Menna van Praag: Men-nuh von Pr-ah-g
Menna van Praag is an Oxford graduate, journalist, and chocolate aficionado. She lives in the UK with her gourmet husband, Artur, who runs a mobile vegetarian café. Seven years ago, Menna was a struggling, overweight waitress; then an inspired insight by her life-coach mother, Vicky, led to a three-day experience of enlightenment that sparked a unique insight into love and life that, over four years, developed into her first book: Men, Money, and Chocolate.
Menna lives in Cambridge, England, with her husband and young son, and is hard at work on her next book.
This biography was last updated on 05/13/2013.
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Was there a real Grace Abbott? If not, what inspired you to write a story about a sanctuary for women who have run out of hope?
I love Grace; I wish she was real, but as it is she's born out of love, desire, and imaginationinspired by several real people in my life. The story for The House at the End of Hope Street was in turn inspired by a dream I had to buy a big house and give grants to aspiring artists (writers/painters/singers/actors/etc.) to live there for one year and do nothing else but study and promote their craft. When I graduated from Oxford I waitressed fulltime while writing at night, so I know how hard it is to fulfill an artistic passion while holding down a day job. Anyway, since I can't yet afford to make that a reality I created the fantasy version first.
Is there any significance to the novel's Cambridge setting?
I live in Cambridge and love it more than any place I've ever been. I knew the protagonist, Alba, was a brilliant academic so it absolutely made sense she'd be studying at Cambridge University. Everything else fell into place after that. Funnily enough, though I've lived here for thirtyfive years, I didn't know there was a Hope Street until ...
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