At The New York Times, Alyssa Cole discusses her new book, When No One Is Watching, with Concepción de León, and the difference between writing romances and thrillers. “When I’m writing romance, I’m leaning more into the good,” Cole says. “In every romance you have to also make the reader feel bad sometimes, but you lean into certain beats that will make the reader feel happy, feel hopeful and excited. In this, it was fun to be able to lean into things that would make the reader feel anxious, because I was anxious in writing it. I could explore the kinds of things that can be done in the story when focusing on that slate of emotions as opposed to romantic emotions.”
In 1932, several black Americans – including Langston Hughes – traveled to the Soviet Union to shoot a propaganda film about the “evils of racism in the United States.” One of those travelers, Lloyd Patterson, would never return. Instead, Patterson married an Ukrainian woman, and the pair had two children. The firstborn, Jim Patterson, was at one time the most famous black resident of the USSR – and his appearance in The Circus even drew the admiration of Joseph Stalin. After World War II, Patterson served as a Soviet naval officer aboard a submarine in the Black Sea. From there he went on to the Soviet Writers Union in 1967. If you think this sounds far-fetched, I encourage you to read more here.
Mary Ruefle, author of the forthcoming Madness, Rack, and Honey, wrote a poetic essay on the subject of fear. It’s chock full of lines like this one about why she likes the word dread more than the word fear: “because fear, like the unconscious emotion which is one of its forms, has only the word ear inside of it, telling an animal to listen, while dread has the word read inside of it, telling us to read carefully and find the dead, who are also there.”