Novelist Isabel Allende is almost 80, and her career shows no signs of slowing down. In the past year, she’s published two books: a memoir, The Soul of a Woman, and a novel, Violeta. She finished a third book that she hopes to publish in 2023.
Her new novel, Violeta, is a sweeping story about a woman born in South America during the 1918 flu pandemic, who lives to be 100. The book was inspired by Allende’s mother, who died in 2018 at the age of 98.
“My mother was an extraordinary woman who did not have an extraordinary life,” said Allende in a recent phone interview. “When I started writing Violeta, I was imagining what my mother could have been.”
What her mother’s life lacked in luster, Allende’s has more than made up for: She is considered the first Latin American woman to become an international literary star, after bursting to fame with her debut novel, The House of the Spirits. Her 25 books have been translated into dozens of languages and have sold more than 60 million copies. Last year, her life was spun into an HBO miniseries.
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