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nymazz
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Re: Questions for Vixen's author Jillian Larkin

Hi Jillian

 

FIrst, thank you for letting us have this opportunity. I enjoyed reading 'Vixen' and getting a feel for this time period, it is a area I would not have normally picked to read about, but it was great fun and I will look forward to your next book. 

I am curious as to your process when writing a series.  Did you have 3 books planned right from the start?  If so, is each one being written as a separate projector or do you have sections for each book going at once?

Mazz

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are. -Mason Cooley-
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bmxmom
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Re: Questions for Vixen's author Jillian Larkin

Welcome Jillian and Wendy!  Thank you so much for introducing me to this wonderful era.  I have come to the realization that my sneaking out to clubs and drinking underage was definitely not something "new" and probably not as cool as I thought it was back then.  I was wondering where your inspiration for Lorraine came from.  She seems to be a troubled soul and most authors I have read don't nail this type of character like you have.  Thanks again and Happy Holidays!

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librarysusie
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Re: Questions for Vixen's author Jillian Larkin

You've already answered the question I was thinkng of asking was if you watch Boardwalk Empire I am hooked on that show!

 

So I wanted to tell you I am loving this book and all the characters. I am so glad there will be at least one more book. I think you've got a hit on your hands here Jillian! Good Luck with everything!

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I_heart_you
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Re: Questions for Vixen's author Jillian Larkin

Jillian, just want to say that I absolutely LOVE  this book! I plowed through several chapters on my lunch break today and had to literally tear myself away so that I got back to work on time!

 

I know that you already knew a lot about the 20's and such, but you mentioned that you still had a lot of research to do. Can you describe the process of researching for Vixen? And how did you know the point when you actually had done enough research to properly write Vixen?

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Re: Questions for Vixen's author Jillian Larkin

 
Wordsmith
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Re: Questions for Vixen's author Jillian Larkin


Jillian-Larkin wrote:

 

Thank you so much! Yes, many of the locations in the novel are real places in Chicago and are still there today. The Green Mill is a bar in Chicago and the Drake Hotel (where Gloria has dinner with Bastian) is an extremely beautiful building that opened in the 1920s. The Art Institute where Clara attends an exhibit with Marcus is one of my favorite spaces in Chicago. Not every location is based on somewhere real, but I tried to throw as much of real 1920s Chicago into VIXEN as I could.

 


It's always interesting to find out why authors mention certain places in their books.  When the FL did The Writing Circle by Corinne Dema, she wrote about one of the main characters who ran out of a reading (in a bookstore I won't mention), went to Bloomingdales (in Manhattan) and sat down in a dressing room.  Her reasoning why she mentions Bloomingdales was because she grew up in Manhattan and loved Bloomingdales.  Growing up in NYC, I was able to visualize this whole scenario.  I just love this!

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Re: Questions for Vixen's author Jillian Larkin


Jillian-Larkin wrote:

 


pen21 wrote:

Jillian,

During this piece of the process in getting a book on the shelf, today what is the part you like best? In your posts I see you are working on your next book. And I know you are here with us.

I am sure there is a lot to the process I know nothing about. Give us some hints please.

Luanne

 


 

Hmm, I'm not sure which part I like best. I love plotting it out in the beginning. A prospective project is so ripe with possibility, and at that point you don't have to deal with the stress of actually fleshing it all out and making sure everything makes sense. But I also love getting to know the characters as I write, and getting to the point where I can veto a line of dialogue because "Clara would never say that." And there's nothing quite like finishing each new draft, getting one step closer to being completely finished.

 

Each new step--seeing the cover, receiving VIXEN's hardcover jacket in the mail, watching the trailer for the first time--have all been amazing. The non-writing aspects of the publishing process like meeting booksellers and other lovers of YA books, and getting to actually talk with people who have read the book like yourselves have been so fun too. So far I've loved the whole process, which makes me think I might have picked the right career :smileyhappy:


Hi Jillian,

 

There is no doubt in my mind that you picked the right career.  Your writing flows and no matter where your writing is at the end of one chapter, the following chapter makes a smooth transition to wherever it is going.  I never thought once while reading Vixen  "now where did that come from?".

 

So many of the authors from the FL have all commented similarly about how they've gotten to know their characters and could veto some dialog that would be out of context for that particular character.  And this is what makes it so great about FL, getting to know and understand how the author develops and treats these characters, as if these fictional characters were as human as us.

