How long have you been writing?
I have been writing since I was little. My mother still has a short story I wrote (with a very professional cover using as many Crayola colors as possible) about a haunted house and the ship captain who walked the roof deck.
What was the most challenging part about writing Bowery Girl?
Getting the details right. I used only primary sources to cull the specifics – diaries, maps, books, newspapers, photographs. In fact, I ran across a map of the Lower Eastside in 1878 that was a wealth of information: atop each tenement was listed the number of residents plus how many died of cholera, small pox, tuberculosis. The saloons were clearly marked, and you could find a drop of drink at every other street level door. Sewer lines, allies, stables. All there. I spent a lot of time locating and retrieving primary sources from the Museum of the City of New York, and was rewarded at the end of the journey by a chance to see the original glass plates of Jacob Riis’ photographs that he published in “How the Other Half Lives”.
What is your favorite part of being an author?
Making up stories. Research (my favorite thing, and my downfall – it can be a rabbit hole).
Is this book part of a series? If so, will there be more books in the series?
This was conceived as a stand alone book, but I’ve had readers ask if there would be a book about Emmeline DuPre, the Do Gooder with the mysterious past. Possibly in the future?
Do you have any works in progress you’re working on?
I finishing up another women’s historical, “Under the Pale Moon”. It’s set in Monterey, California in 1946 and explores the relationship between Irene Dodd, a woman frustrated by the constraints of her life after her responsibilities during World War II, and her ex-lover Kath Walker, an Army combat nurse haunted by the ghosts of war. The post-war era was one where society tried to return to some “norm”, and the beginning of the idealization of the white picket fence and 2.5 children. I wanted to explore these women who live outside that norm (or struggle to maintain that norm) and how the echoes of war and a fragile peace impact them.
About The Book
Title: Bowery Girl
Author: Kim Taylor Blakemore
Genre: Women’s Historical Fiction
From WILLA Award winning author Kim Taylor Blakemore…
“…inspiring and poignant historical fiction novel that will engage readers that are looking for an insightful, yet entertaining read. ” 5/5 stars, Luxury Reader
“lends credence to the millions of historical and contemporary girls who dare to dream in the face of extraordinary challenges.” – Starred Review, Kirkus
“Gang violence, raucous carousing, sex, accidental pregnancy, and crime–not what most will expect from Victorian-era historical fiction. But that’s exactly what they’ll find in this tightly plotted novel…” – Booklist
NEW YORK, 1883: Gamblers and thieves, immigrants and street urchins, Do-Gooders and charity houses, impossible goals and impossible odds. The Bowery is a place where you own nothing but your dreams. And dreams are the only things that come cheap for pickpocket Mollie Flynn and prostitute Annabelle Lee.
Pleasure is fleeting – and often stolen. Nights at Lefty Malone’s saloon, sneaking into the Thalia Theatre. Then it’s back to their airless, windowless tenement room and the ongoing struggle to keep a roof over their heads and bread in their stomachs.
The Brooklyn Bridge is nearing completion, and things are changing in New York City. The two women fantasize of starting a new life across the East River. Nothing but a flight of fancy, perhaps, until wealthy Do-Gooder Emmeline DuPre, who has opened the Cherry Street Settlement House, steps into their lives with her books, typewriters, and promises of a way to earn a respectable living. Despite Mollie and Annabelle’s fascination with the woman and what she offers, is Emmeline helping or meddling?
Is it really possible to be anything other than a Bowery Girl? Mollie and Annabelle will have to decide exactly who they are, and what sort of women they want to be.
Kim Taylor Blakemore writes women’s historical fiction and romance that explore women’s lives and brings their struggles and triumphs out of the shadows of history and onto the canvas of our American past.
She is the author of the novels Bowery Girl, and Cissy Funk, winner of the WILLA Literary Award for Best Young Adult Fiction. Her interactive historical romances The Very Thought of You and It Don’t Mean a Thing, are out now on Kindle and SilkWords.com.
Her current novel, Under the Pale Moon, is due for release in Fall 2015. Set in post-World War II Monterey, California, it explores the relationship of a married woman breaking the bonds of conformity, and a combat nurse haunted by the ghosts of war.
She is a member of the Historical Novel Society, Women Writing the West and Romance Writers of America.
Bowery Girl (Amazon): http://amzn.to/1EVyoxs