Saturday, February 13, 2021

Q&A with Allison Epstein

From my Q&A with Allison Epstein, author of A Tip for the Hangman: A Novel:
photo credit: Kristin DiMaggio
How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

The goal of the title was to sweep the reader up into the dangerous world of Elizabethan espionage: full of secrets, impossible choices, and people who can be swayed for the right price. A Tip for the Hangman is a pun to that effect. (My friends know I'm an incorrigible pun-lover.) On one level, my spies are searching for heretics and traitors, so the secrets they uncover will tip off the hangman about his next victim. On another, it was customary at the time for condemned prisoners to pay a monetary tip to the executioner—a weird, grim factoid that hints at how some of my characters seal their own fates.

I love the title, but it was a mess getting there: my team and I had a document with 75 options, and we went back and forth for weeks. The working title was The Devil and the Rose, which my agent loved but others thought wasn’t specific enough. Now, though, I can’t imagine...[read on]
Visit Allison Epstein's website.

My Book, The Movie: A Tip for the Hangman.

The Page 69 Test: A Tip for the Hangman.

Q&A with Allison Epstein.

--Marshal Zeringue