JQM Literary Chat Welcomes Drēma Drudge
Tell us about yourself:
I suffer from Stendhal’s Syndrome, the condition in which one becomes overwhelmed in the presence of great art. I attended Spalding University’s MFA in Creative Writing Program where I learned to transform that intensity into fiction. My first novel, Victorine, comes out March 2020. My husband, Barry, and I live in a small town in Indiana. He’s a writer and a musician. We have two grown children, Mia and Zack.
Tell us about your book:
My novel is about the model and painter, Victorine Meurent. She posed for Édouard Manet’s most iconic paintings. She was his Olympia and she was the nude again in Luncheon on the Grass. Though I say she was a painter, no one remembers that. If they recognize her at all, it’s for her face and body as Manet’s favorite model. But she was so much more than that.
What influenced you to write your current genre?
It started when I was in a literature class called The Painted Word. We read great books about art, such as Irving Stone’s Lust forLife. I had always enjoyed reading books such as The Girl with the Pearl Earring, but the class made me realize writing fiction about art was a whole subgenre! I adore art, so it was the right choice for me.
Who are your favorite authors?
I like a real variety of authors. My books are probably surprised about the books beside them on the shelf. Virginia Woolf, Amy Tan, Anne Tyler, Anne Lamott, and K.C. Kirkley, among others are my favorite authors.
What are your favorite books?
Where do I start? Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham is a great novel. Beloved by Toni Morrison is a favorite. Edith Wharton novels are beautiful little studies of human character. I have a deep and abiding love for the classics. They’re old friends of mine.
Who are your favorite literary characters?
Margaret Schlegel from Howards End, Emma Woodhouse from Jane Austen’s Emma, and Lily Briscoe from To The Lighthouse. Can you tell I like strong female characters?
Is there anything you want to share with potential readers?
If you, too, like strong female characters, you’ll like my novel, Victorine. She’s a woman who starts out terribly disadvantaged, but she ends up besting some of her male competitors in the art world, even having her painting shown at the Paris Salon in 1876 when Édouard Manet, her mentor’s, painting was rejected. I can’t help but crow about that just a little. I hope she did, too, even if just privately.
Where can we go to learn more about you and your literary works?
You can find me on my website at www.dremadrudge.com, where you can sign up for my newsletter, Artful Fiction. I’m on Twitter: @dremadrudge, Instagram: Drēma Drudge, and on Facebook in The Painted Word Salon. I love to connect with my readers!