Some of you may already know my work through the Arcadia Bell urban fantasy series from Pocket Books. But this month the first book in my new historical paranormal romance series was released, BITTER SPIRITS. Having garnered starred reviews in both Publishers Weekly and Booklist—and a Top Pick in RT Book Reviews—the book is about a spirit medium who falls for a sexy, scarred bootlegger in 1920s San Francisco when he becomes haunted in Chinatown.
A little different, right?
A lot of readers ask me why I chose to set the book in the Roaring Twenties. My love affair with that decade started way, way back in my teens (a dog-eared copy of THE GREAT GATSBY + a French bob + long strings of flapper-friendly beads inherited from my grandmother). However, that teenage crush never really ended, and over the years, I ended up with a small library of 1920s research material and a closet filled with narrow-brimmed cloches. But it wasn’t until after I’d written my debut, KINDLING THE MOON, that I considered writing something set in that time period.
The ’20s has a wealth of juicy period details that could be mined for a story—Prohibition, flappers, jazz… But from a writer’s point of view (mine, at least) the most interesting thing is that it was a decade in which women broke social barriers and ventured into institutions that were previously regarded as Men Only. Women got their hair bobbed at the barbershop, smoked cigarettes, and sat at the bar alongside men. They moved to big cities to find work. Drove cars. Voted. They were pioneers, learning how to be independent, and that’s exactly the kind of heroine I like to write!