Ask Cathy Marie Buchanan - Wednesday, March 27th! discussion

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Ask Cathy!

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message 1: by Margo (new)

Margo (maothrockmorton) | 1 comments Mod
Welcome to the group! Cathy will be answering questions on Wednesday, March 27th in this thread only. In the meantime if you have a question for Cathy or just want to introduce yourself feel free to do so in this thread.


message 2: by Emily (last edited Mar 20, 2013 05:40PM) (new)

Emily If you hadn't known the fates of the van Goethem sisters in advance, would you still have written their characters (and their eventual lives) the same way in the epilogue? Do you think that any of the sisters - as you wrote them - could have gone on completely different trajectories?


message 3: by Chelsea (new)

Chelsea (crich14) | 1 comments Hi Cathy! Did you travel to France to research for your book?


message 4: by Nancy (last edited Mar 20, 2013 05:08PM) (new)

Nancy (goodreads321) | 1 comments Do you think that Marie's trajectory in her real life may have been different if she had never modeled for Degas and placed beside the portrait of Emile and Michael?
PS. LOVED THE BOOK!


message 5: by Margarita (new)

Margarita Bruce | 1 comments Wow! I'm flabbergasted to receive an invitation in my email to join "Ask Cathy Marie Buchanan!" I have just finished reading "When the Falls Stood Still" and I still have not shaken myself off of Bess, Tom and Niagara Falls. Reading this book rekindled my longing to visit The Falls again and my family are actually planning a trip back there this summer! I'm hoping to see Bess in the mist and Tom in the rapids. I can't wait to read your other books!
My question is: Did you feel it was necessary that Tom should be claimed by the river since it was, in a lot of ways, his life? Would you feel that there was no closure for the book if it had not ended the way it did? (I'm still very sad over Tom's fate and I'd like to know what your reason for writing it the way you did).
Thank you very much. I'm grateful that you have time to spend with your readers like this! All authors should have this kind of time for, and interaction with, their readers!


message 6: by Joyce (new)

Joyce Whitebread | 2 comments I would just like to tell you how much I loved this book. I did know something of the background of the politics of the ballet and the suffering of the young artist. It was a dream for the young women, as well as the hope to rise in the ranks, if for no other reason than to be able provide for the family. It is so sad that they were so exploited. The St. Louis Museum of Art, has a reproduction of the statue on display, and it has been on display for several years. I have always made it a point to see it when there. I have questioned what Degas was thinking while working on this piece of art. I did feel so much sadness in reading this book,but I so appreciate your talent for putting this together and helping me put together something about the work of art, and the model.


message 7: by Kessa (new)

Kessa | 2 comments Hi Cathy! I'm honored to be invited into the Ask Cathy group.
I read The Day the Falls Stood Still and was completely entranced by the story of Bess, Tom and of course, Niagara Falls. When I read the book I had not yet visited The Falls, but was greatly intrigued by your vividly descriptive prose. In fact, I chose The Falls as the backdrop for my wedding.
My question: Did you grow up or live near Niagara Falls? If not, how did you perform your research for the landscape of The Day the Falls Stood Still.
Thank you for such an amazing read that literally changed my life. I look forward to reading your newest book in the near term.
Kessa


message 8: by Sharon (new)

Sharon | 1 comments Hi, Cathy,
I enjoyed your book so much!
How long did it take you to write The Painted Girls?
Thanks!


message 9: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (bookwormconfidential) | 2 comments Hi,

I read "The Day the Falls Stood Still" this year, and I highly enjoyed the book. I was on the verge of tears when I finished reading the book, but I was so happy to have read it.

I have not yet read "The Painted Girls", but I plan on reading it.

