Q&A: Jen Turano
Eliza Sumner is chasing the man who stole her life. Hamilton Beckett feels like he's chasing his tail trying to keep his business afloat and take care of his two children all by himself. In A Change Of Fortune, by Jen Turano, the two join forces and discover that they have a common enemy, all of their plans start to unravel... and they just might be ok with that.
WHAT WERE YOUR GOALS WHEN WRITING A CHANGE OF FORTUNE?
My main objective with writing books is to entertain. I hope to provide readers with an amusing story that will allow them a short escape from the problems of everyday life.
WHAT IS THE SETTING FOR THIS BOOK? WHAT ABOUT THIS HISTORICAL SETTING AND PERIOD PIQUED YOUR INTEREST?
A Change of Fortune is set in New York City, 1880. High society at that time was evolving due to the fortunes men were making in industry. Ladies of new wealth were vying for positions within the city, which, I have to imagine, led to very interesting shenanigans. Department stores were coming into vogue, and that circumstance changed how ladies shopped, dressed and socialized. The poor of the city lived an abysmal existence, with little to no sewage systems, and tight living quarters. For me, I wanted to write a series that dealt with the elite, while at the same time, bringing in a little of the difficulties facing the downtrodden.
DID YOU DO ANY SPECIAL RESEARCH FOR THIS NOVEL? HOW FAMILIAR WERE YOU WITH THIS PERIOD BEFORE YOU WROTE THE BOOK?
I had to do quite a bit of research for this book, and I have to send out a huge thanks to the ladies at the Parker Library, who helped me tremendously in tracking down information. I was somewhat familiar with this period, having done a few papers on the fashions of this time back in college. Unfortunately, that was a very long time ago, so I had to really buckle down and learn about this period, and not allow myself to get too distracted by the research because I did need to write the book.
WHERE DO YOU DRAW THE LINE BETWEEN HISTORICAL ACCURACY AND TAKING DRAMATIC LICENSE?
Hmm, that’s a tough question. I’ve always enjoyed heroines who are strong, capable women. Having said that, in 1880 women were not allowed to vote, their rights were incredibly limited, and proper ladies were expected to be, well, proper, at all times. My female characters don’t really adhere to that pesky rule, so in that regard, yes, I’ve taken a few dramatic licenses. I have to hope though, that there were women who got up to mischief on a regular basis, because a mischievous woman is so incredibly interesting.
WHAT ARE THE LESSONS OF THAT ERA THAT ARE STILL RELEVANT TO READERS TODAY?
I think one of the greatest lessons can be seen in the diligent work ladies did to promote the suffrage movement. They were not well-thought of by the gentlemen of that time, and yet, they believed in their cause. Their efforts allowed the women of this country the right to vote – not for another forty years, but still, women finally did achieve success. During these troubling times, women need to remember the effort extended by our ancestors, and remember that voting is a privilege that we, as women, should not ignore.