A bestselling L.A. novelist was struggling to depict a female adventurer. So she became one
“By nature, I’m a fairly fearful person,” Shipstead said, speaking on video from her parents’ house in San Diego. “I was a really shy child. I did not crave novelty or adventure of any kind.” She cultivated, however, several obsessions: “What seventh grader doesn’t love paleoanthropology and draw weird sketches of human fossils in a notebook for no reason?”Domesticating fear changed Shipstead’s life. She became a daredevil world traveler who reveled in her independence. Her childhood enthusiasms were retooled into grown-up passions. All of it would serve her in the biggest challenge of her career so far: taming the once-unwieldy novel out next week.