Trouble In Glamour Town
by S.R. Mallery
Publication Date: November 12, 2017
eBook & Paperback; 202 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance/Mystery
Murder. Corruption. Romance.
Movie stars. A modern day TV shoot ‘em up? No. It’s 1926 Old Hollywood, and a film producer is gunned down in cold blood. In comes Rosie, a pretty bit-player, who, in spite of her stage-mother’s expectations, just longs to be happy. Silent screen idols Clara Bow, Gloria Swanson, Lon Chaney, and Rudolph Valentino float in and out, as Los Angeles’ corruption is exposed, the era described, and a chase to find the killer revs up before there’s another hit.
JS: Hi S.R., thanks so much for sharing Trouble in Glamour Town with us! I loved how you set the novel during the early days of Hollywood with its glitz and silent stars. Could you tell us a little about the inspiration behind your novel?
S.R.M: First of all, much thanks for such great questions. AND your wonderful review!
Growing up with a father who wrote scripts from the Golden Age of Television well into the 1970s, I have always appreciated Hollywood, not only for its famous movies and stars, but also because of his stories about going out to Los Angeles in the early thirties to try and get into the film world. He talked about the wonderful Red Cars traveling from downtown City Hall all the way out to Santa Monica and the Pacific Ocean. He described the gorgeous “Wannabe’s,” those starry-eyed, girls from all over the country, who, as often as not, would end up as waitresses at local drive-in diners before returning home. He also chuckled about the Hollywood parties he and his friend crashed, pretending to be ‘directors,’ so hopefully girls would go out with them. (He did admit it seldom worked).
But talkies were widespread by the 1930s. I became curious about the decade before that, when films and actors were silent, and in some ways, more expressive. And when I started my research and learned just how corrupt Los Angeles also was back then, that did it. 1926 it was!
JS: Trouble in Glamour Town is both murder mystery while highlighting the beauty of this lost era in history. Have you always been a fan of murder mysteries and do you have a personal favorite?
S.R.M: Actually, I have. I’ve enjoyed so many mysteries – on television, in films, and in books. I don’t have a personal favorite per se. And although in general, my books have not been mysteries (the exceptions were two short stories in my anthology, SEWING CAN BE DANGEROUS), I decided it was high time for me to write a complete novel that was an actual whodunit––but set in the past.
JS: I love how you seamlessly teach about the old stars like Lon Chaney for readers not as familiar with the era. As an author, who would you choose as your Old Hollywood mascot/avatar/spirit Animal?
S.R.M: It’s funny. Once I decided I was going to set Trouble In Glamour Town during the 1920s, I did what I always do when creating an historical book. I began reading, watching you-tube video clips, and researching about famous film people back then. I learned about Rudolph Valentino and his screaming fans, Mary Pickford not really being “America’s Sweetheart” behind closed doors, Gloria Swanson’s “grande” entrances, and so on and so forth. But the more I researched that era, the more I fell in love with Clara Bow and Lon Chaney. Why Lon Chaney, you may well ask? To me, his creativity and cleverness at makeup was astounding. Basically, he, alone, created an entire world of makeup special effects! And as for Clara Bow, her lovely, highly expressive face was riveting. I found out how, because she was a warm, free spirit and didn’t bend to the usual studio ‘rules,’ she was shunned by the rest of the Hollywood elite. Thus, I thought she would be a strong role model for my main female protagonist, who’s somewhat lost in her life.
JS: You have been a singer/composer, an award-winning quilter and an ESL/Reading Instructor. How would you say your life experiences have shaped your writing?
S.R.M: Because I started writing much later than most authors I know, I have, from time to time, wished I had begun much sooner. I would probably have at least ten more books in my stables. But recently, I’ve decided to embrace the fact that I was so varied in my work experience; it exposed me to people of all walks of life, and I have memories that still touch me greatly. It also has afforded me a basic view that works well with being an historical fiction writer: no matter the place or time, no matter the economic circumstances, people have been and always will be basically the same: kind and generous, as well as avaricious and mean. They just have worn different clothes and have used different vernacular!
JS: You mentioned wanting to work from home leading into writing professionally. What first led you to become a writer and what continues to drive you today?
S.R.M: Besides my father, I come from a family of writers, so for most of my adult life, I instinctively knew I wouldn’t touch that profession with a ten-foot pole. Too intimidating! Then, when my daughter was a teenager, I remember we were shopping for underwear in a department store. I got mine lickety-split. She took forever to decide. As I sat waiting outside the dressing rooms, I decided to try writing a short story. The year before my father had told me about the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911, where so many young immigrant seamstresses died. Being a quilter, that haunted me. With only a general idea of where I would go, I started in. When my daughter appeared forty-five minutes later and said, “I’m done, Mom. Sorry I took so long,” I looked up at her, in a fog. I was hooked. Have been writing ever since.