What I would like to know is: How did you decide to write about such topic for "The Painted Girls"?


message 10: by Joyce (new)

Joyce Whitebread | 2 comments Cathy, could you share your writing discipline, and what draws to writing a historical novel. Lastly, can you give a hint about your next writing project.


message 11: by Geetha (new)

Geetha | 1 comments Cathy, I loved the “Painted Girls”. Congratulations on writing an excellent book. Now for my question:

Why do you think Degas chose Marie Van Goethem to be his model? Typically artists choose good looking models to represent in their art. And I am sure there were many attractive girls in the Opera House he could have chosen. Was it, as some critics suggested, that she stood for his belief in the various stages of evolution among humans; that she stood for the lower evolutionary stage? Does the novel lean towards that premise?

My second question is, how did the theme of the novel suggest itself to you?


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Cathy, What happened to the two murderers who were sentenced to transport to New Caledonia. Were the men you based these characters on guillotined or exiled to New Caledonia?


message 13: by Judith (new)

Judith (retiredreader-ne) | 3 comments "The Painted Girls" is my favorite book of 2013. I'm glad to find a new author and will seek out the debut novel. My question is how you were able to capture the smells of Paris so acurately on the printed page. Through your descriptions my nose could tell the difference when the action shifted from the poor home, to the sweat of the rehearsal hall, and to Degas' sudion.


message 14: by Robert (new)

Robert Blumenthal | 1 comments Hi Cathy,

I enjoyed your book immensely. I truly enjoy the fine arts, especially from the Impressionist to the present. There are many wonderful stories about artists and their muses and inspirations. What led you to choose this particular artist and this particular model?


message 15: by Lorna (new)

Lorna Kennedy | 1 comments I have read The Painted Girls and The Day the Falls Stood Still and loved both of them. My question is do you plan to write any more books with a Canadian setting? I can't wait to read your next novel no matter where the setting! I think it is wonderful that you are taking the time to answer your readers questions, thank-you.


message 16: by Claire (new)

Claire | 1 comments Hi Cathy...I was actually relieved by the ending b/c I grew to love the two main characters. However, did you ever consider a more naturalistic ending?

Enjoyed the book and intend to read "The Falls" also.

Claire


message 17: by Nicole (new)

Nicole | 1 comments Hi Cathy! I really enjoy your writing and can relate to your characters being a girl from Niagara Falls and a lover of dance! What has inspired you to choose your themes and characters? Thanks! Nicole


message 18: by Ron (new)

Ron | 1 comments I loved The Painted Girls. It was recommended to me at Barnes and Noble, I guess they know me better than I know myself because I loved it! Am I correct in believing that the novel is mostly fiction with a few threads of fact woven into the story? I am most curious about the ending...did all 3 sisters end up in the life situations that were depicted or is that part of the fiction?


message 19: by Aurora (new)

Aurora | 1 comments I am curious, but what inspired you to write and research The Painted Girls?

http://sveta-randomblog.blogspot.com/...


message 20: by Mandi (new)

Mandi (mandi78) | 1 comments Hi, Cathy! I loved the relationship between the van Goethem sisters in the novel. I was wondering if you have sisters? If so, did that relationship impact the way you wrote about the van Goethem sisters in The Painted Girls?


message 21: by Chelsea (new)

Chelsea DeAngio | 1 comments As an aspiring author myself, I often find it difficult to know where to begin. With this book, how much research did you do before you began writing? How did the book change with the research you did?


message 22: by Albert (new)

Albert | 1 comments I really enjoyed The Painted Girls. Did you find the research into the novel itself to be difficult?


message 23: by Marie (new)

Marie (pumpkin10031971) | 1 comments Hi Cathy. :) Really enjoyed The Painted Girls and The Day The Falls Stood Still. What's your favourite memory about growing up in the Falls?


message 24: by Cathy, Author of The Painted Girls (new)

Cathy Marie Buchanan (cathymbuchanan) | 34 comments Mod
Kenny wrote: "Dear Cathy,

Good evening. And thank you for taking the time from your busy schedule to answer questions from your loyal readers. I would like to ask the following two questions:

1] In your work, ..."