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Re: Questions for Vixen's author Jillian Larkin

Hi, Jillian.

 

I know someone has asked about the race issue before and I do know of all-black bands playing in the 20's. You enhanced that with Gloria falling in love with Jerome. How did you tackle the issues blacks had back then?

 I absolutely loved your book and sadly, I'll have to wait until next August to read Ingenue. The Flapper Era was such a fun time( I'm not that old). But hearing and reading about it was like one big party before the Depression. Your book is beautifully written as the storyline ran smoothly throughout each chapter. Thank you for letting us read your book!

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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AnnieBook
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Re: Questions for Vixen's author Jillian Larkin

Hi Jillian,

 

I don't really have a question.  Just wanted to comment on how much I loved the book!  I love the 1920's (Fashion!  Glamour!) and this is the 1st YA book I've read that takes place during this time.  Though the main characters are teens, this book had a very sophisticated and more adult tone than most other YA books.  I'm dying to find out what paths the girls choose. 

 

I'm especially glad that Clara is opening herself up to a truly fresh start.  She is my favorite of the girls.  I can't shake this thought that Marcus is still stringing her along, but I want to believe he's going to be good to her.  I really don't see any other option for Gloria; Her life is forever different and there's no going back!  I'm excited to see if there will wild days and nights for her and Marcus in NY.  Now Lorraine...the girl makes you want to shake your head at her!  She's a train-wreck drama queen!  I'd like for her to find her self-worth and clean up her act b/c I don't think she's a totally bad person.  But I have a feeling she's done feeling sorry for herself and going to kick up the bad behavior. 

 

Awesome book!  Great cliff-hangers!  Keep the good stuff coming!

 

Anne.

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Re: Questions for Vixen's author Jillian Larkin

 


nymazz wrote:

Hi Jillian

 

FIrst, thank you for letting us have this opportunity. I enjoyed reading 'Vixen' and getting a feel for this time period, it is a area I would not have normally picked to read about, but it was great fun and I will look forward to your next book. 

I am curious as to your process when writing a series.  Did you have 3 books planned right from the start?  If so, is each one being written as a separate projector or do you have sections for each book going at once?

Mazz


 

Hi Mazz,

 

Thank YOU so much for reading! With the FLAPPERS series, I knew from the start that there would be more than one book. I wrote a detailed outline of the first book, then a looser outline of the second. Then I realized I wouldn't be done telling the girls' story in two books so I outlined some ideas for a third book. I love the characters and the time period is so fascinating; I could probably send the girls on several adventures :smileyhappy:

 

The books are separate projects that I'm writing chronologically. I definitely write down ideas I have for future FLAPPERS books while working on an earlier book though. I even wrote a few pieces of INGÉNUE while working on VIXEN, but they usually were just little snatches of dialogue or paragraphs of description. I always get nervous about taking myself too far out of the current section of the story. While I am a big fan of drafting outlines, they're not set in stone. I need to get to know the characters over time and make sure the plot I initially set out stays true to how everyone develops.

 

-Jillian

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Re: Questions for Vixen's author Jillian Larkin

 


bmxmom wrote:

Welcome Jillian and Wendy!  Thank you so much for introducing me to this wonderful era.  I have come to the realization that my sneaking out to clubs and drinking underage was definitely not something "new" and probably not as cool as I thought it was back then.  I was wondering where your inspiration for Lorraine came from.  She seems to be a troubled soul and most authors I have read don't nail this type of character like you have.  Thanks again and Happy Holidays!


Thank you so much for the compliments! More than anything, Lorraine is inspired by the ugly feelings I sometimes felt while enduring rejections in high school. I think a lot of young women go through these exact challenges: falling in love with a guy who doesn't feel the same way, watching yourself drift away from one of your oldest friends, etc. I like to think I dealt with my rejections a lot better than Lorraine though :smileyhappy: She's also just a product of my silly moods when I want to make a character say something Gloria or Clara would be too clever to say.

 

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Re: Questions for Vixen's author Jillian Larkin

 


librarysusie wrote:

You've already answered the question I was thinkng of asking was if you watch Boardwalk Empire I am hooked on that show!

