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Jennifer Vido | Jen's Jewels Interview: THE SPECTACULAR by Fiona Davis

The Spectacular
Fiona Davis




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A Novel

June 2023
On Sale: June 13, 2023
Featuring: Marion Brooks; Peter
368 pages
ISBN: 0593184041
EAN: 9780593184042
Kindle: B0BF8QL4SJ
Hardcover / e-Book
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Also by Fiona Davis:
The Spectacular, June 2023
The Magnolia Palace, January 2023
The Magnolia Palace, February 2022
The Lions of Fifth Avenue, June 2021

Jennifer Vido: What inspired you to write a novel about Radio City Music Hall in its mid-century heyday?

Fiona Davis: I got an email from a former Rockette who was in her 80s and suggested the building as a location. We got on the phone and she had so many wonderful stories, I knew I had to do it.


Jen: What was your research process like for this novel? And, what’s something fascinating you uncovered along the way?

Fiona: I interviewed a number of Rockettes, some who danced there in the 50s and 60s, some later. I got a terrific backstage tour of Radio City Music Hall, and read as much as I could about the era. I was surprised to learn that in the 50s, Radio City was a movie house, and the Rockettes performed four times a day in a stage show that was based on the movie’s theme, doing up to 600 kicks per day.


 Jen: What’s happening in nineteen-year-old Marion Brooks’ life, causing her angst?

Fiona: Marion wants to be a professional dancer, something her father is absolutely against. Marion’s mother, who wanted to be an actress, died when Marion was a little girl, and Marion struggles with the desire to follow her mother’s footsteps into a creative career while obeying the dictates of her dad.


 Jen: What role does Peter Griggs, a young doctor at a local mental hospital, play in the search for the Big Apple Bomber?

Fiona:  The Big Apple Bomber in the book is based on the real-life Mad Bomber, who set off pipe bombs in iconic New York City buildings (including twice at Radio City Music Hall), over the period of 16 years, and was finally caught using criminal profiling for the first time. In my book, Peter Griggs is the expert who the police reach out to, in order to help track the bomber down, and is also Marion’s love interest.


 Jen: What part of the book was the most fun to write?

Fiona: I loved writing the scenes where Marion is pushed to the limit: auditioning for the Rockettes knowing her father wouldn’t approve, or dancing for the first time on that amazing stage at Radio City Music Hall. It was fun to pretend to be a dancer in my head (even though I am absolutely not one!)


Jen: Sneak peek! What’s your current work in progress?

Fiona: I’m working on a book set at the Met Museum, which will include both the Egyptian Collection as well as the Met Gala. An interesting mix of glamour and mummies.


Jen: What’s the best way for readers to stay connected with you?

Fiona: You can subscribe to my newsletter on my website. I’m also on Instagram and Facebook.


Jen: What’s on your TBR stack?

Fiona: So much! I’m currently reading Same Time Next Summer by Annabel Monaghan, and next up is the Pulitzer Prize-winning Trust by Hernan Diaz.


Jen: Thank you for stopping by to chat about The Spectacular - a true literary gem. Happy summer!

Fiona:  Thanks a ton for having me!!


The Spectacular

A Novel


New York Times bestselling author Fiona Davis transports us back to 1950s Manhattan and glamorous Radio City Music Hall in her thrilling new novel about a talented young Rockette and a mysterious bomber terrorizing New York City.

New York City, 1956: Nineteen-year-old Marion Brooks knows she should be happy. Her college sweetheart is about to propose and sweep her off to the life everyone has always expected they’d have together: a quiet house in the suburbs, Marion staying home to raise their future children. But instead, Marion finds herself feeling trapped. So when she comes across an opportunity to audition for the famous Radio City Rockettes—the glamorous precision-dancing troupe—she jumps at the chance to exchange her predictable future for the dazzling life of a performer.

Meanwhile, the city is reeling from a string of bombings orchestrated by a person the press has nicknamed the “Big Apple Bomber,” who has been terrorizing the citizens of New York for sixteen years by planting bombs in popular, crowded spaces. With the public in an uproar over the lack of any real leads after a yearslong manhunt, the police turn in desperation to Peter Griggs, a young doctor at a local mental hospital who espouses a radical new technique: psychological profiling.

As both Marion and Peter find themselves unexpectedly pulled in to the police search for the bomber, Marion realizes that as much as she’s been training herself to blend in—performing in perfect unison with all the other identical Rockettes—if she hopes to catch the bomber, she’ll need to stand out and take a terrifying risk. In doing so, she may be forced to sacrifice everything she’s worked for, as well as the people she loves the most.


Historical [Penguin Press, On Sale: June 13, 2023, Hardcover / e-Book, ISBN: 9780593184042 / eISBN: 9780593184059]

Buy THE SPECTACULARAmazon.com | Kindle | BN.com | Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play | Powell's Books | Books-A-Million | Indie BookShops | Ripped Bodice | Love's Sweet Arrow | Walmart.com | Target.com | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

About Fiona Davis

Fiona Davis

Fiona Davis is the New York Times bestselling author of six historical fiction novels set in iconic New York City buildings, including The Magnolia Palace, The Dollhouse, The Address, and The Lions of Fifth Avenue, which was a Good Morning America book club pick. Her novels have been chosen as “One Book, One Community” reads and her articles have appeared in publications like The Wall Street Journal and O the Oprah magazine.

She first came to New York as an actress but fell in love with writing after getting a master's degree at Columbia Journalism School. Her books have been translated into over a dozen languages and she's based in New York City.


About Jennifer Vido

Jennifer Vido

Jennifer Vido writes sweet romances set in the Lowcountry filled with southern charm and hospitality. In between chapters, she interviews authors for her bi-weekly Jen’s Jewels column on FreshFiction.com. Most mornings, she teaches an arthritis-friendly water exercise class for seniors before heading to the office to serve as the executive director of a legal non-profit. A New Jersey native, she currently lives in Maryland with her husband and two rescue dogs and is the proud parent of two sons who miss her home-cooked meals. To learn more, please visit her website.

Gull Island





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