Paula McLain: Biography

Paula McLain

Born in Fresno, California in 1965, Paula McLain popularly known as the new star of historical fiction had a very tough time during her childhood. At the age of four, Paula and her two sisters were abandoned by their parents and left with no other choice than living in various foster homes. We can sense the sorrow buried in her when she says that she had many mothers but there was no mothering. Before discovering the author in her, Paula did various jobs from being a Pizza delivery girl to a cocktail waitress for her living.

Paula was not a voracious reader but used to read for pleasure and liked writing poetry. It was Ann Bardens McClellan, Paula’s first creative writing teacher who praised her poetic works and motivated her to read more. Paula received MFA in Poetry in 1996 from University of Michigan. She even teaches poetry at New England College and John Carroll University.

“The Paris Wife” released during Year 2011 was the first novel which brought fame to Paula with more than 1.5 million copies sold out. Based on the life of Ernest Hemmingway’s first wife Hadley, this novel was published in 34 languages and was placed in best-seller list for more than a year.

Paula did not succeed in her first attempt. Even before the release of “The Paris Wife”, Paula had already written two books of poetry – “Less of Her” (Yr 1999) and “Stumble, Gorgeous” (Yr 2005), a memoir – “Like Family : Growing Up in Other People’s Houses” (Yr 2003) and a novel – “A Ticket to Ride” (Yr 2008). Paula was credited with good reviews but didn’t make enough money with these.

Paula was very passionate in portraying the lives of remarkable independent women. Being a strong lady herself, Paula feels it easy to connect with their lives. But her attempt to capture Marie Curie’s life did not work out. On a vacation Paula accidentally got to read “West with the Night” about Beryl Markham – the renowned first pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic. Paula got attracted to Beryl and thus came the novel “Circling the Sun” in Year 2015.

Paula was awarded “Goodreads Choice Awards Best Historical Fiction” and was also the recipient of fellowships from Yaddo, The MacDowell Colony, the Cleveland Arts Prize, the Ohio Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Although Paula’s married life was not a success, she now lives in Cleveland, Ohio with her two children Fiona and Beckett. Her son Connor from her first marriage lives in Japan. Paula’s facebook page is always flooded with appreciation from her fans and more importantly she acknowledges them almost immediately. Her fans even suggest whom she should write about. But we have to wait atleast till 2017 to read Paula’s next novel since the research work has just begun!