Photo © Marilyn Roos.
Beatriz Williams is the New York Times-bestselling author of Along the Infinite Sea, Tiny Little Thing, The Secret Life of Violet Grant, A Hundred Summers, and Overseas. An honors graduate of Stanford University with an MBA in Finance from Columbia University, she spent several years in New York and London advising senior corporate executives on business and communications strategy. This proved uninspiring, so she joined the RWA in 2007 to explore the more challenging world of fiction writing. She lives with her husband and children in Greenwich, Connecticut.
What are you reading? What's on your nightstand?
I was visiting my publisher’s office recently and spotted a galley of Lindsay Faye’s latest, Jane Steele, about a woman obsessed with Jane Eyre. The first line is: “Reader, I murdered him.” Naturally I slipped it into my handbag! I can’t wait to get started — Faye is just a fantastic storyteller.
Where do you go to get inspired?
This may sound a little morbid, but the Daily Telegraph obituary column gives me so many ideas! The passing away of that generation that came of age between the wars—a period I love to explore in my books—brings so many forgotten stories back to light, from young women working in the French Resistance to socialites sucked into the spiral of hedonistic nihilism that in which Western society drowned itself after the First World War. And when I get stuck, I can always go running. Or fold the laundry. Those always jog my subconscious into releasing a few ideas!
What's something that surprised you recently (in a good way)?
Apple crisp doughnuts. I’m now addicted.
Where do you write?
Anywhere but home, if I can help it! I tend to get lured into domestic chores if I write inside my own house, so I go to diners and coffee shops, the kinds of places where they don’t mind if you linger all morning. I spent most of the summer writing in our treehouse—it was perfect! I just brought a pot of coffee and something to nibble on, and the distance from the house meant that even the kids didn’t bother me unless it was really, really important.
What/who makes you laugh? Why?
My husband. We share the exact same sense of humor, so whenever either of us finds something funny, we share it. And laughing together makes it even more funny.
Favorite fictional character ever?
Gilbert Blythe. Still crushing after all these years.
What are you working on?
I’m finishing up a book set in Florida in the early 1920s, involving bootleggers and a missing husband who might or might not be a murderer. The narrative goes back and forth to France during the First World War as well, so I’m right where I love to be.
"VERDICT With spunky characters full of grace and grit, best-selling Williams's latest is the third stand-alone novel featuring a Schuyler sister (Tiny Little Thing).The swift pacing and emotional twists and turns of the plot will leave readers guessing up to the final pages."
"Imagine The Sound of Music for big girls, flavored with a dash of Mad Men bitters."
"Weaving back and forth from the 1930s to the 1960s, Williams provides an appealing blend of luxury, history, romance, and suspense."
"Elegantly written, mainly from Caspian's third-person 1964 perspective and Tiny's first-person 1966 perspective, the book is strewn with unexpected heroes and villains and makes an exclusive, Kennedy-esque world accessible. The underlying message is that money can't buy happiness, especially when you're living in a skin that no longer fits. A fascinating look at wealth, love, ambition, secrets, and what family members will and won't do to protect each other."
"Readers will love wallowing in the twists and turns of this irresistibly luxurious tale."
"Williams' sweeping saga of betrayal, sacrifice, and redemption trenchantly examines the often duplicitous nature of female friendships and family expectations."