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AUGUST 14, 2OO8: GOOD NEWS FOR REQUIEM. I've been invited to the Whidbey Island Writers Conference next February. I'll be presenting a pre-conference workshop on Storystalking and a workshop during the conference, plus two fireside chats. I used to live on Whidbey Island, back in the 1990s. I'm originally from Washington State. I'm very pleased to be going back as a presenter. I'm hoping to arrange a series of events in the area, in Seattle, perhaps even in Olympia and Bellingham at Evergreen or Western Washington University. We'll see. The conference is February 27 - March 1, 2009.

AUGUST 1, 2008: ACCLAIM FOR REQUIEMRequiem for the Author of Frankenstein is brilliantly written. I always enter a new novel hoping that it will be good. This one surpassed my hopes. The story was excellent, the execution of the plot was riveting, and the writing impeccable. . . It is about the Romantic era in England in the late 1700s and early 1800s. It is about Mary Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron, Coleridge, Blake. . . Mary’s mother Mary Wollstonecraft who was one of the first feminists and wrote The Vindication of the Rights of Woman. It was altogether a treat to read.” —Justine Willis Toms, Co-founder, Managing Producer, New Dimensions World Broadcasting Network

JULY 22, 2008: I've landed an interview with New Dimensions! I'm really excited; it's my first national interview. New Dimensions “airs in over 500 communities on radio stations around the US and many more around the world, including Canada and Australia.” They also run an internet radio and have downloads on their site. According to their site description, New Dimensions “seeks out the most innovative and creative people on the planet, engages them in spontaneous, deep dialogues, and broadcasts these programs to a worldwide audience.” We're taping on July 31st. I'll let you know more when I know. Meanwhile, check out my blog, where I wrote more about the program.


Aired May 1, 2008

hosted by Gil Mansergh, aired July 2, 2008
KRCB Interview, Sonoma County public radio

Great News!!! Requiem has won an Indie Book Award!!

Requiem for the Author of Frankenstein just won the 2008 Next Generation Independent Book Award for Historical Fiction Award (to see my name, scroll down to the Historical Fiction category). from the Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group. This is Requiem's 4th award, the first since it was published. It singles the book out as the best work of Historical Fiction published by an independent press in the last year. Very Nice!!

Just found this article about Lord Byron in the London Independent. It says that Byron's journey is going to by featured at the upcoming City of London Festival and mentions Mary Shelley and the writing of Frankenstein, saying:

In Geneva they [Byron and Polidori] met Shelley, his young wife Mary, and Claire Clairmont, Byron's lover. The four stayed there, entwined in romance and creative rivalry, for three months, mostly at the Villa Diodati by the lake. It was here, in mid-June, that Byron suggested they should all try their hand at a ghost story – and Mary Shelley, aged only 18, wrote Frankenstein.

The brevity of the mention leads to misstatements, Mary was NOT Shelley's wife at the time, she was living out of wedlock with him, nursing their baby William, who had been born in that year. Claire was chasing after Byron who thought of her less as a lover than a young girl who had thrown herself at him. As the article says, he was freshly divorced and leaving England in the face of scandal. It's always interesting these days, for me, to see the characters in my book in the press.


Click on the flower for PodCast
Mary Shelley & the Romantic Imagination
California Institute of Integral Studies
presented April 1, 2008

Click for radio interview with the GoodNews Broadcast in New York City
my apologies for the quality of the audio, don't know what the problem is

Bookstore Endorsement: Five Stars for Requiem!!

“Requiem for the Author of Frankenstein, Author Molly Dwyer. Dwyer has reanimated the life and loves of Mary Shelley in this incredibly addictive, dual time-period novel. While Mary is penning her great works, Anna, in the 21st century is researching Mary’s life and experiencing realistic and primal dreams as Mary. This physical and psychic connection between the women culminates in a profound and thoroughly satisfying conclusion. Five Stars from Diane Honeysett, Copperfield Books.”

