THE CHELSEA GIRLS by Fiona Davis – INTERVIEW & Giveaway



One of our FAVORITE historical fiction authors, FIONA DAVIS is back with another gripping story about an iconic New York City building, The Chelsea Hostel in her novel, THE CHELSEA GIRLS (Dutton).

The bright lights of the theater district, the glamour and danger of 1950s New York, and the wild scene at the iconic Chelsea Hotel come together in a dazzling new novel about the twenty-year friendship that will irrevocably change two women’s lives.

From the dramatic redbrick facade to the sweeping staircase dripping with art, the Chelsea Hotel has long been New York City’s creative oasis for the many artists, writers, musicians, actors, filmmakers, and poets who have called it home—a scene playwright Hazel Riley and actress Maxine Mead are determined to use to their advantage. Yet they soon discover that the greatest obstacle to putting up a show on Broadway has nothing to do with their art, and everything to do with politics. A Red scare is sweeping across America, and Senator Joseph McCarthy has started a witch hunt for Communists, with those in the entertainment industry in the crosshairs. As the pressure builds to name names, it is more than Hazel and Maxine’s Broadway dreams that may suffer as they grapple with the terrible consequences, but also their livelihood, their friendship, and even their freedom.

Spanning from the 1940s to the 1960s, The Chelsea Girls deftly pulls back the curtain on the desperate political pressures of McCarthyism, the complicated bonds of female friendship, and the siren call of the uninhibited Chelsea Hotel.


1. What attracted you to writing historical fiction?
I started writing historical fiction because it was the genre I loved the best. Whether reading authors like Geraldine Brooks, Jo Baker or Beatriz Williams, I love the idea of being pulled back in time. My books all have two time periods and an element of mystery in them because that’s what I like to read, but if I’d known how difficult it is to pull that off, I might not have ever tried it in the first place! Still, for every book, I particularly enjoy the research phase, because I learn so much. Basically, if I learn about a real-life character or event that surprises me, I know it will surprise the reader as well. That’s what I’m always looking out for.
2. Your books are about iconic New York Buildings? Why did you start writing around these locations?
It all started when I looked at an apartment at the former Barbizon Hotel for Women, and was intrigued at the way the building and the residents had evolved over time. New York City is constantly changing, as farms gave away to brownstones and now glass skyscrapers. When I see a building that’s withstood the wrecking ball, I’m always curious about the ghosts and stories within. That’s what I adore about this city, is the way the past lives with the present.
3. Which is your favorite book? (Probably newest)  Let’s say it’s being made into a movie; who would star?
The Chelsea Girls is my favorite so far – after a year of slaving away, it’s just a joy to have it out in the world. The book tells the story of two women — a playwright and an actress — trying to mount a play on Broadway during the McCarthy era. It’s about friendship, politics, and theater. The two leads are Hazel Riley and Maxine Mead, and Hazel would be perfectly portrayed by Brie Larson and Maxine by Jessica Chastain.
4. What’s next?
I’m working on a book set in the New York Public Library in 1913 and 1993. I learned that early on, the superintendent lived in a 7-room apartment inside the library with his family, and so have based the story around that, as well as book thefts and intrigue (of course).
5. Anything you’d like to add?
Thank you for helping to spread the word! It’s very much appreciated.



F  I  O  N  A   began her career in New York City as an actress, where she worked on Broadway, off-Broadway, and in regional theater.

After getting a master’s degree at Columbia Journalism School, she fell in love with writing, leapfrogging from editor to freelance journalist before finally settling down as an author of historical fiction. Fiona’s books have been translated into more than a dozen languages.

She’s a graduate of the College of William & Mary and is based in New York City.

Thanks to Fiona we have one copy to giveaway. Just tell us which of Fiona’s novels is your favorite. We’ll announce a winner soon. Good luck.

GIVEAWAY USA only please


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48 thoughts on “THE CHELSEA GIRLS by Fiona Davis – INTERVIEW & Giveaway

  1. Being a New Yorker I have loved The Masterpiece in which Grand Central Station is a prominent character; I loved the Address as well with the Dakota. Ms. Davis captures history using NY landmarks as a focal point.
    Thank you for the chance


  2. The Dollhouse, though I also loved The Address. Have yet to read The Masterpiece, and of course, The Chelsea Girls.


  3. The Dollhouse, my mother lived in the Barbizon in the ’50’s and has told us many stories. So, I loved reading about it. I even sent her a copy.


  4. This would be my first, and this time period sounds so fascinating. And I can’t wait for the one about the library.


  5. I don’t believe I have ever read one of Fiona’s books. It has only been in the last very few years that I have even been interested in reading ‘historical fiction.’ But while I think The Chelsea Girls will be the first book of hers I read, I am sure it won’t be my last.

    And I am already looking forward to her book on NY City’s Public Library.


  6. I love all your books, but I think “The Masterpiece” is my favorite, so far… I work in a small historic public library in Groton, Ct and I can’t wait to read your book about the New York Public Library


  7. So far, the only book I’ve read by Fiona is THE ADDRESS which I thoroughly enjoyed. I love historical fiction because it is such a learning experience, both what is right and mistakes made. Thank you for the chance to read this book about the past and female friendship.


  8. The Address was wonderful. Because Fiona says this is her favorite, I really would like to read it. Thanks Cindy.


  9. The Address is the one Fiona Davis book that I have read (so far). It was such an enjoyable read, and I would love to read her other books!


  10. I haven’t read any of her books yet. I am so anxious to read this one. I have been excited about it ever since I first heard about it! I am a NY girl.


  11. Precisely Fiona is one of the writers I’ve discovered this year and I would love to read her work


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