Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Diane Zinna.
Originally from Long Island, Diane received her MFA from the University of Florida and went on to teach creative writing for ten years. She formerly worked at AWP—the Association of Writers & Writing Programs—which hosts the largest literary conference in North America each year.
In 2014, Diane Zinna created the AWP Writer to Writer Mentorship Program, helping to match more than six hundred writers over twelve seasons. Diane lives in Fairfax, Virginia, with her husband and daughter, and The All-Night Sun is her debut novel.
In this episode Diane and I discuss:
- How a dream she had, her experience with grief, and her memories of Sweden inspired the premise of her novel.
- Why she started the story where she did and why she almost wrote Lauren a completely different ending.
- What kind of heartfelt teaching Diane feels is imperative to the workshop experience.
Plus, their #1 tip for writers.
About the Author
Diane Zinna is originally from Long Island, New York. She received her MFA from the University of Florida and went on to teach creative writing for ten years. She formerly worked at AWP, the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, which hosts the largest literary conference in North America each year. In 2014, Diane created their Writer to Writer Mentorship Program, helping to match more than six hundred writers over twelve seasons. Diane lives in Fairfax, Virginia, with her husband and daughter. The All-Night Sun is her first novel.
The All-Night Sun
Lauren Cress is a professor at a small college, and in the classroom she is poised, smart, and beloved by her students. But internally she is deeply scarred by the loss of both of her parents, and still grapples with her grief daily. She is overcome with loneliness, until a magnetic Swedish student joins her class and slowly befriends her. Siri is everything Lauren wishes she herself could be: charming, fun, and free. When she invites Lauren home with her to Sweden for the summer, it’s an easy decision. Siri promises everything will feel fresh and new, just thawing out after a long winter. It sounds like everything Lauren craves, so she impulsively agrees.
At first, all is well. Lauren is delighted to be in Sweden, a landscape that seems to pulse with magic. But things grow tense when Lauren finds herself drawn to Siri’s enigmatic brother Magnus, the one person she made her promise to stay away from. Siri is resentful, and Lauren starts to see a new side of her friend: selfish, reckless, self-destructive, even cruel. On the last night of her trip, Lauren accompanies Siri and her friends on a seaside camping trip to celebrate Midsommar’s Eve, a night when no one sleeps, boundaries blur, and under the light of the unsetting sun, things take a dark turn.
Ultimately Lauren must acknowledge the truth of what happened with Siri and come to terms with her own tragic past in this gorgeously written, deeply felt debut about the transformative relationships that come to us when things feel darkest.
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