Another Radio Interview:

Thursday, April 24 from noon-l p.m.
With Elliot Neaman at KUSF-FM's USF Forum
University of San Francisco

Two Reviews

By novelist Charlotte Gullick,
recipient of a 2007 Christopher Isherwood Fellowship
Mendocino Beacon, February 28, 2008


By Suzanne Byerley, former co director of the Mendocino
Coast Writers Conference, teacher, writer and free lance editor
Mendocino Arts Magazine, Spring 2008

Blog Alert! The Village Vortex(t) is open for business

Exciting News: I'll be on KPFA talking to Kris Welch, May 1 at noon!

On Living Room: A daily program about politics, society and culture.heck out my blog entry on the subject.

Requiem for the Author of Frankenstein
is in the bookstores—if you don't see it, ask for it!!

Shelley's TombNovember 25, 2007, Imagination and John Keats in the news. "Keats Secret: Exploring the Real Power of the Imagination" Here's a link to an essay on imagination (as described in the film The Secret), and more specifically about the Romantic Imagination. It quotes John Keats, one of the few Romantics who does not make an appearance in my novel. Keats was such a huge character that I sidestepped bringing him in, even though he knew Shelley and Mary and lived in Italy at the same time. I studied Keats at Oxford in the summer of 2004 and found myself thrilled by his poetry. Lamia is my favorite. His understanding of the imagination was common among the Romantics and is represented in Requiem through the voice of Samuel Taylor Coleridge who lectured persuasively on the subject.

Bottom line: imagination is a power that has the capacity to bring things into being. This idea is fundamental the Romantics and to the story I'm telling in Requiem. Both Shelley and Keats are buried in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome, shown in the above sketch by A.J. Strutt.

"Let us See the Truth, whatever that may be."
—PB Shelley, 1822


November 5, 2007. An endorsement from Dr. Brian Swimme, faculty at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco:

A story of love in its most passionate and complex forms, Requiem plunges us into the life of Mary Shelley and her riveting encounters with Coleridge, Byron, Percy Shelley, Blake, and other luminaries of the Romantic Era. With her brilliant prose style, her historical erudition, and her rich imagination, Molly Dwyer opens up for us a surprising and revolutionary understanding—that the genius of Mary Shelley must henceforth be seen to occupy the highest of all strata in our literary canon. Only a Sister of Shakespeare could have written the masterpiece Frankenstein, and only another Sister could have recognized and so beautifully expressed the significance of that achievement. Brilliant book!!!

—Dr. Brian Swimme. Author of The Universe Story,
The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos, and The Universe is a Green Dragon


October 28, 2007. From Huffington Post Blog. Shelley's poetry in the news, again.

Columnist John Lundberg writes about Inspiration and Shelley's West Wind... "I was sitting in the back of a Lit. Survey class—a pre-med student fulfilling a requirement. The professor, an old Irishman and a hard grader, had to that point stuck stubbornly to the syllabus, but on this day he started class by opening the windows. We weren't supposed to get to Shelley for a while, he said, but it's a perfect day to read Ode to the West Wind. I had to hold my notebook pages down. The wind was literally blowing in.

O Wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being—
Thou from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,
Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,

There was a spark in his eyes I hadn't seen before, and the evil aura that had trailed him since he'd graded my last paper was gone. The old man was inspired. I thought about how many times he must have read that poem before and how it still affected him. It was the moment I realized I had underestimated poetry." To read the whole poem, follow the link in the dateline.


September 20, 2007. From Bay Area filmmaker, Antero Alli.
Requiem's first review.

Molly Dwyer's gently astonishing, debut novel seduces the reader into a lush, lace-laden labyrinth of haunted corridors and secret chambers, slowly exposing the corroding edge between dream and reality. Her commitment to nineteenth century period detail, character development, and her loyalty to the story's geomancy (the distinctive spirit of a place), exquisitely transport the soul of a feminist politic she shares with Mary Shelley as a revolutionary woman rising above desperate times.

Ms. Dwyer's thorough historical research gives depth and substance to the almost feral theatricality of her characters, especially Lord Byron and Percy Shelley, setting the stage for an endless stream of epiphanies. That she manages to do so without sentimentality is no small feat for such an epic saga of romantic realism.

