AUTHOR Natasha Lester rocketed up the national bestsellers list hitting the number four spot on the fiction list in April for her book The Paris Seamstress.
The Perth local whose warm and friendly disposition shines through her pages has published her third book in the historical fiction genre.
After reading her last two books, A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald and Her Mother’s Secret, I was chafing at the bit when The Paris Seamstress appeared on my kitchen bench as a gift from my daughter.
I churned through it in record time loving the dual time frames which weaved its story from WWII to the present.
The well-researched and beautifully written novel was steeped in mysteries and secrets which kept me up way too late at night.
As with all the books which I enjoy, as I came to its end a sense of regret came over me as I had to give up sharing the lives of protagonist Estella and her troupe.
Estella’s adventures covered the day to day realities of a fashion atelier in Paris, the onset of the war and the fall of Paris. Smattered with secrets, love, loss, and the establishment of a fashion label in New York all weaving connections back to the present.
I particularly loved that Estella in present day was 97 years old so I decided I needed to read it again to really pick up on some of the subplots and soak up some more of the well detailed history of fashion and WWII.
In the meantime, I headed to good ol’ Facebook and found the Natasha Lester – Author page and penned out a little note saying how much I enjoyed her new book.
Within 20 minutes Natasha replied and I thought I really must share this wonderful talent we have in Perth with Have a Go News’ readers.
Lester loved writing from an early age, she completed a degree in Marketing and Public relations and went on to work for Harlequin UK then L’Oreal Australia as marketing manager for the Maybelline brand.
“I always wanted to be a writer since I was a child and when I left school they didn’t offer creative writing degrees, so I did marketing and PR because I knew there was a writing component to it,” she said.
The desire to become a published author was so strong that one day she decided to quit her job and return to university to do a creative writing course.
Her first book What is Left Over After was published by Fremantle Press in 2010 followed by If I Should Lose You in 2012.
She then decided to switch genres to historical fiction and her third book A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald was published in 2016 followed by Her Mother’s Secret in 2017
“The idea for Her Mother’s Secret came out of my work with the Maybelline brand and the history behind it.
“It’s amazing the way that small things can influence you later down the track,” she said.
Lester is now pumping out a book every year featuring strong female protagonists who face many life challenges which weave factual historic research into the story.
“I love the research for historical fiction, I love sitting down in an archive and finding out about things from a bygone era, I love travelling to the places which feature in my books because I find history endlessly fascinating.”
Writing historical fiction also allows her to highlight how far we have come in respect to women’s rights.
“I love seeing how far we have come as women and looking back on history also shows me how far we have yet to go. To plunge into a world 60, 70, 80 years ago with these characters is a privilege.
“I love writing historical fiction, I can’t see myself moving into another genre although I worry that sometimes I will run out of ideas,” she said.
Lester also likes to share her knowledge about writing running a variety of workshops and classes.
“I just really enjoy teaching people about writing and I hope that that they can keep going and get their book written.
“It’s inspiring for me to sit in a room with people who want to write so I get quite a lot out of it as well.
“The magic formula is sitting down and writing and being disciplined and having a routine, she says.
Her next book, The French Photographer scheduled for release in March 2019 follows a female journalist through Europe during WWII and highlights much of the discrimination directed against women in those roles.
Lester is definitely on the cusp of worldwide success; The Paris Seamstress is due for hard copy release in the US in September and the UK in October.
It’s wonderful to see another Western Australian talent sharing her unique story telling abilities with the rest of the world.
“I get to write for my living and that really is quite an extraordinary dream,” she said.
Natasha Lester books are available at all good bookstores and online.