Holding a book in your hands is an unmatched feeling. The pages are filled with letters, words, sentences, and paragraphs that collaborate tirelessly until they become an entire story.
Holding a book that you wrote in your hands is sort of an out-of-body experience. The weight of the story becomes scary real. You think to yourself: No matter what I do with the rest of my life, here is something I made from nothing. And, it will always be a part of me.
It’s a bit jarring to think about, but last night I realized I’ve been writing fiction for a decade. Throughout that time I self-published three books. In ebook format, they never felt quite real. I knew it was because my books weren’t in print.
I started working hard to reach my goal of turning all three of my books into paperbacks last summer. Silly me thought it would be easy, but it took a lot of time and tinkering. I suppose the paperback release timing was all copasetic as I round out my decade of fiction.
I’m happy to say that Nola Fran Evie is finally available in print. If you so desire, you can hold this story in your hands too.
Recently I was interviewed by the Red Headed Book Lover and she asked me: What inspired you to write Nola Fran Evie?
This is a pretty standard question authors must be prepared to answer. It’s much easier than answering the question: What’s your book about? Even still, it’s not always a simple thing to explain.
I mean, we dedicate years of our lives to writing one book. When someone basically asks you what inspired you to this madness, you start to replay the obsessive spark that brought you here to the end of the story.
I love telling the story behind the story of Nola Fran Evie. It was meant to be—the story found me.
Back in 2012 when I was living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I bought a vintage handbag. That handbag turned out to be a treasure chest of inspiration. I discovered vintage artifacts from 1954 within this handbag.
Hidden between two compartments were two baseball tickets from August 22, 1954, and a voting receipt. On the back of the voting receipt was a shopping list in a woman’s handwriting that said:
Suddenly I was linked to a woman from the past. I pictured three different women who owned the handbag—Nola, Fran, and Evie. I mirrored these characters after Grace Kelly (Nola), Audrey Hepburn (Fran), and Marilyn Monroe (Evie), who were all experiencing their heyday during the 1950s.
The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League actually folded in 1954, the same year as the baseball game this woman with the vintage handbag attended. I know the movie A League of Their Own by heart, but I also exclusively write about badass female characters. All of the pieces of the story fell into place so naturally.
As I dug my heels into research about the women in the league, I was hooked. At first, the league was considered a girly spectacle. However, during the league’s peak year in 1948, these “girls” had 910,000 paid fans—nothing to sneeze at.
When the war ended, the boys came home and the girls were sent back to the kitchen. Many of the women in the league were not jazzed up about making pies and babies, as if the roles they stepped into during the war never happened. But that was exactly what they were expected to do.
So, what happened to these women?
Nola Fran Evie follows the life of three women who knew each other during the league and what happened to their lives afterward. Primarily set in the summer of 1954 in Chicago, this story is a tribute to strong women who never stopped fighting for equal footing for themselves and others in the throes of social discrimination.
I’ll leave you all with a recent review and the Amazon link to the paperback should you wish to have a copy to hold in your hands.
An exceptional historical fiction novel that takes readers on a moving journey back to the 1940s and 1950s with three women—Nola, Fran, and Evie. Their lives are intertwined forever, from the time when they played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and after the league folds when they have a chance meeting on Wrigley Field in 1954. Together they are determined for change, and they are willing to face and overcome adversity to get it.
Skrabanek has accomplished the near impossible, managing to write an entertaining, bewitching, and flawless story that perfectly unfolds in readers’ minds like a movie. Instead of writing long, drawn-out build-ups—which are commonly found in novels—Skrabanek ditches this approach and thrusts her reader into the heart of the story. The reader is instantly captivated and immersed from the first page. This is a quality I love in a novel.”
And…I wanted to give a special shout-out to all of the amazing people in my inner blogger circle of trust who have helped me spread the word about the paperback release of Nola Fran Evie.
I wouldn’t still be here writing if it were not for those of you in this special community. Even when I want to give it all up, you all keep me writing…thank you.