 

So I wanted to tell you I am loving this book and all the characters. I am so glad there will be at least one more book. I think you've got a hit on your hands here Jillian! Good Luck with everything!


Thank you! And yes, I love Boardwalk Empire too. Steve Buscemi has been one of my favorite actors since I saw him in Reservoir Dogs. I'm very visual so it's also really helpful in my writing to be able to watch a show filled with 1920s settings and fashions each week.

 

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Re: Questions for Vixen's author Jillian Larkin

 


I_heart_you wrote:

Jillian, just want to say that I absolutely LOVE  this book! I plowed through several chapters on my lunch break today and had to literally tear myself away so that I got back to work on time!

 

I know that you already knew a lot about the 20's and such, but you mentioned that you still had a lot of research to do. Can you describe the process of researching for Vixen? And how did you know the point when you actually had done enough research to properly write Vixen?


 

Thanks so much! And I'm glad I didn't make you late for work, haha. Prior to writing I read up on the period in Zelda by Nancy Milford and a few articles about various aspects of the period: the gangsters, Prohibition, fashion, the Harlem Renaissance. I also read F. Scott Fitzgerald's works that weren't The Great Gatsby as well as Zelda Fitzgerald's lone novel, Save Me the Waltz. I watched Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Great Gatsby, Chicago, and Splendor in the Grass again.

 

But then I just kind of dove into it. I've been reading period novels as I've been working, continuing to educate myself on that era. I end up doing the bulk of my research while I'm writing, rather than before. I have a few go-to websites for fashion, music, and slang and also do tons of Google Image searches for 1920s dresses, newspapers, city streets, etc. I like having the details of the period fresh in my mind.

 

And then there's the fact-checking research I did after writing VIXEN to make sure everything I wrote was period-appropriate. Wendy and everyone at Random House were very helpful in that area.

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Re: Questions for Vixen's author Jillian Larkin


maxcat wrote:

Hi, Jillian.

 

I know someone has asked about the race issue before and I do know of all-black bands playing in the 20's. You enhanced that with Gloria falling in love with Jerome. How did you tackle the issues blacks had back then?

 I absolutely loved your book and sadly, I'll have to wait until next August to read Ingenue. The Flapper Era was such a fun time( I'm not that old). But hearing and reading about it was like one big party before the Depression. Your book is beautifully written as the storyline ran smoothly throughout each chapter. Thank you for letting us read your book!


Hi there, thank you for reading! Reading up on the Harlem Renaissance in the library at NYU helped me get a better view of race relations in that period, particularly on the music scene. There was something so depressingly contradictory about it: black people were finally being welcomed as the talented performers they were, but many of the most popular clubs were proudly Whites Only. The Cotton Club, arguably the most famous Manhattan nightclub, was even named due to its resemblance to a cotton plantation: black people worked hard onstage while white audiences sat back and enjoyed themselves.
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Re: Questions for Vixen's author Jillian Larkin

 


AnnieBook wrote:

Hi Jillian,

 

I don't really have a question.  Just wanted to comment on how much I loved the book!  I love the 1920's (Fashion!  Glamour!) and this is the 1st YA book I've read that takes place during this time.  Though the main characters are teens, this book had a very sophisticated and more adult tone than most other YA books.  I'm dying to find out what paths the girls choose. 

 

I'm especially glad that Clara is opening herself up to a truly fresh start.  She is my favorite of the girls.  I can't shake this thought that Marcus is still stringing her along, but I want to believe he's going to be good to her.  I really don't see any other option for Gloria; Her life is forever different and there's no going back!  I'm excited to see if there will wild days and nights for her and Marcus in NY.  Now Lorraine...the girl makes you want to shake your head at her!  She's a train-wreck drama queen!  I'd like for her to find her self-worth and clean up her act b/c I don't think she's a totally bad person.  But I have a feeling she's done feeling sorry for herself and going to kick up the bad behavior. 

 

Awesome book!  Great cliff-hangers!  Keep the good stuff coming!

 

Anne.


 

Hi Anne,

 

Thank you so much for all your kind words! I'm so excited to see that you've made a real connection with each of the characters. I love Clara too and wish I had been anywhere near that clever or secure at her age. Thank you for not writing Lorraine off right away. She certainly makes some bad choices, to put it lightly ... but she is only seventeen. There's time for her yet: we'll just have to see how Lorraine matures (if she matures, that is) as she gets older.

 

-Jillian

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I_heart_you
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Re: Questions for Vixen's author Jillian Larkin

Thanks Jillian! It sounds so intricate but yet so fun at the same time! It's like being a detective, but in reverse!


Jillian-Larkin wrote:

 


I_heart_you wrote:

Jillian, just want to say that I absolutely LOVE  this book! I plowed through several chapters on my lunch break today and had to literally tear myself away so that I got back to work on time!

 

I know that you already knew a lot about the 20's and such, but you mentioned that you still had a lot of research to do. Can you describe the process of researching for Vixen? And how did you know the point when you actually had done enough research to properly write Vixen?


 

Thanks so much! And I'm glad I didn't make you late for work, haha. Prior to writing I read up on the period in Zelda by Nancy Milford and a few articles about various aspects of the period: the gangsters, Prohibition, fashion, the Harlem Renaissance. I also read F. Scott Fitzgerald's works that weren't The Great Gatsby as well as Zelda Fitzgerald's lone novel, Save Me the Waltz. I watched Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Great Gatsby, Chicago, and Splendor in the Grass again.

 

But then I just kind of dove into it. I've been reading period novels as I've been working, continuing to educate myself on that era. I end up doing the bulk of my research while I'm writing, rather than before. I have a few go-to websites for fashion, music, and slang and also do tons of Google Image searches for 1920s dresses, newspapers, city streets, etc. I like having the details of the period fresh in my mind.

 

And then there's the fact-checking research I did after writing VIXEN to make sure everything I wrote was period-appropriate. Wendy and everyone at Random House were very helpful in that area.


 

I'm a geek and I love it!
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Vermontcozy
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Re: Questions for Vixen's author Jillian Larkin

Good Morning Jillian.Thanks for responding and  for"Twilight Sleep"..doing some searching around on BN today..Your research and so perfectly portraying the Era is so impressive..Being born and raised in NY..,I always thought of Harlem as so unique..Amazing Brownstones..Middle to upper middle class familes.living there..We had a friend who went to Fordham with my daughters father,and he invited us to his Grandmothers home for Christmas one Year.Just Beautiful..I guess Harlem was alwys depicted as a ghetto..Well it has changed a lot..We have been to a few Jazz clubs years ago..very mixed crowd..The Music,well I don't have to tell you..I wish you Much Success..The Girls are all of us..We could talk about Vixen for a long time,Just Glad "Ingenue "will be out soon!!!.. Best Susan

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Re: Questions for Vixen's author Jillian Larkin

Jillian - I finished Vixen over the weekend and I absolutely LOVED it.  I can't wait for Ingenue to come out.  I hope hope hope that Gloria and Jerome will beat the odds and stay together.  All of your characters are great and I have a love/hate relationship with all of them.  Thank you so much for giving all of us bookworms the opportunity to read Vixen.  I really did love it!!!

:smileyhappy:
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maxcat
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Re: Questions for Vixen's author Jillian Larkin

Thank you, Jillian about the race relations. But did you research how blacks were treated back then as far as being treated equally, etc.? I'm not black or a racist by any means. It's interesting what Gloria and Jerome might run into racially along the way.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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Re: Questions for Vixen's author Jillian Larkin

 

Thanks for answering this question, Jillian! We talked a bit about this on the first week of the discussion. You say, "Learning to come out of your shell, to break free of a situation you feel imprisoned by, is something each of the girls is trying to do in her own way." It just occurred to me that one of the powers of a vixen---a seductress---is the power she has over others. This is a power young women come into quite early in their lives. It's always struck me that this also makes them vulnerable, in the way that Lorraine is vulnerable in the book.

Jillian-Larkin wrote:

 

I don't think any one character is the "vixen" of the story. Learning to come out of your shell, to break free of a situation you feel imprisoned by, is something each of the girls is trying to do in her own way. Perhaps Gloria is making the most obvious steps towards vixen-hood, but Lorraine desperately desires that fate as well and Clara knows more than the other two about the reality of the party-all-day-and-night lifestyle. As I said in a previous answer, I also don't think the girl on the cover is a specific character: she is more evocative of a listless and wicked attitude many women were exhibiting during that period.

 

I'm glad you loved Clara! I love her too.

 

Best,

Jillian