Random Inspirations

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7 Things You Might Not Know About the 1920’s

on December 29, 2014

I’m currently in the midst of writing The Mermaid’s Voyage, the conclusion of the California Mermaids trilogy. In this series finale, Doria, Oceania’s niece, turns eighteen in the year 1925. Like her aunt, she must choose between living on land or in the ocean, but the decision is riddled with complications. Between her overprotective mer-beau, her aunt’s bizarre behavior, and the scheming landsman who threatens her safety and sanity, Doria is a bit overwhelmed. Can she break the mermaid’s curse that has been in her family for generations? And will she choose land or water? Look for the Kindle ebook in late January to find out!

The Mermaid’s Voyage has been incredibly fun to write so far, mostly because I loooove the Roaring 20s! I have always been fascinated by this time period: Prohibition, flappers, and the overall glitter and glamour of this party-filled, somewhat excessive era of American history. I’ve stumbled upon so many interesting facts throughout my research, so, naturally, I have to share them with you! Here they are: 7 things you might not know about the 1920s. 

Here's a fun picture of 1920s fashion, courtesy of Glamordaze.com.

Here’s a fun picture of 1920s fashion, courtesy of Glamordaze.com.

  1. Speakeasies, which cropped up all over the U.S. during prohibition, had many nicknames, such as “juice joint,” “drum,” and “ham & egger.”
  2. One of the most popular speakeasies in San Francisco was Coffee Dan’s. Patrons accessed the speakeasy via a slide into the basement level of the restaurant, and could hold their coffee cups under the table if they cared for some liquor from the wait staff’s hip flasks.
  3. San Francisco was also home to the Sir Francis Drake hotel, which had a “prohibition room,” where alcohol was stored and could be delivered to guests via small doors hidden in each room. The hotel is still there today, but the secret doors no longer exist.
  4. Radio was a huge form of mass communication in the 1920s, and America’s first commercial radio station was Pittsburgh’s KDKA in 1920. By the end of the decade, over 12 million households owned a radio.
  5. Jazz and ragtime were the popular types of music for the young generation, and people could be found in juice joints and dance halls doing dances such as the Charleston and the cake walk.
  6. The speakeasy crowd had many silly code-words for “drunk,” such as zozzled, splifficated, ossified, and hoary-eyed.
  7. Most movies of the 1920s were silent films, but all that changed with the release of The Jazz Singer in 1927. It was the first “talking picture” to feature a star singer and actor–and to attract huge crowds of viewers.

There you have it…a little slice of life from the 1920s. Authors out there, have you ever written historical fiction, and if so, what era did you write about? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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4 responses to “7 Things You Might Not Know About the 1920’s

  1. steelcityfox says:

    Ooh, if you’re writing about the 20s, I have to recommend Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella. My mum and I have both read it multiple times. It’s adorable (also a bit of a ghost mystery). I love all her details about the 20s, including some of the prohibition-era cocktails which I love today.

  2. I love that book! I just re-read it last week for inspiration. Sadie is hilarious, and you’re right about the 20s details. Good recommendation!

  3. somemaid says:

    I love the twenties, my current wip, while being partially set in the early thirties, (the other bit is set in another world entirely) involves me researching the twenties to ensure the back story of my main character is consistent.
    Disappointed to hear that the secret doors in the Sir Francis Drake hotel no longer exist. I used to work in a pub with a blocked up smuggling tunnel in the beer cellar. Very eerie atmosphere down there.

  4. That’s awesome that you worked in a place like that… I’ll bet you found tons of inspiration for your stories! Best of luck with your wip. 🙂

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