Tara Conklin was born on St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands and raised in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. She is a graduate of Yale University, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and New York University School of Law. Most recently, she worked as a litigator in the New York and London offices of a corporate law firm but now devotes herself full-time to writing fiction. Prior to law school, Tara worked in a variety of jobs in a variety of locales. She dealt cards at a casino in Costa Rica, planned events at a press center in Moscow, taught English at a school in Madrid and waited tables at a hotel in Montana.
A joint US-UK citizen, Tara now lives with her family in Seattle. The House Girl is her first novel.
Tara Conklin's website
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What inspired you to write The House Girl?
I was reading a biography of Virginia Woolf and came across the term "slave doctor" used to describe one of her long-lost relations. Those words caught my imagination. I thought about the circumstances that would drive a person to occupy such a conflicted roleto be a healer, but one whose patients were destined only for more hardship and pain. As I thought about this slave doctor, an image popped into my head of a man on a horse, holding his hand out to a young woman, a slave, and pulling her up onto the horse. That was the beginning of The House Girlthose words and the image they evoked.
In the novel, you use two very interesting angles to help tell the storya reparations lawsuit and the unveiling of a controversial art exhibit. Why did you decide to use these events?
I had already written the historical narratives of Caleb Harper, Dorothea Rounds and Josephine Bell before either the art exhibit or reparations lawsuit entered into the story. After finishing their sections, I put the entire project aside due to family and work commitments. But I couldn't stop thinking about the characters I didn't feel that their stories were complete. A ...
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