Yes, Kathryn Jordan is me, Katharine Kerr. People ask me why I put a different name on FLICKERS, my new book due out from Kensington Press at the end of March. The book is so different from all my other work that I wanted to avoid confusing possible readers. Someone who enjoyed FLICKERS might be appalled by the violence in DAGGERSPELL, for instance, while someone who loves the Deverry books might not care for this straightforward historical novel.
FLICKERS takes place in Southern California at the beginning of the Twentieth Century when the new industry of the silent film was just taking shape. The book opens in 1913. Film studios stood scattered up and down the California coast. (Hollywood was still a “temperance town” founded on strict Baptist principles.) My fictional town of Santa Luisa, based on Santa Barbara, has only a few sources of jobs and incomes: the lemon groves, the movies, and the little colony of very rich people who have built winter homes to escape the snows of New York and New England.
At the core of the book lies a love story, between the daughter of one of these rich families and a young cameraman at the studio. Violet’s family pressured her very young to marry a respectable businessman, but she can’t forget the boy she loved as a child and teenager. Jack can’t forget her, either, and schemes to pry her away from her husband, even though divorce is a terrible, scandalous thing in her time and world.
As important as the love story, though, are the flickers, as the films were known. The “movies” in those days were the people themselves who made the films. Violet’s brother-in-law, Tip Rediston, gets drawn into this new world as he makes a name for himself as an actor, a handsome leading man who gets fan letters from lovesick young girls. But Tip has a secret that’s even more scandalous than divorce in this time and world, one that could even send him to prison.
The three of them find themselves drifting away from the safe little worlds in which they were raised. It’s dangerous enough — and then comes World War One to change everything.
FLICKERS by Kathryn Jordan, ebook for 4.95, POD great big thick trade paperback for $24.95. From the Lyric division of Kensington Press, available March 29, 2016.