More About the Author
"When you write a novel in your fifties, you have more perspective on life (you hope) and can let the voluptuous side of living and loving take center stage."
--From an interview with Annie Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt began writing THE SECRET PAPERS OF MADAME OLIVETTI at the age of fifty-one, when she was one year younger than her protagonist, Lily Crisp, and worked on the novel for a decade.
She and her husband, Bill Vanderbilt, met as undergraduates at Harvard and have adventured all over the world together from the day they were married. They began in the Peace Corps in India in 1968, then backpacked to Mt. Everest Base Camp in Nepal in 1972, and managed after that to sandwich wilderness and overseas adventures into their working lives--Annie has been a carpenter, wood carver, wilderness instructor, and cross-country ski center owner/operator before turning to writing. She and Bill have also toured by bicycle through Japan, Scandinavia, Europe and New Zealand, covering a total of 12,500 miles.
Annie has faced some reversals in her life that have had a profound influence on her writing. In 1983 she fell off a cliff and struggled for 6 years to walk again. And in 2005 her house in Idaho burned to the ground, along with all of her family's possessions.
Her novel is named for the typewriter, an Olivetti Lettera 32 Portable, on which she wrote a previous book (the only existing manuscript was destroyed in the house fire). She recalls that it was laborious work writing on the antiquated typewriter, but that she became quite attached to the machine, which also was lost in the fire.
Annie Vanderbilt was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1946, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Radcliffe College, and has lived in Ketchum, Idaho, since 1982. She currently divides her time between Idaho and Sanibel Island, Florida, where she lives with her husband, fly fishes for relaxation, and is working on her second novel.