1) Yes, I would like readers to come away from the Painted Girls thinking about the very limited options open to women of the Parisian demimode and the way they were exploited by the "gentlemen" season ticket holders (the abonnes) at the Paris Opera. Any blame for the less than noble liaisons between the abonnes and the ballet girls fell squarely on the shoulders of the ballet girls, (**SPOILER**) hence the public so readily seeing Little Dancer as a whore when it was exhibited in 1881. It seems that society is STIll quick to disparage women, to see women as perpetrators rather than victims. Think of the recent treatment of the victim of the Steubenville rape case in the social media! In my world view, this is monumentally unfair.

2) I'm quite fond of cats, though we are an allergy ridden family without any pets.


message 25: by Christina (new)

Christina Quenneville | 1 comments I was hoping to be able to attend your book reading in Toronto tonight but I am presenting The Painted Girls to my book club tomorrow and am in the midst of organizing the material. Hope it is a success! I truly enjoyed reading this book and loved how the streets and locations in Paris came to life. I even followed the characters on a map of Paris just so that I could imagine where they were situated! My question: The narrative of Marie sounded much more educated than Antoinette. Was this deliberately done seeing as Marie could read and Antoinette could not?


message 26: by Cathy, Author of The Painted Girls (new)

Cathy Marie Buchanan (cathymbuchanan) | 34 comments Mod
Emily wrote: "If you hadn't known the fates of the van Goethem sisters in advance, would you still have written their characters (and their eventual lives) the same way in the epilogue? Do you think that any of ..."
**SPOILER** Marie disappears from this historical record after Little Dancer is exhibited and she is dismissed from the Opera. Antoinette disappears after she is sent to St. Lazare for stealing 700 Francs from a gentlemen. We only know how Charlotte made out. She went on to have a 53 year career at the Opera as a dancer and then as a teacher in the ballet school. While I stuck to the know facts of the girls' lives, I fear that Marie and Antoinette might have fared less well than they do on the pages of The Painted Girls. They were, after all, poor girls, dismissed from the Opera, with no father and a mother, who had already given up in life.


message 27: by Cathy, Author of The Painted Girls (last edited Mar 27, 2013 10:35AM) (new)

Cathy Marie Buchanan (cathymbuchanan) | 34 comments Mod
Chelsea wrote: "Hi Cathy! Did you travel to France to research for your book?"

I did. Highlights included visiting Marie van Goethem’s apartment and Degas’s studio, researching in the Paris Opera’s museum, and touring the Paris Opera and taking in a ballet there. Best of all, though, was attending a class of fourteen-year-old girls at the Paris Opera Ballet school. Though thirty years and a continent away from my own days at the barre, I was struck by how familiar the exercises, the corrections and the music were to me. It made me think how similar my training must have been to Marie’s.

Check out the Pinterest page exploring lots of my research. http://pinterest.com/riverheadbooks/t...


message 28: by Cathy, Author of The Painted Girls (new)

Cathy Marie Buchanan (cathymbuchanan) | 34 comments Mod
Nancy wrote: "Do you think that Marie's trajectory in her real life may have been different if she had never modeled for Degas and placed beside the portrait of Emile and Michael?
PS. LOVED THE BOOK!"


I do. When the real life Marie learned of Degas’s intention to make a statuette, she must have been hopeful. Degas—the painter of Dancer—had singled her out. Perhaps the special treatment would help boost her career at the Paris Opera Ballet. **SPOILER** But on its unveiling, Little Dancer Aged Fourteen was compared to a monkey and an Aztec, and called her a “flower of precocious depravity” with a face "bearing the signs of a profoundly heinous character." It must have been devastating to a teenage girl. She was dismissed from the ballet after the exhibition, and I can't help but think that events were linked in real life (similarly to they way they are on the pages of The Painted Girls.)


message 29: by Cathy, Author of The Painted Girls (new)

Cathy Marie Buchanan (cathymbuchanan) | 34 comments Mod
Margarita wrote: "Wow! I'm flabbergasted to receive an invitation in my email to join "Ask Cathy Marie Buchanan!" I have just finished reading "When the Falls Stood Still" and I still have not shaken myself off of B..."

