This is my first author Q&A after taking a break from blogging for a few months and these are always some of my favorite posts – I love getting to know authors and hearing about the inspiration behind their novels.
To celebrate the release of her new novel Platinum Doll, which just hit stores last week, we sat down with author Anne Girard and asked her questions about her new novel, her writing and even what she has coming up next. We are thrilled to have Anne on the blog today and we hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as we did!
Thank you so much for sitting down with Karen’s Korner for a Q&A session. What was your inspiration for Platinum Doll?
It’s my pleasure! I’m always inspired by true stories from history where I see that there is more than meets the eye. If there is an angle I can share that not a lot of people know, I’m really drawn to it. In the case of Jean Harlow, I hoped to make her a fully dimensional character rather than just the iconic doll-like beauty from photographs.
How do you feel your writing has changed since your first novel?
Great question. My writing has had to adapt to a gradually changing market. When I sold my first novel, it was during a period where historicals were allowed to be lush, detailed and long. Now, with paper costs, and the interest of readers in shorter more concise books, I have had to learn to pare down. I prefer my former style of writing, to be honest with you, but things change.
How long did it take you to write Platinum Doll?
From start to finish, including research and editing, I am generally given a year to write a novel, and that is about what it took for Platinum Doll.
What has been the best compliment you’ve received about any of your books?
It’s lovely when someone says they couldn’t put one of my books down. I think the best compliment though would have to be that after 23 years, they still love my first novel, Courtesan, and they’ve never forgotten it.
What is your writing process like? Do you write an outline before every book you write and do you write every day?
I write a very long and detailed outline, yes. When writing about real historical figures, that is essential because there are so many details and years to get right, and get in the proper order. I usually write between a 35-50 page outline. This is after I have read every possible biography I can get my hands on, as well as books on costume of the time, and current events of the time. I write five days a week. I need to catch my breath on the weekends!
I adore all your book covers and the cover of Platinum Doll is absolutely stunning (it may be one of my favorites.) Who designs them and how involved are you in the process?
The art department at my publishing house designs all the covers. Then it is a team decision, involving the editors and sales team. I’m never really involved initially but I have been known to speak up when something was inaccurate, or I absolutely hated it. After all, it’s my name that’s on the cover if it’s dreadful!
Do you have a favorite author, and what authors or books have inspired you to write?
There are too many fabulous authors who have inspired me to have only one (that would almost be like trying to choose a favorite child!), but some of them whose work have forever left their mark on my heart are Oscar Wilde, Edith Wharton, Irving Stone, and Karleen Koen.
What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
Do your homework as to what it takes to get published: attend seminars, read books on it, and then… write! You can’t sell something that isn’t on paper. And my favorite quote of all time for writers is: “The purpose of the first draft is not to get it right, it’s to get it written!”
If you’re allowed to tell us, what can your readers expect next? Are you currently working on anything new?
I will be going back to my Diane Haeger persona for the next book—another historical novel based on a wonderful and complex real character from history. I’m obsessed with the story already and can’t wait to be able to share it with readers. Stay tuned!
Diane Haeger, who currently writes under the pen name Anne Girard (Madame Picasso), holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature from UCLA. A chance meeting with the famed author Irving Stone 25 years ago sharply focused her ambition to tell great stories from history, and write them only after detailed research and extensive travel to the place her character lived. That determination has provided a fascinating journey that has taken her from the halls of Chenonceaux, to a private interview with one of Pablo Picasso’s last surviving friends, and most recently an invitation inside Jean Harlow’s home.
Since the publication of her acclaimed first novel, Courtesan, in 1993, a novel that remains in print today, her work has been translated into 18 different languages, bringing her international success and award-winning status.
Platinum Doll, a novel about Jean Harlow, is her 15th book. She lives in Southern California with her husband and family.
Connect with Anne:
- Website: http://www.dianehaeger.com/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annegirardauthor/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/annegirard1
- Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7563277.Anne_Girard
About Platinum Doll:
Set against the dazzling backdrop of Golden Age Hollywood, Platinum Doll tells the enchanting story of Jean Harlow, one of the most iconic stars in the history of film.
It’s the Roaring Twenties and seventeen-year-old Harlean Carpenter McGrew has run off to Beverly Hills. She’s chasing a dream—to escape her small, Midwestern life and see her name in lights. In California, Harlean has everything a girl could want—a rich husband, glamorous parties, socialite friends—except an outlet for her talent. But everything changes when a dare pushes her to embrace her true ambition—to be an actress on the silver screen.
With her timeless beauty and striking shade of platinum-blond hair, Harlean becomes Jean Harlow. And as she’s thrust into the limelight, Jean learns that this new world of opportunity comes with its own set of burdens. Torn between her family and her passion to perform, Jean is forced to confront the difficult truth—that fame comes at a price, if only she’s willing to pay it.
Featuring a glittering cast of ingénues and Hollywood titans—Clara Bow, Clark Gable, Laurel and Hardy, Howard Hughes—Platinum Doll introduces us to the star who would shine brighter than them all.
To celebrate the release of her new novel, Anne and her team have graciously provided one copy of Platinum Doll for a giveaway (US entries only). Enter to win via the Rafflecopter below: