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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Top Ten Things I Didn't Know Before Writing My Novel by Stephanie Lehmann and Giveaway!

Page Count: 416
Release Date: 11 June 2013
Publisher: Touchstone Books (Simon & Schuster)

When a vintage clothing store owner in New York City discovers a journal from 1907, she finds her destiny at stake as the past and present collide.

The past has a seductive allure to Amanda Rosenbloom, especially when it comes to vintage clothing. She's devoted to running her shop, Astor Place Vintage, but with Manhattan's rising rents and a troubled economy, it's tough to keep the business alive. Meanwhile, she can't bring herself to end an affair with a man who really should be history. When Amanda finds a journal sewn into a fur muff she's recently acquired for the shop, she's happy to escape into the world of Olive Westcott, a young lady who lived in New York City one hundred years ago.

As Amanda becomes immersed in the journal, she learns the future appeals to Olive. Olive looks forward to a time when repressive Victorian ideas have been replaced by more modern ways of thinking. But the financial panic of 1907 thrusts her from a stable, comfortable life into an uncertain and insecure existence. She's resourceful and soon finds employment, but as she’s drawn into the social circle of shopgirls living on the edge of poverty, Olive is tempted to take risks that could bring her to ruin. Reading Olive's woes, Amanda discovers a secret that could save her future and keep her from dwelling in the past.

It's Olive, however, who ends up helping Amanda, through revelations that come in the final entries of the journal. As the lives of these two women merge, Amanda is inspired to stop living in the past and take control of her future.
Buy the book at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository | Books-A-Million | Sony eStore | Kobo

Click "Read more" to learn some fun things Stephanie had to research for her novel and to enter to win one of two finished PRINT copies of the book!

Things I Didn't Know I Needed to Know Before Writing Astor Place Vintage

Astor Place Vintage is my fifth novel, but my first with a historical setting. I like to joke that when starting out, I figured the research would just involve googling a few details and I'd be good to go. I wasn't really that naïve, but never would've imagined how much research would actually need to be done. And I never would've guessed how much I'd enjoy finding out what it would be like for a woman living in New York City at the turn of the 20th century.

So here, in no particular order, is a list of ten things I didn't know I'd need to know before writing Astor Place Vintage.

In 19th-century New York City...
  1. How common was it to have a telephone? 
  2. Would an Italian bakery serve espresso and cappuccino or just regular coffee? 
  3. Did tenement apartments have closets? 
  4. Did tenement apartments have bathrooms? 
  5. Where did the subways and L trains run then? 
  6. What did women use when they menstruated? 
  7. What kind of birth control was typically used then, if any? 
  8. How much would a man pay his "kept woman?" 
  9. How much would a department store pay a salesgirl? 
  10. Where did a woman put her gloves while eating in a restaurant?

About the Author

Stephanie Lehmann received her BA at the University of California at Berkeley and an MA in English from New York University. She has taught novel-writing at Mediabistro and online at, where her essays have been published. She currently lives in New York City.

Astor Place Vintage is her fifth novel.


Thanks to the author, we've got a two finished PRINT copies of Astor Place Vintage up for grabs! To enter, all you have to do is follow the instructions below :) This giveaway's a fun one!
Test your 19th-century New York City knowledge! Try answering all of the interesting points Stephanie had to research for her book from the guest post above. If you get stuck, you can skip questions, but try your hand at all ten—guessing's better than nothing!

The only catch is that you have to explain WHY or HOW you arrived at your answer, just so we don't have multiple people copying-and-pasting others' responses. Did a family member once tell you a story about it? Did you look it up? Just a lucky guess? You're gonna have to let us know!

Please don't forget to leave your email address so I know who to contact as winners. Don't make me track you down!!!!
The top two commenters with the best responses (and interesting reasoning!) will be selected to each win a print copy of the book. Your answers don't necessarily have to all be correct—this is supposed to be fun!—so why don't you give it a try? Please follow the rules completely. Not complying to the above instructions will render your entry a void and you won't be able to win the prize :(

Don't forget the terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the author—a huge thank you to Stephanie!
Giveaway ends July 28th at 11.59 (your time).
Open to US residents only. Sorry, international readers! Check out my sidebar for all the current giveaways that are open worldwide—plenty that are running that you can enter!
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their prize will be forfeited and a new winner will be chosen.
Although I do select winners, I am in no way responsible for the prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!