Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan

Under the Wide and Starry Sky 
Nancy Horan
ISBN: 978-0345516534

Audio interview Audio Interview With the Author

Audio Length: 25 minutes

by Nancy Horan
(Ballantine Hardcover; January 21, 2014

Nancy Horan, Author
Nancy Horan

From New York Times bestselling author Nancy Horan comes the author’s eagerly anticipated second novel, UNDER THE WIDE AND STARRY SKY. Horan’s debut book, LOVING FRANK, told the story of Frank Lloyd Wright and his lover, and remained on the Times bestseller list for more than a year, Her newest novel focuses on Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson and his interpid American wife, Fanny.

In this Authorlink AUDIO interview, Horan explains what inspired her to write about Louis and Fanny, and she talks of their quest to find a home–“a place where joy resides.”

Horan spent five years researching, rewriting, and editing the novel, She first crafted a 25-page outline of the true events and then shaped the fictional story around the facts.     

At the age of thirty-five, Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne has left her philandering husband in San Francisco to set sail for Belgium—with her three children and nanny in tow—to study art. It’s a chance for this adventurous woman to start over, to make a better life for all of them, and to pursue her own desires.

Not long after her arrival, however, tragedy strikes; and Fanny and her children repair to a quiet artists’ colony in France where they can recuperate. Emerging from a deep sorrow, Fanny meets a lively Scot―Robert Louis Stevenson, ten years her junior―who falls instantly in love with the earthy, independent, and opinionated “belle Americaine.”

Fanny does not immediately take to the slender young lawyer who longs to devote his life to writing—and who would eventually pen such classics as Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr.Hyde. In time, though, she succumbs to Stevenson’s charms, and the two begin a fierce love affair—marked by intense joy and harrowing darkness—that spans the decades and the globe. The shared life of these two strong-willed individuals unfolds into an adventure as impassioned and unpredictable as any of Stevenson’s own unforgettable tales.

Author Horan delights in shaping a story from a block of life, carving out the critical moments, the conflicts, the flaws within her characters.

She quotes Stevenson as having said that “Everybody, soon or late, sits down to a banquet of consequences.” Horan likes exploring the choices people make and then tracing the consquences of those decisions.

She believes the most important quality a successful writer should possess is an insatiable curiosity. While the publishing landscape today is a rugged terrain, she advises writers to “go where the joy resides for you.”

Nancy Horan’s first novel, Loving Frank, chronicles a little-known chapter in the life of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. It was translated into 16 languages, remained on the New York Times bestseller list for over a year, and was awarded the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for Best Historical Fiction, presented by the Society of American Historians in 2009. UNDER THE WIDE AND STARRY SKY is her second novel. Nancy Horan has two sons and lives with her husband on an island in Puget Sound.