Today Anna Godbersen, author of the popular Luxe series, is here as part of her blog tour for The Lucky Ones, her latest Bright Young Things novel!
GC: When did you first begin to write? And did you always know you wanted to breathe new life into different eras in American history?
AG: I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and I’ve told myself stories for as long as I can remember. As a teenager I was an obsessive journal-keeper, and I was always half-finishing poems and collecting ideas for grand projects. But it wasn’t until I was in college, and taking creative writing courses, that I actually finished any stories, that I started thinking of fiction as having a beginning, a middle and an end.
Those stories were all contemporary, and about characters and worlds that were close to my own experience. It was later, after I had started ghostwriting young adult books, that I wanted to give my characters a historical setting—both because I thought it would be more fun, and because it would allow me, as an older person, to write about the experience of teenagerdom more universally, and not get caught up in trying to imitate the way young people talk and behave right now.
GC: Were you drawn to reading historical fiction, either as a child or as you got older?
AG: My favorite book the year I started high school was Marion Zimmer Bradley’s THE MISTS OF AVALON, which is a feminist retelling of the Arthurian legends—I loved it because it had strong female characters, but also because it conjured a world utterly unlike my own. That really stoked my imagination—any book that was historical or fantastical did that for me.
What I most craved as a young reader was a story that promised me that the world outside my parents’ home, my high school, was vast. And I still love historical fiction now—there is just something really thrilling about thinking about the continuity of human experience and emotions, even in really diverse historical realities.
GC: You have written about the 1910's and 1920's in American society, any chance the 30's are next?
AG: For my next book, I am taking the jump—I’m going to write about a young woman living now! And that’s about as far ahead as I can think. So who knows what comes next? But I just had the opportunity to read my friend Rachel Shukert’s book, which is set in 1930s Hollywood, and coming out next Spring. It’s called STARSTRUCK and it’s totally gorgeous and smart and un-put-down-able, so I think young readers are taken care of for great fiction set in that era.
GC: Do you have an interest in writing about a historical time during other countries in the future?
AG: You know, I’ve never thought about that. But it’s kind of a great idea. The only thing is that I really do believe that old cliché of writing what you know—so much of fiction is imagination, but you don’t want to pick a subject that’s so foreign to you that you hit a false note in portraying it. Especially when that subject is a real place—I’d have to live there, I think. So: Thanks for the great excuse to travel lots!
GC: Anytime, Anna. Now for a very important and deep question. Which of your many gorgeous covers in the Bright Young Things and The Luxe series is your favorite?
AG: Oh man, that is so hard! That’s like: Which of your children are your favorite? But I guess probably SPLENDOR.
The model was so beautiful, and she looked so much like Lina in my mind, and I loved that character, seeing her come into her own through some brave gestures and grand mistakes. Plus, that book was so special to me—I had learned a lot by the time I got to the final LUXE installment, both about my characters and about myself as a writer.
GC: If you had to choose, which time period would you live in, the 1910's or 20's, and which of your character's lives do you hope yours would most closely resemble?
AG: Definitely the 1920s, if only because I am an unfussy dresser and would never be able to pull off corsets. But that’s a metaphor, too, for how much freer women were to have experiences and define themselves on their own terms. Plus it was a really fun era, a time of rapid and exhilarating change culturally, technologically, and otherwise. Although she is the character whose life mine least resembles, I think I’d want to be Astrid—I love writing her, because her breeziness, her sense of style and absurdity, are all a joy to be with.
Follow the rest of the tour: