Inspiration for a writer comes from many places. For me, pictures and videos of real places and people are primary triggers to inspire the plot lines and help color the characters who are dominating the development of the story. So when I happened across this utterly fantastic photo of Tallulah Bankhead decked out in a feather headdress in the 1920s, I had no choice but to learn more about this fascinating person.
Tallulah Bankhead, born in 1902 in Alabama, was an actress and wild child with a husky voice and a tremendous presence on stage and off. She partied hard, smoked marijuana and used cocaine. She was a regular at the Algonquin Hotel in NY, and a participant in the Algonquin Round Table where writer Dorothy Parker sharpened her tongue.
Tallulah was said to be wonderfully outrageous and uninhibited, known to peel her clothes off to sit down and have a chat. Tallulah was a huge celebrity both here in the US as well as on the London stage and was known for calling everyone “Dahling”. She said it was because she never could remember names.
She tested for the part of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind, but at the age of 36 she was considered too old for the part. Scarlett is 16 at the opening of the story.
Tallulah, witty and charming, is also an influence on a one of my characters. For now her name is CC, and she is an American heiress who marries a penniless count.
Now back to work…writing that is…
Research is such an appealing type of work avoidance. I really do have to be more disciplined about settling down to continue on with my novel, so please excuse my hasty exit. I’m writing about art forgery in 1914, (a novel yet to be named) and naturally that leads to the need to learn not just about art, the art market, the fabulous world of art collectors in New York society, but also the larger than life people of that era. My story centers on a fantastically talented artist, Arthur Bryant of Paris, who makes fake Claude Monet paintings. He cons one Mr. R. J. Wilkesbury into being his dealer in New York. The material lends itself to an endless trail of delicious distractions in research. The novel is a sequel to Ravenscraig.
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