They were unladylike rebels, three young women abandoning rolling pins for baseball bats to join the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. They changed history and that changed them. After the league folds in 1954 Nola, Fran, and Evie meet by chance on a popcorn-scented summer day where it all began…Wrigley Field, Chicago. They team up once again to fight for a pivotal cause these dames can only win by uniting as one.
Inside these ball players lies a fierce beauty, an unconventional destiny beyond the kitchen. Foregoing the American dream of sparkling cars and pastel suburbia, together they face up to the reality of nuclear drills and civil rights. Their story is uncovered nearly forty years later when Jacks Demonte discovers a trail of clues tucked away in a vintage handbag. The extraordinary lives of these women intersect with Demonte’s as she falls deeper into a heroic past.
Hello book lovers! Today is a day where I will be writing another author spotlight for a well-accomplished author whose work I have loved. As you know book lovers I love learning about authors and the inspiration behind their work, it fascinates me and adds to the depth of the book because the reader will be able to better understand it. That is how the author spotlights were created because I soon discovered that you lovely readers ALSO love learning about author’s, so I am excited to tell you a little bit more about author Britt Skrabanek whose book Nola Fran Evie charmed and captivated me from beginning to end. I personally would recommend this book to all of those that love historical fiction with poignant themes but really the book can be read by anybody as it is flawlessly written and highly enjoyable. With today’s author spotlight for Britt Skrabanek, a biography of the author and an interview between us both will be shared, and I hope that you book lovers enjoy reading it! To kick this off here is an author bio about the wonderful Britt Skrabanek!
Britt Skrabanek is the author of Nola Fran Evie, Everything’s Not Bigger, and Beneath the Satin Gloves. She lives in Portland, Oregon where she runs Superneat Marketing with her business partner/husband. The rare times she’s not writing away at her laptop, she’s hitting the reset button—on her yoga mat, in ballet class, with her cats, on a hiking trail, or wandering somewhere on the other side of the world.
Now, how wonderful does Britt Skrabanek sound?! The author is a truly exceptional writer and I hope that you lovely readers have a read of the author’s work because you will not regret it! Please see below an interview between us both, I hope that you enjoy the author’s answers to my questions, they are incredible and provide some great advice too!
Could you please tell us readers about your book and what inspired you to write your book?
Ah, I love telling the story behind the story of Nola Fran Evie. I sure as hell didn’t find this particular story—the story found me. I have always adored vintage clothing. Back when I was living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I bought a vintage handbag. That handbag turned out to be a treasure chest of inspiration.
I discovered vintage artifacts from 1954 within this handbag. Hidden between two compartments were two baseball tickets from August 22, 1954, and a voting receipt. On the back of the voting receipt was a shopping list in a woman’s handwriting that said:
Suddenly I was linked to a woman from the past. I pictured three different women who owned the handbag—Nola, Fran, and Evie. I mirrored these characters after Grace Kelly (Nola), Audrey Hepburn (Fran), and Marilyn Monroe (Evie), who were all experiencing their heyday during the 1950s.
The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League actually folded in 1954, the same year as the baseball game this woman with the vintage handbag attended. I know the movie A League of Their Own by heart, but I also exclusively write about badass female characters. All of the pieces of the story fell into place so naturally.
As I dug my heels into research about the women in the league, I was hooked. At first, the league was considered a girly spectacle. However, during the league’s peak year in 1948, these “girls” had 910,000 paid fans—nothing to sneeze at.
When the war ended, the boys came home and the girls were sent back to the kitchen. Many of the women in the league were not jazzed up about making pies and babies, as if the roles they stepped into during the war never happened. But that was exactly what they were expected to do.
So, what happened to these women? Nola Fran Evie follows the life of three women who knew each other during the league and what happened to their lives afterward. Primarily set in the summer of 1954 in Chicago, this story is a tribute to strong women who never stopped fighting for equal footing for themselves and others in the throes of social discrimination.
What would your advice be for aspiring writers?
Let’s be real…writing is a pretty loveless endeavor. You hole up in your writer’s cave in your coffee-stained, cat-hair covered sweatpants, looking like a hot mess. Meanwhile, everyone else is having Sunday brunch, frolicking outside with their dogs, or curled up with a book by the fireplace.
