Fiona Davis's new novel is The Dollhouse.
From her Q&A with Deborah Kalb:
Q: Why did you decide to focus on the Barbizon Hotel in your novel?Visit Fiona Davis's website.
A: I was looking for an apartment in New York City, and my broker took me to see a gorgeous condo in the Barbizon building. Although I had a general idea of its history, I returned home and immediately Googled it to find out more.
When I learned that a small number of hotel residents still lived there in rent-controlled apartments on the fourth floor, I realized I had the makings of a novel. The juxtaposition of old and new New York was too juicy to resist.
Q: What kind of research did you need to do to recreate the New York City of the 1950s, and what surprised you most in the course of your research?
A: I tried to immerse myself in that time period, including taking a series of classes in bebop jazz at Jazz at Lincoln Center, reading books about the early ‘50s, and watching old movies.
I studied the fashions and also read newspapers from that era to get a sense of what people were nervous about and what kind of changes were sweeping the city.
I was amazed at the way women...[read on]