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Please welcome Caroline Preston, author of The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt, who took the time to answer our interview questions!

Interview

What do you do with all the memorabilia you collect (other than make it into a fun work of literature) do you display it (how)? Keep it for craft projects?

Caroline: It’s proving a challenge to figure out what to do with boxes and boxes of 1920’s ephemera I collected for The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt. I have limited storage space in my studio and I have to make room for my next project, so I am winnowing down.

I have framed some of the most beautiful magazine covers (from Saturday Evening Post, Colliers, McCall’s and Ladies Home Companion) and sheet music to hang in my studio. I am keeping the best 1920’s scrapbooks for my vintage scrapbook collection. The rest of the Sears Catalog pages, fashion spreads, and vintage postcards I am matting and giving away to family and friends. I have birthday, graduation, baby, house warming and wedding presents covered for the next decade.

How long did it take you to complete The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt?

Caroline: It took me about 20 months from the first crazy “Why don’t I make a novel that is actually a vintage scrapbook” idea to a finished manuscript. It took me a few months to figure out how I’d go about making a graphic novel and then to work out the details of Frankie’s story. Then I had to go about collecting the vintage ephemera for each chapter of Frankie’s life—from a New England village, to Vassar College, Greenwich Village, and Paris. In all, I collected 600 pieces of vintage ephemera from antique store and eBay. It turned out that making a 1920’s vintage scrapbook novel was a much more complicated and laborious process than I ever imagined—which isn’t surprising.

Have you thought about making more scrapbooks? Maybe of Frankie’s friends??

Caroline: I am planning to make a whole series of scrapbook novels set in different time periods. My next one is a scrapbook kept by a bride during her first year of marriage, 1959-1960. I think of it as a prequel to Mad Men. I don’t have any plans to return to Frankie Pratt, but I’m very fond of her, so maybe I will.

What is your favorite piece of memorabilia you have discovered?

Caroline: I can’t single out one single favorite discovery. There have been a few: a 1925 Sears catalog, a 1918 foldable portable typewriter, a bi-plane-shaped badge handed out on the streets of Paris when Linbergh landed, a flapper’s Bakelite cigarette holder, a luggage ticket from the Mauretania, a pair of cardboard eclipse glasses that allowed you to stare directly at an eclipse “in perfect safety.”

Do you scrapbook your own life?

Caroline: Like a lot people, I intend to scrapbook my own life, sometime, someday. For now, I just collect things about my family and kids in boxes. I have about 25 years of boxes right now…

Check out our review of The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt