Today we're excited to chat with Meghan Masterson, author of The Wardrobe Mistress. Read on for more about Meghan and her book, plus a giveaway.
Meet Meghan Masterson!
A Chat with Meghan Masterson:
1. What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
It was a combination of wanting to write about Marie Antoinette in all her doomed glamour, discovering the world of French Revolutionary fashion through the ‘wardrobe women’ of her household, and the allure of a historic spy ring called the secret du roi.
Originally I thought my protagonist would work in the kitchen at Versailles, but in my early research, I learned about Marie Antoinette’s wardrobe women – since she had so many clothes and had to dress for so many different functions, it was a real job to take care of all the garments. I also became fascinated with French revolutionary fashion. As tricolor (red, white, and blue) became more popular, a person’s revolutionary support – or lack of – could be easily demonstrated by their outfit.
2. Who is your favorite character in the book?
I had fun writing Geneviève. She’s so feisty, and was always trying to take charge. She ended up having a larger role in the story than I originally anticipated. I enjoyed the contrast between her and Giselle. Geneviève is a much more fervent revolutionary, always looking for change even if it’s scandalous, and she doesn’t have any nostalgia for tradition. I feel like that makes her the opposite of me, since my love of history goes hand in hand with some fondness for traditions.
3. What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
I’m most proud of the scene where Marie Antoinette faces the guillotine. Some of the details, such as her clothing and the way she lost her shoe are historically accurate, and I hope I’ve managed to find a good storytelling balance between emotion and truth.
4. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
It ties into a quote I read in an interview with Ursula Le Guin. “When people say, ‘Did you always want to be a writer?’, I have to say, ‘no! I always was a writer.’ ” This resonated with me because it made me realize I should stop trying to qualify myself by using other people’s markers of success. Having that enlightening boost of confidence made my writing better. It gave me courage to take some risks if I thought it was the right choice for the story as a whole.
5. What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I loved the cover from the moment I first saw it. I think it’s very beautiful. I love the colors, in particular the way the red necklace draws the eye and hints at the danger of the guillotine.
6. What was your favorite book in 2016?
It’s difficult to pick just one, but I really enjoyed Weina Dai Randel’s “The Moon in the Palace”, about China’s Empress Wu.
7. What’s up next for you?
I have two potential projects, another historical and a historical/fantasy crossover. I’m not sure yet which one will be next, but I love them both. I’ve got a few other ideas I can’t wait to work on as well.
8. Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
I won’t go into too much detail because I don’t want to give spoilers, but as Giselle and Léon’s relationship progresses, their different political ideals become more of a problem. Deep down, Giselle knows it and that’s why she tries to rush certain aspects of their relationship. Eventually, those cracks can’t be ignored anymore, and I found that scene a bit emotionally draining to write.
9. Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
They’re very different, and I like them both. Drafting is exciting and creative, but revising helps me understand the ‘big picture’ of the story instead of being swamped in the details, and usually by the time revisions come around, I’m ready for a break from drafting.