Between the lines with Kimberly McCreight (Q&A w/ event details)

I’ll be in conversation with Kimberly McCreight at the Book Club Bookstore & More in South Windsor next Saturday afternoon, May 13th, at 1:00 p.m. This event is free and open to the public; be sure to RSVP for reserved seating: 860-432-7411. Copies of the author’s new book, The Scattering, will be available for purchase / signing. Address: 869 Sullivan Ave. More information here.


Today, I’m joined by the incomparable Kimberly McCreight.

Kimberly is the New York Times bestselling author of The Scattering (HarperCollins Publishers)—the second book in her critically acclaimed Outliers YA trilogy. The first entry, The Outliers (2016), was optioned for film by Lionsgate and Reese Witherspoon. Kimberly has also written two suspense novels for adults: Reconstructing Amelia and Where They Found Her. Reconstructing Amelia was nominated for an Edgar Award for Best First Novel as well as an Alex Award; it was also selected as one of Entertainment Weekly‘s Favorite Books of the Year, was one of CNN’s Reader Favorites for 2013, placed as a finalist for Goodreads Best Mystery of the Year, and was chosen a Book Club pick for Target, Books-a-Million, and Indigo. The title has been optioned for film by HBO and Nicole Kidman’s Blossom Films. Kimberly attended Vassar College and graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, worked for several years as a litigation associate in New York City, and left the practice of law to write full-time. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Antietam ReviewOxford Magazine, and Babble. Kimberly makes her home in Brooklyn with her husband and two daughters.

Kimberly McCreight by Beowulf Sheehan
Kimberly McCreight (Photo credit: Beowulf Sheehan)

Praise for The Scattering:

“Wylie’s compelling first-person narration, tough conflicts with others, and her courage against formidable odds make this an un-put-downable thriller … A riveting adventure that rewards returning readers.”—Kirkus Reviews

“As was the case in the series starter, it is action-packed and fast-paced … Fans of the first book will dive into this second entry with gusto, as Wylie’s journey continues in a compelling fashion. The final page features a shocking development that will keep readers hooked for the final book in the trilogy.”—VOYA

From the publisher:

New York Times bestselling author Kimberly McCreight raises the stakes in the second book of the heart-pounding Outliers trilogy, a uniquely speculative story about secrets, betrayal, and a world where one small group of people are blessed—or cursed—with an incredible power.

Wylie may have escaped the camp in Maine, but she is far from safe. The best way for her to protect herself is to understand her ability, fast. But after spending a lifetime trying to ignore her own feelings, giving in to her ability to read other peoples’ emotions is as difficult as it is dangerous.

And Wylie isn’t the only one at risk. Ever since they returned home, Jasper has been spiraling, wracked with guilt over what happened to Cassie. After all they’ve been through together, Wylie and Jasper would do anything for each other, but she doesn’t know if their bond is strong enough to overcome demons from the past.

It is amid this uncertainty and fear that Wylie finds herself confronted with a choice. She was willing to do whatever it took to help Cassie, but is she prepared to go to the same extremes to help complete strangers . . . even if they are just like her?

Scattering HC C

Now, Kimberly reveals a few pages from the book of her life …

John Valeri: As a child, did you wear your literary lust loud and proud or were you a closet bibliophile?

Kimberly McCreight: Much to my regret, I wasn’t actually a huge reader as a child. I was a bit too preoccupied with all the real-life drama of my home life. It’s one of my great joys that my own daughters are the walking-in-sidewalk-traffic-with-a-book kind of kids.

JV: What book(s) were you likely to be caught keeping company with under the covers?

KM: I absolutely loved Stephen King’s books and I remember being riveted by Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews. But I will say it wasn’t until high school when I read Dickens’s Great Expectations, that I got really hooked as a reader.

JV: What are you reading currently & what is your initial impression?

KM: Girls & Sex by Peggy Orenstein. It’s a nonfiction book about, well, girls and sex. As the mother of a thirteen-year-old, what I felt while reading it was abject terror. That’s not to say it’s not a great book. It is.

JV: What one book do you always recommend when asked?

KM: I think everyone in America should read Ghettoside by Jill Leovy. It is a staggering and heartbreaking portrait of racial injustice in America.

JV: Which of your own books would you suggest to readers & why?

KM: Don’t make me choose between my children! In all seriousness, they are all so different. But if you make me choose, I’ll say: start at the beginning with Reconstructing Amelia and hopefully you will keep on going.

JV: Is there a book or author that readers would be surprised to know you’ve read and liked?

KM: I’m not sure. I will say that—like many people—I have extremely broad taste. From Virginia Woolf to Michael Cunningham to Donna Tartt to John Grisham. I love the fact that there are so many different ways to tell a great story. There is nothing more amazing than watching (or reading) a master performing his or her particular brand of magic.

JV: Who is the one author that would, or did, make you weak in the knees upon meeting?

KM: Stephen King. His book On Writing meant a lot to me.

JV: Has there been an “I’ve made it” moment in your career?

KM: Probably when I sold my first book, Reconstructing Amelia. There have been many incredible moments since then, but I had waited so very long to get over that particular threshold of knowing that my book would appear in an actual bookstore. The only problem was, I don’t think that I allowed myself to fully absorb the reality until the book was actually out!

JV: What is your greatest literary ambition?

KM: The Pulitzer Prize. I mean, shoot for the moon and you’ll land among the stars, right?

JV: Fill in the blank: John B. Valeri / Hartford Books Examiner is _____.

KM: … the brilliant writer and very clever interlocutor I plan to enjoy the afternoon with at the Book Club Bookstore & More. Come join us!


With thanks to Kimberly McCreight for her generosity of time and thought and to Kathleen Carter Zrelak VP / Director of Publicity for Goldberg McDuffie Communications, for facilitating this interview.

Don’t forget: I’ll be in conversation with the author next Saturday, May 13th, at 1:00 p.m. at the Book Club Bookstore & More in South Windsor.

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