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Welcome to our Saturday Feature Post!
Gown With The Wind By Stephanie Blackmoore is a parody of the classic movie Gone With The Wind. It has the famous line of “As G-d is my witness,” characters that have similar personalities, and names to match. Readers will have fun with the comparisons and might even be interested in viewing the timeless masterpiece movie.
As with the film, the book storyline has a murder, attempted murder, vandalism, and even arson. This is all happening during the planning of the wedding of Keith Pierce and Becca Cunningham. They have asked Keith’s ex-fiancé, Mallory Shepard to plan their wedding since she and her sister Rachel have turned a renovated Thistle Park, the home Mallory inherited from her ex-fiancé, Keith Pierce’s, grandmother in Port Quincy Pennsylvania, into a B&B and wedding/event venue.
After Becca’s grandmother Alma, a huge Gone With The Wind collector, is strangled, the theme of the wedding is changed to this classic film to honor her. The bride-to- be found the perfect wedding dress that is a Scarlett O’Hara lookalike. Unfortunately, her childhood rival, Felicity Fournier, also a huge fan of the movie, wants the dress. After Felicity is found murdered Mallory decides to become an amateur sleuth. Besides planning a wedding, trying to find the culprits, Mallory also takes over the arranging for the upcoming reception of The Duchess Theater’s reopening. This old-time movie theater will play classic films beginning with Gone With The Wind. But during the premiere someone sets fire to the theatre almost destroying it. Mallory and company have their hands filled finding those responsible for all the disastrous events.
During this holiday season people might want to snuggle up while reading this fun book. It is full of quirky characters and the Gone With The Wind similarities makes the story very enjoyable.
Elise Cooper: How did you get the idea for the story?
Stephanie Blackmoore: I usually write the story first, but in this one, I came up with the title before the plot. I was playing around with various wedding related themes and kept thinking about a victim floating in a pool wearing this splendid gown. I know cozy mysteries have titles with puns and thought of the movie classic, Gone With The Wind.
EC: Are you a Gone With The Wind fan?
SB: I respect and enjoy the movie but I do wonder about the historical accuracy and the political correctness. Of course it is a wonderful story that I enjoyed re-watching as I picked apart things to lay on the relationship structure of Keith, Mallory, and Becca. There were a lot of echoes that I totally plucked.
EC: I never understood the criticism since it is a fiction story with strong women characters?
SB: It is from the author’s perspective. Margaret Mitchell had her truth, which were mirrored in the book characters. I do agree there are strong women characters that dominated the male characters. I chose to mirror them. For example, everyone was pushing Mallory to get married. Yet, she responded, ‘I don’t need to get married.’ I think both in the movie and my book the women characters don’t fit into roles people prescribe to them.
EC: Becca has to navigate through a lot of troubling events?
SB: She had the attitude, ‘Tomorrow is another day,’ similar to Scarlett’s. She forged ahead and made her own way. Becca woke up and muddled through with new plans because the old ones went up in flames. This is true in life as well as in the movie. Both she and Scarlett gained the strength to make their own choices.
EC: Your characters mirrored the characters from the movie?
SB: I wrote this book quote that Alma says to Mallory, “Alma dismissed her daughter-in-law with a wave of her hand. ‘She can be helpful at times and is more of a Melanie Wilkes… All quiet strength and Goody Two-shoes affect. But for this project, we need more of a Scarlett-type woman. Someone like you, dear, or me.’” Mallory has some elements of Scarlett, but I think she is more like Melanie. As you mentioned earlier, Melanie is quiet, but strong in her own way, and is able to make decisions that change the course of everyone else’s life.
EC: How would you describe Mallory?
SB: She wants order in her life and is a planner. Beyond that, she is irreverent, snarky at times, has a sense of curiosity, and is loyal.
EC: How would you describe Alma?
SB: A spitfire who gets what she wants. Others see her as charming and effervescent, but in reality she is sometimes not very nice. She is able to get away with outrageous things because of her charm. She is obsessed with the movie and even named her child Rhett, after the Clark Gable character. He is the direct opposite in looks. I did this to show that she projected her obsession on her child. She named her baby Rhett not knowing how he looked or what he was going to be like as he grew up. Now he has to bear that name and is the antithesis of Clark Gable.
EC: Keith reminded me of Ashley Wilkes from the movie, a pure wus?
SB: He is definitely a wus. What is important to him is keeping up appearances and competing with the Jones. He wants to make money and has an off kilter compass. He is a total mamma’s boy who follows all his mother’s wishers. Keith is a great foil. I think he and Ashley from the movie are total doormats.
EC: You have a lot of cats in the story. Are you a cat person?
SB: I am. I had cats growing up while my husband had dogs. My mother-in-law once told me ‘you turned him into a cat man.’ I guess I turned him to the dark side. I do love dogs. I even named the Irish Setter in the story Wilkes because the movie character is unassuming and wishy-washy.
EC: Do you enjoy watching old-time movies?
SB: I do. My husband is an instructor at a university and teaches a lot of film. We talk about movies all the time and specifically, do the classics stand up to the test of time? While watching Gone With The Wind I became sucked into the movie. To me, this is a hallmark of a good film.
EC: The book story also centers on family dynamics?
SB: Weddings bring things to life about families. In this book I had sibling relationships with Mallory/Rachel, as well as Becca with her twin sister Samantha. I wanted to show how siblings could be different, but also can be really good friends with a strong camaraderie.
EC: Another family dynamic was between Alma and her husband?
SB: I based them on James Carville and Mary Matalin. They are compared to water and oil. Alma’s husband does not like Gone With The Wind yet they had a happy marriage. Even if they have separate interests they can make it work by respecting each other’s differences.
EC: Can you give a heads up about your next book?
SB: It is titled Marry Christmas Murder and comes out in October 2019. Mallory is planning her best friend Olivia’s marriage and a murder happens around a real estate development.
2 thoughts on “Gown With The Wind By Stephanie Blackmoore #SaturdaySpotlight @SaysStephanie #interview”
I watched the original movie after not seeing it for a long long time and didn’t like it at all. I can’t remember if I did when it was first shown. LOL This parody sounds like fun and I’d give it a try.
I hear you, I’ve not watched it since I was a kid. I think now I might look at this very differently – from what I remember of it!!