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Jazz… Booze… Boys… The Roaring Twenties Come Alive in Vixen by Jillian Larkin

November 4, 2010

We are so excited to tell you about a new book written by 22-year-old debut author Jillian Larkin.   Vixen is Book One in the sexy, dangerous, and ridiculously romantic new series The Flappers, available December 10th.  You can read an excerpt here and we promise that if you do, you’ll be hooked! Here’s the scenario:

1923.  The Jazz Age. Chicago. At the center of it all are three bobbed-hair, cigarette-smoking, gin-guzzling “It” girls – flappers – who hike up their skirts and flaunt their newfound freedom. 

Seventeen-year-old socialite Gloria Carmody dreams of being one of those girls, but her upstanding reputation keeps her hair long and her hemline longer.  Newly engaged, her party days are over before they’ve begun… or are they?

Gloria’s cousin, Claire Knowles, led the life of a flapper in New York City until an illicit affair led to disastrous consequences.  Now she’s starting a new life in Chicago… but nothing can stop the past from coming back to haunt her.

Lorraine Dyer is Gloria’s best friend, but she’s tired of living in Gloria’s shadow.  Fueled by jealousy, liquor, and unrequited lust, Lorraine sells her soul to the worst players in the Chicago mob scene.

Secret jazz clubs, gorgeous beaded dresses, leg flasks of booze, forbidden romance…these are a few of the reasons I couldn’t put Vixen down! I’ll admit to reading more than my fair share of young adult romances but this was a very welcome surprise Jillian Larkin has created a world of flappers, Prohibition, friendship, social-climbing, dark pasts, Mobsters and first love that is totally compelling. As I raced through the book, I pictured myself in a dark lit juice joint, clad in my glad rags, drinking a martini with my best girlfriends. Main characters Gloria and Clara are smart, daring and beautiful, and I can’t wait to follow their adventures coming of age during the Roaring Twenties in Chicago in this new series. This book is the bee’s knees! – Erin

Vixen is a thrilling and vivid period novel, equal parts glamour, drama, danger and romance that transports you back in time from the first page to the very last. Book Two is called Ingenue and it’s schedule to release next August… I’m counting down the days! – Sarah

Author Jillian Larkin recently embarked on whirlwind “buzz tour”, stopping in New York, Chicago, Dallas, Seattle and San Francisco, where she met with students during the day and dined in the evenings with indie booksellers, educators and librarians, book reviewers, and bloggers in local jazz clubs and speakeasies.   Here’s a little from Deanna on her Seattle stop: 

Seattle was first time novelist Jillian Larkin’s first stop on her whirlwind pre-pub tour. I’m always happy to host authors in my city, though there’s a bit of trepidation when they are brand new to the book world – and in this case a mere 22 years old! I was happily surprised by Jillian’s composure, wit and ability to deal with both a classroom full of 8th grade girls and a roomful of jaded book industry veterans.

We started the day at Washington Middle School here in Seattle where approximately 25 eighth grade girls had either finished or were in the middle of Vixen. I can’t say that age group is known for sparing peoples feelings so I have to conclude that they really loved the book. They asked intelligent questions and literally gasped with excitement when they heard Jillian had turned in the manuscript for the next book in the series.

Dinner was at a beautiful, atmospheric steak house called El Gaucho. Thirty-five or so guests came to the event, a great mix of booksellers, librarians, bloggers, ALA committee members and more. I hatched a plan with one of my booksellers (Suzanne Droppert from Liberty Bay Books) to get as many people as possible to dress as Flappers. We had some great outfits! I wish I’d taken more pictures, but you can see some below. The publicist, Meg O’Brien, sent Flapper accoutrements including a feather boa (seen below on Jillian), a hair doodad, long strands of pearls and even a garter. It was a wonderful event and the bonus was that I didn’t have to go shopping for my Halloween costume. Feather boas pretty much flatter any woman!

The author just before guests arrive to the big dinner.

Suzanne Droppert, owner/buyer of Liberty Bay Books in Poulso, WA (L) and the author, Jillian Larkin.

During her tour Jillian met many enthusiastic young adult readers – here’s what some of them have to say about Vixen…

It was VERY interesting to read about the flappers and the Prohibition on a whole new level. VIXEN taught me more about these things than any history textbook, and in a fun way! – Brooke, age

I LOVED Vixen! I stayed up till 2 in the morning some nights because I couldn’t put it down! I want a bob now! – Madeline, age 13

This book was colorful, sparkly and dark. The humor was clever and the plot was compelling. The characters were enjoyable, and the entire setting was detailed, well-sown, and dangerously mysterious. – Cassiel, age 13

I thought this book was fantastic. I loved all the interwoven conspiracies and the scandals throughout the book. Totally jake! – Emma, age 14

Jillian Larkin’s debut novel, VIXEN, is an amazing, un-put-down-able novel about the roaring twenties. The narration rotates between three unforgettable girls and their guys. A must read for any teen girl! – Alexandra, age 16

And a few more pictures from her travels…

Jillian with students on her Dallas stop.

The amazing chandelier at the dinner in Dallas… so glamorous!

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