Also this morning I have another wonderful Meet the Author interview for you. Today I’m talking to the lovely Elaine Spires about stage adaptations, living her childhood dreams, Elvis, and her new book, The Banjo Book 2…..
Tell us a bit about yourself:
Writer, actor, playwright and director. I am a proud Dagenham girl, born, raised and still living there although I have spent large sections of my life living abroad – Mallorca, Ibiza and Antigua, with one long summer in Corfu. I am a real bookworm and can lose myself for hours at a time with the right book. I have one beautiful daughter who lives on Ibiza.
What inspired you to start writing and where do you get your ideas?
I always liked writing as a child but it wasn’t until I joined the Anna Scher Community Theatre in my early 40s that I really started writing. Anna encouraged us to put on plays and I found I loved writing them and wrote What’s Eating Me – my one-woman show that I performed on the London and Edinburgh Fringes. I then turned it into my first novel.
How many books have you written and published?
I am just completing my tenth novel – The Banjo Book Two – which comes out on 21st August 2020 – and have also written two novellas, two books of short stories and several plays including the stage adaptation of my book Singles’ Holiday. I also co-wrote a short film Only the Lonely (Dan Films) in 2017 which was directed by Clare Holman and starred Anna Calder Marshall.
How long does it take you to write a book?
Between three months and a year depending how much ‘life’ gets in the way.
Which book, out of all the books you have written, is your favourite and why?
Now you’re asking Mummy to choose between her children! I’m going to say Singles and Spice. I enjoyed writing the whole Singles’ Series (six books) but there’s something about Singles and Spice. Probably because it’s set in India’s wonderful Golden Triangle. And (SPOILER!) there are tigers, my favourite animal.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to be an actress. My careers teacher told me not to be ridiculous as “Girls from Dagenham don’t go to RADA or end up in the West End.” I remembered her words as I stepped onto the stage of the Gielgud Theatre for our opening night of the Ladykillers.
What other jobs have you done other than being an author?
Holiday rep; tour manager; EFL teacher; Spanish teacher; Drama teacher; Head of Leisure and Tourism in a sixth form college; air hostess; aromatherapist; actor; director.
If you could get in a time machine and had one chance to travel, where would you go and why? (Backwards or forwards!)
Back to 1977 – my first ever trip to USA as a very young girl. This time I would stay on in Las Vegas to get tickets to see Elvis. Biggest regret of my life not doing that but how was I to know he’d die just a few months later?
Other than writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
I also love tennis in fact I think my ideal job would be that of tennis commentator – travelling the world and watching tennis – Heaven! I go to the theatre as often as I can – which isn’t very often at the moment given the Covid-19 pandemic and enjoy eating out.
What’s your favourite film of all time and why?
West Side Story. I have lost count of the number of times I’ve watched it yet I still bawl my eyes out. The music and choreography was years ahead of its time. And I shall take the image of George Chakiris in that mauve shirt to my grave.
If a movie was made about your life, what genre would it be, who would you want to play you and what would its title be?
A – A comedic drama – Goldie Hawn – Free Spirit
Do you feel it’s more important to have a) strong characters b) a mind-blowing plot or c) amazing settings?
A – strong characters. A mind-blowing plot is nothing without strong characters. Setting is important – often it becomes another character in the book. But for me strong, believable characters are the foundation of any novel.
And finally, tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it?
The Banjo Book Two is coming out 21st August. The cover reveal is 13th July. Meanwhile here’s the cover of Book One (attached to email) Will be available on kindle and amazon.co.uk
final words from chelle…
Thanks Elaine for this lovely interview. It must be amazing that you get to live out your childhood dream! You’ve had some amazing jobs as well, I always wanted to be a travel rep when I was younger (although couldn’t think of anything worse now I’m older and calmer!). I can’t believe that you didn’t get to see Elvis – it’s sounds like one of those moments where going back in time would really help, knowing what we know now! And finally, I’m taking part in the cover reveal on 13th July and I can’t wait!!
Keep an eye out on my blog on 13th to see Elaine’s new cover for her cover reveal. I’m one of the lucky bloggers taking part!
If you have any questions or comments for Elaine, then make sure you get in touch using the links above or drop a comment below.
Have a wonderful day all, and I’ll see you tomorrow!