What book am I recommending these days when friends ask? The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. Why? Because it grabbed me from the very start and wouldn’t let go. And what special ingredients does it have? Flawed, heroic, and intriguing characters – check. Tension that builds and builds – check. A superb sense of history and setting – check. Strong writing – check. An immersive experience – check. A flawless weaving of two timelines – check. What more could you ask for?
Better still, Kate Quinn has graciously agreed to answer a few questions about The Alice Network and her writing.
Can you tell us a little about the inspiration for The Alice Network?
Eve and Charlie are powerful characters – do you use any special techniques to outline your characters in advance? And if so, how did you decide on the attributes for these two women?
Writing a dual-timeline novel is challenging. How did you keep your plot organized and ensure that the pacing flowed effectively back and forth?
What did you leave out of the novel – scenes that went by the wayside? Characters you discarded?
You’ve previously written about ancient Rome and the Italian Renaissance – what made you change time periods? Were WWI and WWII easier eras to tackle?
Many thanks for answering my questions, Kate. I’m sure both readers and writers will find your experiences fascinating.
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She’s also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie’s parents banish her to Europe to have her “little problem” taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.
1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she’s recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she’s trained by the mesmerizing Lili, code name Alice, the “queen of spies,” who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy’s nose.
Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. That is until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn’t heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth . . . no matter where it leads.
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M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, Nook, Kobo, Google Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.