Lois Leveen


July 30, 2014

The Real Love Story Behind Juliet’s Nurse

As a person and an author, I truly love libraries.

I love the Half Hollow Hills Public Library, which made my childhood richer than words (lots of 'em, printed in all those books I devoured) can say.

I love the university libraries where my world grew as my education took root. I especially love the Harvard University's Widener Library, the first library to list me in its catalog (for my undergraduate thesis, which you can probably still find there). And the Frances Loeb Design Library, also at Harvard, where I met the real human love of my life. Oh, and the UCLA Young Research Library, where I first learned about Mary Bowser.

Of course I love the Multnomah County Library System, which I use every day in my research for all my novels. And I love the many, many libraries across the nation where I've had the privilege and fun to meet with audiences and talk about the history behind my novels. And the many librarians I've yet to meet who've recommended my books to their patrons.

But today I am especially loving the Oregon City Public Library, which is the very first place to select JULIET'S NURSE for a community-wide read. Look for lots of great programs there February 2015. Just in time for Valentine's Day, that's how much love we're talking!
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July 2, 2014


It's a really exciting, including the terrifying part of exciting, to know the book you've been working on for so long is finally being read.
Not just by your friends, your writing group, your agent, your editor. By COMPLETE STRANGERS.

Well, yeah, of course, that's the point of writing. Unless maybe you're Emily Dickinson.

I'm pretty sure no one's ever mistaken me for Emily Dickinson, if only because of my penchant for leopard print outfits and snazzy eyewear.

So it was quite a thrill to hear that the first blurbs are in for Juliet's Nurse. All from complete strangers, who just happen to know a thing or two about how to write great novels.

“Lois Leveen’s richly detailed, fascinating novel offers a wholly original and intriguing take on one of Shakespeare’s most beloved plays through the imagined life of Juliet’s faithful nurse, whose secret loves and tragedies rival the young lovers’ own.”
--Jennifer Chiaverini, New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker and Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival

“Wise, thoughtful, and utterly irresistible. A powerful story not just of youth seduced by love and destruction, but also of maturity left to pick up what is left and carry on.”
--Eva Stachniak, Internationally bestselling author of The Winter Palace and Empress of the Night

“Lois Leveen has crafted a startlingly original take on an iconic love story, and with grace and insight presents Shakespeare’s Verona and its characters in a wonderfully new and surprising light. Angelica’s unabashed sensual nature is balanced by her understanding of the complexities of the human predicament, and her resilience inspires us to be more tolerant of our own wounded hearts.”
--Linda Holeman, Internationally bestselling author of The Devil on Her Tongue and The Lost Souls of Angelkov

“If Romeo and Juliet is the story of two star-crossed lovers, then Juliet’s Nurse is the equally compelling love affair between the infant Juliet and her milk mother and nurse, Angelica. Leveen’s novel is clever, fast-paced, well-researched and beautifully written. Convincing historical details are sprinkled throughout, provoking in the reader the sense of how it must have been in the 14th century. I loved it.”
--Roberta Rich, Internationally bestselling author of The Midwife of Venice and The Harem Midwife
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May 24, 2014

When Writers Read

Ever go to hear an author read at a library or bookstore or campus event? You have no idea how hard it is for us to pick out passages for those events.

What scene will grab an audience, revealing just enough about the characters to draw them in?

What gives too much plot away?

What works on the page but not read aloud?

Although JULIET'S NURSE is not yet out, I'm already doing a few early readings, to see what passages work.

I'll be trying a new one on some friends tonight, involving the nurse and her darling Juliet meeting some guy named, um, what was his name again? R--- something?
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May 15, 2014

Faking It

Before I became a novelist, I was a faculty member at UCLA and at Reed College. Sometimes I kind of miss running with the professors, so every so often I sneak off to an academic conference. It gives me a chance to share my research in a whole other way than writing fiction, and to learn from the research being done by scholars around the world (some of which I can than sow back into another novel).

With JULIET'S NURSE set in 14th-century Verona, Italy, I was really delighted to be invited to present at the International Congress of Medievalists last week. One of my presentations was on a roundtable called Faking It. If you've ever wondered what professors do when they are let loose in the wild, you can read about it here.

Thanks to the wonderful folks at the Material Collective for understanding that when it comes to how we learn about history, Faking It and Making It are two-sides to the same (only slightly counterfeit) coin!

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May 15, 2014

Everything Old is New Again

Welcome! Or welcome back!

If the latter applies, you'll notice my website has a very new look. With JULIET'S NURSE completed, I needed a better way to communicate with readers about my novels. Hope you like the look. From the home page, you can click on each book to learn more about it, finding reading guides, read excerpts, etc.

You can pre-order JULIET'S NURSE today, using the links on this page or by contacting your favorite bookstore.

Once the book is released, I'll be doing page-by-page posts on the history behind the novel. Why? Because I found readers were so hungry to learn more about the history behind THE SECRETS OF MARY BOWSER, and because I love the historical research and always want to share it. So stay tuned!
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