I received this galley in consideration for an honest review.The Memory Painter by Gwendolyn Womack
Published by Picador on April 28, 2015
Genres: Fiction, Thriller
Internationally famous and reclusive artist Bryan Pierce has a secret. He paints memories of people who have lived in the past. His whole life he has suffered from these recalls. To keep his sanity he paints the dreams and hides from the world—until at an art opening, Linz Jacobs sees one of his paintings that is identical to a recurring nightmare she’s had her whole life. When they meet it becomes the catalyst for Bryan to begin to remember the life of a neuroscientist who died in an accident along with his wife in 1980, right as they were on the brink of curing Alzheimer’s. Solving the mystery of their deaths will lead Bryan and Linz to an even greater legacy buried deep in the past. Both a thriller and a timeless love story, THE MEMORY PAINTER spans six continents and more than 10,000 years
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Memory Painter by Gwendolyn Womack! I loved this book and I’m sharing some of my thoughts today, as well as an interview with the author. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post!
The Memory Painter was part medical thriller, part time-bending romance, and 100% a book that I really enjoyed. As the story progresses, we continue to get glimpses into Bryan’s lives and it is almost like getting multiple books in one story. From Ancient Egypt, to Iron Age Scandinavia, the descriptions of the loves and losses that Bryan remembers was so captivating. World building is essential to any sort of past lives book because every scientific construct must have rules, and the author did a very good job of building that world which made it seem thrillingly plausible. I have always had a fascination for the idea of past lives and whether we keep meeting the same people over and over, and The Memory Painter definitely hits on all of those points. Bryan and Linz’s relationship obviously goes much deeper than simply meeting each other by chance and their interactions throughout the ages brought romance tat was balanced quite nicely with the thriller aspect of the story. I think many readers will enjoy the pacing, the creativity of the story, and the many different genres that The Memory Painter pulls into one story.
Gwendolyn Womack was kind enough to answer some of my questions about The Memory Painter:
I am really interested in what gave you the idea to start writing The Memory Painter. Can you tell me about that initial spark that turned into this book?
The initial spark came to me years ago while I was walking down the hallway of my apartment. It literally stopped me in my tracks and I stood there thinking—what if neuroscientists created a wonder drug that would enable us to remember all our past lives at once? And with those memories we would have every ability we’d ever possessed and be able to speak a multitude of languages. By the end of the day I had the storyline for Bryan and for the neuroscientists sketched out and the rest of the story grew from there.
There is a very scientific feel to this story, as well as a lot of history. What kind of research did you do in order to write about so many time periods and such an in-depth scientific field?
For research I would focus on a single life, one at a time, and read books, magazine articles, search the Internet, and watch documentaries if something pertained to the subject. I was just constantly trying to gather as much detail as possible to create each world. For the scientific segments, my research also included looking at medical journals and actual studies. For Linz’s background specifically, I was at MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research and other websites a lot reading about projects and reviewing CVs. I created Linz’s background from an assortment of scientists’ resumes in her field. So in many ways she became an amalgamation. If readers are interested in reading more details, I have a selected bibliography page on my website with some highlighted books.
There is a timeless romance feel to this story, as well as a scientific thriller. How did you approach balancing those two elements of the book?
Balancing those elements together felt quite natural as I was writing the story because both sides are so integral. In my mind there couldn’t be one without the other. I enjoyed weaving it all together.
What are you working on now?
Right now I’m writing another supernatural historical thriller and love story that centers around an ancient oracle and the long-reaching power of intuition.
Thanks for having me. I hope readers enjoy the book.
Originally from Houston, Texas, Gwendolyn Womack began writing theater plays in college while freezing in the tundra at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. During that time she lived in St. Petersburg, Russia on an independent study working with theater companies. She went on to receive an MFA from California Institute of the Arts in Directing theater and film where she was encouraged to write her own material. After graduating she focused on writing feature screenplays and was a semi-finalist in the Academy’s Nicholl Fellowship. In 2009 she moved to Japan and began to write THE MEMORY PAINTER the following year. Currently she resides in Southern California with her husband and son where she can be found at the keyboard working on her next novel. THE MEMORY PAINTER is her first novel. Goodreads Amazon B&N
One Winner will get a signed copy of THE MEMORY PAINTER and a vegvisir charm.
Ships in US only. Must be 13+ To Enter