Natasha Lester worked as a marketing executive for L’Oreal before penning the New York Times and internationally bestselling novel The Paris Orphan. She is also the author of the USA Today bestseller The Paris Seamstress. Her latest book is The Three Lives of Alix St Pierre. When she’s not writing, she loves collecting vintage fashion, traveling, reading, practicing yoga and spending time with her three children. Natasha lives in Perth, Western Australia. Natasha was recently featured in the January 2023 issue of Welcome Home and has generously answered a few question!
1. Why did you become a writer?
I was the kid whose nose was always stuck in a book. From Enid Blyton, I moved on to Nancy Drew, then Judy Blume and Sweet Valley High. In between were classics like Little Women, which made me want to grow up to be Amy March, and Jane Eyre, which made me want to grow up and marry Rochester! Every time I was swept away in a story, I wondered what it must be like to be the one who made a reader feel like that – to know that your words on a page became a world when they entered a reader’s mind. So I gave up on being Amy March and on marrying Rochester and I decided to become a writer instead.
2. What inspired your current book?
Christian Dior surrounded himself with incredible women, all of whom are unknown today. In fact, most of his senior management team were women, and without those women, I don’t think he would have been the success he was – and still is today. Amongst all those women were just two men – business manager Jacques Rouét and an American publicity director. I decided to change history and turn the American publicity director into a woman named Alix St Pierre so I could explore just how this group of women were emblematic of the postwar time – overlooked and unappreciated and forgotten by history, but so crucial in making history. Around the same time, I discovered a woman called Mary Bancroft who worked as an American spy in neutral Switzerland during the war. I immediately wanted to know more – how did a woman come to be working in a neutral country as a spy from 1943 to 1945? Those two things combined to become the seed of the idea behind The Three Lives of Alix St Pierre.
3. What is next for you?
A book set in the rocking 1970s about a fashion battle that took place at the Palace of Versailles in France, pitting five French couturiers against five American designers. Everyone thought the French would win – but the Americans took out the crown. It’s also about a fashion legend who disappeared on the eve of the show, leaving behind only the question: what happened to Astrid Bricard?