Friday, August 04, 2023

Q&A with Jennifer Cody Epstein

From my Q&A with Jennifer Cody Epstein, author of The Madwomen of Paris: A Novel:
How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

Since the book is about women locked up in France’s largest women’s asylum in the 19th century, I think The Madwomen of Paris does a lot of work! Unfortunately, I can’t take credit for that, since my amazing agent Amelia Atlas was the one who actually came up with it. I’d initially wanted to call the novel The Mesmerist, since the story is based on a very bizarre, real-life chapter of medical history in which Jean-Martin Charcot—today widely regarded as the father of modern neurology—used hypnotism to recreate hysterical symptoms with patients from the asylum’s hysteria ward. In the end, though, it didn’t work as well to signpost what the story was about or where it was set.

What's in a name?

Names are always an interesting challenge in historical fiction, particularly when...[read on]
Learn more about the novel and author at Jennifer Cody Epstein's website.

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--Marshal Zeringue