Cathy Marie Buchanan's new novel is The Painted Girls.
From her Q & A with NPR's Scott Simon:
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:Learn more about the book and author at Cathy Marie Buchanan's website.
Just who is the "Little Dancer, Aged 14" - the actual girl, cast in two-thirds of her life size, in Edgar Degas' sculpture? That little dancer was Marie Van Goethem, one of three sisters left to fend for themselves after their father dies and their mother devotes much of what she earns as a washerwoman toward absinthe to dull her days. But it's the era of Belle Epoque in Paris, a time remembered for gaslights and glitter. Cathy Marie Buchanan has written a novel that tells the story of the sisters behind the masterpiece, "The Painted Girls." And Cathy Marie Buchanan, author of the previous bestseller, "The Day the Fall Stood Still," joins us from the CBC studios in Toronto. Thanks so much for being with us.
CATHY MARIE BUCHANAN: My pleasure.
SIMON: Did you see one of the wax reproductions that are in museums around the world and say, there's a novel?
BUCHANAN: What happened was I was watching a documentary that focused on "Little Dancer, Aged 14." And I learned about sort of the seedier side of the Paris opera and also about the pervasion of the young girl, Marie van Goethem, who modeled for the sculpture. It certainly flew in the face of my notions about ballet as a sort of a high-minded pursuit. And I became quite fascinated with the idea of telling this young girl's story.
SIMON: And help us understand the Paris Opera Ballet at the time. For example, there were "protectors and admirers" I put that in quotes, euphemisms that would come to the ballet.
BUCHANAN: Many of the young girls at the ballet were...[read on...or listen to the interview]
The Page 69 Test: The Painted Girls.
My Book, The Movie: The Painted Girls.
Writers Read: Cathy Marie Buchanan.