold-blooded, courageous Muscovite similarly defies impositions of societal expectations.
Readers will find Kate Quinn’s use of metaphor initially confines Jordan the proper Bostonian to a darkroom, a passionless romance and a narrow-lens future. Nina’s personality is metaphorically established as kinetic, perpetually surrounded by the air of primal energies. Authentic feeling male characters most often represent authoritative compass points. Their roles serve as landmarks of expectation while the author skillfully positions the women to contest hierarchical tradition. Their interactions are catalytic converters for the women of the book to evolve and become increasingly open professionally, emotionally, and sexually.
Time-stamped with distillations of well researched WWII and Post-War facts “The Huntress” is worthy of landing on your book-list if you’re into unconventional explorations of adventure from a woman’s perspective. WARNING~ This multi-dimensional story is fast-paced, may cause your heart to race and ends with an exciting climax. ~ It’s totally ToDiFor!
UNDER THE COVER: AUTHOR’S NOTES :
Harper Collins arranged for Kate Quinn to answer a few questions about “The Huntress” and her process of writing in general. Like most women, I multi-tasked this opportunity and prepared for the Q&A while at the hairdresser. Head-down, foils-in I re-read sections of the 535 page book looking for tidbits that could spark an original conversation.
Over the buzz of idle gossipers, and whirling blow dryers I heard a 40-something goldilocks unexpectedly exclaim ” I LOVE KATE QUINN”! The blue-eyed fashionista spotted the dog-eared advance copy I was under-scoring with pink highlighter and began to rave about the strength of character and collective talents Kate Quinn writes into un-named, un-sung women of history. Smock to smock we started to talk about why this author is one she loves to follow.
Referencing “The Alice Network” my unexpected book-buddy said she finds Quinn’s work is refreshing because she adds a woman’s perspective to the timeline of history typically saturated by events written by men without regard to the humanity of living life in crisis.
With that in mind it was no surprise to hear directly from the 37 year old author she’s a stickler for historic facts. She culls data from non-fictional books, war crimes trial records, maps, period photographs and online papers to authentic her work. Such big novels take her more or less a year to write, but longer “if it’s a problem child.”
Born and raised in Long Beach, California Quinn’s Southern Cal. routine is to start the day at 7:30. She check e-mails, takes a rambling walk with her 2 black rescue dogs, hits the gym or takes a boxing class. After grabbing a five-minute lunch of leftovers, she settles-in to write until dinner at 6 or 7. When stuck in a writers block the Boston University grad doesn’t make time for excuses, she “bulls ahead” by hash-tagging plot-lines or reaches out for a boost to pals who also write.
Asked if she misses the vivid characters who tell the Boston based tale of “The Huntress” she said she does. She enjoyed writing about the vibrant city she lived in for seven years while studying opera singing as a vocal performance major. She misses the people she imagined cheering at Fenway, shopping on Newbury Street and eating at Mike’s Pastry. Kate wishes she could have a drink with all of them now, feeling certain the men would have exciting stories to tell, Jordan would photograph the day away and Nina’s Russian vodka would flow until they were all under the table.
When asked if she has always feels pressure to top herself Quinn said, She’s felt that pressure long before she was “lucky enough to become a published author.”
“With every new book I want to say something different, stretch myself in a different direction. I never want to realize I’m writing the same book over and over.”
If you’re looking forward to what comes next from this prolific creator, the working title of Kate Quinn’s current project is “The Rose Code.” She’s excited to share the story of women who worked in secret to break German military codes. Set in England at Bletchley Park some estimate the skills of these women shortened WWII by 2-3 years.
Sounds like that’s something else to wait for…
Diane Kilgore is a journalist in the Greater Boston Area. She is a Cultural Contributor for NewBostonPost and creator of the lifestyle blog ‘To Di For.’