JS: Historical fiction at its best is backed with thorough research. Would you say your research for Trouble in Glamour Town impacted the story? How much of it is based in true events?
S.R.M: As my disclaimer says, my conversations were very loosely imagined based on what I read. Definitely not quotes. Other things I wrote about were accurate, such as how one started and cranked up an early Ford car, how the actors and actresses had to apply blue and yellow make-up because of the old lights and cameras, the City Hall corruption and its participants in Los Angeles back then, and also the vocabulary used, both in dialogues and even the narration. I realize it takes much longer to write historical fiction, but to me, the research is completely worth it!
JS: Are your main characters based on people you know, or do they live solely in your imagination?
S.R.M: I usually make up my main protagonists. I might use a trait here or there based on people I know but basically, it’s all from my non-stop, crazy mind. However, like in “Forrest Gump,” I enjoy dovetailing my main characters with actual people of the time.
JS: Could you share any upcoming projects you have planned next with us?
S.R.M: I’m currently working on two books. The first one is a novella called TENDER ENEMIES, which will be part of a boxed set entitled, LOVE UNDER FIRE, due out in November. Here is that book’s blurb:
It’s 1941 in New York City, a time before Pearl Harbor, when Nazi spies are everywhere in the U.S. and no one knows who’s working for whom. In comes beautiful Lily, paid to gather intelligence by setting up a “honey trap” for Joe Stiles, a supposed German infiltrator. Problem is, she soon faces a danger she isn’t prepared for––falling in love.
The second book is a sequel to my historical western romance, The Dolan Girls. Not sure when that will be coming out!
I also have a possible cozy/paranormal series in mind after that...we’ll seeeeeee.
JS: We can't wait for your next release! Thanks again for visiting with us today, and best of luck with the rest of your tour. Keep reading for a recap on my review, plus more about the author, below.
5 of 5 Stars
Truly great historical fiction rests in the little details, minute things that give authenticity. From the first scene in Trouble in Glamour Town, we are dropped into a past as troubled as today. A constant theme is in the contrasting grit buried beneath the surface glamour so present with the '20s.
Nostalgia abounds as we come across Old Hollywood starlets of the silent screen. I grew up on these films, thanks to my grandparents, so I knew them immediately. However, if you're a fan of the roaring twenties, but a little rusty on your cinema trivia, never fear. S.R. Mallery has written introductions and indications so effortlessly, you won't realize you're being educated. While I was familiar with Old Hollywood films and its stars, there was much about the industry at the time that I found fascinating. Clearly, Mallery has done her research.
I can't say enough about the writing here, really. This is a great story, everything you can want in your next read. The author's writing was so immersive, I easily stepped back into 1926. I loved how the mystery unveiled itself through multiple perspectives, giving us tastes of very visceral emotions.
Remember what I said about great historical fiction? Mallery is truly an author for readers to invest with. In Trouble in Glamour Town, S.R. Mallery has spun words into gold and given us an trip through time.
About the Author
S.R. Mallery, two-time READERS’ FAVORITE Gold Medal Winner, has been labeled nothing short of 'eclectic'. She has been a singer, a calligrapher, a quilt designer, and an ESL teacher. As a writer, History is her focus and is woven into her stories with a delicate thread. When people talk about the news of the day, or listen to music, her imagination likens the story to a similar kind of news in the past and is conjuring up scenes between characters she has yet to meet. S.R. Mallery's books include The Dolan Girls, Genteel Secrets, Unexpected Gifts, Sewing Can Be Dangerous And Other Small Threads, Tales to Count On, and Trouble in Glamour Town. For more information, please visit S. R. Mallery's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.
Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, May 7 Review at A Bookaholic Swede
Tuesday, May 8 Feature at View from the Birdhouse
Wednesday, May 9 Review at SilverWoodSketches
Thursday, May 10 Feature at Just One More Chapter
Monday, May 14 Review at Donna's Book Blog
Tuesday, May 15 Feature at So Many Books, So Little Time
Wednesday, May 16 Interview at SilverWoodSketches
Friday, May 18 Review at E. Lizard Breath Reads
Monday, May 21 Review at 100 Pages a Day
Tuesday, May 22 Feature at Broken Teepee
Thursday, May 24 Interview at Passages to the Past
Friday, May 25 Review at A Chick Who Reads & Review at LadyJ's Bookish Nook