I was especially impressed by the consistency of attention to detail that was maintained throughout. It's a muscular book and I mean that in the best way. Requiem is awesome: I found myself riding a torrent through its pages.

September 16, 2007. Lucid Dreaming Makes the New York Times
Living Your Dreams, in a Manner of Speaking
"The kiss you share with the exquisite stranger is electric, deep and seemingly endless—that is until you open an eye and see drool on your pillow. If only you could have slept long enough to consummate the seduction. Then again, you had no idea you were dreaming. Besides, you cannot control the nightly ride on the wings of your subconscious. Or can you? … The esoteric practice, [known as lucid dreaming] which has been acknowledged in the West since at least 1867, seems on the verge of becoming much better known."   —read full story

From Requiem:

I am in Lord Byron’s estate, Anna scribbled the words. I have seen his ghost. I am on my knees when—an unexpected image flooded Anna's consciousness, and although she could remember little of the detail, she knew her dream had possessed a peculiar, nested quality, like one of those old Russian dolls, the kind that opens to reveal another doll inside, and then another and another.

I can awaken into whatever reality I choose, she wrote, her skin prickling ever so slightly. All I have to do is remember that I’m dreaming. Dreaming quite literally creates reality, and with it, the possibility of passing into other existences.

Anna eyed her words. They made it sound so simple and obvious —like she believed it. Did she believe it? She paused, frowned slightly, and then began to write again. Dream is like death Shelley tells me, smiling as if death should incite no resistance or fear. Yes, Shelley was there. He thought I was Mary. I thought I was Mary. I was Mary. Again Anna paused and again asked the same question: did she believe that?

September 14, 2007. Bigger than Shakespeare?
Lord Byron in London's Independent:
Was Byron a 19th-century giant – or just an early exponent of celebrity hype? A new collection of writings and artifacts relating to the poet opened yesterday at the John Rylands Library in the University of Manchester. It is billed as the first cross-disciplinary attempt to assess Byron's impact on European literature, music, art and politics. Its director, Dr Alan Rawes, made some extraordinary claims at the opening.

The man who has been vilified as an over-sexed Regency dandy was in fact, with the possible exception of Napoleon, "the most important European in the first half of the 19th century." He was, Rawes said, "bigger than Shakespeare." —read news article

From Requiem:

“It’s always the most decent among us who face unfitting and untimely ends.” Byron was standing close. “I suspect you understand, Miss Godwin, since such was the case with your mother, was it not?”

Mary flushed in discomfort. “My mother’s end was indeed unfitting, your lordship. Amongst those who love scandal, it’s said God struck her down in disapproval of her radical plans for womankind. But in plain speech, sir, my mother died birthing me.”

Byron stepped closer, lowering his voice. “Gossip is nothing more than an honoring of one’s spiteful immortality,” he said. “Don’t let it frighten you.” His voice was calculated, his body warm beside her.

September 14, 2007. "Haven't enjoyed a book so much since Possession. In its complexity, its rich character development, its smashing description, it just doesn't have rival out there today. When Shelley and Byron, Godwin and Coleridge converse, Dwyer's great gift is evident. Brilliant, just brilliant."

—Suzanne Hartman Byerley. Writer, editor, teacher.
Founding director of the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference.

September 7, 2007. "What a beautifully crafted narrative Molly Dwyer has given us in Requiem. It is all the more absorbing for the perfect ease with which it swims back and forth across time and between its two — or are they two? — protagonists. A brilliant fictive exploration of the power and possibilities of the mother-line.

—Carol Lee Flinders, PhD
Author of At the Root of This Longing: Reconciling a Spiritual Hunger and a Feminist Thirst and Enduring Lives: Portraits of Women and Faith in Action

August 28, 2007. "Requiem for the Author of Frankenstein is a marvel. Gothic romance, feminist history, philosophical mystery—it’s perfect for those of us who love to think as much as we love a good story. Molly Dwyer brings Mary Shelley and her circle so alive it makes me wonder if they ever died."