Thank you! I love when The Day the Falls Stood Still inspires a trip to Niagara Falls.

**SPOILER** To me the most important aspect of the book is Bess's loss of faith when she loses Isabel and then its re-emergence after she loses Tom. The book closes with hopeful idea that "Isabel has been with us all along, that Tom is with us still." I didn't really see another way to show Bess's growth on the faith front other than with the ending that is there.


message 30: by Cathy, Author of The Painted Girls (new)

Cathy Marie Buchanan (cathymbuchanan) | 34 comments Mod
Joyce wrote: "I would just like to tell you how much I loved this book. I did know something of the background of the politics of the ballet and the suffering of the young artist. It was a dream for the young ..."

So lovely that you are familiar with Little Dancer. I expect you will see the artwork with new eyes next time you visit the museum. Thank you for pointing out to me that one of the castings is in St. Louis. I didn't know that and will add it to the list of places to see Little Dancer (http://www.cathymariebuchanan.com/won...) on my website. I'm glad the book touched you.


message 31: by Cathy, Author of The Painted Girls (new)

Cathy Marie Buchanan (cathymbuchanan) | 34 comments Mod
Sharon wrote: "Hi, Cathy,
I enjoyed your book so much!
How long did it take you to write The Painted Girls?
Thanks!"


Thank you. I'd say I researched for 6 months, wrote the first draft in 1.5 years and then spent another year re-writing it, so about 3 years in all.


message 32: by Cathy, Author of The Painted Girls (last edited Mar 27, 2013 10:16AM) (new)

Cathy Marie Buchanan (cathymbuchanan) | 34 comments Mod
Jessica wrote: "Hi,

I read "The Day the Falls Stood Still" this year, and I highly enjoyed the book. I was on the verge of tears when I finished reading the book, but I was so happy to have read it.

I have not ..."


Thank you. I hope you get to The Painted Girls.

I studied classical ballet quite seriously throughout high school and during the early years of university, and danced with a small regional company for a number of years. In the studio, I would sometimes take a moment to gaze at one of the Degas prints tacked to the walls. I felt kinship with his ballet girls, sometimes glorious on the stage but often as not, rolling the stiffness from their shoulders at the barre. Years later I would come upon a documentary on Little Dancer and discover the seedier side of the Paris Opera Ballet and the privation of the young dancer, Marie van Goethem, who had modelled for the work—revelations that flew in the face of my teenage notions of the ballet girls tacked to the walls. The lives of those girls and more specifically the life of Marie van Goethem differed from my own in startling ways. Hers was a story I wanted to tell.

You can check out the excellent documentary at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDREBS...


message 33: by Cathy, Author of The Painted Girls (new)

Cathy Marie Buchanan (cathymbuchanan) | 34 comments Mod
Lynda wrote: "Hi Cathy,
As an art/history/fiction fan, your book instantly appealed to me. I was wondering if you've read Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland, another of my art fiction favourites. The rese..."


Thank you. I have not read Girl in Hyacinth Blue, but I did buy it the other day so will be reading it shortly. (I did read and love Girl With A Pearl Earring, another story about an artist's model.)

To discover that back in 1881 the public had linked Little Dancer with a life of vice and young girls for sale certainly flew in the face of my modern day notions of the sculpture and ballet. Today Little Dancer is beloved, an object of pilgrimage for young dancers that world over, and ballet is by and large considered a high-minded pursuit. So yes, I was very much surprised to learn about the sway the abonnés held at the Opéra and their often less than honorable intentions with the young ballet girls.


message 34: by Cathy, Author of The Painted Girls (new)

Cathy Marie Buchanan (cathymbuchanan) | 34 comments Mod
Joyce wrote: "I would just like to tell you how much I loved this book. I did know something of the background of the politics of the ballet and the suffering of the young artist. It was a dream for the young ..."

