Interview: Author ‘Francesca Serritella’ Talks Her Debut Novel Ghosts Of Harvard

Currently, I live in New York City with my dog, Pip. When I’m not writing, I’m probably taking cell phone pictures of Pip and marveling at how cute he is, so if you want to see those, there are plenty of photos on my Instagram account. I am working on a novel, and I’ll update you on my progress on this page!

I was born in Philadelphia, and I grew up in its suburbs. I guess we have to do the credentials part of our show: I went to my local high school and then to Harvard, where I majored in English. After a year or two of feeling entirely intimidated by the place, I found my stride and went on to receive the Charles Edmond Horman Prize and the Baron Russell Briggs Prize for my creative writing. My senior thesis, a novella, won the Thomas Temple Hoopes Prize, and I graduated with honors. If we met in person, I would never bother with this stuff, I only mention it here so I sound like a legitimate person who has a website.

In real life, my proudest accomplishments are more along the lines of: My best friend today is the same girl who was my best friend in sixth grade; I’m not squeamish—I’m not afraid to muck out a horse stall, remove a spider from my bathroom, or dress a wound; I taught my dog two tricks, and occasionally he actually does them when someone else is watching.

My mother is Lisa Scottoline. She’s a bestselling author, my best friend, and my hero. Growing up, I watched my mother persevere through a divorce, financial difficulty, a career change, and a first novel that never got published. I then had the privilege of watching her writing career take off and change our lives. We have been through a lot together and we’ve always been close, but she’s never pressured me to follow in her footsteps. The fact that I share her passion for writing is a coincidence, that I have the courage to try was all her.

Check out her website here, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You can listen below to the interview.

Cadence Archer arrives on Harvard’s campus desperate to understand why her brother, Eric, a genius who developed paranoid schizophrenia took his own life there the year before. Losing Eric has left a black hole in Cady’s life, and while her decision to follow in her brother’s footsteps threatens to break her family apart, she is haunted by questions of what she might have missed. And there’s only one place to find answers.

As Cady struggles under the enormous pressure at Harvard, she investigates her brother’s final year, armed only with a blue notebook of Eric’s cryptic scribblings. She knew he had been struggling with paranoia, delusions, and illusory enemies—but what tipped him over the edge? Voices fill her head, seemingly belonging to three ghosts who passed through the university in life, or death, and whose voices, dreams, and terrors still echo the halls. Among them is a person whose name has been buried for centuries, and another whose name mankind will never forget.

Does she share Eric’s illness, or is she tapping into something else? Cady doesn’t know how or why these ghosts are contacting her, but as she is drawn deeper into their worlds, she believes they’re moving her closer to the truth about Eric, even as keeping them secret isolates her further. Will listening to these voices lead her to the one voice she craves—her brother’s—or will she follow them down a path to her own destruction?

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