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Maria Hummel Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Wilderness Run (2002)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Motherland (2014)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Still Lives (2018)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Lesson in Red (2021)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Collections

House and Fire (2013)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Maria Hummel is a mystery author and poet best known for her 2018 published work “Still Lives.” She authored the bestselling “House and Fire Poetry Collection” that was the winner of the 2013 First Book Prize by Honickman/APR. She has also authored two bestselling novels in the 2003 published “Wilderness Run” and “Motherland” that came out in 2014. Her non-fiction, fiction works and poetry have been featured in The New York Times, Poetry, The Sun, New England Review, Narrative and The Open Door, the centenary anthology. Hummel got the inspiration for her debut novel “Wilderness Run” from the woods, stone foundations and cellar holes in the Vermont Woods near her home. Growing up, she often wondered which people had lived in them during the Civil War. The inspiration for “Still Lives,” her most popular novel to date came from working in Los Angeles at an art museum during a period when high profile murders of women were very rampant. She has since sold the rights of the novel to a Hollywood TV production company.

Hummel arrived in Los Angeles from Vermont in 2001 looking to find a job. She replied to a job ad asking for an editor/writer at a local art museum then known as MOCA and was lucky enough to land the job. For about four years, she worked at the museum which is the place she chose her milieu for the novel that would become her bestselling cultural commentary and suspense novel. Observing the inner workings and life of the museum, the hundreds of people who make the private and often silent experience possible started to coalesce into an idea. From the people that stand in front of sculptures or videos appreciating or sometimes just looking combined with the visions and passions of staff that oftentimes clashed convinced her that there was a story to be told. She would eventually leave Los Angeles when she got a Stanford University Stegner Fellowship.

Maria Hummel’s first mystery thriller “Still Lives” builds upon her previous works in poetry and fiction especially her novel “Motherland.” Once she went to Stanford on the fellowship and began working with Eavan Boland the poet, things started working for her. She started looking deeply and hard into the lives of women particularly about stories that were traditionally only told from male perspectives. In writing “Motherland” she started out trying to explore the complicity and guilt of ordinary Germans during World War II by telling the story of a German stepmother that had to look after three young children in the last year of the war. It was based on the experiences of her father during the Second World War during which he was a child. He soon realized that the story she was telling was about a mother trying to survive the hard times and just went with the flow. After working for several years as a journalist, arts editor, Stanford creative writing professor and as an editor/writer for The Museum of Contemporary Art In Los Angeles, she moved back to Vermont. She now teaches creative writing at the University of Vermont.

“Still Lives” by Maria Hummel tells the story of feminist icon and powerful provocateur in the Los Angeles Art scene – Kim Lord. Her most recent and popular work is “Still Lives” that features portraits wherein she portrays herself as a murdered famous women such as Nicole Brown Simpson, Chandra Levy and the Black Dahlia among several other high profile women. The works are as disturbing as they are compelling, as they show a culture that has become desensitized to violence against women. As the wealthy art patrons of the city steam into the museum when the expedition opens, everyone hopes that the event will draw enough people to salvage the dire financial situation of the Rocque Museum. But on a very important day such as this, Kim Lord does not come to the gala and as the hours and days pass and no one has heard from her, people start thinking something bad could have happened to her. Many people believe that Greg Shaw Ferguson the up and coming gallerist who was her ex boyfriend could have motive. Eccentric art world actors could also have been involved and this forces Maggie to start investigating the disappearance of the beloved Kim. It is not long before she has some of the closest people under the radar.

Maria Hummel’s novel “Motherland” is set in 1944 Hannesburg,a small spa town in Germany. World War II has ravaged the formerly peaceful community leaving it a shell of what it once was. Food which was once plentiful is a luxury and the residents’ homes have been crammed with refugees that they look like anthills but with walls. Allied air raids keep destroying anything left over from their previous raids. Life in Hannesburg has become very tough for Liesl Kappus who is just recently married to a local doctor Frank. He is recently widowed and has to take care of three children. Ever since her husband was drafted into the national medical service, Liesl has had to take care of the family all on her own. The middle son seems to have been infected with a mysterious condition and as the days pass he grows worse. Frank is stationed in Weimar where he works as a surgeon even though he spends a lot of time thinking about their safety. When he gets a letter from his wife informing him of his child’s illness he leaves his post and tries to get home.

“House and Fire” by Maria Hummel is a tender and wrenching collection of poems that trace a child’s experience and its mother’s journey during a period of uneasy accommodation and mysterious illness. They manage to find a place that is at once fire and a house, where the comfort of shelter and solid space is often under the threat of destruction. Maria Hummel is a spare and measured writer that uses space and few words to put her message across. She has a great understanding of the loneliness of a parent and child isolated by illness, yet finding more intimacy in that isolation. The House and Fire poems present dreams and emotions in the least inhibited and purest forms. Maria Hummel draws from a wide range of archaic structures and poetic forms such as the Ghazal to free verse and villanelle constructions. Through these she to tells of the frightened and confused emotions of a mother whose child is facing the threat of a painful death.

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