Yes, Joyce, I grew up in Niagara Falls. I do think our hometowns are deeply imprinted in our psyches.


message 35: by Judith (new)

Judith (retiredreader-ne) | 3 comments Cathy wrote: "Joyce wrote: "I would just like to tell you how much I loved this book. I did know something of the background of the politics of the ballet and the suffering of the young artist. It was a dream ..."


message 36: by Judith (new)

Judith (retiredreader-ne) | 3 comments Another casting of Little Dancer can be found at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE. She is beautiful in a sad way. Also check out The Bookworm, a fantastic independent bookstore in Omaha that sponsors many author events.


message 37: by Cathy, Author of The Painted Girls (last edited Mar 27, 2013 09:59AM) (new)

Cathy Marie Buchanan (cathymbuchanan) | 34 comments Mod
Joyce wrote: "Cathy, could you share your writing discipline, and what draws to writing a historical novel. Lastly, can you give a hint about your next writing project."

I write every day, sitting down at the computer as soon as my boys leave the house for school. There does not appear to be any rhyme or reason to when I write well. The objective is always the same, to lose myself in the words I am setting on the page. And I have had moments when I look up from the computer, dazed. It takes a second to grasp that I am sitting at my desk, a further second to decide: Is it morning or afternoon? Have I had lunch? My head is lost in another time, another place, another life. It’s when the best writing has come.

I'm a person who takes deep pleasure in immersing herself in a culture other than her own. In each of my novels—The Day the Falls Stood Still and The Painted Girls—and in my current work in progress, I create another time and place, and I expect the pleasure I get from the undertaking is related to my love of experiencing new cultures.

My work in progress is set in Iron Age Britain (2000 years ago) on the eve of Roman conquest. It involves druids, magic and pagan religion.


message 38: by Cathy, Author of The Painted Girls (new)

Cathy Marie Buchanan (cathymbuchanan) | 34 comments Mod
Geetha wrote: "Cathy, I loved the “Painted Girls”. Congratulations on writing an excellent book. Now for my question:

Why do you think Degas chose Marie Van Goethem to be his model? Typically artists choose go..."


I think Degas chose Marie because her features were in keeping with "scientific findings" of the day that suggested certain facial features indicated a person as having a tendency toward crime. I do think Degas sought to imply the depravity of Little Dancer.

The linkages between the artwork were first pointed out to me in an art history on Little Dancer. You can watch that highly recommended documentary at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDREBS....


message 39: by Cathy, Author of The Painted Girls (new)

Cathy Marie Buchanan (cathymbuchanan) | 34 comments Mod
Patricia wrote: "Cathy, What happened to the two murderers who were sentenced to transport to New Caledonia. Were the men you based these characters on guillotined or exiled to New Caledonia?"

Like Emile Abadie, Michel Knobloch was sentenced to death by guillotine. However through the president's clemency that sentence, like Emile's, was lightened to hard labour in New Caledonia.


message 40: by Cathy, Author of The Painted Girls (new)

Cathy Marie Buchanan (cathymbuchanan) | 34 comments Mod
Christi wrote: "Many recent authors pick a genre or theme and stick to it. I'm excited to see such varied work from you. In what ways do you think you have improved as a writer since your first book? Are there par..."

Thank you. With The Day the Falls Stood Still, I was rewriting the first draft for about 2.5 years. With The Painted Girls, the re-writing was more like 1 year. I like to think it's because I've matured as a writer. (I never ever want to rewrite anything for 2.5 year again!) Before I started writing The Painted Girls, I had a basic outline (a couple of pages of bullet points). I didn't with The Day the Falls Stood Still, and I don't think I'd ever write without an outline again. I'm not sure The Day the Falls Stood Still would turn out much differently than it did with the knowledge I have now, but I do think there would be a whole lot less rewriting.


message 41: by Cathy, Author of The Painted Girls (new)

Cathy Marie Buchanan (cathymbuchanan) | 34 comments Mod
Judith wrote: ""The Painted Girls" is my favorite book of 2013. I'm glad to find a new author and will seek out the debut novel. My question is how you were able to capture the smells of Paris so acurately on t..."

