Author Chat with Meghan Masterson (The Wardrobe Mistress)!

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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!

 
Meghan Masterson graduated from the University of Calgary and has worked several unrelated jobs while writing on the side. As a child, she gave her parents a flowery story about horses every year for Christmas. She is drawn to strong historical figures and situations which present unexpected opportunities for her characters. Meghan loves reading at all hours, cooking, and going for walks with her dog. She and her husband live in Calgary. Meghan is the author of The Wardrobe Mistress.
 
 
Meet The Wardrobe Mistress!
 
 
THE WARDROBE MISTRESS is Meghan Masterson's fascinating and visceral debut, an inside look at Marie Antoinette's luxurious life in Versailles remarkably juxtaposed against life in third estate as the French Revolution gains strength. A propulsive exploration of love, loyalty, danger, and intrigue...not to be missed.
It's Giselle Aubry's first time at court in Versailles. At sixteen, she is one of Marie Antoinette's newest undertirewomen, and in awe of the glamorous queen and her opulent palace life. A budding designer, it's a dream come true to work with the beautiful fabrics and jewels in the queen's wardrobe. But every few weeks she returns home to visit her family in Paris where rumors of revolution are growing stronger.
From her position working in the royal household, Giselle is poised to see both sides of the revolutionary tensions erupting throughout Paris. When her uncle, a retired member of the secret du roi, a spy ring that worked for the old King, Louis XV, suggests that she casually report the Queen’s actions back to him as a game, she leaps at the chance. Spying seems like an adventure and an exciting way to privately support the revolution taking the countryside by storm. She also enjoys using her insight from Versailles in lively debates with Léon Gauvain, the handsome and idealistic revolutionary who courts her.
But as the uprising continues to gain momentum, and Giselle grows closer to the Queen, becoming one of the few trusted servants, she finds herself dangerously torn. Violence is escalating; she must choose where her loyalty truly lies, or risk losing everything...maybe even her head.

 

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. 

 
 
 

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