A few words about book's author
SUSAN VREELAND grew up in California and taught high-school English in the San Diego school system for 30 years. She wrote a widely used student-writing handbook titled What English Teachers Want, as well as two previous novels. Her short fiction has appeard in several literary journals, and she received Inkwell Magazines Grand Prize for Fiction in 1999. She lives in San Diego.
GIGI BERMINGHAM is an accomplished stage and television actress, with several audiobooks to her credit.
J. D. CULLUM has appeared in over 40 plays both on and Off-Broady. TV and film work include 24, Frasier, Judging Amy, MYPD Blue and the HBO film *61.
When I was nine, my great-grandfather, a landscape painter, taught me to mix colors, Susan Vreeland recalls in an interview on her publishers web site. With his strong hand surrounding my small one, he guided the brush until a calla lily appeared as if by magic on a page of textured watercolor paper. How many girls throughout history would have longed to be taught that, but had to do washing and mending instead? As a grown woman, Vreeland found her own magical way of translating her vision of the world into art. While teaching high school English in the 1980s, she began to write, publishing magazine articles, short stories, and her first novel, What Love Sees. In 1996, Vreeland was diagnosed with lymphoma, which forced her to take time off from teaching — time she spent undergoing medical treatment and writing stories about a fictional Vermeer painting. Creative endeavor can aid healing because it lifts us out of self-absorption and gives us a goal, she later wrote. In Vreelands case, her goal was to live long enough to finish this set of stories that reflected my sensibilities, so that my writing group of twelve dear friends might be given these and know that in my last months I was happy — because I was creating. Vreeland recovered from her illness and wove her stories into a novel, Girl in Hyacinth Blue. The book was a national bestseller, praised by The New York Times as intelligent, searching and unusual and by Kirkus Reviews as extraordinarily skilled historical fiction: deft, perceptive, full of learning, deeply moving. Its interrelated stories move backward in time, creating what Marion Lignana Rosenberg in Salon called a kind of Chinese box unfolding from the contemporary hiding-place of a painting attributed to Vermeer all the way back to the moment the work was conceived. Vreelands next novel, The Passion of Artemisia, was based on the life of the 17th-century painter Artemisia Gentileschi, often regarded as the first woman to hold a significant place in the history of European art. Forthright and imaginative, Vreelands deft recreation ably showcases art and life, noted Publishers Weekly. Love for the visual arts, especially painting, continues to fire Vreelands literary imagination. Her new novel, The Forest Lover, is a fictional exploration of the life of the 20th-century Canadian artist Emily Carr. She has also written a series of art-related short stories. For Vreeland, art provides inspiration for living as well as for literature. As she put it in an autobiographical essay, I hope that by writing art-related fiction, I might bring readers who may not recognize the enriching and uplifting power of art to the realization that it can serve them as it has so richly served me. Good To Know
Two other novels relating to Vermeer were published within a year of Girl in Hyacinth Blue: The Music Lesson by Katharine Weber and Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier. Vreeland lives in San Diego with her husband, a software engineer. She taught high school English and ceramics for 30 years before retiring to become a full-time writer.