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Please welcome my guest, Téa Cooper, who is here talking research with JAZZ BABY, her brand new 1920s historical romance!

Téa Cooper: Research – Love it or Hate it?

I love it and the research for Jazz Baby was a blast …The 1920s had its own unique brand of colourful slang. I was amazed how much is still used today!

My Top Ten Jazz Age slang phrases:

  1. Baby: sweetheart; someone of high value or respect.
  2. Choice bit of calico: a desirable woman
  3. Whoopee: to have a good time, “Make whoopee”
  4. Zozzled or splifficated: drunk. “He’s zozzled.”
  5. Bee’s knees: terrific. “She’s the bee’s knees.” There were lots of variations … elephant’s eyebrows, gnat’s whistle, eel’s hips.
  6. Hair of the dog: a shot of alcohol “He needs a hair of the dog.”
  7. Bum’s rush: to be thrown out of a club. “We got the Bum’s Rush.”
  8. Cat’s meow: great. “She’s the cat’s meow.” Or the cat’s pajamas, cat’s whiskers.
  9. To see a man about a dog. To leave. “I’ve got to see a man about a dog,”
  10. An earful: enough

So before I get the bum’s rush I’m off to get zozzled and make woophee to celebrate the release of Jazz Baby. Check it out – it’s the bee’s knees!

Jazz Baby

In the gritty underbelly of 1920s Sydney, a fresh-faced country girl is about to arrive in the big, dark city – and risk everything in the pursuit of her dreams.

Sydney is no place for the fainthearted—five shillings for a twist of snow, a woman for not much more, and a bullet if you look sideways at the wrong person.

Dolly Bowman is ready and willing to take on all the brash, bustling city has to offer. After all it is the 1920s, a time for a girl to become a woman and fulfil her dreams. Turning her back on her childhood, she takes up a position working as a housemaid while she searches for her future.

World War I flying ace Jack Dalton knows he’s luckier than most. He’s survived the war with barely a scratch, a couple of astute business decisions have paid off, and he’s set for the high life. But a glimpse of a girl that he had forgotten, from a place he’s tried to escape suddenly sets all his plans awry. Try as he might he can’t shake the past, and money isn’t enough to pay the debts he’s incurred.


Heeled shoes tip-tapped on the black and white floor tiles and she gaped at the vision framed in the narrow hallway. A shiny black, beaded dress, fringed and tasseled, stopped almost at the woman’s knees and her long slim legs, encased in the sheerest silk stockings, led to the most elegant ankle strapped shoes ever seen. Smoothing her hands down her brown worsted coat, Dolly blinked and peered at the woman. Her bobbed hair lay like a waved helmet on her head and the ribbon holding it all in place looked like a fine bandage.

The woman stopped halfway down the hall and gave a little shimmy. “Well hello! What have we here?”

“I’m here to see Mrs Mack, about the job.” Dolly screwed up her face cringing at the squeaky sound of her voice.

“Oh! A new girl. How exciting!” Lifting her hand to her mouth the woman dragged on a cigarette in an ivory holder, then exhaled a cloud of perfect smoke rings making Dolly’s eyes water.

“Darling!” The woman called down the hallway, “Come and meet the new girl.”


Téa Cooper divides her time between Sydney and the nineteenth century village of Wollombi, in the Hunter Valley of NSW Australia. When she isn’t writing, Téa can be found haunting museums or chatting to the locals, who offer a never-ending source of inspiration. Her first two rural historical romances, Lily’s Leap and Matilda’s Freedom are set in and around Wollombi and Jazz Baby involves both Sydney and Wollombi.

In February 2015 Forgotten Fragrance the first book in a family saga entitled From the Ocean to the Outback, is due for release and there is a sequel to Jazz Baby entitled The Wages of Sin in the pipeline. At the moment Téa is working on a parallel time-line series entitled The Adventures of Miss Abigail Wynter and an Australian Regency – The Great Platypus Hoax. She has also written three Australian contemporary romances.

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