Act One of my novel, The Life Fantastic, takes place in Brattleboro, Vermont, in 1913. I’m excited to share this story, and its background, with folks at the Brattleboro Literary Festival on October 14. Some of the settings in the novel will be familiar to those who live in or near Brattleboro now—including the Estey Organworks, which manufactured parlor organs that were popular all over the country. (Estey’s buildings have been preserved as National Historic Landmarks.) The organ business thrived during the years before the Victrola was invented. Many families could read music and enjoyed singing popular songs around an organ at home.
Estey’s eight long buildings hummed with activity and the company was Brattleboro’s biggest employer. But if you come to my talk, you’ll find out why Teresa, my narrator, is appalled when her father—who works at Estey—demands that she accept a job in the tuning rooms. To Teresa, a singer with “a voice like a nightingale” who longs for the lights of Broadway, working at Estey would feel like going to prison. What should she do?
Come to my talk to find out. Hope to see you there!
What do Charlie Chaplin, Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, Bob Hope, Ma Rainey, Mae West, Fred Astaire, and Gingers Rogers have in common with Liza Ketchum’s great-grandparents? They all started out in vaudeville!
While Liza’s ancestors never became famous, the story of her great-grandparents’ elopement—and its consequences—inspired her most recent book, The Life Fantastic: A Novel in Three Acts. The story takes place in 1913, when vaudeville was America’s most popular form of entertainment and Teresa LeClair, a singer with “a voice like a nightingale,” dreams of stardom on Broadway’s “Great White Way.”
Join Liza at the Dorset Village Library as she shares the story behind the novel and its connection to issues that resonate today. All ages welcome!
Dorset Village Library: Rte 30, Dorset, VT: Saturday, July 8 at 3:00 PM
Manny Ramirez, who provided an all-star homer, gets the all-star treatment at the 2004 World Series victory parade. By Schmiddy at en.wikipedia (Uploaded to the English Wikipedia by the author.) [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons
Manny Ramirez was the sole Red Sox starter on the 2004 All-Star team.
However, Manny and David Ortiz contributed key homers that guaranteed Boston home field advantage for the World Series.
Here are all the stats you’d ever need to relive that night.
The stories this prospector’s letters could tell… By Tony Oliver from Denver, CO, USA (Prospector) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
In Fire in the Heart, 14-year-old Molly O’Connor wants to learn about her deceased mother and her family’s connection to Gold Rush California.
Letters are Molly’s link to the past. Here’s a site that uses correspondence to reveal history in ways never imagined.
No one protested the Vietnam War era military draft louder than boxer Muhammad Ali.
Why wouldn’t he serve? How did Americans, and the government, react?