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BY KATHRYN JORDAN
Set in the dynamic years leading up to the Roaring Twenties, Flickers turns its lens on California’s glamorous silent film era, as Victorian civilities are swept away by a bold new century . . .
Violet Winters is the daughter of one of California’s wealthy robber barons. Jack Sutter is the gardener’s son. In their youth, the two were inseparable. But in 1913 everything is changing, and despite their feelings for each other, adulthood has come between them. Their vastly different social positions leads Violet to marry the aloof but socially perfect Maury Rediston. Jack vows to win Violet back while carving out a new life for himself in the burgeoning motion picture industry. Tip Rediston, Violet’s brother-in-law, also gets drawn into the bohemian world of the flickers. As handsome as he is troubled, Tip starts his climb to stardom despite his family’s disapproval. But as social changes, political upheaval, and war change the world around them, Violet, Jack, and Tip learn that things are never as easy as they seem on the silver screen. . .
BY KATHRYN JORDAN
When we write historical fiction, we sometimes fall into the trap of wanting our heroines to have modern attitudes and modern feelings about the social problems of the past, such as slavery or the treatment of the “lower classes.” Certainly there were women who rebelled against the common contempt for people “who just aren’t like us”, but as fictional characters, they have to have some kind of motivation for their change in attitude. FLICKERS takes place early in the Twentieth Century, when even in the United States rich people assumed that they deserved servants who “knew their place.”
Violet Winters Rediston, the heroine of the story, has good reasons for feeling differently about the matter. On a sunny afternoon, she and her best friend, Carrie, are sitting out on the terrace of Violet’s California home. Carrie is planning on having a second child, she tells Violet, so her daughter won’t be an only child like Violet was.
“Considering how I turned out,” Violet said. “that’s probably wise.”
Carrie toasted her with her glass of lemonade, and Violet laughed.
“I suppose,” Carrie said, “that’s why you made friends with the servants and their children. You must have been lonely out here.”
“Your old butler, Mueller, clucked over you like a mother hen, and his daughter did, too. Do you remember her? One of your nannies.”
“One of the many, yes. Talk about your thankless task! They could never please Mama for long.”
“And then once you got your own maid, you were more like friends than a servant and employer.”
Violet felt like snapping at her. Carrie apparently saw her annoyance in her expression.
“I’m sorry,” Carrie said. “That was just awfully snobby of me.”
“Well, yes, it was! But you do have a point. Yes, I was lonely. Sometimes you were the only friend I saw in a week, aside from Jack and the people who worked here.”
“I keep thinking about what your aunt told you about your mother not wanting you to go away to school. Maybe if you had –”
“I’d be a better little matron, you mean? I’d be able to keep the servants in their places?”
“No! Vi, I’m sorry. I keep saying all the wrong things.”
“No, you keep saying all the right things. The things we’re expected to say and think.” Violet caught herself and forced out a smile. “I’m sorry, too. My mood, these days!” She took a deep breath. “What were you going to say? About maybe if I’d gone to college.”
“Only that you might have met and married a man like my Hugh instead of one like your Maury.”
“All right. I do see what you mean. You know, I think I agreed to marry Maury because I was lonely. And of course, the family all liked him . . .”
Kathryn Jordan lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two cats, and a vagrant skunk. Although she spent her childhood in a Great Lakes industrial city, she became a confirmed Californian at age nine, when her family relocated to Santa Barbara, the “Santa Luisa” of the novel. All it took was one winter without five feet of snow turning into black urban slush to convince her that the move had been worthwhile. FLICKERS, her first historical novel, is a new departure for her career. Under the name of Katharine Kerr, she’s also the author of the Nola O’Grady series of light-hearted urban fantasy novels.
Links to Kathryn’s website, blog, books, etc.
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