A Tale of Glitz, Glamor and the Queer Scene in 1940s New York

Annie-Sage Whitehurst, in a scene from Juliana, the play, at The Duplex, Greenwich Village.

What starts out as a journey to find fame and fortune ends up being one of self-discovery, particularly coming to terms with one's sexuality. In the pages of Vanda's exploration of queerness in the 1940s, readers will follow a young woman seeking stardom and how she instead realizes her true identity, one that was taboo at the time. This is "Juliana - An LGBT Historical Fiction."

The first book of the series is set in New York during 1941 and follows Alice "Al" Huffman. She and her childhood friends have just left the potato farms of Long Island and are pursuing their dreams of making it big on Broadway. Alice gets her heart broken when she is told she has no talent but persists and takes acting life, taking up a job to pay for the lessons and settling into a normal life, even getting a boyfriend. But everything changes when she meets Juliana, a singer on the brink of stardom who embodies everything Al isn't. Glamorous. Talented. And queer.


This is so titillating to Al, and soon she develops thoughts and feelings that she never ever considered before in her life. She is drawn to Juliana, experiencing an attraction that is forbidden by society. She enters another world, the gay and underground realm that exists in the shadows of the supposed normal world she has known since her childhood. She has to balance this, except the worlds are set to collide.


"My Juliana series is about LGBT modern history that is NOT for LGBT folks only. These are books about people surviving and rising through some very difficult and dark days. However, these are not gloomy books. The characters are filled with spirit and lots of humor." Vanda says, explaining how her work explores universal human traits, as well as the challenges faced by minorities who must conceal their true selves from mainstream society, whose existences are not acknowledged." I wanted to write about LGBT history because I needed to know more about it myself."


With "Juliana - An LGBT Historical Fiction: Book 1," Vanda treats her readers with a captivating work of LGBT historical romance unfolding in an extensively researched setting, weaved with spellbinding storytelling and populated with characters that one cannot help but fall for. This is the first book in the award-winning playwright's Juliana series that also gives readers a glimpse of the rich history of queerness in America.

About the Author

Born and raised in Huntington Station, Long Island, Vanda's works have garnered numerous honors, her plays have earned her an Edward Albee Fellowship, and she has won awards such as the Pride Stage and Screen's Women's Playwriting Award. Vanda's "Why'd Ya Make Me Wear This, Joe," won Celebration Theater's Best New LGBT Play. "Juliana - An LGBT Historical Fiction" was also long-listed for theMslexia Novel Award and shorted listed for the Goethe Book Award. She has made honoring LGBT history her life mission so that people - gay and straight alike - will know the LGBT community's rich cultural history. More information is available on the writer's website: www.vandawriter.com.

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