Catching up with the gorgeous Natasha at StoryFest 2019!
L-R: Shelley, writer Chrissie Bellbrae, Natasha, voracious reader
Corinne Stevens and writer Carla Simmons.
I first met the enchanting Natasha back in May 2017, at Five Dock library in Sydney, when she was on her promotional tour for her best-selling novel, Her Mother's Secret https://www.natashalester.com.au/books-by-natasha-lester/her-mothers-secret/ Now with five captivating novels under her very stylish belt, Natasha has become a New-York times & USA Today bestselling author.
After a career in Marketing and Public Relations, where she worked for L’Oreal in Australia as the Marketing Manager for Maybelline, Natasha's hunger for writing resurfaced and she left her a high profile job to study creative writing at University. And as they say, the rest is history...historical fiction, that is.
Natasha's sweeping dual-timeline novels transport readers back in time, and introduce us to strong female protoganists from the past, whose lives impact equally strong women in the present storyline.
Speaking of her love for historical fiction, Natasha says 'It combines my passion for history, research, travel, fashion, and writing stories of women who blazed a trail, and to whom I’m indebted; they’ve made my pathway through life much easier because of the way they fought for equality and the right to do the things that many people doubted women could do.'
And whilst tackling serious issues and complex topics, Natasha weaves her stories within an exquisite narrative, which is layered so beautifully and skillfully with the essence of a bygone era that you almost believe you are there.
With Christmas fast approaching, and on the cusp of summer holidays, I cannot imagine a better way to spend the time than to lose yourself within the pages of one of Natasha's divine novels.
So without further ado, I will hand you over to the elegantly eloquent, Natasha.xx
Q1: What piece of advice do you wish you'd been given when working on your very first manuscript?
A: Just to enjoy it! There were so many ups and downs and rejections along the way that it probably would have made more sense, at some points, to give up. It’s easy to quit; it’s much harder to stick with something that seems like it isn’t working. But you never know when success is coming so I believe in continuing to work hard, constantly trying to improve, and then the luck will come.
Q2: If you could have written ANY book besides your own, what would it be?
A: I read Jane Eyre when I was twelve and decided my vocation in life was to be a governess – so long as my employer was a tall, dark and handsome Rochester. My penchant for writing dark-haired heroes into my own books is a throwback to this first literary love.
Where the magic happens! I am SO in love with your wallpaper Natasha<3
Q3: What is the first book that made you cry?
A: Little Women, without a doubt. Apart from being a governess (see above), I also wanted to be Amy March, with all her artistic aspirations. I may have also wanted to marry someone like Laurie!
Q4: What is your favourite drink? Coffee, tea, wine or…
A: I am a BIG tea drinker. My favourite is a rose-infused black tea that a friend gave me. I’ve also been known to celebrate bookish successes with champagne, or a G & T.
Q5: What is the next book on your TBR (to be read) pile?
A: I recently had the good fortune of appearing on an author panel with Irish writer, Emma Donoghue. Her book, Room, is next on my TBR pile and while it was published 10 years ago now, it’s still a global bestseller that was made into a movie not so long ago. It’s the story of a mother and son, trapped for years and years in a single room. It sounds amazing.
Q6: Choose one male & one female character from your novel. In a film adaptation, who would you love to see play them?
A: I would cast Lily James for the role of Skye Penrose – the feisty, glamorous, pilot-heroine in The Paris Secret and Henry Cavill (yum!) for the role of the more reserved and slightly brooding love interest, Nicholas.
Q7: Name one thing you couldn't live without?
A: Writing! I fell in love with reading at a young age, mostly because I loved the way I felt whenever I was completely immersed in a book. I wondered what it would be like to be the person who could make readers feel like that. So that’s why I became a writer. I love to spend my days travelling to faraway places and into the land of make-believe where anything can happen.
My Hermes Baby Typewriter
In my last book, The French Photographer, my main character, Jess, used a Hermes Baby typewriter while working as a war correspondent in Europe to type up all of her reports.
A reader in England read the book and happened to have this gorgeous typewriter, but didn’t need it anymore. They got in touch with their daughter in Australia to find out if I would like the typewriter as a gift.
Of course I said yes, not quite believing that anyone could be so generous
as to send me, all the way from England, such a beautiful and
(That is so divine...and so thoughtful. Shelley.xx)
Q8: What is your dream holiday destination?
A: Paris! And I’ve been lucky enough to go there several times all in the name of book research. My husband jokes that I tend to set my books in places I want to visit and I think there’s some truth in that! My last three books have all had a Parisian connection and my research has taken me to all the places where you’d find my characters - ateliers, secret theatres, fabulous hotels and the odd beautiful boutique or two.
Q9: If you had to choose a career besides writer, what would it be?
A: The contemporary thread of The Paris Secret features a fashion conservator, Kat Jourdan, who discovers a wardrobe of Dior gowns hidden in her grandmother’s closet. For research, I was lucky enough to spend a day with a real-life fashion conservator at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney where we donned white gloves and examined the incredible construction beneath the collection’s gorgeous vintage Dior gowns. I was in heaven!
The ever-glamourous Natasha. Her passion for vintage fashion shines through in her exquisite novels.
Q10: What's the hardest scene you have ever written and why was it so hard?
A: By far the most emotionally taxing scenes to write and research in The Paris Secret were those set in the Ravensbrück Concentration Camp – a Nazi labour camp exclusively for women. Not only was I shocked by the scale and horror of what went on at Ravensbrück, I also felt a sense of outrage that this passage of WWII history has not been given the attention it deserves. It seems strange to me that Christian Dior is a household name, yet his sister Catherine was a hero of WWII who worked for the French resistance and was imprisoned in Ravensbrück as punishment. When I first discovered this nugget of information, I knew I had to highlight her story – The Paris Secret is the result.
A wardrobe of Dior gowns, a secret kept for sixty-five years, and the three women bound forever by war... from the New York Times bestselling author of THE FRENCH PHOTOGRAPHER.
England, 1939 Talented pilot Skye Penrose joins the British war effort where she encounters her estranged sister, Liberty, and childhood soulmate Nicholas Crawford, now engaged to enigmatic Frenchwoman Margaux Jourdan.
Paris, 1947 Designer Christian Dior unveils his extravagant first collection to a world weary of war and grief. He names his debut fragrance, Miss Dior, in tribute to his sister, Catherine, who worked for the French Resistance.
Present day Australian fashion conservator Kat Jourdan discovers a secret wardrobe filled with priceless Dior gowns in her grandmother's vacant cottage. As she delves into the mystery, Kat begins to doubt everything she thought she knew about her beloved grandmother.
An unspeakable betrayal will entwine all of their fates.
THE PARIS SECRET is an unforgettable story about the lengths people go to protect one another, and a love that, despite everything, lasts a lifetime.
Thank you Natasha for being my December 1st Author Stalker victim. xx
The Paris Secret is available through all leading bookstores and online.
If you would like to find out more about Natasha, you can find her here: