'The Hidden Life of Aster Kelly'

"The Hidden Life of Aster Kelly" by Katherine A. Sherbrooke.

Old Hollywood, family secrets, and dreams of Broadway are all packed in the latest book by Katherine A. Sherbrooke, "The Hidden Life of Aster Kelly."

What was your inspiration behind your most recent book?

"The Hidden Life of Aster Kelly" was inspired by everything my mother wouldn’t tell me about her time as a runway model in 1940s Hollywood. She came home after six years, divorced and with a young child, my older sister Barbara, but refused to talk about that time in her life. I garnered tidbits over the years that suggested she had more than passing interactions with major stars of the time, like Cary Grant, Bob Hope and Roy Rogers, which further piqued my curiosity. I used one question as my creative launch pad: “How does an ordinary gal from Newark, NJ wind up entangled in the highest echelons of Hollywood and come home burdened by secrets?” This book is an entirely fictional attempt to answer that question.

What does "Reading with Pride" mean to you?

Pride is such an intricate and wonderful word. It speaks to having confidence in your own choices, and it evokes a sense of inner joy, the kind that comes with feeling part of something authentic. Reading with Pride to me means being so taken with a story, so confident in the ways it moved you, that you want to share the bounty with others. And there is often no more moving or impactful story than a love story. In my novel, I chose to make a gay relationship the most developed and enduring in the book, the kind of love others look to with hope for what is possible between two humans.

Why do you feel representation of a variety of people is so important when it comes to writing books? 

The most important education in my life has come from books, particularly fiction. My favorite novels transport the reader to unfamiliar places or circumstances and allow us to share the lives of characters with entirely different lived experiences than our own. Books teach me what life might be like had I been born to a different family, in a different skin, at a different time. Without characters that represent multiple variations on the human condition, how can we learn and grow? At the same time, if we can’t find ourselves represented anywhere in these books, it might feel as though we exist only on the periphery, unable to jump into the magic.

Tell us a little more about the book and why you decided to write it.

"The Hidden Life of Aster Kelly" is told in two timelines, 1940s Hollywood and 1970s Manhattan in which Aster’s daughter Lissy is on the brink of becoming a Broadway star. Both industries glorify identities that match audience expectation, and force those who don’t conform to choose between authenticity and something manufactured. This offers countless opportunities for inner conflict, long-kept secrets and for exploring the complexities that arise for those who try to protect themselves and those they love. Perfect circumstances for a great story!

What can fans expect from your book?

Readers will fall in love with these characters and their relationships with each other, whether romantic, mother-daughter or the unbreakable bonds of chosen family. It explores important themes while offering an enjoyable escape into the worlds of fashion, film, theater and music. And readers can expect some plot twists that I think (hope!) they won’t see coming.

 What's up next for you in the bookish world?

I’m working on my next novel. It’s coming rather slowly, which I’ve decided means that I’m onto something important that needs time to marinate. I’ve learned it’s best to let the subconscious work its magic before trying to force the words onto the page.

Katherine A. Sherbrooke is the award-winning author of three novels and a family memoir. Her latest novel, The Hidden Life of Aster Kelly (Pegasus Books) published on April 4, 2023 and was inspired by everything her mother never told her about her life as a runway model in 1940s Hollywood. Visit kasherbrooke.com.


Phone: 954-514-7095
Hours: Monday - Friday 9AM - 2PM


Corrections: editorial@outsfl.com

2520 N. Dixie Highway,
Wilton Manors, FL 33305



Got a juicy lead or story idea? Let us know!



Out South Florida

Hello from OutSFL! We hope you'll consider donating to us. Starting a business can be a scary prospect, but with your support so far, we've had tremendous success. Thank you!

donate button