Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Eleanor Gwyn-Jones takes the stage...plus a book giveaway

Today we have the pleasure of having Eleanor Gwyn-Jones on the blog. Her debut novel, Theatricks, just came out last week! Eleanor lives in Scranton, Pennsylvania, but originally hails from Surrey, England. Huzzah! She studied biology at Southampton University before taking to the stage as an actress, agent and administrator of a touring theatre company. She performed in theatres, studios, schools and festivals across the British Isles before moving to the States. It was whilst visa-dangling and unable to take on acting work that she started to write and decided she far preferred it to anything else in the world! In 2008, Eleanor started her own ‘at home’ business to afford her more time to be with her ‘book babies.’ Now she spends her time writing by day and teaching ladies to look fabulous at night. She is a travel junkie—it’s research, darling, research!—a gourmand, a yogi, a sometime blogger and she adores her family and friends beyond all measure. She is currently putting the finishing key strokes to the sequel to Theatricks, due for release in 2014.

If she weren’t writing, she’d like to think you’d find her in Downton, The Paradise, or having a goblet of wine with Tyrion in King’s Landing.

Thanks to Omnific Publishing we have THREE digital copies and THREE paperback copies of Theatricks to give to some lucky readers anywhere in the world.

Get to learn more about Eleanor at her websiteFacebook and Twitter.

First off, tell us about your awesome book, Theatricks, and what inspired you to write it…
I love this question!  Oh gosh, Theatricks is so engrained, so part of me, it’s my heart on a platter.  I’m still in awe of how it came about, because, certainly, it was never in the plan; but I happened to take a vacation to Florida, I met an American, and my history was forever changed.  It was a true cosmic turn of events. 
I left my full-time job as a stage actress and theatre company administrator near London, and I said ‘yes’ to the Pennsylvanian I had fallen in love with.  Never did I imagine the flaming gauntlet that we would both have to go through to be together; how applying and eventually being approved for a fiancĂ©e visa would be its own mission impossible!  We made it, were married, and still I had to wait nearly a year to receive a green card to work in the States. 
I would write long letters home—my aunties didn’t ‘do’ email—and the responses back always said the same thing, “you should be a writer.”

I had always wanted to be an actress, so it seemed bizarre to me that people who knew me would ever suggest anything else, but one day, after months of not being allowed to work, I opened my laptop and I started to write. 

I took the first scene I wrote—the spa scene—to a local writers’ group, read the chapter and was overwhelmed by their encouragement and praise, so I carried on.  Eleanor evolved into Enna and she stole my visa issue, created her own theatrical problems and dallied with the men of my dreams, sometimes those of my reality!

Emily Giffin quoted someone on Facebook recently, saying that “every novel is a letter to someone.”  I like that. 

We think authors are the best people to ask this question: What have you read and loved lately? 
I am totally late to the party, but I just love Kate Morton.  She is more the litty side of women’s fiction but she has that Downton Abbey historical drama down and I love the mystery and romance of war, class repression, OOH! It’s so very English and romantic!  And I’m afraid that I am a hopeless romantic.  I read The Distant Hours and The House at Riverton recently and was absolutely captivated.
What else?  Oh, my not-so-guilty-pleasure!  I love the hedonist, casual carpe diem mantra of HBO and Lena Denham’s series The Girls, set in my old ‘hood in Brooklyn, and fellow Britty in the City, Gemma Burgess wrote a fun young adult series Brooklyn Girls that completely tides me over between series.  St. Martin’s Press sent me an advanced copy and I wrote a blog about it.  I know, I know, it is young adult, not really intended for my age group, but for an early thirties reader hitting the dating scene again (yes, you can fill in the dots between meeting the American and now) it is interesting to read how Gen Y dates and rolls!

On my ‘to read’ list is Sylvain Reynard’s series.  S.R. has been just lovely on Twitter being so incredibly supportive of me as a fellow writer.  I have cued up the Gabriel’s Inferno series and my fingers are twitching to get started!

Characters really make the story for us. What three words would best describe your heroine & what about her called out to you to write her story?
Passionate, duty-driven and adventurous.
Her story started as my story, it evolved from there.  She is not a bookish introvert waiting for Darcy; she’s not an over-weight calorie-counter waiting for someone to see her, not her size; she’s not an underestimated blonde; she’s just human and hard-working and hence, incredibly endearing.  She’s not afraid to try.  She’s desperately afraid to fail, to hurt others, to let people down, but by the end of the novel she accepts that she can fail spectacularly and learn and love…  She is lead by her heart, halted by her head, but powered by passion.