I think I have to give Emile Zola credit for that. I read several of the books from his twenty-volume Les Rougon-Macquart series, including L'Assommoir. In the 1870/80s Zola was judged harshly for so brutally and explicitly documenting the lives France's underclass. I, for one, am so glad he did.


message 42: by Cathy, Author of The Painted Girls (last edited Mar 27, 2013 10:22AM) (new)

Cathy Marie Buchanan (cathymbuchanan) | 34 comments Mod
Aurora wrote: "I am curious, but what inspired you to write and research The Painted Girls?

http://sveta-randomblog.blogspot.com/..."


I studied classical ballet quite seriously throughout high school and during the early years of university, and danced with a small regional company for a number of years. In the studio, I would sometimes take a moment to gaze at one of the Degas prints tacked to the walls. I felt kinship with his ballet girls, sometimes glorious on the stage but often as not, rolling the stiffness from their shoulders at the barre. Years later I would come upon a documentary on Little Dancer and discover the seedier side of the Paris Opera Ballet and the privation of the young dancer, Marie van Goethem, who had modelled for the work—revelations that flew in the face of my teenage notions of the ballet girls tacked to the walls. The lives of those girls and more specifically the life of Marie van Goethem differed from my own in startling ways. Hers was a story I wanted to tell.

You can check out the excellent documentary at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDREBS...


message 43: by Cathy, Author of The Painted Girls (new)

Cathy Marie Buchanan (cathymbuchanan) | 34 comments Mod
Lorna wrote: "I have read The Painted Girls and The Day the Falls Stood Still and loved both of them. My question is do you plan to write any more books with a Canadian setting? I can't wait to read your next no..."

Thank you. My work in progress is set in Iron Age Britain (2000 years ago) on the eve of Roman conquest. I'm not sure what'll be up next after that, but I wouldn't be surprised to see myself return to the Canadian setting.


message 44: by Cathy, Author of The Painted Girls (last edited Mar 27, 2013 10:08AM) (new)

Cathy Marie Buchanan (cathymbuchanan) | 34 comments Mod
Heather wrote: "I really enjoyed The Painted Girls and I recently purchased The Day the Falls Stood Still, which I hope to start reading soon!

I'm interested in learning more about how you became a writer. Is it..."


I left a corporate career when I was 37 years old to pursue writing, so I can't claim to have always wanted to be a writer. I think that during high school I satisfied my creative yearnings by studying ballet, and by designing and sewing most of my clothes. Throughout my corporate career, I was always enrolled in a night school course—always something with an artistic bent—no doubt a continued effort to nurture my artistic soul. I took painting, drawing, woodworking, art history and interior design, before hitting upon creative writing. Then, right from the first class, I was smitten. A four-year period followed where I continued my full time work by day and, in the evening, either attended a creative writing class or crammed in a bit of scribbling. Eventually my desire to spend more time writing trumped the security of sound employment, and I took the plunge, leaving the corporate world to write full time.

You might enjoy this essay I wrote for the Globe and Mail on "How to be a Writer." http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/b...


message 45: by Cathy, Author of The Painted Girls (new)

Cathy Marie Buchanan (cathymbuchanan) | 34 comments Mod
Claire wrote: "Hi Cathy...I was actually relieved by the ending b/c I grew to love the two main characters. However, did you ever consider a more naturalistic ending?

Enjoyed the book and intend to read "The Fa..."


