Susann Cokal was born in California and lived most of her life there and in the Southwest, where she found much of the material for Breath and Bones. She also spent a year studying medieval history, art history, and literature in Poitiers, France, the inspiration for Mirabilis. After earning two PhDs (one from Berkeley in comparative literature, one from Binghamton University in creative writing), she taught at California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo.
She now lives in Richmond, Virginia, and teaches creative writing and contemporary narrative at Virginia Commonwealth University. And shed like to state for the record that shes not quite as stuffy as all that sounds.
Her next book will publish in October 2013, The Kingdom of Little Wounds.
From the author's website
This biography was last updated on 08/06/2013.
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What inspired you to write Mirabilis?
Inspiration is a sticky subjectI can't say exactly where Mirabilis came from, or at least how the different elements managed to congeal into a story for me. Most of the characters and events lived in my mind for years before I figured out how they fit together. For example, I've always thought wet nurses fascinating because they use their bodies to make both food and an honorable livingI just needed to find a story to fit such a remarkable profession.
A lot of ideas came from the long-ago year I lived in Poitiers, France, which was an important city during the Middle Ages. I didn't have money to travel, so I got to know the town and outlying villages very wellmostly on foot, which is the way my characters would have had to get around, too. I became more and more interested in how common people (not fairy-tale princesses) conducted their lives in medieval times; I wanted to imagine what they would be like in love, for example. One of the tidbits that really fascinated me was that a sculptor had put his name on a capital in nearby Chauvigny, at a time when almost no one signed an artistic work. I kept wondering what would suddenly make someone ...
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