RHYS: One of the perks of being me is that I am sent books by new authors to blurb. So I actually read Ashley Weaver's first novel last year. And as I'm a sucker for fun and glamorous books written in the '20s and '30s, naturally I loved it.
So I'm pleased the book is finally going to be born in October and I'm delighted Ashley has come to visit us at Jungle Reds today. Welcome Ashley:
ASHLEY WEAVER: If ever they invent a time machine (one that works properly and wouldn’t leave me stranded with the dinosaurs or in the middle of some bloody uprising or revolution), I won’t have to think very hard about what era I’d like to visit first. In fact, I might just pack up my bags and move there. For the past several years, I have steadfastly maintained that I should have been born in 1907.
Why 1907? It just strikes me as the perfect year somehow. I like the idea of being able to spend my youth in two of my favorite eras. I could be a teenager in the Roaring Twenties and age gracefully into the elegance of the 1930’s. It seems like there would be a great deal of fun to be had! Plus the opportunity to wear wardrobes from both eras in the same lifetime seems almost too good to be true. That’s not to downplay the hardships, of course. I realize that this period presented a series of challenges, but the people met them with grace and resilience. It seems like a simply fascinating time in which to live.
My love for these decades was formed early. I grew up watching black and white movies and fell in love with their glittering portrayals of glamorous and sophisticated people. It was depicted as a time where men always wore tuxedos to dinner and ladies had an evening gown for every night of the week. Though it was an increasingly modern era, people were still expected to adhere to social conventions, and this delicate balance kept things interesting!
There is also the little matter of my secret dream. I like to think that, given the right moment in history, I might have been a showgirl.
Never mind that I am a librarian, through and through, (with most of the bookish, introverted tendencies the stereotype usually entails). I like to imagine a career on the stage, dancing in a chorus line and warbling Gershwin tunes in glittering costumes with Marcelled hair, like the Ziegfeld Girls or something out of a Busby Berkeley film. Perhaps I could even have been a librarian AND a showgirl, setting a precedent for generations to come!
(I suspect that I would never in a million years look this glamorous, but a girl can dream!)
Since I must grow where I’ve been planted, however, at least I have writing fiction to fall back on. While my character, Amory Ames, was born a year or two before 1907 and would never dream of being caught in a chorus line, she gets to enjoy the glitz and glamour that have always attracted me to her time period and fits seamlessly into that world. She’s intelligent, confident, and modern, yet she’s very aware of the boundaries of society – and she knows how to dress for every occasion!
I picture her in something a bit more subdued than the spangled bedecked ensemble above. Perhaps:
So, in the absence of time machines, I’ll just have to go on living vicariously through Amory at present. And perhaps perfect my synchronized high kicks . . . just in case.
Murder at the Brightwell will be published on October 14, 2014.
RHYS: Thank you, Ashley. And I should point out that Ashley and I have scheduled a Facebook chat on September 18th, on my Facebook page.