Jill Shure kindly agreed to answer some questions about her books for me.
1)† What first gave you the idea for a time travel, romance set during the Great Depression?† What made you decide to have Jeri go back in time to the Great Depression, rather than, say, the bombing of Pearl Harbor or the Civil War?†
Jill: When I started with Night Jazz, the first in the series, I wanted to use time travel which was not only very exciting to me but very popular at the time I wrote the book.† But I wanted to break with tradition and write a novel during the 1920s, a period which has fascinated me ever since I was a child and loved TV shows such as The Untouchables and The Roaring Twenties. I loved the jazz music, the clothes, the writers of that age like Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Maugham, and Sinclair Lewis. And once I embarked on that period I fell in love with the infinite newness of that age from the introduction of radio to the discovery of "talkies," films with sound. Night Glitter was the logical follow up. Because in the first book, I used the 1929 Stock Market Crash and those last glory days of the 1920s as well as the early years of the Great Depression.† So the second novel had to be deep into the Great Depression which was incredibly interesting in its own right.
2)† Suspense and romance are definitely part of the book, but since there is time travel involved do you consider Night Glitter to be more of a romance or fantasy?
Jill: I know that in today's world we have to categorize our books so I'd pick romance because the fantasy element is used sparingly. However, I would really call this a novel in the old sense that it has all the elements of a novel with a few bonuses thrown in.
3)† Once you get an idea how do you develop and organize all the thought that go through your head?† Do you cluster, freewrite, do character sketches, etc.?†
Jill: I do anything and everything that works. I start out by writing a number of pages until I have an idea set up. Then I write small outlines, character sketches, and a lot of material I eventually toss. It's an amazing puzzle at the beginning and loads of fun.†
4)† Do you have family members who lived through the Great Depression that helped you out with research, who told you exactly what it was like to live during those turbulent times?
Jill: Yes, I had a maternal grandfather, long gone, who demonstrated how much a dollar meant. Just the way he acted always told me that he'd seen people struggle and perhaps struggled himself. My father once told me about my other grandfather who sold short before the market of 1929 collapsed and so he didn't have any worries. He lent money to friends in trouble during the 1930s.
5)† I noticed that in Night Jazz there was hardly any bad language, but in Night Glitter the bad language flowed a bit more freely.† What was the reason for the increase in colorful language?† Was it because the story was taking† place during the Great Depression?
Jill: You are so right. I think people encouraged me to write a sexier, even earthier book the second time, so I gave myself a little more leeway and allowed more bad language, especially in the brothel.
6)† Is there a message you are trying to get across through the Jeri Devlin books or are you just wanting to tell a great story?†
Jill: Basically I'm just trying to achieve an entertaining book. But I suppose Jeri's struggles are ageless because women often end up at the bottom of the economic heap in many instances, in many ages, and therefore to prostitution to survive. Although I see Jeri as a fighter who works throughout Night Jazz when she can. But in 1932, during the worst of the Great Depression, many men and women just couldn't find work. Today we're facing around ten percent joblessness. It was twenty-five percent then, with fewer benefit programs for the poor and hungry.
7)† Will there be any more Jeri Devlin books in the future?
Jill: I certainly hope so. It's a large undertaking but I have ideas for the next one, so we'll see.
8)† What are you working on now?
Jill: I'm working on the second book in my mystery series and some odds and ends for the first in the series, A Clause for Murder.
Thank you so much for interviewing me, Lisa! I certainly hope that you all will check out Night Jazz and Night Glitter.
Visit www.jillshure.com for more information about Jill Shure and Night Glitter, as well as free recipe cards from Jillís book Night Caps, and more!