This week, authors Logan Steiner and Elizabeth Blackwell discuss writing historical fiction and Steiner’s debut novel After Anne: A Novel of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Life. This conversation originally took place July 9, 2023 and was recorded live at the American Writers Museum.
More about After Anne:
A stunning and unexpected portrait of Lucy Maud Montgomery, creator of one of literature’s most prized heroines, whose personal demons were at odds with her most enduring legacy—the irrepressible Anne of Green Gables.
“Dear old world,” she murmured, “you are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you.” —L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables, 1908
As a young woman, Maud had dreams bigger than the whole of Prince Edward Island. Her exuberant spirit had always drawn frowns from her grandmother and their neighbors, but she knew she was meant to create, to capture and share the way she saw the world. And the young girl in Maud’s mind became more and more persistent: Here is my story, she said. Here is how my name should be spelled—Anne with an “e.”
But the day Maud writes the first lines of Anne of Green Gables, she gets a visit from the handsome new minister in town, and soon faces a decision: forge her own path as a spinster authoress, or live as a rural minister’s wife, an existence she once likened to “a respectable form of slavery.” The choice she makes alters the course of her life.
With a husband whose religious mania threatens their health and happiness at every turn, the secret darkness that Maud herself holds inside threatens to break through the persona she shows to the world, driving an ever-widening wedge between her public face and private self, and putting her on a path towards a heartbreaking end.
LOGAN STEINER is a lawyer by day and a writer by baby bedtime. Her writing explores motherhood and the creative life. Logan’s debut novel After Anne will be released on May 30, 2023 by HarperCollins. For fans of Anne of Green Gables and complex, creative women, the novel tells the life story of the author Lucy Maud Montgomery. Logan also writes a Substack newsletter called The Creative Sort. After graduating from Pomona College and Harvard Law School, Logan clerked for three federal judges, spent six years in Big Law, and served for three years as an Assistant United States Attorney. She now specializes in brief writing at a boutique law firm. Logan lives in Denver with her husband, daughter, and the cranky old man of the house, a Russian Blue cat named Taggart.
ELIZABETH BLACKWELL is the author of While Beauty Slept, On a Cold Dark Sea, and Red Mistress. She graduated from Northwestern University with a double major in history and communications and later received a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She worked as a restaurant hostess, waitress, TV station receptionist, medical school secretary, magazine editor, and freelance writer before becoming a historical-fiction author–her favorite job so far. Elizabeth lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, three children, an impressive collection of long underwear, and an ever-growing stack of must-read books.