Hello! Today, I’m so happy to welcome Elaine Spires to Little Bookness Lane.
This lovely lady has not only written ALL of the books below, she has kindly prepared an excellent guest post for us. Take it away, Elaine – and thank you! :
By Elaine Spires
Thanks so much for the opportunity to guest-blog with you today.
As a writer who sometimes acts (I originally wanted to be an actress who sometimes wrote but Fate had other plans), I’ve come to realise that there is one tool which serves and links both actors and writers alike and that is IMAGINATION. Actors put themselves into the shoes of their characters by imagining how they would react to the situation in which the playwright has placed them, which leads to a believable performance and if, after all, a performance isn’t believable then the actor might as well give up. I’m sure you, like me, will have watched actors whose imagination is so well tuned and highly developed that you have been totally convinced by their performance, while others have left you sitting there thinking ‘I don’t believe that!’. I am highly critical when watching TV, so much so that I often start to lose the thread of the plot because I’m allowing myself to be distracted by unconvincing acting.
And so it is with writers. Without our imaginations we would have no characters, no setting, no plot, no subplot, in short – no story! But I think that there is even more to it than that, at least I have found it so. I am very fortunate in that I spend part of my year in Antigua, in the West Indies. Two of my novels, Singles’ Holiday and Sweet Lady are set there. I fell in love with the place on my first visit in 2003 and I just haven’t been able to stay away. I have a cute little house – Avocado Cottage – and sitting on the veranda, enjoying the cool breeze and my lovely garden is very conducive to the creative process. Perhaps because there are fewer distractions, or perhaps, simply because I am surrounded by nature as the cottage is in a semi-rural setting and I am visited by little lizards and humming-birds and herds of goats and cows and the occasional horses going up the lane, but I find my output is far greater here than when I am in Essex.
But last year my imagination really came into play when I was in Antigua throughout July writing the third book in my Singles’ Trilogy, Single All The Way. You see, as you might guess from the title, it’s set at Christmas time, but it’s not a tropical Christmas, rather one set in the snowy English countryside in the town of Tolleshunt D’Arcy in Essex. It seemed strange to an extent writing about heavy snowfalls and describing winter walks in boots and scarves and gloves and hats, and huge, heavily-adorned Christmas trees while I was enjoying 30ºC under a cloudless blue sky and more than 80% humidity.
I’ve recently been back in Antigua working on my latest book, The Banjo, which is set in a sometimes gloomy 1950s England with its post-war austerity, pea-souper fogs and repression of women. So once again, it was my imagination that had to work overtime, bringing to life the families involved in the story, who are making-do, feeling the cold, living through hardship, fighting against social injustices, while I was sitting in the heat and sunshine making it all up.
That, though, is what writing is all about. Unless the writer can be successfully transported to another place and time, then how on earth will they take their readers there? The answer is…………by using their imagination. As Willy Wonka said: Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination. Or in the words of the title of one of my favourite Temptations’ songs – It’s Just My Imagination Running Away With Me.
Elaine is a novelist, playwright and actress. Extensive travelling and a background in education and tourism perfected Elaine’s keen eye for the quirky characteristics of people, captivating the humorous observations she now affectionately shares with the readers of her novels. Elaine spends her time between her homes in Essex and Five Islands, Antigua (W.I.).
If you’d like to know more about Elaine, here’s all the contact details you need:
~ Here’s a taster of the titles written by Elaine Spires ~
The covers are all linked to Amazon UK, in case you’d like to discover more…
What’s Eating Me – Eileen Holloway is an obese mother of two, whose husband went out to see a man about a car one night and never came back, struggling to keep all the plates spinning. But Eileen becomes a celebrity the day her mother puts her forward for Barbara’s Beautiful Bodies, a reality TV show which follows the journey of the seriously overweight as they are put on a rigid diet and exercise routine to change their lives for better and for ever. What’s Eating Me looks at what happens to her once her journey to reach her target weight is over.
Sweet Lady – the story with a couple of huge twists, where nothing is as it seems! East London artist Eleanor West is holidaying in Antigua with her daughter Victoria before her latest summer exhibition. When beach-bum Tyrone walks into their lives, nothing will ever be the same again.
The Singles’ Trilogy:-
Singles’ Holiday – Antigua, the Caribbean at its most luscious; cloudless, cobalt skies, silver sand, turquoise sea, and a group of total strangers, with just one thing in common: they’re single. Some have come just to have a good holiday; some for something more. Some will become lifelong friends; others just won’t get on. But it is, perhaps, their tour manager Eve who has the biggest shocks of all as she takes care of her group through sunny days, boozy, balmy nights and a tropical storm as we get to know each group member, while they, in turn, get to know each other.
Singles and Spice – A singles’ holiday to India’s Golden Triangle – Taj Mahal, the pink city of Jaipur, tiger-spotting in Ranthambore, the noisy, crowded streets of Delhi – all go to make up a trip that is hot, humid and spicy. Eve Mitchell, Travel Together’s tour manager extraordinaire has a couple of familiar faces in her little group of travellers and others that she hasn’t met before; sexy man-eating pensioners, a compulsive over-eater, a constant whiner and a man with a personal problem. And there’s a big surprise awaiting someone -and Eve! – one morning at dawn. By the end of the tour, which sees our group travelling by plane, coach, rickshaw, train and elephant, she will know rather more about some of their innermost secrets than she’d like.
Single All The Way – Travel Together Tour Manager Eve Mitchell is planning a quiet Christmas at home to rest and relax before an extra-special New Year. But she soon, very unexpectedly, finds herself in the depths of the Essex countryside looking after a singles’ group which contains some old, familiar faces and some pleasant – and not so pleasant – new ones. With its country walks, quizzes, disco and black-tie ball, the Christmas and Twixmas Break passes quickly, but just as they think it’s all over the plot takes a twist and we learn some dark secrets…
Short Story Collections:-
Holiday Reads – Short stories for your sun-lounger – or wherever! Seven women, each with a different holiday problem. Meet, Olivia, who wishes she wasn’t on a tennis holiday; Estelle, alone on a cruise; Fiona who’s flying too close for comfort; Shelley, who shouldn’t have got involved with a foreigner; Alison who finds our her husband’s off on a cruise – but not with her!; Eloise who’s having a rotten time in Ibiza and Karla who’s desperate for her family holiday in Corfu to go well.
The Christmas Queen – in which we meet up with Eileen Holloway again. Her whole life through, Christmas for Eileen has always started with loads of work and preparation and ended in bitter disappointment, and involved huge amounts of energy and emotion along the way. But this year, although she knows it will be emotional, she’s determined things will be very different. This year she’s going to be a Christmas Queen…
AAAAND COMING SOON…THE BANJO – A trilogy set in Dagenham from 1950s – present day.
Thank you for taking five to read Elaine’s guest post today. I loved it, I hope you did too! Also, huge thanks to Dawn Crooks for organising the #ElaineSpires tour.
All the best x
*** Please be sure to join ginahenning.com tomorrow for the next stop! ***