Thursday, August 10, 2017

"The Dress in the Window"

Called a "writing machine" by the New York Times and a "master storyteller" by the Midwest Book Review, Sofia Grant has written dozens of novels for adults and teens under the name Sophie Littlefield. She has won Anthony and RT Book Awards and been shortlisted for Edgar®, Barry, Crimespree, Macavity, and Goodreads Choice Awards. Grant/Littlefield works from an urban aerie in Oakland, California.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, The Dress in the Window, and reported the following:
It’s a particular challenge to write a seduction scene set in the 1950s, when social conventions and mores were quite different, and the particulars of human sexual congress were often veiled and denied. But it was important to this scene to show that Jeanne, a thirty-ish career woman, has decided to take the reins in the loss of her virginity, after suffering all manner of tragedies including the loss of her fiancé.

How would such a woman signal to a man she did not know well that she was willing to have sex with him? Far more subtly, it seems to me, than she might in 2017—when a direct invitation or vigorous twerk might do the trick.

This is how Jeanne navigates her first date with a friend of a friend:
It was Ralph who asked if she might like a second cocktail when their entrees came, but it was Jeanne who finished hers while unblinkingly holding his gaze.

It was Ralph who ordered the cheesecake with strawberry crème, but it was Jeanne who offered him the last bit on the spoon she’d licked clean.

It was Ralph who suggested a post-dinner walk in the square…but it was Jeanne who paused in front of the lion statue with her face upturned in the gilded lamplight. Ralph kissed her, tenderly at first, then less so half an hour later in the elevator of his building, to which they had taken a heady cab ride with her hand under his shirt.
This passage reflects both the tone I aimed for throughout the book, and the mood of the era as reflected by my research. There is an undercurrent of faint despair which drives the women in the novel to do things they might never have considered before war changed their lives forever.
Visit Sofia Grant's website.

Writers Read: Sofia Grant.

--Marshal Zeringue