Author Profile: Erika Robuck

Today’s post by author Erika Robuck | @ErikaRobuck

Erika Robuck is quickly becoming one of the most prolific writers in the publishing business today. She published her first novel, HEMINGWAY’S GIRL, to much acclaim in 2012, and followed it up shortly thereafter with CALL ME ZELDA in 2013. Her third novel, FALLEN BEAUTY, hit bookstores last week and Erika joins us today to share a bit of the novel’s inspiration. Also, thanks to the generous team at NAL, we have all three of her novels up for grabs today. See the entry form below for details.

Erika Robuck

Erika Robuck

There is a blackening bronze bust of a woman in the corner shadows of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s parlor at her estate, Steepletop. I was struck by it when the docent allowed me to peek into the room while doing research for my novel, Fallen Beauty. I tried to take in the duel pianos, the custom desk, the formal draperies and ornate seating, but my eyes were continuously drawn back to the sculpture. Her presence felt heavy, looming, and dominant, and her black eyes were hypnotic. I interrupted the tour guide’s speech to ask, “Who is she?”

He explained that Sappho was the ancient love poet, teacher, and muse known for her intense female friendships, including lesbian relationships, with her students. Some say she died by throwing herself into the sea when a young sailor rejected her. I knew Millay wrote of Sappho in several poems, and believed herself to be a goddess of sorts, her vocation poetry. Spellbound as I was by the bust, I could imagine the woman herself, and united her to Millay in my subconscious.

Weeks after my visit to Steepletop, I passed a statue of the Virgin Mary outside of a church, and was struck in a different way. The statue showed Mary crushing a serpent under her foot, her face a mask of calm, though her tremendous power was evident in her dominance. This light image contrasted with the dark bust of Sappho in my mind, and grew to become the extended metaphor for the women in my novel.

What I wanted to embody through each of my characters—especially the women—was the power they derived from art, including sculpture, poetry, and sewing. In my novel there are many dark and light women, mothers, sisters, daughters, and lovers. The moon and the night are prevalent, and the sacred feminine is dominant in all its forms. I also explore the particular cruelty of women as judges and betrayers of one another, and the idea that our criticisms of others are often what we hate and fear most in ourselves.

Fallen Beauty is my darkest and most exploratory novel, but I do hope the reader connects to its powerful female characters. Dark or light, bronze or marble, poet or seamstress, I want the reader to gather a sense of triumph and redemption for all types of women.

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Fallen Beauty“Without sin, can we know beauty? Can we fully appreciate the summer without the winter? No, I am glad to suffer so I can feel the fullness of our time in the light.”

Upstate New York, 1928. Laura Kelley and the man she loves sneak away from their judgmental town to attend a performance of the scandalous Ziegfeld Follies. But the dark consequences of their night of daring and delight reach far into the future.…

That same evening, Bohemian poet Edna St. Vincent Millay and her indulgent husband hold a wild party in their remote mountain estate, hoping to inspire her muse. Millay declares her wish for a new lover who will take her to unparalleled heights of passion and poetry, but for the first time, the man who responds will not bend completely to her will.…

Two years later, Laura, an unwed seamstress struggling to support her daughter, and Millay, a woman fighting the passage of time, work together secretly to create costumes for Millay’s next grand tour. As their complex, often uneasy friendship develops amid growing local condemnation, each woman is forced to confront what it means to be a fallen woman…and to decide for herself what price she is willing to pay to live a full life.

Erika Robuck Collage

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of the popular online book club, She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). Her novel, THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS, will be published in January 2014 by Doubleday. Ariel believes that Story is the shortest distance to the human heart.

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22 Responses to Author Profile: Erika Robuck

  1. Marie March 10, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    All three look fabulous! Thanks for the chance to win.

  2. Gwyn March 10, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I haven’t heard of this author!!! I am excited to add her to my list.

  3. Ann Ellison March 10, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I haven’t read any of her books but definitely need to. I would love to win a copy.

  4. nancy reynolds March 10, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I’ve had these books on my TBR list for a while – but haven’t gotten to them YET. I would love to win a copy of one of these books but I promise I will get to reading all of them. They all sound so great. Thanks for the chance to win.

  5. Brooke March 10, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I have Erika Robuck on my She Reads list of book suggestions from when Hemmingway’s Girl first came out. Now she is on book 3. Time flies…can’t wait to read all 3. Thank you for the reminder and suggestion!

  6. Judie McDonald March 10, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Wow! Three interesting women in three interesting stories.

  7. Katherine Jones March 10, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I find that the folks at NAL consistently put out novels I enjoy. I doubt these three would be the exception.

  8. Susan Gruener March 10, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Yes! Three new novels. I can read all summer long. :)
    Thanks for another great opportunity to win the ultimate prize – books!

  9. Erika March 10, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I, too, am quite intrigued to read books from this author, not the least because we share the same first name !! I do love historical fiction and am sure to look for Erika in the bookstore if I’m not the lucky winner of this competition.

  10. Kathy March 10, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    The three books sound very intriguing. The one about “Hemingway’s Girl” gives me pause as I feel this author had a life of many contrasts of brilliance as well as debauchery. The latest book, “Fallen Beauty” shows how choices bring consequences of either guilt or regret. I would enjoy reading how these women helped each other find a fulfilled life.

  11. Jennifer H March 10, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I have heard great things about these books! Love to find “new to me” authors!!!

  12. Melyssa March 10, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I loved Hemingway’s Girl so I would love to win these.

  13. Susan I. March 10, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    The books sound fantastic and the covers are just stunning.

  14. Suzy March 10, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Three letters…OMG!!!

  15. Elizabeth Bevins March 10, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Thank you! I’d love to win all three.

  16. Bethany Chase March 10, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    so excited to read these!

  17. Kathy Miller March 11, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Three fascinating reads about three fascinating women — WOW!

  18. Karen W March 11, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Love her books!!!

  19. Rhonda March 11, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Huge Fan!

  20. Christine L. March 11, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I enjoyed CALL ME ZELDA and have FALLEN BEAUTY on my TBR. I can hardly wait to get my mitts on this new release …. thanks for the chance to win a copy!

  21. Debbie D March 12, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I have been wanting to read this author for awhile. Would love to get these books!

  22. Becky March 12, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I really enjoyed Hemingway’s Girl and would love to read the other two!

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