One of the most enjoyable things to happen after a novel is published is that readers want to talk about it. They want to talk about favorite characters or share something about a particular scene—and they always have questions.
The questions can be as varied as the individuals themselves. But since my latest novel, DANCING AT THE CHANCE, released earlier this month, one question has been asked at nearly every turn: Why did you write about such an unusual subject as vaudeville in New York in the early 1900s? Inevitably, it is the discovery of this strange and alluring world that has captivated the readers, and they want to know how I stumbled upon it.
My answer is fairly straightforward: After writing about the Egyptian belly dancers who performed at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair in THE BELLY DANCER and learning that many of those dancers stayed in the United States after the fair closed and began performing on vaudeville stages, I merely followed them. That was how I arrived on vaudeville’s doorstep, and I was charmed from the start. I love everything about vaudeville: the scrappy, barely-scraping-by underdogs; the bigger-than-life power players; the villains; the dreamers; and all the behind-the-scenes stagecraft that creates the magic audiences see onstage.
Lately, however, I’ve begun to think there might be something more to this question. I’ve begun to wonder why stories set in the smaller corners of American history should surprise readers at all. I’ve even begun to suspect that readers are hungry for these kinds of stories. They want more stories that celebrate our uniquely diverse and utterly American experience.
Am I wrong?
As avid readers yourselves, would you like to see a wider variety of American-set historicals?
More about DANCING AT THE CHANCE
New York City in 1907 is a kingdom of endless possibilities for anyone who dares to dream. The Gilded Age has ended, and immigrants fill the bustling streets. The glamour of Broadway lures those who desire the limelight—but only a few are fortunate enough to thrive in the lights of a city that casts long, dark, and merciless shadows…
Pepper MacClair and her mother arrived penniless in New York thirteen years ago, and their fortune has not changed. A dancer of fluid grace and motion, Pepper is still only one chorus girl among dozens, struggling for an opportunity to prove herself worthy of something bigger.
For now, Pepper dances at The Chance, a rundown venue long past its prime. It is not only Pepper’s workplace, where she has pushed her physical endurance to its limit, but also her home. And as the larger world changes around her and she is pulled into the intrigues of New York’s elite, it is her last hope, not only to fulfill her dream, but to fulfill her heart.
DeAnna Cameron writes romantic historical fiction featuring feisty heroines destined for passion and fame. Before turning to fiction, she worked as a professional journalist, writing and editing for several Southern California newspapers and magazines. She lives in Orange County, Calif. with her family, and is at work on her next novel.
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