By Mia Geiger
AUTHOR LYNN CULLEN grew up traveling, an
annual summer tradition instigated by her father.
“He loved to travel, so every year, for three
weeks, we would camp and we’d go all across the
U.S., and every time he insisted on hitting historical
sites,” Cullen says from her home outside Atlanta.
“I’ve been to every pioneer site this side of the
Mississippi, every log cabin, every pio-
neer reenactment. He just instilled in
us the love of history by taking us to
real places, and I’ve always looked for
the real places ever since.”
Her continued wanderlust and the
search for real places have taken her to
Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium
to dig up details that helped bring her
novels Reign of Madness, The Creation
of Eve and I Am Rembrandt’s Daughter
Her newest book, Mrs. Poe, took
her to New York City to visit the haunts
of Edgar Allan Poe. With insight
gleaned from visiting Poe’s cottage, Trinity Church
and other sites, Cullen wove a story around Poe; his
wife, Virginia; and Frances Osgood, a married poet.
While the tale incorporates facts about the three characters and the culture of New York in 1845, it’s an
imagined scenario of Poe’s life and the women in it.
“Americans know Poe through school. Everyone
knows ‘The Raven’; it’s part of our culture,” Cullen
tells The Connection. “But oddly, the real man is dif-
ferent than what we think. He’s not the crazy guy
everyone thinks. The real Poe that I discovered was
a very hardworking man.”
Writing about Osgood gave Cullen an opportu-
nity to focus on a favorite theme: strong women
who overcome obstacles. In this book, she says, “I’m
trying to reach out about what it’s like to be a
woman, what it’s like to be a woman who has to
support herself and her family, and what it’s like to
be a writer who is struggling to make it.”
The Indiana native says research
is “juicy fun, but at the heart I’m a
novelist and really care about my
characters the most. [I care] about
saying something about the human
condition. I’m not writing a fictional-
ized bio; I’m trying to say something
about what it’s like to be a person.”
In 2007, her young-adult historical novel
I Am Rembrandt’s Daughter hit the shelves. Finding
her niche in historical fiction, she began writing
books for adults, which allowed her to explore more
adult themes within the genre.
It’s a career that suits the curious and studious
author, who writes from the back porch of her
ranch-style home. Usually her rescued
Next Cullen will tackle a his-
torical novel featuring Mark
Twain. It’s sure to require a new
fact-finding trip. And Cullen will
once again be on a journey to
educate and entertain. C
Mia Geiger is a freelance writer in the
Philadelphia area. F R A
I REMEMBER reading
Edgar Allan Poe in school.
It was the ;rst time I found
lovely and scary. I also read
about Poe’s young bride,
Virginia, and his mysterious
death, but it took until this
year to learn about Frances
Osgood, a poet and friend
of Poe. Their relationship is
the heart of this month’s
book buyer’s pick, Lynn
Cullen’s Mrs. Poe.
In an enchanting work
of literary ;ction, Cullen
shares her interpretation of
Poe’s and Osgood’s friendship. Historians tend to
agree that Virginia
approved of the relationship, but Cullen’s vision
reveals a plot nearly as
twisted and dark as one of
And, I hope you’ll take
a moment to notice the
book’s end papers. They
include a quote from the
poem “The Raven” and
show a beautiful drawing
of a young New York City.
For more book picks,
see page 67.
author, who writes from the back porch of her
f n un
Pennie Clark Ianniciello,
Costco book buyer
Author takes on the writer, his relations
COSTCO HAS 50 SIGNED COPIES
of Lynn Cullen’s Mrs. Poe to give away.
To enter, go to Costco.com, search for
“OctBookPick” and follow the instructions.
Or print your name, address and daytime
phone number on a postcard or letter and send
it to: Lynn Cullen, The Costco Connection,
P.O. Box 34088, Seattle, WA 98124-1088.
NO PURCHASE, PAYMENT OR OPT-IN OF ANY KIND IS
NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS SWEEPSTAKES.
Purchase will not improve odds of winning. S weepstakes is sponsored by Simon &
Schuster, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020. Open to legal residents
of the U.S. (except Puerto Rico) who are age 18 or older at the time of entry. One
entry per household. Entries must be received by November 1, 2013. Winners will be
randomly selected and noti;ed by mail on or before December 1, 2013. The value of
the prize is $26. Void where prohibited. Winners are responsible for all applicable
federal, state and local taxes. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries
received. Employees of Costco or Simon & Schuster and their families are not eligible.
Tablet or smartphone?
Scan or click here to enter the
giveaway in our digital newsstand
and online editions. (See page 5.)
Beyond Poe Beyond Poe