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Novelist Woodruff returns to Mt. Prospect for book signing
By Jean Murphy | Daily Herald Correspondent

Nancy Woodruff's novel, "My Wife's Affair."


Nancy Woodruff'


Courtesy Shirin Tinati

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Published: 4/23/2010 12:00 AM

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Nancy Woodruff, author of the recently released novel "My Wife's Affair," will be back home Saturday to read excerpts, answer questions and sign autographs.

Woodruff will appear at 2 p.m. at the Mount Prospect Borders store, 909 N. Elmhurst Road.

Woodruff grew up in Mount Prospect and graduated from Prospect High School in 1981. Her mother, Mary, still lives in the house where Nancy was raised.

"I knew when I was a second grader at Westbrook School that I wanted to be a writer and I never wavered in that," Woodruff said.

"My Wife's Affair," which was released on April 15, is Woodruff's second book.

Published by Putnam Publishing, it tells the story of an American actress who moves with her husband and sons to London where she has been cast in a play. She becomes fascinated by her character, a woman who had an affair with a Duke. Before long, Georgie Connelly becomes drawn to the dashing playwright and they, too, have an affair.

The story is entirely told from the point of view of Georgie's husband, after he discovers her infidelity.

On her Web site, Woodruff explains she wanted to explore what an affair could do to a family.

"Being a monogamous sort of person, married to someone I had known since I was a teenager, I felt that an affair must be devastating to a marriage and if there were children, to the family as well," she wrote. "I wanted to explore that in painstaking detail."

Woodruff said she initially had trouble interesting a publisher, before her agent found Putnam.

"Like 'The Great Gatsby', the story is told from the point of view of someone who can only imagine the events that took place, Georgie's husband," she said.

"And there is also a play embedded within the story, and both of those elements gave publishers pause," Woodruff admitted.

Woodruff said her characters are not bad people.

"I like to write books about well-meaning people who make mistakes that lead to cataclysmic events," she said. "I also like to examine the issue of forgiveness - can you really forgive, when and should you?"

Similarly, Woodruff's first book, "Someone Else's Child," which came out in 2000, examined the life of an outcast 15-year-old boy who finally befriends three girls and then accidentally kills two of them in a car crash.

The mother of the surviving girl reaches out to him and finds herself vilified by the community along with him.

"I was not inclined to write about malicious people because I had a very happy childhood in Mount Prospect with two great parents," Woodruff said. "Instead, I have wanted to explore the lives of nice people who occasionally make bad mistakes."

The mother of three children, ages 6 to 16, Woodruff is a graduate of the University of Iowa who also has a masters of fine arts in Writing from Columbia University.

For 22 years she has been married to her high school sweetheart, Mark Lancaster, another native of Mount Prospect who is now a banker. They live in Brooklyn, where Woodruff teaches writing at New York University.