Q&A with The Women and the Girls Author, Laura Bloom
Better Reading: What inspired the idea behind this book?
Laura Bloom: I think it was a feeling of yearning for more connection and meaning in my life as I was raising my family; questioning the ways we do it now – from our living arrangements to our friendships to the way we conduct our romantic lives – and wondering if there might not be something better. What better time to look to for that than the 70s? A time when ordinary women suddenly had the freedom to make big changes – and sometimes big mistakes. Not to mention the fabulous fashion, music and hair.
Better Reading: What was the research process like for the book?
Laura Bloom: Very enjoyable. I read cookbooks from that time and devoured vintage fashion sites on ebay to remind myself of the flavours and textures of the time. I also had fascinating conversations with my hairdresser about the meaning and power of good hair, because one of my main characters, Carol, is a hairdresser. I also read a number of novels and memoirs written during that time and earlier, including by Ruth Park, the great Australian novelist and memoirist, who is one of my favourite writers.
Better Reading: What are you hoping the reader will take away from reading your book?
Laura Bloom: A renewed sense of commitment to our friendships, especially when things get rocky; a willingness to try new things and allow ourselves to make mistakes, and to never stop searching for our joy.
Better Reading: How does it feel to hold your book in your hands?
Laura Bloom: A mixture of disbelief, pleasure and excitement.
Better Reading: What was the most challenging part of writing this book?
Laura Bloom: Sticking with my three main characters and not wandering off into all the other characters’ stories and points of view. At one point I think I had nine different ones going, all at the same time, and it was my very wise publisher who said, quite sternly, that I should stick with the main three. She was right, of course, and it became much deeper, and more emotionally and psychologically involving as soon as I did that.