The first draft is FINISHED, but the book itself is a long way from being done! So in the meantime, I thought I'd answer some of the questions I get asked most often about my book and the writing process.
Fiction or Nonfiction?
It's historical fiction and based on a true story.
1928 into the early 1930s with flashbacks into Fred and Adele's childhood (about 1909)
What is the title?
My working title is Before Fred and Ginger, but I also like Before Ginger Rogers.
What is the story about?
It's 1928, and the famous brother and sister act, Fred and Adele Astaire, are returning to England to debut their Broadway triumph, Funny Face, to a London audience. The musical comedy has been a huge success, in spite of several roadblocks with the show and in Adele's personal life, but unfortunately for the Astiares, some of their troubles follow them across the Atlantic.
Amidst all of the turmoil, Adele starts to recognize a longing within herself that for years had been kept at bay. At 32, she can hardly remember what life was like before she took to the stage as a young girl, and she has started to wonder if there might be something more for her. And then, to further complicate things, the tall and quiet Charles Cavendish, second son to the Duke of Devonshire, comes into the picture, offering her a new life entirely, if she'll only agree to take it.
But how could she walk away from everything she has ever known? Could she be content to give it all up or would she someday be filled with regret as she watches from the audience while her brother performs with someone else? And what exactly would her retirement mean for Freddy and his career?
She determines to figure it all out for herself, taking everything into account but coming to know her own mind independent of everything and everyone else, fighting to do what is best instead of what is easiest, and coming to know herself through the process.
Tell me about the protagonist
Adele Astaire is Fred Astaire's sister and original dancing parter. She was actually the better dancer of the two of them for most of her career! Read her Character Profile to learn more.
Where did you get your inspiration for the book?
I was watching the BBC documentary Secrets of Chatsworth, and as soon as I heard them tell Adele's story, I wanted to write it.
Did you use a specific program to actually write the manuscript?
I used Scrivener, and I highly recommend it! I was able to keep my outline, research, and manuscript organized and easily accessible while I wrote.
How much of the story will be factual and how much of the story will
All of the characters, places, and events come from my research. The dialogue is almost entirely me, with the exception of a few quotes taken from real interviews. As you can imagine, I had to get to know the characters pretty well before I felt comfortable writing in their voices!
What sources did you use for your research?
I mostly used four books: Steps in Time: An Autobiography by Fred Astaire, Puttin' on the Ritz: Fred Astaire and the Fine Art of Panache, a Biography by Peter J. Levinson, The Astaires: Fred and Adele by Kathleen Riley, and Chatsworth: the House by the duchess of Devonshire. When researching for specific scenes or chapters, I wanted to create a realistic setting, so I spent a lot of time searching out little details online, such as what the streets of London looked and sounded like in 1928, or how to describe gentlemen's shooting fashion in England. We also got to visit some of the places I describe in the book, with one of my favorites being Fred and Adele's childhood home in Omaha, Nebraska.
how long is it?
Right now it is 70,500 words, but after some revisions I think it will be closer to 75,000. At about 250-300 words per page, I think it will be about 300 pages.
When can I read it?
The first draft is done, but there's still quite a bit of work to do! I am editing and revising first, reading and rereading what I've already written. Then I'll have a few trusted friends/book critics give me their honest feedback and suggestions before I start looking for a literary agent. From there I'd hope to find a publisher, but I have no idea of the timeline besides to say I work on it a little everyday.
Have other questions? Let me know! Comment below.