Mark Baldwin

Fact and Fiction: Lucretia Grindle Marries the Two in Novels

Mark Baldwin
British writer Lucretia Grindle, author of the thriller “Nightspinners,” nominated for a Silver Dagger Award by The Crime Writers Association in Great Britain, recently moved to Blue Hill from England.

BLUE HILL — Author Lucretia Grindle would advise against a writing career.

“The first thing I tell [students] is if they can do anything else — do it,” Grindle said.

The author, who recently moved to Blue Hill from England, recalled the early days of her career when she wrote two books for every one that was published.

The job requires hard work and “brute tenacity,” she said.

She loves it nonetheless.

“There’s this strange sort of alchemy that happens in your mind as the story starts to take shape and a life of its own,” Grindle explained.

She has published six novels. Four — “The Nightspinners,” “Faces of Angels,” “The Villa Triste” and “The Lost Daughter” — were released since 2003.

The “Nightspinners,” a thriller about the murder of a woman who communicates telepathically with her twin, was nominated for a Silver Dagger Award by The Crime Writers Association in Great Britain.

Italy has been the setting of much of Grindle’s recent work, a series of novels interweaving modern plots with story lines set in critical moments in Italian 20th century history.

“The Villa Triste” is the story of two sisters living in Florence in 1943, during the partisan resistance to Nazi occupation.

“The Lost Daughter” is based on the kidnapping and murder of Italian politician and former Prime Minister Aldo Moro in 1978.

Grindle is now working on a book about the Sicilian mafia in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

When writing about crime, Grindle said she is more interested in the back story than the grisly details.

“The question to me was how do you end up as one of these people?” Grindle said.

“In fiction, of course, you can make up the answers,” she added.

Grindle, who has been a fellow at the Paris American Academy, decided after moving to Maine that Blue Hill would be an ideal setting for writing workshops.

This month, a group of eight writers with diverse cultural and professional backgrounds gathered for a two-week session.

The group, which included novelists, poets and essayists, spent three hours a day analyzing each other’s work.

The writers included Madebo Fatunde, Neil Deshpande, Cassandra McGovern, Ayesha Sindhu, Thomas Andes, Meghan Feldmeier, Susan Mohammad and Grindle.

“Everybody’s really different,” Grindle said. “It’s a really good cross-pollination. You learn a huge amount from working on other people’s stuff.”

Grindle, who has family ties to Blue Hill, grew up in Massachusetts and England.

She attended Dartmouth, where she was a senior fellow in the religion department and aspired to be a playwright.

She went on to the University of Oxford to study philosophy and theology.

“I was going to be a theologian, but I was incredibly bad at it,” Grindle said.

Careers as a reporter and professional horse rider followed, but she was always writing.

She said among the best advice she’s ever received is:

“Read for two hours everyday and don’t let anyone ask you why you are just sitting there reading,”

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Cyndi Wood

Cyndi Wood

Managing Editor
Cyndi is managing editor of The Ellsworth American. The Ellsworth native joined the staff of The American in 2007 as a reporter.
Cyndi Wood

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