Podcast Episode 84: Paula McLain (Author of When the Stars Go Dark)

Paula McLain


In Episode 84, Paula McLain (author of When the Stars Go Dark) shares why decided to break from her previous style now, how nervous she was through the publication process, and her research into childhood trauma.

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  • Why Paula decided to break from her historical fiction roots at this particular time in her career.
  • Paula’s writing style and how it works with suspense.
  • The point in Paula’s process where she figured out When the Stars Go Dark would contain so much of her personal history.
  • Paula’s writing process and if it changed with When the Stars Go Dark given it was such a different kind of book than her previous work.
  • How nervous Paula was to take this leap at different stages of the publication process. 
  • How Paula normally pitches new books to her publisher at this stage of her career…and how she had to pitch When the Stars Go Dark differently.
  • Paula’s research into childhood trauma for this book.
  • A bit of detail behind the concept of the “bat signal” from When the Stars Go Dark.
  • Paula’s personal reading habits and how she reads while working on a new book.

Paula’s Book Recommendations [28:42]

Two OLD Books She Loves

Two NEW Books She Loves

One Book She DIDN’T LOVE

One NEW RELEASE She’s Excited About

Last 5 Star Book(s) Paula Read [45:40]

Other Books Mentioned

Other Links

About Paula

WebsitePaula McLain | Instagram

Paula McLain is the author of the New York Times bestselling novels, The Paris WifeCircling the Sun, and Love and Ruin. On April 13th, 2021 she introduces her latest title, When the Stars Go Dark.

Paula McLain was born in Fresno, California in 1965. After being abandoned by both parents, she and her two sisters became wards of the California Court System, moving in and out of various foster homes for the next fourteen years. When she aged out of the system, she supported herself by working as a nurses aid in a convalescent hospital, a pizza delivery girl, an auto-plant worker, a cocktail waitress–before discovering she could (and very much wanted to) write. She received her MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan in 1996.

She is the author of The Paris Wife, a New York Times and international bestseller, which has been published in thirty-four languages. The recipient of fellowships from Yaddo, The MacDowell Colony, the Cleveland Arts Prize, the Ohio Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, she is also the author of two collections of poetry; a memoir, Like Family, Growing up in Other People’s Houses; and a first novel, A Ticket to Ride. She lives with her family in Cleveland.

Next Episode

Next week, Catherine from Gilmore Guide to Books will join me for the Spring 2021 Circle Back episode (airing June 2).

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  1. susan wrote:

    Great interview & episode with Paula McLain! Awesome. Many thx.
    She mentions and upcoming book by Nina de Gramont …. now I remember the audio of her last one called The Last September. It was all right …

    Posted 6.2.21 Reply

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