Liza Ward was born in New York City and holds degrees from Middlebury College and the University of Montana. Her stories have been published in The Atlantic Monthly, The Georgia Review, The Antioch Review, and other publications, and were selected for the 2004 O. Henry Prize Stories and Harcourt's 2004 Best New American Voices collection. She lives in Massachusetts.
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A Conversation with Liza Ward
Your book is centered on the Charles Starkweather killing spree that
happened in 1957, before you were born. What drew you to this particular
story? What inspired you to write Outside Valentine?
In January of 1958, while my father was at boarding school on the east coast, Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate pushed their way into my grandparents' home and murdered them. My great aunt and uncle became my father's legal guardians and moved into the house where he had had grown up. I used to visit them in the summers, never making the connection that such horrible things had happened inside those walls.
For so long I was consumed by my grandparents' death. The nature of their death was the only thing I knew about my father's parents. This tragedy cast a heavy silence over my family. No one ever talked about who they had been. I spent a great deal of time hungrily combing books searching for any sort of detail that would bring me closer to understanding what had happened. I tried to remember the carpets at my great aunt's house, the arrangement of furniture, the arrowheads my father had collected as a boy, wondering if the ...
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