THE FACTORY GIRL AND THE FEY by Nadine Galinsky Feldman - Interview
Explore Scotland, Fey, and the magical blending of worlds in The Factory Girl and the Fey. A Get a look 'behind the scenes' at this historical fantasy inspired by the author’s ancestors.
The Factory Girl and the Fey
Jane Thorburn straddles two worlds: her life as a “factory girl” in Scotland’s mills, and her birthright as fairy royalty. Abandoned by her parents as an infant, and uncertain about the true motives of the Fey, she learns to depend only on herself. All she wants is to be a great weaver and to maintain her independence.
The Fair Folk, fighting for their very survival, have other plans for her, as does the handsome and charismatic Robert Stein. What life will she choose? And will she even have a choice?
A historical fantasy inspired by the author’s ancestors, The Factory Girl and the Fey is an affectionate tribute to the women who helped fuel Scotland’s Industrial Age, from the workers to the poets…and to the Fey who remind us that magic is real when we believe in it.
Q&A with Author
Nadine Galinsky Feldman
What makes The Factory Girl and the Fey special or unique to you?
This is the most personal book I’ve ever written. In 2014 I discovered, through a genealogical search, that my great-great grandmother was not who I thought she was. I had enough information to confirm I had found the right person. It broke my heart that she had “disappeared” from the family tree, and I wanted to write a story to welcome her back to the family. I tried to make it straight historical fiction, but the Fey insisted on being part of the story, so I let them stay. I like to think that the real Jane Thorburn wanted it that way.
What can you tell us about your newest release?
The Factory Girl and the Fey tells of a young Scottish weaver who happens to hear and see the Fey, not realizing she is heir to their queendom. Jane Thorburn has ambitions and dreams, but like all women, has a lot of outside forces vying for her attention. She must find the balance between duty, ambition, and love. In essence, it’s a story about making difficult choices.
The term “Factory Girl” is a tribute to a Scottish poet of that time period, Ellen Johnston, worked in the mills and wrote poetry under that moniker. Throughout the book I include excerpts from other Scottish poets, using women’s voices wherever possible, to return them to visibility.
Tell as a little about your main characters, Jane, Rabbie, and Beitris.
Jane Thorburn is the main character. She’s independent, in large part because adults let her down a lot early in her life. She’s ambitious and wants nothing to do with love…she thinks. Jane loves the Fey but has a cautious relationship with them as well.
Rabbie Stein is a mill supervisor with a light heart, a sweet spirit, and a bad habit of telling people what they want to hear to keep the peace.
Beitris is a midwife, or “howdiewife,” as they were called in Scotland, who looks out for Jane throughout her life. She’s a wise woman who provides Jane a much-needed mother figure.
Which character was most challenging to create?
Coira, one of the Fey, wreaks havoc throughout the story. Initially she was almost cartoonish in her villainy, and I had to make her more nuanced. She does horrible things out of a distorted sense of loyalty. I love how she turned out and have a great deal of affection for her.
Which scene was most difficult to write?
There are two: the first is a scene about a mill accident involving a child. I sobbed like a baby every time I worked on it. The second is at the end, and I can’t really say more because it would be a big spoiler. That one was tough, though, and I was still working on it after multiple rounds of developmental edits and countless revisions. I FINALLY feel like I wrote what needed to be written, but it was tough because of the emotional component.
What story are you working on next, and what inspired it?
I’m working on an untitled manuscript about a 60-year-old woman, Elaine, who has taken care of hearth and home her whole adulthood, but now wants to pursue a career as an artist. She’s skilled, having studied art and painted ever since, but has always put the needs of others first. Just as she decides to take her turn, her husband decides to enter politics. Their conflicting ambitions put strain on the marriage.
My late mother-in-law inspired this story. I noticed at her death how we all saw her through the role she played in our lives: wife, mother, grandmother, mother-in-law, as opposed to the woman and artist she was. She left behind a lot of art and writings that I organized into a book, Patchwork and Ornament: A Woman’s Journey of Life, Love, and Art. This book is entirely fictional about a woman who makes different choices, but is based on my love and affection for Jenny Feldman, and my wish that I had seen her more as the woman, the individual, during her lifetime.
Books & Benches: Thank you, Nadine, for a great Q&A. We're looking forward to reading the book.
Nadine Galinsky Feldman is an author of women’s and historical fiction. Her novel What She Knew was a finalist in the 2016 Next Generation Indie Book awards. The Foreign Language of Friends was a finalist in the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, Chick Lit category. It was also named a Gold Medal Winner, Women’s Issues, in the 2011 eLit Book Awards.
As an editor, Nadine produced Patchwork and Ornament: A Woman’s Journey of Life, Love, and Art by Jeanette Feldman, which won the 2010 Indie Excellence Award for Best Memoir.
Her first book, When a Grandchild Dies: What to Do, What to Say, How to Cope, provided grief support to an underserved population.
When not working on her many writing projects, Nadine loves traveling, gardening, genealogy, and yoga. She lives in the beautiful Hudson Valley of New York state.
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy
Release: October 14, 2021
Content Rating: PG-13, with non-descriptive sex and some violence.
Enter to win a paperback copy of The Factory Girl and the Fey by Nadine Galinsky Feldman!
The giveaway is open to the U.S. only and ends October 28, 2021. You must be 18 or older to enter. Void where prohibited by law. This giveaway is sponsored by the author and hosted by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.
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