Today I am so fortunate to have debut author Kristin Fields on the blog! Her novel, A Lily in the Light, is about Esme, whose sister goes missing and is never found until she gets a call 8 years later that will change her life all while she is living her ballet dreams in San Fransisco. I am so thrilled to have Kristin on the blog and to celebrate her debut. She is my latest Open Book and I will give you a hint: Midge Maisel in a book club- YES please!!!
A harrowing debut novel of a tragic disappearance and one sister’s journey through the trauma that has shaped her life.
For eleven-year-old Esme, ballet is everything—until her four-year-old sister, Lily, vanishes without a trace and nothing is certain anymore. People Esme has known her whole life suddenly become suspects, each new one hitting closer to home than the last.
Unable to cope, Esme escapes the nightmare that is her new reality when she receives an invitation to join an elite ballet academy in San Francisco. Desperate to leave behind her chaotic, broken family and the mystery surrounding Lily’s disappearance, Esme accepts.
Eight years later, Esme is up for her big break: her first principal role in Paris. But a call from her older sister shatters the protective world she has built for herself, forcing her to revisit the tragedy she’s run from for so long. Will her family finally have the answers they’ve been waiting for? And can Esme confront the pain that shaped her childhood, or will the darkness follow her into the spotlight?
1. What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you
want to have a bookclub with?
This is hard. Let’s go with Stephen King to add a little suspense/twisted
intentions, Midge Maisel to tell it how it is, and Rachel Carson because
I appreciate her careful study of nature and how she made a book
about pesticides sound like poetry. In fact, I think I’d like to write a
book with all three of them.
2. Current binge series?
We just finished The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Now we’re studying
before Game of Thrones comes back and rewatching lots of episodes.
3. Last favorite book?
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Amazing.
4. What 3 things to you pack in your bag for your dream vacation?
Where is it?
We love to travel. There aren’t too many places I wouldn’t go. At the
moment, my dream vacation would be to live on a ship and sail to
Antarctica. I would bring a really good camera, the warmest boots in
the world, binoculars to see glaciers and polar bears close up.
5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?
The NYT – especially the foodie sections.
6. Last person you sent a text message to?
My sisters. We have a family group text to share pictures of our pets.
7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens and Me Before You By JoJo
Moyes. I alternated between loving every single word on the page and
also feeling like I should never write again..
8. Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer?
In elementary school, Sister Gregory never smiled. Her nylon stockings
rubbed together when she walked up and down the aisles, and she had
a habit of yelling at people for no reason, but she also gave creative
My first story filled eight notebook pages about a halloween witch who
abducts three girls and convinces the whole town that they are actually
the witches, not her. I turned it in and the next day, Sister Gregory
made me read it aloud. All eight pages. Standing. In front of the whole
She’d done this once before with someone else and told them it was
terrible. Everything a short story should not be, so needless to say, I was
terrified. Plus, I was already shy to begin with. But at the end, everyone
clapped, including Sister Gregory.
It was the first time I’d ever seen her smile, but better than that, it was
the first time I really felt like I had a voice.
Later, Martha McPhee and Barbara Bengels at Hofstra University would
teach me more about craft, and I’m forever grateful to both of them for
their early belief in my writing.
9. Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who?
Not usually, but for A Lily in the Light, I listened to classical music
while writing scenes at the studio or Tchaicovsky during the
performances of Serenade. Writing to the music helped capture the
emotion of the piece and what it might bring out for Esme as she
10. Describe your writing space?
Our apartment is tiny, so I usually write on the couch and surround
myself with blankets and pillows and make sure my cat is snuggled up
there too. The more comfortable I am, the more likely I’ll write myself
into a meditative state and keep going just because I won’t want to get
11. Coffee or tea?
It used to be black tea with milk or a good, spicy chai, but then I got
hooked on espresso in Paris and now I can’t function without that
fantastic caffeine jolt every morning. It makes the rest of the day feel
much more do-able.
12. Do you have a favorite book that you gift?
I try to match books with people, so I can’t say there’s one go-to book.
Stories always find people at just the right moment.
13. Book that you wished they would make a movie out of?
Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller. Any opportunity to
watch people surviving alone in nature is fascinating. Same for Where
the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.
14. If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what
would it be and why?
Maybe the Jeopardy song because I’m always in a state of deep
15. What/Who inspires you?
I grew up in New York City and took it for granted for much of my
early life – mostly thinking about where I’d rather be instead. But now
that I’ve lived here my whole life, I have a new appreciation for it and
find that it influences so much of my writing.
The beautiful thing about New York is that there is always something
new to do, see, experience, and watching people do their thing has
given me endless writing material. It’s also shaped my worldview and
me as a person, so I have a new respect and pride for my home city
now that I can’t say I’ve always had.
16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?
No! YouTube is enough of a rabbit hole for me.
17. Favorite Instagram account?
Henry and Baloo. When our upstairs neighbor brought home a puppy, I
had big dreams that our cat would ride around on her like Henry and
Baloo, but our cat was less enthused..
18. If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call
it and what shade would it be?
Gatsby – It would be green like the light at the end of Daisy’s dock, but I
would not be brave enough to wear green lipstick ever.
19. Current #TBR pile?
So many. Too many, but I’m really looking forward to Where the Forest
Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah, Trophy Life by Lea Geller, The
Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan, True Places by Sonja
Yoerg, My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh, and
Dopesick by Beth Macy.
20. Best advice you’ve ever received?
My mentor, Martha McPhee, told me once that I should worry less
about writing and just go gather life experience. I was a little sore
about it at the time, but it was the best advice anyone has ever given
me. My writing is better because of it and my life is more interesting.
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