NANCY BILYEAU is a magazine writer and editor who has worked on the staffs of Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and InStyle. She is currently a contributor to Town & Country, Closer, Lifetime/A&E, First for Women, and The Vintage News and the deputy editor at the Center on Media, Crime and Justice at John Jay College in NYC. The editor of The Big Thrill, the monthly digital magazine of International Thriller Writers Inc., she is the author of a trilogy of historical thrillers published by Touchstone Books—The Crown, The Chalice, and The Tapestry—and her standalone historical thriller The Blue will be published on Dec. 3, 2018.
Biggest literary Influencer:
Daphne du Maurier, Norah Lofts, Edith Wharton, Robert Graves, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Mary Renault, Sarah Waters, Elizabeth Kostova, Michael Ondaatje
Last book read:
Faith and Treason by Antonia Fraser
The book that changed your life:
The Persian Boy by Mary Renault showed me how a novelist can bring to life someone who could not be more different than me—a beautiful boy forcibly made a eunuch who becomes the lover of King Darius and then Alexander the Great in the ancient world—through building unforgettable characters and weaving emotions anyone could relate to, all in an atmosphere of beautifully chosen details.
Your favorite literary character:
George Smiley, from the John le Carré spy novels. He is unattractive—stout and bespectacled—and unloved, with an unfaithful wife and unappreciative bosses, and yet through his brilliance, empathy, and persistence, he is able to track and bring down the most feared enemies imaginable, not only to him but to his entire country.
Currently working on:
Getting ready for publication of The Blue, my new novel, a thriller set in the art and porcelain world of the 18th century that asks, “what would you do for the most beautiful color in the world?”
Words to live by:
“If I were turned out of my realm in my petticoat, I would still prosper anywhere in Christendom.”– Queen Elizabeth I
Advice to new and aspiring authors:
Find a way to ride through not only the low points and disappointment but also the raves and praise because in the end, you have your characters and the world you’ve created, and the most lasting reward is that you built something that another person enjoyed. Readers are like visitors to a house you made from scratch.
Oprah Review of The Crown:
“Bilyeau deftly weaves extensive historical detail throughout, but the real draw of this suspenseful novel is its juicy blend of lust, murder, conspiracy, and betrayal.” http://www.oprah.com/book/the-crown#ixzz5Qi5uiyq4
“Nancy Bilyeau’s passion for history infuses her books.”
— Bestselling author Alison Weir
“Nancy Bilyeau’s polished, inventive debut, The Crown, has all the ingredients of the best historical fiction: a broad cast of characters, well-imagined settings, and vivid storytelling. . . . will satisfy even the most ardent mystery fans.” —
– Deborah Harkness, author of A Discovery of Witches