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Rodin's Lover

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Rodin's Lover by Heather Webb
Paperback $16.00
Jan 27, 2015 | ISBN 9780142181751

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  • Jan 27, 2015 | ISBN 9780142181751

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“Camille Claudel is an audacious and authentic character who deserves to be remembered. Rodin’s Lover is epic and unflinching—a book you won’t soon forget.”—Deanna Raybourn, New York Times bestselling author of City of Jasmine

“Written with great empathy, this novel of the visceral world of Paris ateliers, of clay-stained dresses and fingernails, and talent which endures, comes vividly to life.”—Stephanie Cowell, author of Claude and Camille: A Novel of Monet

Praise for Becoming Josephine:

“Webb holds up a light into the inner recesses of a fascinating and contradictory woman . . . Becoming Josephine is an accomplished debut.”—New York Journal of Books
“Webb’s portrayal of the range of Josephine’s experience—narrow escapes from bloodshed and disease, dinner-table diplomacy, and her helpless love for Napoleon, her children and a small dog—is exceptionally concise and colorful. A worthy fictional primer on Empress Josephine.”—Kirkus
“A debut as bewitching as its protagonist.”—Erika Robuck, author of Call Me Zelda

Author Q&A

How did the work of Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel guide you in your writing?
I studied the pieces visually and read about the inspiration behind them before I began writing. Once I had plotted the novel, I looked for ways to emphasize the themes in the book with individual works. It was a bit like fitting pieces of a puzzle together. I enjoyed the challenge.
Your previous novel, Becoming Josephine, also featured another headstrong historical figure, Josephine Bonaparte. What was it about her and Camille Claudel that inspired you to tell their stories?
Maybe I’m a little headstrong? My mother would say so! I saw pieces of myself in these women, certainly, but the other thing that compelled me to write their stories was that they were extraordinary in their own ways and I found that both inspiring and fascinating. Josephine possessed incredible grace and social skills. In spite of her exalted standing in society, she was a very generous, humbled woman. Camille’s talent hooked me to start, but her passionate nature and drive to succeed really sealed the deal.
What were some of the challenges you faced in illustrating Camille Claudel’s madness? Was it difficult to send a character you’d spent so much time crafting reeling into insanity?
Portraying mental illness and threading the theme of madness throughout the entire novel was extremely challenging. I have never dealt first hand with schizophrenia so this added another layer of complexity to my research. I read extensively, and finally interviewed both a mental health care professional and two women whose parents suffered from the disease. After finishing the book, these women read for accuracy, and I was quite relieved to be told Camille’s illness developed in a realistic way.
As for sending a character I love down this path—yes, this was also difficult. My characters become my friends, in a way, so I found myself wanting to make things easier for Camille. But without conflict the story is no fun to read! Plus there’s always the issue of historical accuracy, and my beloved Camille suffered quite a bit, sadly.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on two projects at the moment. I’m writing a novella for an anthology called A FALL OF POPPIES that is set during WWI and centers around Armistice Day which will release from HarperCollins in 2016.  My next full length novel is top secret for the moment, but I can say it’s a retelling of a popular story set during the Belle Époque, and it’s shaping up to be a bit of a gothic thriller. For this novel I’m exploring themes of envy, possession, and the question of spirituality. After that? I’m headed to America!

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