Northshore Magazine

May / June 2015

Northshore magazine showcases the best that the North Shore of Boston, MA has to offer.

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64 | MAY + JUNE 2015 nshoremag.com MORE INFORMATION For more on Kilroy, including upcoming local appearances, visit her website at lskilroy.com For writer L. S. Kilroy, the North Shore is teeming with inspiration. "There's something so majestic about the ocean views in towns like Magnolia, Manchester-by- the-Sea, and Gloucester," says the Wakefield native, who self-pub- lished her first novel, The Vitruvian Heir, earlier this year. "They make you want to create." But while crafting her debut, a futuristic tale set against the back- drop of an oppressive Neo-Victorian America called Vitruvia, Kilroy was influenced by an altogether differ- ent place and time: the 16th-century court of French queen Catherine de' Medici. "She had a group of beauti- ful female spies called The Flying Squadron, whom she recruited to seduce important men and report back to her," Kilroy explains. "I started forming the idea for a novel about an emperor who commanded people to return to Victorian and Edwardian values and a woman running a secret circle of spies dedi- cated to taking him down." At the heart of Kilroy's work is 18-year-old Lorelei "Lore" Fetherston, the rebellious yet measured daughter of an aristocrat who's also quietly railing against this regime, which has stripped women of all of their rights. Lore's unfulfilled desire to be a writer—expressly forbidden in Kilroy's dystopian Vitruvia—spurs her, in part, to seek out and join the underground uprising. "I wanted Lore to have a life's passion that was her own and not based on any kind of romantic attachment," says Kilroy. "I appreciate a good love story, but I wanted a heroine with some brains and substance to her." That's not to say her lead charac- ter's romantic entanglements don't play a key role in the book, but its feminist undertones are resonating with readers yearning for a smarter FACES alternative to same-old summer beach reads and saccharine stories about teenage vampires. "One of the things that concerns me about mod- ern literature are these novels cen- tered around unhealthy, obsessive love," she says. "I think that's a bad example to set for girls—and they already have enough bad examples in the media." Her message to young girls: Find your calling and pursue it any way that you can. It's what she did as an English major at Andover's Merrimack College and a Master of Arts candidate at Emerson College in Boston. "You never know when inspiration is going to strike—my defining moment happened during a dreadfully boring art class," Kil- roy recalls. "I started daydreaming about an artist who was obsessed with his muse, and it became the short story that got me accepted into Emerson." After years of false starts and germs of ideas that never panned out, Kilroy is confident with her debut's topical message. And buzz around the novel continues to grow, with storied area bookstores like Trident Booksellers and Café on Newbury Street in Boston and Pandemonium Books and Games in Cambridge clamoring to host Kilroy for lectures and signings. "I love do - ing these author events because it's a great way for me to connect with the people reading my work," she says. "The best part is hearing their questions and what they're wonder- ing about as they read." One thing many of Kilroy's fans may be wondering about is what's next for the 35-year-old author. In addition to expanding the world of Vitruvia, she's at work on a still-unnamed collection of short stories—and still drawing inspira- tion from the area where she's spent most of her life. "One of my favorite stories that I'm working on right now is called 'The Indigo,' and it's set in Salem." THERE'S SOMETHING SO MAJESTIC ABOUT THE OCEAN VIEWS IN TOWNS LIKE MAGNOLIA, MANCHESTER- BY-THE-SEA, AND GLOUCESTER. THEY MAKE YOU WANT TO CREATE." —L. S. Kilroy

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