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Between the lines with Elin Hilderbrand (Q&A w/ event details)

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Today, Hartford Books Examiner welcomes Elin Hilderbrand.

Ms. Hilderbrand—heralded as the “Queen of the Summer Novel” by People magazine—is the New York Times bestselling author of thirteen books. She’ll be visiting Connecticut’s Bank Square Books and R.J. Julia Booksellers this Tuesday, July 22nd, to present her latest, The Matchmaker (Little, Brown and Company, $28.00). (See event details below.) Ms. Hilderbrand is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. A mother of three, she makes her home on Nantucket, where she has lived for twenty years.

The Matchmaker was published last month. Booklist praised, “Hilderbrand has crafted another of her delectable beach reads, complete with a fairy-tale romance. And her depiction of a perfect Nantucket summer day will have readers inhaling a plate of Kumomoto oysters and downing a cold glass of good white Bordeaux right along with Dabney. Delicious.” Further, Publishers Weekly noted, “Charming, poignant … Hilderbrand's narrative is thoroughly readable, with likable heroes and believably despicable antagonists … an engaging read.”

From the publisher:

A touching new novel from bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand in which a woman sets out to find love for those closest to her - before it's too late.

48-year-old Nantucketer Dabney Kimball Beech has always had a gift for matchmaking. Some call her ability mystical, while others - like her husband, celebrated economist John Boxmiller Beech, and her daughter, Agnes, who is clearly engaged to the wrong man - call it meddlesome, but there's no arguing with her results: With 42 happy couples to her credit and all of them still together, Dabney has never been wrong about romance.

Never, that is, except in the case of herself and Clendenin Hughes, the green-eyed boy who took her heart with him long ago when he left the island to pursue his dream of becoming a journalist. Now, after spending 27 years on the other side of the world, Clen is back on Nantucket, and Dabney has never felt so confused, or so alive.

But when tragedy threatens her own second chance, Dabney must face the choices she's made and share painful secrets with her family. Determined to make use of her gift before it's too late, she sets out to find perfect matches for those she loves most. The Matchmaker is a heartbreaking story about losing and finding love, even as you're running out of time.

Now, Elin Hilderbrand reveals a few pages from the book of her life …

1) As a child, did you wear your literary lust loud and proud or were you a closet bibliophile?

I knew I wanted to be a writer from the time I was seven years old. I was always reading, always writing stories. I went to a young writer's camp at UVA when I was 15 and 16, and then I was a counselor at a similar camp at Duke University when I was in college. Writing was the only thing I ever wanted to do.

2) What book(s) were you likely to be caught keeping company with under the covers?

Nancy Drew. I've read every single one. And LITTLE WOMEN, I read it six times. I also read GONE WITH THE WIND while lying across the back seat of my mother's unairconditioned Grand Torino on a drive from Smoky Mountain National Park to my home in Philadelphia in the middle of August.

3) What are you reading currently & what is your initial impression?

I'm reading THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. It's gorgeous. Someone dies, but I can't figure out who.

4) What one book do you always recommend when asked?

Anything by the Australian writer, Tim Winton, especially DIRT MUSIC.

5) Which of your own books would you suggest to readers & why?

BAREFOOT, because that was my breakout book and it's a great place to start reading my work.

6) Is there a book or author that readers would be surprised to know you’ve read and liked?

I love Richard Price, who writes very gritty, very urban but incredibly literary police procedurals. I love his work. He also wrote for THE WIRE.

7) Who is the one author that would, or did, make you weak in the knees upon meeting?

Anna Quindlen.

8) Has there been an “I’ve made it” moment in your career?

I think it was finally hitting the hardcover NYTBSL on my 40th birthday.

9) What is your greatest literary ambition?

My greatest literary ambition is to have my novels stay on the shelves of bookstores and libraries for the next 100 years.

10) Fill in the blank: Hartford Books Examiner is _____.

SUBLIME. Such thought-provoking questions, I thank you.

***

With thanks to Elin Hilderbrand for her generosity of time and thought and to Michelle Aielli, Publicist at Little, Brown and Company, for facilitating this interview.

The following are Ms. Hilderbrand’s local appearances for Tuesday, July 22nd:

Bank Square Books, noon – This is a luncheon event. Reservations are required and can be made online or by calling the store at 860-536-3795. The cost is $10 for lunch or $30 for lunch and a copy of The Matchmaker. Those wishing only to attend the event can do so for free. BSB is located at 53 W. Main St. in Mystic.

R.J. Julia, 7 PM – This event is free. Copies of The Matchmaker will be available for purchase/signing. Please call the store for availability: 203-245-3959. R.J. Julia is located at 768 Boston Post Rd. in Madison.

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