—Jean Hegland, author of Into the Forest and Windfalls

August 27, 2007.
Percy Bysshe Shelley in the news.
The New Yorker reviews Shelley biographies. "Because his poetry is deeply political, it is impossible to separate Shelley’s abstract ideas from his sensuous, passionate poems. And because he believed, as much as any revolutionary of the 1960s, that the personal is political, it is equally hard to separate his art from his biography. That is why, during his lifetime and ever since, Shelley’s private life, his politics, and his poetry have presented readers with a single, inextricable problem. And did you once see Shelley plain? Robert Browning wrote; the line is famous because nobody ever has." —read review

From Requiem:

“Am I late?” Shelley stood before them, naked except for an overcoat he pulled off as he spoke. “I have been in the sea,” he said, “quite by accident.” 

“Maria,” Mary called out. “Get Mr. Shelley a robe. He’s drenched and will take ill.” She spoke in quick Italian before turning back to her husband. “You might have given our guests time to become acquainted with you before—”

 “Ah,” Shelley said, looking upon his nakedness, “I am exposed.” He glanced at her stricken face.

Edward rose and put forth his hand. “Edward Williams,” he said, “and it is indeed a pleasure. This is my—the woman of my soul.”

Shelley returned the handshake as he nodded in Mrs. Williams’ direction. “It is always a pleasure to meet a woman who can so command the soul of man,” he said.

Mrs. Williams blushed, obviously delighted.

Shelley leaned in close to Mary, kissing her ear. “I’ve been writing all day,” he whispered. “Alive with the eloquence of the tongueless wind. Something within the soul of nature awakened my spirit. I’ve been writing of love.”

Great News! Molly will be presenting a workshop at the 2008 San Francisco Writers Conference in February. The workshop, tentatively titled "Haunted by History," will look at how to create the atmosphere of past place and time. Molly will discuss her travels to England, Italy, Switzerland and France and talk about how story emerges for her out of the land, the architecture, and the artifacts of the past. Feb. 15-17, 2008. San Francisco, California

The Zeitgeist is Active
August 13, 2007.  Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was in the news today.
NPR did a piece titled, "Did Climate Inspire the Birth of a Monster?" The story was about the impact of the weather on the creation of Frankenstein. A couple of professors discussed the book. The connection was to global warming. Synchronicity? Curious coincidence, anyway.

August 12, 2007. Frankenstein is on stage this fall. Mel Brooks is launching a new musical called Young Frankenstein, opening in New York in October 2007. Off Broadway, there's another Frankenstein, also a musical and also opening in October. Directed by Bill Fennelly; it stars Hunter Foster and is serious. It's being promoted as "the epic story of the rebel doctor who challenges the laws of nature and morality when he breathes life into his inanimate creature."

August 6, 2007. The Huffington Post—Blogging Mary Shelley
From Publishers Weekly. Fall 2007 Trade Paperbacks: Fiction/First Novels & Collections. Requiem for the Author of Frankenstein (Oct., $19.95) by Molly Dwyer imagines Mary Shelley’s struggles to maintain her marriage to Percy Bysshe Shelley while advocating women’s rights.

Requiem for the Author of Frankenstein has received three awards:

  • Finalist, 2007 Adult Fiction, San Francisco Writers Conference
  • Significant Potential, 2007 Chief Al Nedler Prize, San Francisco
  • Honorable Mention, 2004 Fiction, Mendocino Writers Conference


"Reading Molly Dwyer's excellent first novel is like taking an extended and enjoyable vacation in Great Britain with a really smart best friend. Literate readers will find enjoyment on every page."

—John Lescroart, New York Times best-selling author

cover imageCover art includes an excerpt for "A Coign of Vantage," by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1895, and a photograph of the model of Shelley's sailboat, Ariel, which is on display in the Shelley Museum, located at Boscombe Manor, in Poole, England. Boscombe Manor was the residence of the Shelleys only surviving child, Percy Florence. Mary Shelley is buried there.