When Things Were Swell

By golly, do I love research!

History, culture, fashion – I just want to roll around in them all the livelong day. But, then I wouldn’t get a thing done, now would I?

Last week I mentioned that I started my third book, The Bra Game. I’ve got a super fun poll going all month long where you can vote on two of my characters’ names. You can visit the original post for lots of details or if you’re the ants-in-your-pants type like I am, you can just vote right here…

1950s woman in front of window


In a Nutshell: Feisty Italian-American Tomboy
Classic Movie Star Twin: Audrey Hepburn
Baseball Position: Catcher, Bunter-Stealer
Occupation: Photographer


In a Nutshell: Busty Polish-American Sex Kitten
Classic Movie Star Twin: Marilyn Monroe
Baseball Position: Left Fielder, Left-handed Batter
Occupation: Housewife/Socialite

*The big character name reveal will take place on the 28th, so be sure to stop by to see if your names win!

Truthfully, researching the fifties is a blast: hot cars, milkshakes, Elvis and his pelvis, drive-ins, roller skates, McCarthy’s communist witch hunt, and of course…baseball.

I feel pretty solid on my pre-1950’s research needed for this project. Between my WWII junkie background and this fabulous book I picked up, which covers the women in baseball tangent I’m including throughout, I’m set.


The Bra Game takes place in 1954 Chicago.

I would love to hear any book or film recommendations you may have which paint a portrait of 1950’s American culture. I’m open to any of your suggestions.

Documentaries and non-fiction are great, but classic movies and fiction are perfect, too.

Also, I’m a big fan of writing historical fiction with era-appropriate music to set the mood. So, anything you think might be good…I’m all ears.

Ready, steady, go!

18 thoughts on “When Things Were Swell

  1. If I think of anything 50s, I’ll let you know (Nina Simone comes to mind, I love her, but I guess she’s more 60s, although she did have some early tunes in the 50s – but not sure that’s the vibe you’re going for).

    Love the new look of the blog by the way!

    1. Yeah, I’m struggling with the music part of things. Finding the perfect background music for Beneath the Satin Gloves was a piece of cake!

      I LOVE Nina! Good one.

      I’ve been listening to some Julie London thus far. I think I’ll have to dip into the early sixties just a little…there was some awesome music in that decade.

      Thanks for the blog compliment. She needed a little wardrobe change. : )

  2. One of the best books I’ve read is McMurtry’s ‘The Last Picture Show’. The era is right though it’s set in small town Texas rather than the city. It would be research of the enjoyable kind and would probably (years since I’ve read it) give you a handle on the music kids were listening to then.

  3. I’m terrible with research, but it’s good that you’re having fun with it! I admit I sometimes avoid mentioning the time in which my stories are set so I can avoid all the associated research. I know I know… lazy! Haha.

    1. Yeah, I’m goofy like that. I’ve always been a bit of a history nut though.

      Someone once told me I should be more fictitious with the time and place so I could just make everything up. They were floored when I told them, “But, seriously…research is the best!” LOL!

  4. You’re doing really well here, Britt. I can’t help you with any 1950’s documentaries – but I’m sure you’re managing very well (your research is always impeccable!)

  5. I guess I can’t give you any music or film insights for the 50s, but I wanted to say that I respect the amount of work that you are putting into your novel. This comes from two angles – as a history graduate I know that the end product is totally dependent on the research and using as many primary sources as possible. But also your characters will be the richer for it, and that’s what I’ve been blogging about this week so it’s really on my mind at the moment.

    1. Very cool! Well, thank you for the compliment.

      I think research is so important with historical settings. I’m sure there will be some anachronistic snafu’s here and there, but the foundation will certainly be in place.

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