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Deborah Harkness' 'A Discovery of Witches' started with airport bookstores
Deborah Harkness' 'A Discovery of Witches' started with airport bookstores

Sometimes inspiration comes in the unlikeliest places. While vacationing in Puerto Vallarta in fall 2008, USC professor Deborah Harkness, a historian of science, was consumed with the upcoming bicentenary of Charles Darwin's birth, but the rest of the world, including the airport in the Mexican resort city, was gripped by a madness spread by vampires: The last of Stephenie Meyer's four "Twilight" novels had just been published. "To walk through the airport was to be hit with vampires, witches, ghosts and demons at every angle in the bookstores," says Harkness, a good-humored and enthusiastic woman of 46, over a cappuccino in Pasadena. "It was so huge...

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