Linda Howard Urbach is someone you will want to know, to follow, and to delight in her amusing blog interviews. Linda has two twitter accounts: @BovarysDaughter and @LindaUrbach. Her blog sites are: http://www.madamebovarysdaughter.com and http://www.bovaryblog.com. Aside from writing books, Linda is the founder of ‘MoMoirs Writing Workshops for Moms.’ She is a busy lady not only writing delightful interviews but giving them as well – you can see at her site some of the interviews she has given. She has two books by Putnam, Expecting Miracles and The Money Honey. Expecting Miracles was also published in England and France where it won The French Family Book Award. Linda is currently working on her next book, Sarah’s Hair, ‘the tangled story of Sarah Bernhardt’s hairdresser.’
Before I give you a sampling of her own most amusing interviews there is a unique and noteworthy novel about which to inform you. Random House published Linda’s Madame Bovary’s Daughter and it has received critical acclaim as you will see further along. Most of us will remember reading many years ago Gustave Flaubert’s classic, Madame Bovary, but Linda found a lingering nagging question long after reading the book… This excerpt from Amazon says it best…
Picking up after the shattering end of Gustave Flaubert’s classic, Madame Bovary, this beguiling novel imagines an answer to the questionWhatever happened to Emma Bovary’s orphaned daughter?
One year after her mother’s suicide and just one day after her father’s brokenhearted demise, twelve-year-old Berthe Bovary is sent to live on her grandmother’s impoverished farm. Amid the beauty of the French countryside, Berthe models for the painter Jean-François Millet, but fate has more in store for her than a quiet life of simple pleasures. Berthe’s determination to rise above her mother’s scandalous past will take her from the dangerous cotton mills of Lille to a convent in Rouen to the wealth and glamour of nineteenth-century Paris. There, as an apprentice to famed fashion designer Charles Frederick Worth, Berthe is ushered into the high society of which she once only dreamed. But even as the praise for her couture gowns steadily rises, she still yearns for the one thing her mother never had: the love of someone she loves in return.
Brilliantly integrating one of classic literature’s fictional creations with real historical figures, Madame Bovary’s Daughter is an uncommon coming-of-age tale, a splendid excursion through the rags and the riches of French fashion, and a sweeping novel of poverty and wealth, passion and revenge.
Here are some Amazon reviews of “Madame Bovary’s Daughter”:
“Grand in scope…Urbach relays a classic tale of rags to riches, tragedy to triumph and passion to vengeance. Saga fans who adore Rosalind Laker and Barbara Taylor Bradford will rejoice.”—Romantic Times, Top Pick!“Skillfully continues Flaubert’s story…An entertaining romance for readers of historical fiction.”—Publishers Weekly
“In this richly detailed, stunningly imaginative novel, Linda Urbach has created a fascinating, complex heroine. As Berthe Bovary determines to distance herself from her infamous mother’s legacy, she discovers, instead, that a passionate life can be a life well-lived. Readers will rejoice in her journey to understanding and forgiveness.”
—MELANIE BENJAMIN, author of Alice I Have Been and The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb
“Engrossing, vivid, beautifully written, adventurous, and often heart-rending—a young girl finds her way from the depths of poverty to the top of the nineteenth-century French fashion world, led by her wistful dreams of the lovely way life could be and by her gift for making those dreams a reality. I just loved this novel!”
—STEPHANIE COWELL, author of Claude and Camille: A Novel of Monet and Marrying Mozart“Very hard to put down. A very intriguing story, and Gustave Flaubert would be proud to have Berthe’s voice finally on paper. 4 1/2 stars.”–Burton Book Review
“Having read and enjoyed Madame Bovary years ago, I liked reading about Emma’s daughter, and finally knowing that she turned out alright after all.”–Luxury Reading
“I found myself enjoying this book far more than I did the classic Madame Bovary. Mainly because I never wound up caring about Emma Bovary like I did her daughter in this excellent book…I highly recommend Madame Bovary’s Daughter to fans of Historical Fiction.”–Danvers Reads
“Madame Bovary’s Daughter is a wonderful homage to a great novel that also manages to work on its own compelling terms.” –Connecticut News
“Madame Bovary’s Daughter is a powerful and deeply satisfying return to Flaubert’s world of mid-19th century France.” –Connecticut Post
“A rich tale of high society and, finally, a love [Berthe Bovary’s] mother never found.”
–Cape Cod Times
“Urbach wonderfully integrates the classic novel with her own creation. Madame Bovary’s Daughter is a beautiful rag to riches story filled with desire, dreams, poverty and wealth.” –Book Garden Reviews
“Madame Bovary’s Daughter is an exceptionally written masterpiece rich in period detail. Linda Urbach powerfully brings to life the opulence of the rich in nineteenth- century France.” –Fresh Fiction
“It’s a creative idea and an interesting story. It’s a great book for romantic and true Victorian novel-lovers.” –South Coast Today
“Madame Bovary’s Daughter was an extremely well-written novel that did justice to the original while creating a new storyline that kept me interested and reading.” –Night Owl Reviews
“Urbach posits her view of Berthe’s life in pretty much flawless homage to Flaubert as the beloved character he created. It is easy to get lost in the tale and forget that you aren’t reading a book by Flaubert when learning what happens to the penniless orphan of a truly scandalous woman. The novel is like a visit with an old friend.” –City Book Review
“Madame Bovary’s Daughter is a fun book that provides some much needed closure to Berthe’s story. Recommended.” –Devourer of Books
“Madame Bovary’s Daughter is definitely a historical romance that is intriguing to read and a great, juicy follow up to the old classic.” –Peace Love Books
“In a novel written in the clean Gallic style of the original, Madame Bovary’s daughter is a wonderful character, struggling to overcome her mother’s legacy and the expectations of her own fantasies. –The Historical Novels Review
[I submitted the following article months ago. Needless to say, the New York Times chose to go with the piece written by their literary critic, Dwight Garner instead.]
