New York Times bestselling author Kim van Alkemade will be visiting RACC on Wednesday, October 10th at 1 p.m. for a reading of her newest novel Bachelor Girl.
Author of historical fiction novels Orphan #8 and Bachelor Girl Kim van Alkemade will be visiting RACC on October 10th for a reading of her newest book Bachelor Girl in the Ravens Lounge at 1 p.m. The reading was organized by Susquehanna University who has a great transfer program for creative writing majors which can be viewed here. For people to learn more about Kim and her novel I conducted an email interview.
1) When did you first start writing?
I guess I’ve been writing all my life, but I started to focus on my creative writing in 2002 when I published my first creative nonfiction memoir essay. I decided to try my hand at fiction in 2009 when I got the idea for my first novel, Orphan #8, while researching what it was like to live in the Hebrew Orphan Asylum in Manhattan as part of a family history project.
2) What inspired you to write Bachelor Girl?
I was so interested to learn more about Colonel Jacob Ruppert, who owned the New York Yankees, and I was intrigued by the mystery of his inheritance to an unmarried young actress. Building on what I knew about his real life, I wanted to imagine a scenario that might explain why he gave so much money to a woman who claimed to be only “his friend.” I also love the time period of the 1920s, it was very dynamic especially in New York City.
3) What is your favorite aspect of Bachelor Girl?
I really like the chapters written from Albert Kramer’s point of view. I was inspired by George Chauncey’s book Gay New York as I created his character. I like the way his point of view is limited to what he knows, and how the other character, Helen, ends up influencing his life in unexpected ways. I also love the settings, especially Ruppert’s Hudson River estate, because it’s a real place I got to tour as part of my research.
4) What do you hope people will get out of reading Bachelor Girl?
First of all, I want readers to feel as if they’ve been taken away from their regular lives for a few hours and transported to another time and place. I love it when readers can’t quite tell the difference between the history and the fiction in my novels, so they want to learn more. I also hope they understand more about queer history through getting to know my characters.
5) Who are some writers that inspire you?
For historical fiction, I’m especially inspired by Bernice McFadden’s creative approach to historical and family sources, and by the way E. L. Doctorow fictionalizes historical characters. I’m also inspired by Ann Patchett, who is a great novelist especially in terms of structure and storytelling.
6) What is your favorite part about doing book readings?
I love meeting real living people who’ve read my books! Writing is a pretty lonely occupation, so connecting with people is a real joy. I also love responding to questions that may have been raised by my novels. Many people have questions about how to go about being writers themselves, and I’m always so happy to encourage people to pursue their writing goals.