Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Lois Banner - Marilyn: The Passion and the Paradox - Author Interview

Author Interview

1. How did you come up with the title?
Marilyn was very passionate—on many levels—but she was also a complex, contradictory human being—a paradox in many ways.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Since Marilyn is emerging as an icon for the twentieth century, I wanted readers to realize that her many complexities—she is everywoman writ large. Above all, I wanted readers to understand the effect of childhood sex abuse on her life.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
It’s a biography, so it’s totally taken from reality.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Organizing it was very difficult. In the end, I varied the normal progression of biography, adding a chapter in the middle of the book that is an analysis of her.

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Every biography I write is a total learning experience—about places, people, events I knew very little about.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
When I was a Ph.D. candidate at Columbia University and then a university professor.

8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I read the work of Erik Larson because I like his blending of fact and fiction. Favorite author? Edith Wharton, Betty Friedan.

9. Tell us your latest news.
I’m preparing my course on Beauty and the Body in history—it should turn into my next book.

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Marilyn Monroe is probably quite different from the person you think she is.

About the Book

Marilyn Monroe is an icon whose life and legacy continues to be shrouded in contradictions and inaccuracies. As an academic who has been at the forefront of women’s issues for the last half decade, Banner spent nine years researching the intimate details of Monroe’s life, interviewing more than one hundred people in her inner circle and fan club, and examining confidential papers and ledgers in the final years of her life that previous biographers have failed to analyze.

Through this meticulous research, Banner refutes much of the mythology surrounding Monroe, offering a depth to her story that has never been fully told, and exposing new facets of her personality and facts surrounding her life—the childhood foster homes and sexual abuse, Hollywood persona, multiple marriages, Kennedy access, physical and mental health issues, sex and drug addictions, and chain of events leading up to her tragic death—in order to present an accurate depiction of this flawed, yet heroic figure. Through her lens, we see a very different Marilyn Monroe—not merely a blond bombshell nor a fragile victim—but someone she reveals as a radical, an intellectual, someone with a deep interest in spirituality, and one of the most important women of the 20th century.

Since Marilyn’s death on August 5, 1962, the appetite for information about her has been insatiable with recent depictions in the critically acclaimed film My Week with Marilyn and the new television series Smash. In MARILYN, Lois Banner takes Marilyn Monroe seriously and dignifies her as no biographer ever has, presenting a thoughtful treatment that Monroe fans and the new wave of feminists are sure to appreciate.

Price: $30.00
Pages: 431
Genre: biography
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release date: August 1, 2012
Buy Links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble 

About the Author

Lois Banner was a founder of the field of women's history and cofounder of the Berkshire Conference in Women's History, the major academic event in the field. She is the author of ten books, including her acclaimed American Beauty and most recently MM–Personal, which reproduces and discusses items from Marilyn's personal archives. In addition to her books on Monroe, Banner is a major collector of her artifacts. She is also a professor of history and gender studies at USC and lives in Southern California.

Links to connect with Lois:
Web Site 

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