When I learned I’d be writing a story set in the 1920’s, I knew I’d have to do a ton of research. I’d only ever written contemporary stories, so I expected the research to be a challenge. What I didn’t expect was how much fun it would be. I learned all sorts of interesting facts about the time period, and while some of them made it into my story, not all of them did.
One of the most intriguing tidbits I ran across was when I researched Bellevue. I needed a scene in a morgue, and I learned that there was a morgue in Bellevue, so I wanted to learn all I could about it. In 1919, German spy Fritz Joubert Duquesne escaped from the prison ward after faking paralysis for two years. Can you imagine how determined and sly you’d have to be to pull off something like that? Since my story was set in 1924, I couldn’t really use the event, at least not in ‘real time’ but I was so fascinated by it, that I had to mention it, so I had my hero think about the news item from a few years prior as he pulled up to the hospital.
I also had a blast with the terminology. The 1920’s lingo was pretty creative and colorful. Some of my favorites were: panther piss and coffin varnish (both are terms for rotgut bootleg alcohol), palooka (a below-average boxer), kisser (mouth), flat tire (boring person), short skirt (lady of the evening), Sheba (a good looking ‘dame’) and of course, bee’s knees, which I’m sure everyone has heard, maybe even used a few times. J
We’d already decided to set our stories in 1924 before we realized it was an election year. We managed to touch on the election, briefly, and one fun thing I discovered was that one of the slogans for Republican nominee Calvin Coolidge was ‘Keep cool with Coolidge’ and I just had to work that in. I also found out that 1924 was the first year for the Macy’s Day Parade, although I’m afraid that didn’t end up in my novella. After all, there are only so many non-related facts one can cram into a story, regardless of how fascinating they are. J
What are some interesting historical facts you’ve learned that have stuck with you?
Ruined (Martini Club 4 – The 1920’s)
by Alicia Dean
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She vowed she’d be no man’s doxy, but fate had other plans…
After the Earl of Goodwin attempts to force himself on her, housemaid Eliza Gilbert flees England for New York, hoping to build a better life. But the land of opportunity proves as harsh as the London docks, and she finds herself in a situation more dreadful than the one she escaped.
When Vince Taggart’s childhood friend disappears, he heads to New York in search of her and meets Eliza, a woman with a less than honorable reputation. Inexplicably captivated, Vince can’t force himself to stay away, especially when he learns Eliza may be the key to finding his missing friend.
Award-winning, multi-published author Alicia Dean began writing stories as a child. At age 11, she wrote her first ever romance (featuring a hero who looked just like Elvis Presley, and who happened to share the name of Elvis’ character in the movie, Tickle Me), and she still has the tattered, pencil-written copy. Alicia is from Moore, Oklahoma and now lives in Edmond. She has three grown children and a huge network of supportive friends and family. She writes mostly contemporary suspense and paranormal, but has also written in other genres, including a few vintage historicals. She is a freelance editor in addition to being an editor for The Wild Rose Press.
Other than reading and writing, her passions are Elvis Presley, MLB, NFL (she usually works in a mention of one or all three into her stories) and watching her favorite televisions shows like Vampire Diaries, Justified, Sons of Anarchy, Haven, New Girl, The Mindy Project, and Dexter (even though it has sadly ended, she will forever be a fan). Some of her favorite authors are Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Lee Child, Lisa Gardner, Sharon Sala, Jordan Dane, Ridley Pearson, Joseph Finder, and Jonathan Kellerman…to name a few.
About Alicia Dean
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