Elizabeth Hickey's fascination with art history paints every page of her atmospheric, sensual debut novel The Painted Kiss -- in which she re-imagines a tempestuous relationship between painter Gustav Klimt and the daughter of a bourgeois businessman. "It was my thesis at Columbia, where it was referred to as 'fictionalized art history' -- not a compliment!" Hickey reveals in our interview.
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Date of Birth:
April 2, 1971
Place of Birth:
B.A., Williams College, 1993; M.F.A., Columbia University, 1999
Elizabeth Hickey's official web site
|The Painted Kiss|
In her acclaimed debut novel, Hickey takes readers back to the grandeur of fin de siècle Vienna and the world of Gustav Klimt. When young Emilie Flöge's father hires the controversial artist to give Emilie painting lessons, she soon develops a passionate relationship with her mentor -- a relationship with lifelong consequences.
Read a chapter
|A Writer's Rituals|
|In our interview, Hickey talks a bit about her writing process: "I usually find that it's easier to work if my desk is neat and nicely decorated with flowers or candles or a beautiful textile," she reflects. "At the moment, however, my desk is littered with books on William Morris and scribbled notes from my recent trip to England to do research (though it is covered with a red and orange wool Syrian cloth). Other than that, the only ritual is that I have to write in the morning. If I put it off, the odds are good I won't make it to my desk."|
|An Early Influence||More Favorite Books|
Louisa May Alcott
We asked Hickey to tell us about the book that most influenced her as a writer. "Though it is not a perfect book, the characters in the book are alive and indelible," Hickey says of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. "I could join them and stay for hours at a time."
Of the sweeping love story, The English Patient, Hickey observes, "Ondaatje achieves the maximum effect with plain, well-chosen words. It is a poetic, atmospheric book, and probably the book I modeled most closely when I was writing The Painted Kiss." Read our interview to learn about more of Hickey's favorite reads, including: