I recently had the pleasure of reviewing Wentworth Hall by Abby Grahame
Wentworth Hall is a YA novel with a distinct Downton Abbey flair. Set at the turn of the century, Wentworth Hall is a fortress of secrets and deception. Through the Darlington family was once a wealthy, influential family, they have lost just about everything except their good name. But some of these secrets might be enough to ruin even that! If you haven’t done so already be sure to enter our giveaway (courtesy of Simon & Schuster) for a chance to win a copy of Wentworth Hall!
Abby also agreed to do an interview with me as well, so without further ado please welcome Abby Grahame to The Lit Bitch!
The Lit Bitch: Please tell us in one sentence, why we should read Wentworth Hall?
- Abby: It’s good, juicy, high-spirited, intriguing, period piece fun.
The Lit Bitch: Wentworth Hall has a distinct Downton Abbey feel, are you a fan of the show? If so, who is your favorite character and why?
- Abby: Love Downton Abbey! Lady Mary is far and away my favorite She is constantly straining against the confines of high society and yet embracing her privilege at the same time. That makes her a complex character. I love how she’s evolving.
The Lit Bitch: Which Wentwoth Hall character was your most favorite to write about? Was it easier to write the upstairs characters or the downstairs characters? Where there limitations to writing some of the characters because of there upstairs/downstairs positions?
- Abby: I liked Maggie Darlington because she was so strong and misunderstood but I also enjoyed her maid, Nora. Her unabashed gossipy nature was a hoot to write. I kept seeing her as being played by a younger Rosy O’Donnel. I didn’t see any limitations on either upstairs or downstairs. People are people. But the downstairs was more fun to write because their could be more raucous exchange between the characters. And, because of my own background, I have a more natural sympathy toward the downstairs crew.
The Lit Bitch: How much time did you devote to researching your novel? What do you find most intriguing about this time period? What do you love most about the upstairs/downstairs concept?
- Abby: Of course, the Internet has revolutionized research, although all sources have to be triple checked for accuracy. I have long had an interest in history and this period in particular, so I knew the events. The time period is endlessly fascinating because like in our time, technology was changing everything. That included the class system. People could actually rise above the station they had been born into. It was the time of electricity, cars, radio, telegraph, and huge “unsinkable” ocean liners. One of my favorite books on this subject is Distant Waves by Suzanne Weyn. What I kept having to double check is the clothing. The movie Titanic was a fun way to get the style right as were old magazines of the period. Even the underwear has to be right so it was challenging. For clothing it’s infinitely better to look at drawings and ads than to read about it.
The Lit Bitch: I really liked the way you utilized the news paper parody mirroring the real storyline, what was the inspiration for this portion of the storyline?
- Abby: It was integral to the storyline that someone was in a position to blackmail the Darlingtons but I wanted to do it in a way that was more interesting than a mere letter or confrontation. The use of satire let me have some real fun with the characters while also allowing the mystery and threat to mount.
The Lit Bitch: What are your plans for your next project? What are you currently working on?
- Abby: I am currently working on a follow up to Wentworth Hall. I think the saga should continue. I’m not exactly sure yet what form it will take.
The Lit Bitch: Who is your literary inspiration?
- Abby: Jane Austen, for certain. Rebecca West. Admire Louisa May Alcott.
The Lit Bitch: Do you like to write any other genres?
- Abby: This is my first published novel but writing science fiction also intrigues me.
The Lit Bitch: Who is your all time literary crush?
- Abby: Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre. The Byronic hero in all his glory.
The Lit Bitch: And of course the quintessential question I ask all authors….what advise do you have for aspiring authors/writers?
- Abby: Don’t give up. And, if possible, plan to take a job in publishing to get your foot in the door.