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Carolyn Turgeon

March 13, 2013

Carolyn Turgeon is the author of five novels: Rain Village, Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story, Mermaid, The Next Full Moon, and the upcoming The Fairest of Them All, which is about Rapunzel growing up to be Snow White’s stepmother. Carolyn’s books have also been published in the UK, Korea, China, Brazil, Portugal, and the Spanish-speaking world, and optioned for film by Focus Features, Gaumont Film Company, and Sony Pictures. She graduated from Penn State with degrees in English and Italian, has a Masters in Literature from UCLA, and is currently a professor in the University of Alaska at Anchorage’s low-residency MFA program. She also edits the special-edition magazine Mermaids and runs the mermaid-themed blog. She lives in Pennsylvania.

1. What is your hometown?

I consider State College, Pennsylvania, to be my hometown, though my family moved there when I was 14 (after Michigan, Texas, and Illinois) and I was deeply traumatized by said move at the time. After college, I left for Los Angeles and New York, and it was only years later that I’d come to appreciate the beauty of an easy, sweet college town surrounded by farmland and tiny Victorian hamlets well past their heyday.

2. With what fictional character do you most identify?

I honestly think I identify with all of them, which might be a problem. But from a young age I identified with Betsy from the Betsy-Tacy-Tibb books and of course with Laura Ingalls Wilder and Nancy Drew.

3. In the movie of your life, cast an actor to play you.

A young Lynda Carter in full Wonder Woman gear.

4. What work of art speaks to your soul?

All of the Joseph Cornell shadow boxes, where he takes any number of everyday objects, little bits of things, and assembles them in surprising, breathtaking, world-changing ways.

5. What books are you currently reading or recommending?

My friends Jeanine Cummins and Ronlyn Domingue both have gorgeous, un-put-down-able novels coming out next week—Jeanine’s book is called The Crooked Branch and Ronlyn’s is The Mapmaker’s War—and considering that I actually wrote blurbs recommending each of them, I suppose I’m currently recommending them. I’m also reading a lot of books about medieval history for my next book project.

6. What song or album is currently in heavy rotation on your iPod?

The same songs tend to be in heavy rotation eternally—anything by Nick Cave, Beirut, Devotchka, Magnetic Fields, MGMT, Marlene Dietrich, and Adam Ant.

7. What’s the last movie that made you cry?

I saw Beautiful Creatures yesterday and I cry at everything.

8. Cat person or dog person?

I apologize to all cats when I say I’m a dog person.

9. What is more important, truth or kindness?


10. How do you define sin?

Chocolate lava cake.

11. How do you define virtue?

A white dress and no lipstick.

12. Design your headstone: What does it say? What does it look like?

I think I’d like a giant gleaming diamond-encrusted crown spelling out my name and occasionally shooting off sparks. I don’t think I’m a huge attention-seeker but I think my dead self will be.

Bonus Question: Who would you like to see answer these questions?

Greta Garbo.

Carolyn Turgeon

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