Montclair Magazine Holiday 2020 - Page 21

ESCAPING THROUGH FICTION Kline s
recent novels , including her latest The Exiles , take readers to distant times and places .
BOOK : HARPERCOLLINS ; KLINE : BEOWULF SHEEHAN
Weekly have also helped her vary her responses and keep each talk fresh .
Kline has participated in these occasions from her second home in Southwest Harbor , Maine , from which she has worked since COVID- 19 descended on the New York area in March . Her three sisters and their families are nearby , while son Eli is living in an eight-person pod on a college campus , Hayden resides in Brooklyn , and Will remains in Kline ’ s Manhattan apartment . Pre-pandemic , Kline and her husband , Showtime executive David Kline , returned to Montclair often for her 23-year-old writer ’ s group , their book groups , the literary and film festivals and to visit Watchung Booksellers .
“ There ’ s never been a more distracting period , in my view ,” she says . “ I ’ m slightly grateful I had a book coming out and didn ’ t need to write fiction , because the world feels like the most dystopian novel right now , and it ’ shard to think of anything else . It ’ s a time of such anxiety that to me , it feels incompatible with the kind of solitary introspection you need to have when writing a novel .”
Nevertheless , she has started writing
one , and it ’ s based on afamily story that may already be familiar to some readers . Set in the Civil War era in North Carolina , it is told from the imagined perspectives of two of her mother ’ s great great aunts , Sarah and Adelaide Yates , who really did marry Chang and Eng Bunker , the Siamese twins and traveling circus side show attractions .
As Kline continues to quarantine in her “ family bubble ,” she has plans for more virtual author events in
November and December . She is also taking advantage of social media to stay connected with other writers remotely , offering “ Writing Tip Wednesdays ” on her Facebook and Instagram accounts .“ This is an interesting way to talk about writing that ’ s not promotional ,” she says , conceding that marketing her work during the COVID-19 pandemic can feel uncomfortable .“ We all have this love-hate thing with virtual media ,” she says . ■
MONTCLAIR MAGAZINE HOLIDAY 2020
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