The Hatmaker’s Heart
Brief physical description
Blonde, blue eyes, slight build, and has a youthful innocent look
Mia Farrow when she was a young woman
Strengths and weaknesses
Strengths: artistic talent, especially with designing and making hats, loyal, has a strong love of family, determined (at times driven), teachable, strong faith
Weaknesses: a life-long stammer, doesn’t always stand up for herself, blinded by early success in terms of what she really wants out of life. Her drive to succeed keeps her from enjoying some of the simple things of life around her.
Quirk (if any)
Doodles while waiting for inspiration as she designs. Has a penchant for gnocchi that she eats in the Italian diner below her flat
Your inspiration for the character
From the beginning, I knew Nell would hail from a noble British heritage, and that she would have a special relationship with her grandmother. I honestly don’t know why I chose her to have a stammer—it’s one of those quirks of creating characters. They often come to mind with their physical characteristics and back story that isn’t of my making. She wasn’t patterned after anyone I know, but if anything, I was drawn to her—a girl born of privilege who is uprooted and had security/self-esteem issues alongside an enormous talent. Thrusting her in the high-pressure fashion world allowed me to challenge her in a myriad of ways.
Background to the story
My brilliant agent gets the credit for the initial idea. We had been talking about me writing in a more historical vein than I had previously, but I hadn’t come up with a solid idea. On the last evening of a conference we were both attending, she whispered two words: Kentucky Derby.
My initial concern was that it would be pretty hard to sell a CBA novel with a setting that glorified gambling and had its own signature alcoholic beverage, but the Kentucky Derby is also known for its high-society fashionable attendees and their marvelous hats. I did a few Google searches and knew that my agent was onto something. I’ve long been intrigued by the Roaring Twenties and thought it would be fun to have both an American and British setting. I couldn’t recall reading any stories about hatmakers, so the first threads of the story began to emerge, and I wrote a proposal. My editor loved it and played a big part in the brainstorming process (I love when this happens!). I had a marvelous time researching and learning who Nell Marchwold, the hatmaker in my story, is and how she was discovered at . . . of all places, the Kentucky Derby.
Thanks Carla ~ always a delight to have you visit!
Relz Reviewz Extras
Reviews of Broken Wings and Chasing Lilacs
Character spotlight on Georgia & Peter
Character spotlight on Broken Wings characters
Character spotlight on Chasing Lilacs characters
Listen to my audio interview with Carla
Visit Carla’s website and blog
Buy at Amazon: The Hatmaker’s Heart: A Novel or Koorong