The Divining Wand

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The Revealing of Kate Ledger

August 11, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Interviews, Profiles

Last August Kate Ledger made her fiction debut with Remedies — a novel that earned critical raves, including this Starred Review from Publishers Weekly:

“Ledger’s accomplished debut offers a compelling view of married life through the prism of unacknowledged grief. Baltimore physician Simon Bear is a confident, magnanimous man with an inflated view of himself and his abilities. His wife, Emily, a star public relations executive, handles corporate crises with an ease, but can’t find a way to connect with their moody adolescent daughter, Jamie. While the Bears outwardly appear an enviably successful couple, neither Simon nor Emily has ever resolved the tragic and early death of their firstborn. Simon buries himself in work and with all-consuming hobbies (his latest is winemaking). Emily, too, is consumed by work, though she’s privately devastated about her shortcomings as a mother and tempted by another man. Jamie, meanwhile, presses her mother’s buttons, knowing she can never make up for the loss of the dead brother she never knew. Ledger follows the trajectory from achievement to failure with rare insight, suggesting that it is through Jamie that Simon and Emily can find redemption. An impressive portrait of a family in crisis, executed with finesse and assurance.”

Last week the Trade Paperback edition of Remedies was released and has been selected as an Indie Next List Notable book, August 2010. The Divining Wand has scheduled a full presentation/review of the novel for Monday, August 23, 2010, however — in the meantime — let’s meet the author through her “official” bio:

Kate Ledger grew up in Philadelphia, PA, and graduated from Akiba Hebrew Academy and the University of Pennsylvania. She received a Master of Fine Arts degree in fiction from the University of Arizona. For several years, she worked as the senior writer at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. As a freelance writer, she has published articles in Self, Health, and other national magazines. She lives in St. Paul, MN, with her husband and children.

And now to get to know the “real” Kate by what she reveals:

Q: How would you describe your life in 8 words?
A: Started slowly, seemed to speed up, now races.

Q: What is your motto or maxim?
A: Do the right thing.

Q: How would you describe perfect happiness?
A: When my kids’ funny expressions and silly antics make me laugh. That’s good stuff.

Q: What’s your greatest fear?
A: Not knowing the answer.

Q: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A: Hanging out with my husband, wherever that might be. We have a good time together.

Q: With whom in history do you most identify?
A: This is such an interesting question, and I don’t know who I identify with. But if I could go back in time, one person I’d like to meet and hang around with for a while is Nellie Bly, the reporter who traveled the world in 80 days and did investigative reporting inside an insane asylum by pretending to be a patient who needed to be committed.

Q: Which living person do you most admire?
A: My daughter, at age seven, is pretty incredible.

Q: What are your most overused words or phrases?
A: Like. For a while I was actively trying to exorcise it from my speech, but it was like impossible.

Q: If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A: Fluency in every language on the planet.

Q: What’s your greatest flaw?
A: Indecisiveness.

Q: What’s your best quality?
A: Sensitivity.

Q: What is your greatest achievement?
A: The year I finished writing “Remedies” was a tremendous year. My husband and I moved across the country with our family to a new city for his new job. Our daughter was three years old, and I was nursing twin babies. I was writing freelance articles for magazines and also desperately trying to finish the novel I’d been writing for several years. Even now, I can’t quite say how we got through that year, but we did. And the book sold and the babies weaned, so it all worked out.

Q: What do you regret most?
A:Never getting enough sleep.

Q: If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A: House cats seem to have it pretty good, a little purring, a lot of napping.

Q: What trait is most noticeable about you?
A: Many people tell me I look like someone they know, a cousin or a childhood friend.

Q: Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A: Atticus Finch

Q: Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A: Iago. So very bad. But if we’re talking villains who eventually get rehabilitated, I’d have to say The Grinch.

Q: If you could meet any athlete, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A: Apolo Ohno. “How you doin’?”

Q: What is your biggest pet peeve?
A: People who are rude for no good reason.

Q: What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A: Pottery. I used to be a member of a potter’s guild. I haven’t thrown in a few years, but I miss it terribly.

Q: What’s your fantasy profession?
A: I have about twenty. I fantasize about them every time I have a hard day writing. Opera singer…. architect…fashion designer…Queen of England.

Q: What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A: Kindness, cleverness, humor.

Q: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A: Ugh. Only one thing? That sounds like a nightmare. Brown rice, maybe. Keep it simple.

Q: What are your 5 favorite songs?
A: Reelin’ in the Years–Steely Dan
Tangled Up in Blue–Bob Dylan
Mr. Tambourine Man–Bob Dylan
Suzanne–Leonard Cohen
Country Roads–John Denver

Q: What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A: The list changes, of course, because you’re never the same person when you read again, and what each book means to you is always changing, but right now my five faves are:
Mrs. Dalloway–Virginia Woolf
The Things They Carried–Tim O’Brien
The Corrections–Jonathan Franzen
American Pastoral–Philip Roth
Song of Solomon–Toni Morrison

Fascinating in her breadth of knowledge and interests, while being down-to-earth with humor and friendliness, Kate Ledger is an author to watch by following her on Twitter and becoming a fan of Remedies: A Novel, by Kate Ledger on Facebook

[Note: This week Kate Ledger and Sarah Pekkanen (The Opposite of Me) are two of the featured writers on Author Buzz. For a chance to win a copy of their respective novels, read the “Dear Reader” letters from Kate and Sarah.]

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Book Giveaway: This week Julie Buxbaum has graciously offered two “signed” copies of After You to the winners of a random drawing from comments left on this specific post, Julie Buxbaum and After You. A comment on any other post during this week will not be eligible. The deadline for this contest is tonight at 7:00 p.m. EDT and the winners will be announced here in tomorrow’s post. IF you do enter, please return tomorrow to possibly claim your book.

1 Comments to “The Revealing of Kate Ledger”


  1. Wow, sounds like a really powerful book! Great interview. 🙂

    1


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