Friday, April 17, 2020

Q&A with Tessa Arlen

From my Q&A with Tessa Arlen:
What non-literary inspirations have influenced your writing?

People made a great effort during the horrors of their war to enjoy themselves when they could. Going to the pictures (movies), dancing at nightclubs, or gathering around the radio in the evening to listen to ITMA (It’s That Man Again) a favorite wartime satire and wonderfully funny to this day. Village life in England in the 1940s was insular and centered around the community: church bazaars, village fetes, and cricket matches. But the heartbeat of the village was, and still is, the pub.

I watched the movies made during the war years, rather than the ones popular after it. Mrs. Miniver, with Greer Garson, was immensely helpful in showing the subtlety of wartime propaganda, and I love the stagey acting and the cut glass accents of the time. Did people of that generation really talk in that clipped, back-of-the-throat way?

The music of the 1940s was helpful, especially the American big band sound—there was such energy and intensity to American music then. But I think the...[read on]
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--Marshal Zeringue