Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Interview w/ Deeanne Gist--the Tiffany Girls, dyslexia and a TON of tomatoes

As preparations for the 1893 World’s Fair set Chicago and the nation on fire, Louis Tiffany—heir to the exclusive Fifth Avenue jewelry empire—seizes the opportunity to unveil his state-of-the-art, stained glass, mosaic chapel, the likes of which the world has never seen.

But when Louis’s dream is threatened by a glassworkers’ strike months before the Fair opens, he turns to an unforeseen source for help: the female students at the New York Art Institute. Eager for adventure, the young women pick up their skirts, move to boarding houses, take up steel cutters, and assume new identities as the “Tiffany Girls.”

Tiffany Girls is the heartwarming story of the impetuous Flossie Jayne, a beautiful, budding artist who is handpicked by Louis to help complete the Tiffany chapel. Though excited to live in a boarding house when most women stayed home, she quickly finds the world is less welcoming than anticipated. From a Casanova male, to an unconventional married couple, and a condescending singing master, she takes on a colorful cast of characters to transform the boarding house into a home while racing to complete the Tiffany chapel and make a name for herself in the art world.

As challenges mount, her ambitions become threatened from an unexpected quarter: her own heart. Who will claim victory? Her dreams or the captivating boarder next door?

Amazon | Book Depository | BAM | Goodreads

Good morning Deeanne! So excited to have you joining the Herd today to chat about Tiffany Girl. I set up tea and cookies on the patio so come on back. *pours a spot of tea* Alright, now,if you had 10 seconds to hook someone what would you tell them about Flossie and her journey?
Flossie was a New Woman in the 1890s—meaning she moved away from her family’s home and got a job before she was married. (That was totally taboo during her time). She’s an only child who was told her whole life that she was above average, and she gets a rude awakening when she strikes out into the real world and realizes that she’s not quite as “special” as she thought.
I just adored her. Can you tell us 3 interesting/unique/fun/etc behind-the-scenes facts about Tiffany Girl? Think Pop-Up Video style.

  • The Tiffany Girls had an exhibit at the Women’s Building at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair 
  • Louis Comfort Tiffany took credit for the Tiffany Girls’ work, and it wasn’t discovered that women were behind some of Tiffany’s most iconic designs until 2005. (Tiffany Girl tells their story.)
  • Tiffany Girls and other “New Women” had to fight “bustle pinchers”--men who groped them inappropriately--while traveling to work in New York City’s streetcars. Men felt justified in their actions, because New Women were assumed to be loose women—otherwise they’d have stayed at home where they “belong.”

Gah. I would just not have done well back then. Amazing what they went through. Was there anything you found when researching the book that just surprised or floored you?
The fact that the Tiffany Girls’ story was forgotten until 2005 and that men were taking credit for all their work!
Oh wow! That's amazing. Glad the truth of things was brought back to light. What was your absolute favorite thing about Flossie?
Her love for life.
I loved that glow about her :) If you could spend a day with Flossie either in her time or ours what would yall do?
We would totally go shopping.
Oh that would be so fun! What was one of the biggest obstacle in your life you've overcome? And do you think it influenced your life as a writer?
Dyslexia has been a huge obstacle in my life. And though I have a handle on it now, it has definitely influenced my life as a writer. I still shake my head when I think about the fact that I have built my career around the written word. Whodathunk? 
It's really amazing how life turns out like that sometimes. When you're not deep in your writing world what kinds of things keep you busy?
I love crafting, reading, doing puzzles and spending time with my man!
Aw. That sounds pretty perfect. I saw there are herd pups! We're all about the herd here. Can you tell us about them? Do they help with your writing?
My dog Cowboy has quite the personality. He definitely doesn’t help with my writing. More often than not, he interferes. Sometimes, I don’t even realize he’s been pestering me until I’m done writing for the day and look around to see that he’s left four toys scattered near my desk. 
LOL what a cutie! That's adorable that he brings you his toys.

Favorite historical photo?
Raising the flag over Iwo Jima. Moves me every single time I look at it. 

Favorite "couldn't live without it" snack?
Anything chocolate.
Oh man. Me too! *noms* Best "burning soup" moment?
One time, I thought my recipe said 110 oz can of tomatoes instead of 1-10 oz can of tomatoes. You should have seen me loading up my grocery cart. My husband watched me, horrified. We were newlyweds and on a very tight budget. “Soup is supposed to be for poor people!” he’d said. “This is going to cost a fortune!” And it did. LOL.
LOL oh my word. That is a LOT of tomatoes! I'm completely freaked out by?
If you could live in any time...when and where would you choose?
I’d love to sneak back and visit the 1893 World’s Fair, but only for those six months, because living through the depression that was going on during the ’90s isn’t something I would choose or wish on anyone.
That would be amazing. I'd love to see that as well. The perfect meal...
The one my husband made for our 25th anniversary. He made Indonesian food (my favorite!) and set the table by candlelight. It was SO much better than going to some crowded, noisy restaurant!
Oh my gosh. That does sound like the perfect meal. Congrats on your 25 years! What's coming up next for you now that Tiffany Girls has been released?
A long nap.
LOL I bet! Thanks so much for coming by for a visit Deeanne! Hope you have a lovely day...and a nice nap!

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