Sep. 13—HIGH POINT — When Kate Quinn was a little girl, her bedtime stories weren't quite the same as yours.
"My mother didn't tell me stories like 'The Three Little Pigs' at bedtime," the bestselling author said during a recent telephone interview. "It was more like stories about Princess Elizabeth being locked in the Tower of London."
It's no wonder, then, that when Quinn began writing novels, she gravitated toward historical fiction. Even when she wrote her first story, around age 7, "it was all about the assassination of King Edward II of England," Quinn said with a chuckle.
Quinn, whose books include "The Alice Network," "The Huntress," "The Rose Code" and "The Diamond Eye," among others, will be the featured speaker at Wednesday's High Point Literary League fall luncheon. Following the luncheon, the Literary League will host a public book-signing for Quinn.
"I began writing at a young age," said Quinn, whose mother was a history-obsessed librarian. "I always loved storytelling, and I just never really stopped. I'm fortunate to be able to make a living doing something I love. And even if I couldn't, I'd probably still be writing these stories and then just putting them in a drawer somewhere. Writing just makes me intensely happy."
Quinn's most recent novel, "The Diamond Eye" — a New York Times bestseller — is based on the true story of Mila Pavlichenko, a Soviet sniper in the Red Army during World War II. Credited with 309 deaths, she earned the distinction of being the most successful female sniper in history. Her lethal marksmanship also earned her the callous nickname "Lady Death."
"The Diamond Eye" unveils a more intimate side of the sniper, portraying Pavlichenko as a young mother who was forced into becoming a soldier when her country was drawn into war.
"She was already a good shot, but she never had any intention of turning a weapon on a human target," Quinn said. "That was never anything she wanted to do, but she had to steel herself to learn how to do it."
Then she was sent to the United States on a goodwill tour to drum up support for the Red Army. She was lonely and miserable, until she struck up an unlikely friendship with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, but there was a new mission awaiting her.
"She had a whole new set of enemies waiting for her," Quinn said.
Quinn, whose next book will be released in the fall of 2023, said she hopes her writing will give readers a new appreciation for history.
"I think for people who are bored by history, it's not history that they don't like," she said. "It's that it wasn't taught to them in a way that makes it fascinating."
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