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Chanel Cleeton | 20 Questions: THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRL IN CUBA
Author Guest / May 5, 2021

1–What is the title of your latest release? THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRL IN CUBA 2–What is it about? It’s inspired by the true story of Evangelina Cisneros, a Cuban revolutionary who was wrongfully imprisoned by the Spanish in a notorious women’s jail in Havana, and who became an international celebrity when her plight came to the attention of William Randolph Hearst, the owner and publisher of the New York Journal. Hearst used her as a rallying cry to provoke U.S. intervention in the war for independence between Cuba and Spain. Her life intertwines with that of Grace Harrington, an American journalist, and Marina Perez, a Cuban revolutionary working as a courier in Havana. 3–What do you love about the setting of your book?  I really loved learning more about this period in Cuban history. It’s one I was previously somewhat unfamiliar with, and my research made me wonder what my ancestors’ lives would have been like during the fight for Cuban independence. 4–How did your main character(s) surprise you?  My characters are constantly surprising me! When I originally started researching the book, I didn’t know that I was going to tell Marina’s story from her point of view, but once…

Renee Rosen | Exclusive Interview: THE SOCIAL GRACES
Author Guest / April 21, 2021

Welcome back to Fresh Fiction, Renee! The last time you were here, we discussed Park Avenue Summer, and this time we’re chatting about THE SOCIAL GRACES. Can you tell us what drew you to write about Gilded Age New York?  Several years ago, I wrote another novel about Marshall Field, the Chicago retail tycoon called WHAT THE LADY WANTS which was set during the Gilded Age. I really enjoyed that time period and wanted to revisit that era. The gowns, the balls, the excess, and etiquette, which runs from practical to absurd, have always fascinated me. When I stumbled upon Caroline Astor and Alva Vanderbilt’s stories, I knew I could use New York’s Gilded Age as backdrop to create a completely different type of novel, filled with fun, juicy scandals, and all the glamour. The Astors and the Vanderbilts are synonymous with high society drama. Was there anything truly outrageous you learned through your research that was hard to believe actually happened?  Oh, my goodness, where to begin!!! I was really surprised by how understated and refined the Knickerbockers, (the old money and original settler of New York) were in the beginning. It wasn’t until the Nouveau Riche (representing the…