Turgeon was born in Michigan and grew up in Illinois, Texas, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. She started writing from a very young age, of 8, i.e. when she wrote her very first piece.
She graduated from Penn State and then went on to graduate school at UCLA. Her first novel Rain Village was published in 2006 and since then she has published three more novels all based on cassic fairytales that include, Godmother: The Secret Cinderalla Story, Mermaid, and The Next Full Moon. Her latest work, The Fairest of Them All was published in 2013.
She now lives between Pennsylvania and New York, teaches in Alaska at the University of Alaska.
Carolyn Turgeon's website
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How did you decide to write about circuses?
It really began a bit randomly, the way things do. I had written a short story for a class I took in college with Paul West, about this strange rain-soaked place called Rain Village. That original narrator, Alice, mentions, very briefly, how a carnival goes through the village once a year, how they all go to see the girl on the trapeze, who hangs above them like a wingless bird while they wait for her to fall. This was just a random couple of lines; I had been taken with the beauty of trapeze because of the German film Wings of Desire, those gorgeous, melancholy black-and-white scenes of Solveig Dommartin with her white feathered wings, Nick Cave playing in the background. Anyway, years later, as that short story developed into a book, the trapeze girl Tessa became one of the narratorsthe first draft was five narrators all talking about Rain Village and their relationships to itand then, eventually, the sole narrator, when it became clear that her voice was the strongest. Rain Village became the place Tessas mentor Mary Finn was from, and the original narrator Alice dropped out completely. And the more I told Tessas story, which, naturally, included ...
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