Television shows like American Pickers and Antiques Roadshow tease viewers with a tantalizing question—could you have a treasure hidden in your attic? This universal dream of finding out that your dusty old painting is worth millions inspired Diane Saxton to write PEREGRINE ISLAND (She Writes Press; August 2, 2016; $16.95.)
In her novel, Saxton tells the story of three generations of women who have inherited a painting that they believe was painted by famed artist Simon Crandor. Winter Peregrine, who lives on a private island on the Long Island Sound with her fickle daughter, Elsie, and her tenderhearted granddaughter, Peda, have their quite lives turned upside down when two art “experts” show up to appraise their beloved family heirloom.
The painting is one of the few privately held Crandors, and the two experts – along with Crandor’s debonair grandson, Hamlet – want to determine the piece’s authenticity. But when they pull the painting from its frame, they find more than they bargained for—hidden documents and additional paintings. Who put them there and why? And who stands to gain and lose from the discovery of these stunning treasures? In this engrossing novel that brings the Sound to vibrant life, not even a painting can be taken at face value: “For what you see, or think you see on Peregrine Island, is seldom what it seems.”
DIANE SAXTON was a journalist with Vanity Fair UK, Holiday Magazine, and Greenwich Review, and covered everything from torture victims to psychics, animal rights activists, exotic travel, and movie producers. A new chapter opened up for her after interviewing Amnesty International US founder Hannah Grunwald. Alarmed that the stories of incredible and influential lives such as Grunwald’s could be lost as the Greatest Generation passes, Saxton began capturing their histories and compiled them into a 1,000-page biographical collection, which became the inspiration for her next novel. She brings the same gift for storytelling with illuminating subtext to her debut novel, PEREGRINE ISLAND. For more information, please visit: http://dianebsaxton.com/
Peregrine Island Diane B Saxton.
Q. What inspires your writing?
A. Well, this might sound silly, but almost everything inspires me. For instance, I gave an interview the other day for the radio by phone. I was really tired and I sounded half dead when I listened to it. While the interviewer was chirpy and asked great questions and while my answers were fine, if I listened to it I’d wonder If I was sick. The opening of a book, right?
Q. What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
A. Imagining – imagination and Inspiration. The act of writing, for me, is meditative plus I get answers to questions I didn’t know I’d ask or even knew existed.
Q. What is the toughest part of being a writer?
A. Finding the time to write. The discipline.
Q. If you could not be writer, what would you do/be?
A. Funny, I’ve often wondered, if I didn’t have my eyesight what would I do. Terrible thought. Maybe do radio, interviews? I was a journalist for many years. But that’s writing too. I’d probably look into something with voice – but take Red Bull beforehand, as Noelle suggested! And because I love animals, especially dogs, I’d work with them in some way to help them and to help me.
Q. What would the story of your life be entitled?
A. I Have No Idea – that could be the title, or maybe Complexity or Road to Insight.
Q. What is your favorite book of all time?
A. There are so many that I love. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, The Little Friend by Donna Tartt, The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen, Never Let Me Go by Kazugo Ishiguro, Spies by Michael Frayn, Shipping News by Annie Prouix, Life of Pi by Yann Martel, The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters, and especialIy Time and Again by Jack Finney … and I could go on and on and on. Still, from the time I could understand anything, it was The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
Q. Which character from ANY book are you most like?
A. Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden, although she’s a child, maybe Si Morley in Time and Again or Fiona Maye in The Children Act by Ian McEwan. Depending on my mood!
Q. What character from all of your books are you most like?
Q. Which book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of?
A. Good question! Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner but I doubt it would be a vacation. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, maybe The Children Act, maybe All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I guess it would depend on my mood again, right? Maybe the Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel. Prehistoric times. That would be great fun, don’t you think?
Q. What is your favorite season?
A. It used to be fall — that brisk air and the wonderful colors — and I wrote about fall, but I also wrote about summer, didn’t I? Now it’s spring though. The reawakening. Maybe if I lived in the south it would still be fall, but in the northeast with the recent so-cold and icy winters to look forward to? Spring.
Q. What inspired your book cover(s)? Or what is your favorite book cover and why?
A. The mysterious woman with the umbrella on the beach for Peregrine Island. I like the blurry image, which suggests mystery to me. I love Margaret Atwood’s book cover for The Handmaid’s Tale; it’s almost surreal, have you seen it?
Q. Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.
A. I just started. Can I get back to you on that? Although one thing that’s funny, if you Google my title, Peregrine Island, the book comes up in very strange languages, including Chinese, German or Dutch, and Swedish. Others that I can’t decipher.
Q. Are you working on something new?
A. Yes. I’m finishing a multi-generational historical novel. Very different from this one.
Q. Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?
A. Well, I’d love you all to read Peregrine Island. Discover, if you can, who the characters are named after; try to understand the symbolism in the novel and the point of it. And then please contact me! I’d love to hear from you. On my website www.DianeBSaxton.com you can get my contact info and a lot of other information about the novel.