My advice to other writers never changes…do it for the love. Don’t write for the sake of ambition, or to be accepted by others. Certainly, don’t write for fortune and glory. Write for yourself. We all began writing because of “the love.”
For me, I started off writing in a little white journal, with colorful hears and a lock and key. I used to stay up late with a flashlight under the sheets and write complete nonsense. Don’t ever lose that childish energy and honesty.
In your opinion, what is the most important thing about a book?
Having an impact. Escapism and entertainment only go so far. We live in a hyper-customizable world and there are limitless choices for readers. A piece of a story—even a small piece—should stay with someone.
What is your writing process like?
My writing process is cyclical…and sporadic. There are times when I experience immense waves of creativity and determination, so I ride those waves until the end. When I don’t have that kind of energy, I don’t try to force it anymore. I’m just not as militant about writing anymore, because that method only stifles the outcome.
There are highs and lows—as a a writer, you can’t be “on” all the time. I’m already a content marketer, and I have to keep that switch on every day of the week. With my creative writing, I need to be more forgiving.
During those low times, I focus on finding inspiration. I took a yoga class recently where the instructor said, “If you’re lacking creativity in your life, put yourself directly in the path of inspiration.” I love that to pieces.
Inspiration is different for all of us. For me, that might mean studying costumes and scenes from a film set in the 1940s for book research, taking a chaotic walk through the city to observe human behavior, or traveling to a foreign country where I can lose myself in unfamiliarity.
It’s equally important to protect your creative mind as much as you can. What I mean by that is being careful about doing the opposite of the yoga instructor’s advice by trudging down some uninspiring life path.
Running my business Superneat Marketing is tough work, but I love it and I learn from it. When I wasn’t challenging myself at my job, boredom got the best of me. It drained me, and my creativity suffered as a result. On that same note, if I work too much and don’t spend enough time on my creative writing, my life feels completely out of whack…then everything suffers.
I actually don’t think the creative mind is all that complex. I think it’s delicate, like a flower that can open toward the sun or close back up. If we take care of our creative mind, it won’t just survive…it will grow.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
My reading habits have become very odd over the past few years. I used to be an avid reader. Now between my creative profession writing blogs and books, and my business profession as a content strategist, I find it nearly impossible to relax with a book at the end of a long day. We’re talking non-stop reading, writing, and editing.
I have really gotten into podcasts and I usually listen to the Tim Ferriss Show in the bathtub on weeknights. I’ve always been a movie buff and today we have all of these cinematic TV series to enjoy.
To be frank, I draw a lot of creative inspiration here. I’m not ashamed to say that I have binge-watched all of these fantastic shows over the past two years: Outlander, Babylon Berlin, The Man in the High Castle, The Handmaid’s Tale, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
I will tell you the authors I do love, because they have certainly influenced my writing. Ken Follett for his entertaining, page-turning reads, Ian McEwan for his lyricism, and Margaret Atwood for her “take no prisoners” approach.
Lastly, when can we readers expect to read more wonderful books from you?
One of these years—holy smokes! I’ve been puttin’ around with my fourth novel, Virasana, which has been finished since…wait for it…January 2018. I know!
I self-published my other three novels way back in 2012 and 2014. This time I had a major itch to get traditionally published. At this point in my writer’s life, I’ve learned to slow things down a touch and not be too eager to rush my work to publication.
I sent bits and pieces of Virasana to a few agents last fall and got denied—waah-waah. Allegedly, you’re supposed to query 100 times before you give up. I have 97 more email queries to go…cheers to that.
Virasana is a total departure from the historical fiction I tend to write. It’s a fantasy dystopian novel set in Port City (a futuristic Portland, Oregon) during a time when love has been outlawed. Virasana harnesses this secret power to command nature (she’s half Pocahontas and half Poising Ivy), and she learns she must become the hero that saves Port City.
Early beta readers have called Virasana a cross between The Hunger Games and The Handmaid’s Tale. I’m sure I still have a long road ahead of me to find an agent or publisher who is willing to take this one on. Anyway, writing is an epic adventure. Guess I’ll just have to wait and see what happens in the next chapter.
Its official book lovers, I am obsessed with Britt Skrabanek! If you have liked what you have read about the author and are interested in learning more about Britt Skrabanek, then please do have a browse of the links below and be sure to have a read of the preview too! You will not regret it.
Goodbye for now book lovers,