Today Jennifer Finney Boylan joins me to talk about her fascinating new book Long Black Veil, her journey as a writer, writing comedy, writing memoir, the story that inspired her new book, and much more.
Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2017
For fans of Donna Tartt and Megan Abbott, a novel about a woman whose family and identity are threatened by the secrets of her past, from the New York Times bestselling author of She’s Not There
On a warm August night in 1980, six college students sneak into the dilapidated ruins of Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary, looking for a thrill. With a pianist, a painter and a teacher among them, the friends are full of potential. But it’s not long before they realize they are locked in—and not alone. When the friends get lost and separated, the terrifying night ends in tragedy, and the unexpected, far-reaching consequences reverberate through the survivors’ lives. As they go their separate ways, trying to move on, it becomes clear that their dark night in the prison has changed them all. Decades later, new evidence is found, and the dogged detective investigating the cold case charges one of them—celebrity chef Jon Casey— with murder. Only Casey’s old friend Judith Carrigan can testify to his innocence.
But Judith is protecting long-held secrets of her own – secrets that, if brought to light, could destroy her career as a travel writer and tear her away from her fireman husband and teenage son. If she chooses to help Casey, she risks losing the life she has fought to build and the woman she has struggled to become. In any life that contains a “before” and an “after,” how is it possible to live one life, not two?
Weaving deftly between 1980 and the present day, and told in an unforgettable voice, Long Black Veil is an intensely atmospheric thriller that explores the meaning of identity, loyalty, and love. Readers will hail this as Boylan’s triumphant return to fiction.
PROFESSOR JENNIFER FINNEY BOYLAN, author of fifteen books, is the inaugural Anna Quindlen Writer in Residence at Barnard College of Columbia University. Her column “Men & Women” appears on the op/ed page of the New York Timeson alternate Wednesdays.
From 2011 to 2018 she served on the Board of Directors of GLAAD, the media advocacy group for LGBT people worldwide. She was co-chair of GLAAD’s board of directors from 2013-17.
She was a consultant and cast member for I AM CAIT, the docu-series about Caitlyn Jenner that debuted on the E! network in July of 2015; and also served as a consultant to the Amazon series TRANSPARENT. She has also served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Kinsey Institute for Research on Sex, Gender, and Reproduction.
Her most recent book is the novel Long Black Veil, published by Penguin Random House in April 2017. Two other current projects are Falcon Quinn and the Bullies of Greenblud, an anti-bullying YA project; and the anthology of women writing about home, This is the Place.
Her 2003 memoir, She’s Not There: a Life in Two Genders(Broadway/Doubleday/Random House) was the first bestselling work by a transgender American. A novelist, memoirist, and short story writer, she is also a nationally known advocate for civil rights. Jenny has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show on four occasions; Live with Larry King twice; the Today Show,the Barbara Walters Special, NPR’s Marketplace and Talk of the Nation; she has also been the subject of documentaries on CBS News’ 48 Hours and The History Channel.
She lives in New York City, and in Belgrade Lakes, Maine, with her wife, Deedie, and her two sons, Zach and Sean.
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