Shaara, Lila 1958-

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Shaara, Lila 1958-

PERSONAL: Born August 21, 1958, in Tallahassee, FL; daughter of Michael Joseph (a novelist) and Helen Shaara; married Robert Edward Rayshich, April 24, 1993; children: Frederick, Maxwell. Education: University of Pittsburgh, M.A., 1988, Ph.D., 1994.

CAREER: Novelist, 2006—. University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, research associate, 1996; Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA, adjunct professor of anthropology, 1997—.


Every Secret Thing: A Novel, Ballantine (New York, NY), 2006.

SIDELIGHTS: Lila Shaara, daughter of novelist Michael Shaara, is both a cultural anthropologist and a novelist like her father—and her brother Jeff Shaara, also a very successful writer. Growing up with her father, she saw the bitter side of fiction writing and publishing: her father received little recognition for his writing during his lifetime, even though he received the Pulitzer Prize for The Killer Angels in 1975. “I grew up seeing writing as something that gripped you in poisoned talons,” Lila Shaara recalled in an interview with Ron Hogan published on the Beatrice Web site, “gave you little or nothing back, drove you to addiction and depression, and killed you young. And so I avoided writing fiction for as long as I possibly could. When I couldn’t hold it back any longer, it came out in great gushes. And so I’ve become, for better or worse, a writer.”

Shaara’s first published work, Every Secret Thing: A Novel, is “a complex, first-person tale of Gina Paletta, a Victoria’s Secret model-turned-professor who is also a widowed mother of two sons,” wrote Pittsburgh Post-Gazette contributor John Young. “Three major plot strands are launched when two of Paletta’s students are suspected of murder and harboring unhealthy fixations about her.” The two, “whom the police suspect of murdering a friend,” explained a Publishers Weekly reviewer, “enter photos from her lingerie-modeling days onto an Internet site, then stalk her.” “This is a dense, wonderful, lavish novel,” concluded Flint Journal critic Helen S. Bas, “that draws in and engages the reader to the extent that it’s not only hard to put down, it’s hard to admit that when the last page has been read, there is no more Lila Shaara to read.”



Flint Journal (Flint, MI), November 19, 2006, Helen S. Bas, “Literary Family Has Another Shining Star.”

Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2006, review of Every Secret Thing: A Novel, pp. 11-12.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 13, 2006, John Young, “A Literary Legacy: Lila Shaara Emerges as Novelist in Her Own Right.”

Publishers Weekly, May 15, 2006, review of Every Secret Thing, p. 50.


Beatrice, (January 3, 2007), Ron Hogan, “Lila Shaara Considers Her ‘Heavy Name.’”

BookLoons, (January 3, 2007), Hilary Williamson, interview with Lila Shaara.

Harriet Klausner’s Review Archive, (January 10, 2007), Harriet Klausner, review of Every Secret Thing.*