Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
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…

Renee Rosen | Exclusive Interview: PARK AVENUE SUMMER
Author Guest / May 8, 2019

Your book has been described as Mad Men meets Devil Wears Prada – a very enticing combination! What sort of research did you do for this novel, and what was the most surprising thing you learned? I was lucky with this book because there were several excellent biographies on Helen Gurley Brown, as well as all the books she wrote herself. Naturally, the place for me to start was HGB’s scandalous bestseller, Sex and the Single Girl. It was published in 1962 and sold two million copies the first month it was out. It was basically a guide on how to find men and what to do with them once you’ve found them. It was truly groundbreaking material because, at that time, no one else was speaking to single women in that way. Sex and the Single Girl gave me a good feel for Helen Gurley Brown’s philosophy and her views on men, dating and of course, sex. The blueprint for her future makeover of Cosmopolitan can be easily found in the pages of her book. I also watched the Sex and the Single Girl movie and lots interviews with HGB—there’s a slew of them on YouTube. (Also I was fortunate to have met…

Enterprising Women
History / June 21, 2017

For many historical fiction fans, one of the draws of the genre is watching woman of past confront challenges and restrictions to open up new opportunities for themselves.  In honor of the recent birthdays of some extraordinary women—my mother-in-law, my stepmother and my daughter—this month I showcase a group of enterprising women who dare to dream of doing something more than filling a woman’s conventional place in society. We begin chronologically with THE DARING LADIES OF LOWELL by Kate Alcott.  Searching for independence and a better future, in 1832 farm girl Alice Barrow moves to Lowell to become one of the “mill girls.”  Though the hours are long and the work grueling, she finds a new best friend in outspoken, feisty Lovey Cornell, camaraderie with the other mill girls, and intellectual stimulation in attending lectures at the Lyceum and working on the mill’s literary magazine—where she catches the attention of mill owner’s son Samuel Fiske.  As working conditions become more dangerous and the workers protest, Samuel invites Alice to represent the other mill girls at a meeting with his family.  But when her friend Lovey is found strangled and she suspects the Fiske family of withholding information about the crime,…