LAURA MARX FITZGERALD drew on her study of art history at Harvard and Cambridge Universities in writing Under the Egg. She lives in Brooklyn and this is her middle grade debut.
You can learn more about Under the Egg here.
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AUTHOR ACCESS Q&A
Who's your favorite author, living or dead?
One author? That's just impossible! Adult fiction would include Edith Wharton, Eudora Welty, A.S.Byatt, Alice Munro, and T.C.Boyle. Kid fiction is Lois Lowry, winner take all.
What's your favorite thing about your book?
All the research I got to do. I loved digging into the past, uncovering dozens of strange-but-true stories in the art world and both New York and European history. There are at least ten more books in all the stories I didn't use.
If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one character from literature, who would you choose?
Laura Ingalls Wilder, who would teach me survival skills and shame me for crying.
Where do you write?
We're in a small apartment, so my commute consists of moving my laptop from a cluttered side table to the cluttered kitchen table. The writer's life is not glamorous (at least this one isn't).
Who is your favorite hero or heroine of history?
Rose Valland, whose meticulous secret notes tracked and safeguarded much of the art looted by the Nazis. Without her, the Allies would not have been able to locate or return as much art as they did.
Do you tweet? What's the funniest thing you've ever tweeted?
Twitter and I have an uneasy relationship. To me it's like a virtual cocktail party, where everyone's having fun and I'm in the corner by the artichoke dip. But also like a party, I love the way it brings strangers together. I always encounter someone interesting there, someone I never would have met if I'd watched 30 Rock reruns all night like I wanted.
What is your favorite season?
When I was growing up down South, spring (bright, temperate, filled with color). Now that I live up North, fall (bright, temperate, filled with color).
If you could teleport anywhere in the known universe right now, where would you go?
That storage room at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Do you have any writing rituals?
Is procrastination a ritual?
What is your idea of earthly happiness?
That moment when you turn off the light, sink into your pillow, and let sleep settle in.
What is the best concert you've ever been to?
When I was living in England, I was invited to join a friend of a friend's family who had an extra ticket to a concert. As we chatted after the show, I mentioned that I was studying art history. "Have you been to the Tate yet?" the father asked me. When I said no, he ushered the whole family into the car and headed for the museum … at 10:00 at night. It turns out he was on the board of trustees, and I was given a personal tour as the security guard switched on the lights and the kids ran around the empty galleries. To have a Turner or a Picasso all to yourself is an experience available to very few people, and that night opened my eyes to the power of a direct, personal relationship with art.
What are you currently working on?
Another art history mystery. This one involves kids working to solve an art heist and uncovering a much darker crime.
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