THRILLER THURSDAY is a new occasional feature of Bling, Bitches & Blood. As a member of International Thriller Writers and alumni of the ITW Debut Author Program, it is my honor to showcase select ITW authors and books participating in the ITW Bloggers Program. If you love reading great books as much as I do, check out my Spotlight Guest Radha Vatsal!
When this blog releases, I will be in Phoenix herding cats…literally! I’m coordinating the CWA Conference in conjunction with BlogPaws, and besides wonderful bloggers and writers, there will be dogs, cats, and other critters onsite. So with my “paws” full with that event, I’m delighted to have a guest post from Radha. Take it away, Radha!
A Front Page Affair is the first in a series featuring Kitty Weeks, a journalist with society connections. Weeks is particularly positioned to have access to all of walks of life. Her society connections get her into the parties and Upper East Side penthouses off-limits to the average journalist and her press pass allows her access and movement that women in 1915 New York would not have enjoyed.
Growing up, I loved to read mysteries, particularly those by Agatha Christie or Dick Francis. They made me feel happy at any time, but especially on rainy days when I could think of nothing I’d like more than to lie in bed and read one from cover to cover. Agatha Christie was my introduction to the genre and Dick Francis taught me that mysteries could draw me into a world that I knew nothing about—in this case horseracing—and teach me a lot.
For some reason, which I can’t explain, my desire to write seriously was tied to writing a mystery novel. Perhaps part of me thought that the “rules” of mystery writing would make the process easier. Was I mistaken. For me, as a reader, a book has to hit certain marks. I’ve been trained to expect certain things to happen at certain moments—a murder, a plot twist, a doubling back—and for the plot to keep humming along. As a writer, you have to make those same things happen and make them happen effortlessly. You have to follow a format that’s been done thousands of times but make it different. And that’s no easy task.
I chose the mid-1910s for the setting of my first novel because so much was happening then—culturally and politically—and yet it remains a relatively under-explored area in fiction. New York became the location because I love all the facets of the city and it happened to be home to a fascinating array of historical characters. Settling on a heroine was a harder: she had to be someone who could carry a series and who was able to undertake an investigation, but at the same time, she needed to be part of her milieu. She couldn’t flaunt all the rules that applied to women during the 1910s because that would take away some of the tension and the fun.
So, she became a reporter for the Ladies’ Page of a newspaper and after much deliberation I decided to name her “Capability”—because it speaks to her character—but also because it could be shortened to Kitty, which is far less threatening. Her ability to navigate different worlds makes her effective at what she does. Meet Kitty Weeks, Ladies Page reporter at the New York Sentinel. I hope you will enjoy A FRONT PAGE AFFAIR, her first outing in 1915 New York.
WHAT READERS SAY?
“This lively and well-researched debut introduces a charming historical series and an appealing fish-out-of-water sleuth who seeks independence and a career in an age when most women are bent on getting married, particularly to titled Englishmen. Devotees of Rhys Bowen’s mysteries will enjoy making the acquaintance of Miss Weeks.” —Library Journal (starred review), Debut of the Month
“Vatsal deftly intertwines the tumult of the era, from emerging women’s rights to spreading international conflict, into this rich historical.” —Publishers Weekly
Radha Vatsal grew up in Mumbai, India, and came to the United States to attend boarding school when she was sixteen. Her fascination with the 1910s began when she studied women filmmakers and action-film heroines of silent cinema at Duke University, where she earned her PhD from the English department. Vatsal lives with her husband and two daughters in New York City. A Front Page Affair is her first novel.
CONNECT WITH RADHA & HER BOOK HERE!
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