Beatrice: The Enhanced Ebooks

Each Beatrice enhanced ebook is a front row seat to conversations with some of today’s best authors, sharing intimate details about their lives and the writing craft—full transcripts accompanied by video excerpts. The Beatrice series is currently available for the iPad through Apple’s iBookstore, with additional digital formats forthcoming.

Issue #2: $2.99

Beatrice #2: Jodi Picoult, Alice Albinia, & Nick Dybek

Jodi Picoult: “I can’t figure out why, with women being the bulk of the book buying public, we don’t see more women being reviewed, and we don’t see more female reviewers, either. The VIDA statistics that just came out [in the spring of 2012] reinforce what we saw in the 2010 numbers. The best I can say, and Jennifer Weiner has really said it brilliantly, is that at least people are aware of the mistakes that they’re making, and maybe they know that a few people out there are watching them carefully.”

Alice Albinia: “One of the things I learned in ten years of going abroad and being in India and Pakistan—being in places that weren’t native to me—you learn a way of looking at the world which is really useful. You ask questions and you think, ‘Why does this happen like this?’ and ‘Why is this like that?’ Questions that you may not ask in your own place. It was really useful to have learned that way of seeing and questioning, and to bring that home to England.”

Nick Dybek: “One of the reasons writing is so hard is that there’s just so much to think about with every sentence. Every sentence is supposed to be stylistically interesting, and it’s telling the story, and it’s characterizing the people who are in the story, and it’s in the voice of the person telling the story… There’s just a lot of things you have to get right in every sentence for it to work. Having to think consciously about all of those things is the reason you spend so many hours staring at a blank page.”

Issue #1
This debut issue was released as a free download thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign in the spring of 2012.

Beatrice #1: Deb Olin Unferth, Darin Strauss, & Alina Simone

Deb Olin Unferth: “The rule was to not make anything up. I didn’t want to make up anything. That sounds like a very simple rule, but it was quite hard. It was a lot harder than I thought. When I first started writing passages, I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to write a memoir,’ so I was writing along, and then I looked back at what I had written, and I was like, ‘Oh my god, I just made up most of that!’ I’d just invented it. I was so used to writing fiction and being able to take it wherever I wanted.”

Darin Strauss: “Someone said to me, ‘It seems like your book doesn’t have enough self-forgiveness.’ I took that as a compliment, because I think when a memoir is working poorly, it’s got self-forgiveness in every paragraph. It’s a way to advertise oneself, or a piece of propaganda. Whereas in a good memoir, the memoirist is harder on herself than the reader could be. That’s really the only justification for doing it. Not to forgive yourself, but to tell a story and show your flaws and treat yourself as a character in a novel. And hopefully to show some growth or something. But not ever to be too easy on yourself.”

Alina Simone: “To be honest, so much of the experiences related in my book are very internal, personal interpretations of what happened that I think I just had very little chance of running into that problem. I’m not making up anything I did, and I think the whimsy of the narrative comes from what I was thinking inside. I’m the only person who can testify as to whether I was really feeling those things or saying those things. So I guess I’m safe on that one.”