A Quickie with Alyson Richman

Tell me about your latest book and why we should read it?

My latest book, “The Velvet Hours,” is inspired by the true-life story of a Parisian apartment that once belonged to a courtesan and was mysteriously shuttered for seventy years. When the apartment was opened in 2010 it looked like a time-capsule to the Belle-Epoque and above the mantel was a portrait of the original owner, Marthe de Florian, painted by the celebrated 19th century portrait painter, Giovanni Boldini. The portrait was later sold for close to 3 million dollars! If you love art, beauty and a peek into the sensual world of courtesans, this book might be the read for you.

If someone was to write your life story what would the title be?

“The Hidden Canvas”

What’s the strangest fan question or request you’ve received?

A man wrote to me when my first novel, “The Mask Carver’s Son” came out and asked me if I’d meet him at his apartment so I could taste a new cereal he had created.

If you could co-write with anyone in the world (alive or dead) who would it be?

James Salter

Tell me something nobody else knows about you (yet!).

I’ve never been to a rock concert.

Finally please recommend 3 books that you have recently read and tell me why you’ve chosen these.

I just finished the ARC of Nicole Krauss’s upcoming book ‘Forest Dark” and it made me weep it was so good. I loved “History of Love” so much and this new was so bold and interesting. When I read Krauss,I’m humbled as a writer.

I also just read Jamie Ford’s new upcoming novel “Love and Other Consolation Prizes” and it also was an beautifully written book with lots of history woven into it.

Lastly MJ Rose’s “The Library of Light and Shadow” just came out in the US this week and it has everything I love: art, beauty and Paris in it. It’s the perfect late summer read. And if you’re looking for something with a lot of heat in it and gorgeous prose, my dear friend Jardine Libaire just published her amazing book ‘White Fur.” I know that’s four books in total, but I couldn’t resist!

Who is Alyson Richman? Alyson Richman is the author of The Lost Wife, The Mask Carver’s Son, Swedish Tango, and The Last Van Gogh. The daughter of a painter and an engineer, Richman’s novels combine a love of art and research, and have been published in more than ten languages. She lives in Long Island, New York with her husband and two children.

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