If Theatricks were made into a movie (or perhaps even a stage play), who would you want to cast in the lead roles?
My mum—whose name is actually Bridget Jones, I know, isn’t that wild?!—always wanted me to write a screenplay for me to act in!  Well, look Mum!  Of course, I would go without cheese, wine and chocolate—my three favourite food groups—if it meant I could play Enna Petersen.  But I do understand that Hollywood usually wants ‘a name.’  Enna is quintessentially British, so I see a late twenties, brunette British actress like Michelle Dockery, who plays Lady Mary in Downton Abbey.  She has that viper strength yet lamb-like vulnerability that Enna needs. 
Cole has always been Ben Affleck in my mind.  I loved his strong, brooding Byronesque performance in The Town.  He is older than Enna, he is suave, hard working, and he knows what he wants.  It’s Enna.
Will.  Will is that mercurial spirit!  He is a hedonist, impulsive, hot-blooded, passionate theatrical lead.  He loves attention and he gets it.  When I watched Chris Hemsworth as James Hunt in the motor racing film, Rush, he was Will.  He was mesmerizing, magnetizing, and tantalizing.  But Will is darker.  I know Hollywood can do anything, but I imagine Will physically to have the more swarthy look of Henry Cavill.
Lucy- Rosamund Pike.  I have always loved Ros as an actress, since I saw her play Juliet for the National Youth Theater in 1996.  She was just 18 or 19 and she has such a Brit spirit and gives me the sense of being an intrepid traveler, a la Lucy, the travel writer.
Kay Petersen—Cherie Lunghi.  A beautiful, classical actress.  I saw her play Miss Testvalley in the BBC adaptation of Edith Wharton’s Buccaneers and hence-forth loved her.
Leo Petersen – Matthew Goode.  He has that mischievous sparkle in his eyes.  He is perfect for Enna’s brother.  Physically, he will have the same brunette hair, fine features and slender lines of Enna. 
Bob Petersen—Michael Caine, who else could play Enna’s dad?  Umm… no one.  Michael Caine is king.

How do you pay it forward?
I think everyone is important.  I shake hands and look people in the eye; I greet strangers with a ‘hello’ and a smile if they look at me in the supermarket; I try not to say anything negative.  I try to be the best version of myself in a ‘do unto others’ kind of way.  It may not be much, but if everyone greeted people and spread kindness, I think there would be far less sadness in the world.  Don’t you agree?

Who was your celebrity crush when you were a kid?
Oh Lord!  Now you’re asking.  As a young tween I had black and white photographs of Sean Connery as James Bond.  As I have aged, I have merely changed Bonds!  Now I am firmly, very firmly, in Daniel Craig’s camp. 

What TV show, book, or movie reminds you most of your own life?
Oh no, I hate that this sounds so clichĂ©, but Sex And The City immediately springs to mind.  I often write in my underwear; I like naughty little drinkies and eating out; I have fabulous girlfriends who have, through relationship highs and cavernous lows, through bottles of wine and vats of hummus, always been there; I wear feathers, fishnets and bizarre regalia others would raise eyebrows at; and there was a Mr. Big.  Once upon a time.

Would you rather have too much time or too much money?
More time.  Money I can control to some extent, time I cannot.  I read once, gosh I wish I could recall what book it was from, a passage that went something like this:
"I’m scared of Time.  I’m scared that the portion in front of me will be less than the one behind.”  It’s always rather haunted me.  Time is definitely my most valuable commodity.  There’s so much more I want to write about, read about, smell, taste, touch, see, hear, travel to, revel in; I just need more time to do it."

Thanks to Eleanor for chatting with us and Omnific for sharing her book with our readers.

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

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Worldwide. Giveaway ends December 16th at midnight EST.


Melanie Backus said...

My favorite memory goes back to my high school days. Our local voice teacher took a small group of us to see Jesus Christ Superstar. It was wonderful and it had a great impact because I chose one of the songs for my senior solo.

mauback55 at gmail dot com

Preet said...

As a child still in elementary school or primary school for the British folks, I recall going to see The Wind in the Willows performed at the Alliance Theater. I don't remember how old I was but I think it was between the ages of 5-7 and I recall being mesmerized and wanteing to go play with Frog and Toad when it was over.

Bonnie K. said...

I'm trying to remember. I do know I saw The Nutcracker but don't remember how old I was. I remember a volunteer group doing a production of Thirteen is a Mystical Number performed in the Palo Alto area. I really enjoyed it.

bluedawn95864 at gmail dot com

Jessica said...

I think I remember going as a little girl. I can't remember what movie I saw.

-Jessica M

Carl Scott said...

I really don't remeber but I was always fascinated by it when I did. It might have been some high school play that my sister was in.

susieqlaw said...

The Lion King

Unknown said...

In elementary school, Globe Theatre would come and give performances.

bn100 said...

a few years ago

Mary Preston said...

It was High School for me too. Some touring company.

Bube said...

I think it was when I had 9 or 10 years,I don't remember exact age,but it was exciting,new thing :)

rubynreba said...

I know that I went in high school but can't remember the name of the performance

Nova said...

I remember seeing The Nutcracker in 3rd grade in Cincinnati, Ohio. I was in awe of the dance of the sugar plum fairy :)
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