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‘Flight Attendant’ author turns to Old Hollywood for ‘Lioness’

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In August 2019, creator Chris Bohjalian was at a matinee film in NYC when the inspiration for what would turn into his subsequent novel, “The Lioness” (Doubleday), out now, struck. 

“I emerged from the theater into this cobalt blue sky, steaming warmth. Ten minutes earlier I had been watching this film. And I assumed, ‘My God, I like Hollywood! Why have I by no means written a Hollywood novel?” he says.

“I knew my Hollywood novel could be set in some unspecified time in the future in my childhood. So I went again to a interval of nice social upheaval. And I didn’t need the locale to be simply Hollywood. I assumed, ‘What’s an unique location in 1964 the place a bunch of Hollywood actors and their entourage may get into all types of hassle?’”

Because it seems, Tanzania. A-list actress Katie Barstow and her new husband David have traveled there for a high-end safari, accompanied by a number of pals and fellow actors. The journey guarantees to be an expensive getaway, crammed with wildlife and lovely surroundings, till the unthinkable occurs — a band of Russian mercenaries takes them hostage after killing their safari guides. (“Russians have been the dangerous guys in my books for a very long time,” he notes.) 

Chris Bohjalian
Creator Chris Bohjalian
Victoria Blewer

Whereas the Vermont-based creator is prolific, no two books are the identical — they may vary from a flight attendant waking up subsequent to a lifeless physique in a Dubai resort room (“The Flight Attendant,” the idea for the favored HBOMax collection) to a Puritan girl accused of witchcraft in 1600s Massachusetts (“Hour of the Witch”) to a younger girl serving to refugees from the 1915 Armenian genocide (“The Sandcastle Girls.”

“My books are powered by dread. I would like my readers strolling a tightrope with one aspect being heartbreak, the opposite aspect being hope,” says Bohjalian, who prefers to edit manuscript drafts with a fountain pen. “I’m not afraid to kill my foremost characters — I do it loads. My objective is rarely to jot down the identical guide twice. However all my books share those self same qualities. You don’t know when you’re going to finish on heartbreak or hope.”