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Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels Interview: THE LIONS OF FIFTH AVENUE by FIONA DAVIS
Author Guest / July 10, 2020

Jen: What inspired you to write THE LIONS OF FIFTH AVENUE? Fiona: At author talks and book signings, readers often suggest New York City landmarks they’d like to see featured in my novels. The New York Public Library came up repeatedly, so I figured I’d do a little research into its construction and history. I learned that when it opened in 1911, the superintendent lived in a seven-room apartment deep inside the library with his wife and three children. The idea of a family living in this monument of marble that’s filled with books struck me as a perfect setting for a novel, and I was up and running–although I created a fictional family for the story.  What is the catalyst behind Laura’s decision to apply to the Columbia Journalism School?  Laura, the superintendent’s wife, has been living in the library for a couple of years, and feels stifled and lonely–it’s not like there are any neighbors to chat with or borrow milk from, as there would be in a regular New York City apartment building. She’s been writing a column about her life raising her two children in a library for the employee newsletter, and when she hears that…

Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels Interview: FIONA DAVIS
Author Guest , Interviews , Jen's Jewels / August 9, 2019

What inspired you to write The Chelsea Girls? I met an actress in her nineties who started telling me what it was like in the New York City theater world during the McCarthy era, and I realized this was a story that very few knew. As I dug into the research of that period, I was struck by how many actors and directors had had their lives destroyed by a misguided witchhunt, many of them at the very cusp of their careers, which means we don’t know the plays or performances that were lost because of McCarthyism. I wanted to tell that story. The Chelsea Girls takes place during the 1940s to 1960s. What is the most fascinating thing you learned while researching this time period? The book takes place at the Chelsea Hotel, and I was surprised at how many famous people had stayed there over the years. The poet Dylan Thomas drank himself to death there, and artists like Jackson Pollock and John Sloan called it home. Then you have all the rockers: Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Sid Vicious. Playwright Arthur Miller sought refuge there after his divorce from Marilyn Monroe. The list goes on an on, and…