In an early draft, the last chapter of The Painted Girls did not exist. The book ended with Marie and Antoinette watching Charlotte on the stage. Antoinette told her last lie and Marie's lied back, implying that she believed Antoinette's lie. That ending was still hopeful but perhaps not hopeful as it is with the final chapter.


message 46: by Cathy, Author of The Painted Girls (new)

Cathy Marie Buchanan (cathymbuchanan) | 34 comments Mod
Nicole wrote: "Hi Cathy! I really enjoy your writing and can relate to your characters being a girl from Niagara Falls and a lover of dance! What has inspired you to choose your themes and characters? Thanks! Nicole"

Hi Niagara Falls Nicole. Thank you.

I studied classical ballet quite seriously throughout high school and during the early years of university, and danced with a small regional company for a number of years. In the studio, I would sometimes take a moment to gaze at one of the Degas prints tacked to the walls. I felt kinship with his ballet girls, sometimes glorious on the stage but often as not, rolling the stiffness from their shoulders at the barre. Years later I would come upon a documentary on Little Dancer and discover the seedier side of the Paris Opera Ballet and the privation of the young dancer, Marie van Goethem, who had modelled for the work—revelations that flew in the face of my teenage notions of the ballet girls tacked to the walls. The lives of those girls and more specifically the life of Marie van Goethem differed from my own in startling ways. Hers was a story I wanted to tell.

You can check out the excellent documentary at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDREBS....


message 47: by Cathy, Author of The Painted Girls (new)

Cathy Marie Buchanan (cathymbuchanan) | 34 comments Mod
Ron wrote: "I loved The Painted Girls. It was recommended to me at Barnes and Noble, I guess they know me better than I know myself because I loved it! Am I correct in believing that the novel is mostly fictio..."

I expect The Painted Girls is much more based on historical fact than you might guess. There is an author's note at the end of the book that lays what is purely fiction.

**SPOILER** Marie disappears from this historical record after Little Dancer is exhibited and she is dismissed from the Opera. Antoinette disappears after she is sent to St. Lazare for stealing 700 Francs from a gentleman. We only know how Charlotte made out. She went on to have a 53 year career at the Opera as a dancer and then as a teacher in the ballet school.


message 48: by Cathy, Author of The Painted Girls (new)

Cathy Marie Buchanan (cathymbuchanan) | 34 comments Mod
Mandi wrote: "Hi, Cathy! I loved the relationship between the van Goethem sisters in the novel. I was wondering if you have sisters? If so, did that relationship impact the way you wrote about the van Goethem si..."

When I first conceived the novel, my intention was to set down Marie van Goethem’s story, but soon enough her sister was demanding equal time. I think now that it was inevitable my story would hold up a magnifying lens to sisterhood, that deliberate or not, a writer’s preoccupations find their way onto the page. With three sisters of my own—each deeply loved by me despite alarming teenage rows—I have often found myself contemplating the mysteries of sisterhood—both the rivalries and the profound love.


message 49: by Renee (new)

Renee Rosen (reneerosen) | 1 comments Hi Cathy, I just finished THE PAINTED GIRLS last night and truly loved it. Your writing is absolutely beautiful and your historical details are spot on. Just curious if you ever studied ballet? I got the impression that you have a lot of first-hand knowledge when it came to your descriptions.

Thanks and congratulations. It's a beautiful book!


message 50: by Cathy, Author of The Painted Girls (new)

Cathy Marie Buchanan (cathymbuchanan) | 34 comments Mod
Chelsea wrote: "As an aspiring author myself, I often find it difficult to know where to begin. With this book, how much research did you do before you began writing? How did the book change with the research you ..."

I researched for about 6 months before I put fingertips to keyboard. I love researching and am one of those writers who must tear herself away from it and get writing. Researching really gets the creative juices flowing for me, and much about plot occurs to me as I research. I'll also add that getting the tiny historical details right is so important when you write historical fiction. I think it's those little details (like that water was gathered from a communal pump and carried up the flights of stairs in a zinc bucket to the Van Goethem's lodging room) that transport a reader to another time and place and make the story feel real. The details could not exist without copious research.


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