Glamour, music, stunning costumes — with a few short sentences, you’re transported right into a vivid, bustling revue show scene. Natasha Lester writes about the 1920s.
The author lives in Australia, but despite that, Natasha took the time and trouble to travel to the USA, and to conduct research in several New York City archives. “Nothing beats sifting through archival material”, she says, “because you find things you didn’t even know you were looking for.”
What was your favourite research trip, and why?
Natasha Lester: Definitely New York, in order to research A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald, but the second time I went, not the first. The first time I went I was stuck in Hurricane Sandy, in downtown Manhattan with no power, no phones, no running water — it was a nightmare! I wasn’t able to do any of the research I had planned.
A few of the infamous Ziegfeld Follies girls, the revue show which Natasha’s protagonist Evie joins in A Kiss for Mr Fitzgerald
What’s your favourite device to use while documenting the setting of your novel? Your mobile phone, audio recordings, photos, your journal?
Can you describe any particular moment(s) when seeing the setting with your own eyes profoundly changed the way you related to your protagonists, or enabled you to understand their motives more fully?
The enormous mansions there are so grand and opulent and it made me really feel just how wealthy and used to luxury one of the characters in my book would be, and it also made me imagine very vividly how Evie, my not-so-wealthy main character would feel when steeping though the doors of one of those mansions for the very first time.
It was literally a tip your head back and stare upwards kind of moment, and I could feel Evie doing exactly the same thing, but with all the more at stake because she was there with the man she loved.
Personally, I am looking forward to reading this book so much, as the 1920s is my favourite era. Also, the book cover is simply stunning! The team at Hachette Australia have created an amazing book, to be published in April 2016. Want to know more about Natasha’s novel?
It’s 1922 in the Manhattan of gin, jazz and prosperity. Women wear makeup and hitched hemlines – and enjoy a new freedom to vote and work. Not so Evelyn Lockhart, forbidden from pursuing her passion: to become one of the first female doctors.
If Evie does fight Columbia University’s medical school for acceptance, how will she support herself? So when there’s a casting call for the infamous late-night Ziegfeld Follies on Broadway, will Evie find the nerve to audition? And if she does, what will it mean for her fledgling relationship with Upper East Side banker Thomas Whitman, a man Evie thinks she could fall in love with — if only she lived a life less scandalous?
A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald will be published in April 2016.
Natasha Lester also frequently publishes essays about her work as a writer at her author website >> natashalester.com.au