I heard through the literary grape vine that one of my favorite authors, John le Carré was coming out with a new book. A Delicate Truth is due out in May. Who better to include in My Little Publishing Company’s “How Do You Do It?” series.
I’m not a complete idiot. I wrote ahead and asked him for an interview and when I got no response I took that for a yes, knowing how reserved the Brits can sometimes be. Since I had no specific time or place for a meeting with the author, I put together a very clever plan. I knew Le Carré had a fondness for fox hunting and so I rented an authentic Lady’s Victorian riding costume. Then I drove to St. Buryan a small village in Cornwall and stopping by the local stables, I arranged to hire a horse for the hunt.
“You wearin’ that to ride in?” asked the stable man.
“Yes, do you like it?” I swirled around in my long skirt.
“It’s a bloody hoot.” He led out my horse for the day. “This here’s Marshmallow. She’s a bit light in the mouth, but you sez you rid plenty afore so you should be fine.” He helped me up. “Put your other leg over,” he said.
“Oh, no,” I said, “I’m riding side saddle.”
“This here’s just a regular huntin’ saddle. You’ll fall over the first fence and break your noggin,” he said.
I joined the group of fellow foxhunters who were dressed in a much more conservative, albeit contemporary manner. We walked through the streets of St. Buryan. And it was there I spotted Le Carré standing on the sidewalk with the other spectators. He was deep in conversation with another man. Slipping off my steed (I do love alliteration) I led Marshmallow over to the great writer and introduced myself.
“Linda Urbach, CEO of My Little Publishing Company,” I said extending my kid-gloved hand.
“Oh, yes, I seem to remember you wrote me a while back.”
“I just wanted to do an interview with you for my series.”
“Dwight Garner of the New York Times has beaten you to it, I’m afraid,” he said indicating the man next to him. “But at least you’ll be able to take in the hunt while you’re here.” He turned his tweedy back on me.
Mr. Garner proceeded to monopolize Le Carré by asking him all sorts of tedious questions about his background, his attitudes about current espionage and the London literary scene. Marshmallow shifted restlessly as the last of the riders walked through town. Finally, Garner excused himself and I had Le Carré to myself. I realized my time with him was limited so I got to the important issues first.
“Mr. Le Carré, why don’t you capitalize the “l” in your name?” He shook his head. I heard the horn signaling the sighting of a fox and it was all I could do to keep hold of Marshmallow’s reins.
“No one’s ever asked me that before.” I was pleased until he added, “That’s a rather idiotic question. Do you have any others?” Luckily, I did.
“Do your eyebrows ever get in the way of your writing?” He had extremely long, thick eyebrows that threatened to obscure his vision. For some reason this last seemed to annoy him.
“Perhaps you’d better quit while you’re ahead, Ms. Urbach.” He turned to go.
“Wait, Mr. Le Carré. I was wondering if you might give me a blurb for my new novel.” He turned and looked at me with interest.
“Is it a spy novel?”
“Well, no. Actually it’s historical fiction.”
“I’m afraid that wouldn’t do at all. I’m known for my spy novels. It doesn’t make sense for me to write a blurb about a totally different genre.”
What a stickler he was. I suppose that’s what made him the successful author he is today. But he had given me an idea.
“Then I’ll make my next novel a spy novel.”
“Fine, fine. I wish you luck with it.”
“If you would just give me some of your leftovers.” Marshmallow was prancing in place, anxious to be off.
“Old plots that you aren’t going to use,” I explained. He chuckled and then walked briskly away.
There was nothing left for me to do but get back on Marshmallow and join the hunt. Just as the stableman predicted, going over the first low fence, I fell off my horse and suffered a mild concussion. Which was wonderful because I now had something in common with Hillary. I couldn’t wait to exchange concussion symptoms with her.
In conclusion, I had gone to considerable expense and effort to interview John le Carré only to find out that there is definitely a class system operating in literature in England. Still, the trip was worthwhile. My only real regret were all those annoying accent aigus that have to be added every single time you write his name. That and the small “l” are a bit of an affectation, to say the least.
Linda Urbach is a lady I’m proud to know, a lady with writing skills of the finest order, and a lady who is doing something of value in our world. I’m likely forgetting something – it gets that way here in ‘Twilight.’ Just go to Linda’s beautifully designed site. You will find most of her story there – http://www.madamebovarysdaughter.com/site/
If you might want to know more about me, your can find information here on https://thefinalcurtain1.wordpress.com and these other sites:
http://billyraychitwood.weebly.com (my main website, with a blog, book reviews, etc.)
http://www.goo.gl/fuxUA (IAN – a preview of my nine books)