Denise Kiernan

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Denise Kiernan’s previous book, The Girls of Atomic City, is a New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and NPR bestseller, and was named one of Amazon’s Top 100 Best Books of 2013. Kiernan has been published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Village Voice, Ms. Magazine, Reader’s Digest, Discover, and many more publications. She has also worked in television, serving as head writer for ABC’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire during its Emmy award–winning first season and producing for media outlets such as ESPN and MSNBC. She has been a featured guest on NPR’s “Weekend Edition,” PBS NewsHour, MSNBC’s Morning Joe, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Books by this Author

The Last Castle
The Girls of Atomic City


My Life in 8 Words

Author Revealed

Q. What is your motto or maxim?

A. Everything is falling into place...until it isn't. Then just wing it.

Q. Is there a book you love to reread?

A. No. I feel too guilty and stressed about all the ones I have yet to read a first time.

Q. Who are your favorite authors?

A. Yikes, that's a tough one. William Faulkner, for sure. Margaret Atwood has to be up there. Jeanette Winterson never disappoints. Tom Robbins reminds me of college. William Shakespeare is beautifully bawdy. Joan Didion. Right now, I'm into Lee Child. Nora Ephron delights on so many levels and in so many different literary forms.

However, if I have to choose just one all-time favorite author, that would have to be my husband, Joseph D'Agnese.

Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?

A. First of all, I reserve the right to completely change this list at any time. As with most creative works, the impact of these books has as much to do with who I was when I read them as it does with the works themselves. Books are like rivers—you can never step into the same one twice. That said, when I've dipped back into these, they still hold up.

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret

Brave New World

Lord Of the Rings

As I Lay Dying/Light in August (I cheated!)

The Water is Wide

Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?

A. Get through your first draft as quickly as you feasibly can without rereading and without judging your work—or yourself

Denise Kiernan on the Web