Liza Klaussmann’s Tigers In Red Weather is a rare thing: a debut with real soul - we meet its author.
Not many books have us hooked from the very first page – but Tigers In Red Weather is one of them. The tale of a family on the brink of huge change in the aftermath of WWII, Klaussmann’s writing is being compared to Tennessee Williams. All the ingredients of a classic novel are here: tragedy, betrayal and passion, as the five main characters circle around Tiger House, the glamorous family summer home on America’s east coast. A riveting, intelligent read, we found it’s best enjoyed with a dirty martini in hand. Stylist spoke to Liza ahead of its release…
When did you start writing Tigers In Red Weather?
When I was taking a creative writing course at Royal Holloway University – but it took me about three years to finish. Just before I started the course, my grandmother died. She was very complicated and was my inspiration for Nick, the first narrator. Suddenly the idea of all these damaged, carnivorous people circulating around an iconic summer house evolved.
Are you surprised by the interest it has received?
I had three offers on the table when I only had a third of the book done, but that actually made me nervous! I thought they’d end up disappointed.
But when they weren’t, how did you celebrate?
I was in my house on Martha’s Vineyard when my agent called and told me there were people fighting over the rights. The hairs on my arms rose. I hung up the phone, then me and my brother sat on the porch all day drinking champagne to celebrate.
Did you have to do a lot of research to get the detail and atmosphere right?
I was lucky because I spent a lot of time with my grandparents in Martha’s Vineyard growing up and most of the detail came from hearing their stories. But occasionally I’d have to stop writing for days to research something really obscure, such as how long would it take the operator to connect a call across the country in the Forties.
What has been your favourite reaction to the book so far?
Someone on Twitter wrote the other day “this book is going to be bigger than Jesus.” That made me laugh.
Tigers In Red Weather is published on 2 August (£12.99, Picador) and is out in paperback on 9 May 2013 (£7.99, Picador)