It’s such a pleasure to have the fabulous Rosie Travers on my blog today. Her books, Theatre of Dreams and Your Secret’s Safe With Me, are delicious slices of escapism and, if you haven’t yet discovered her work, now is a perfect moment to try it. Here’s Rosie to tell us what drives her to write:
Who Wants to be a Novelist?
What makes someone hide themselves away for hours, days, weeks, months, years on end, hunched over their keyboard, producing what they hope will be the next best seller, with absolutely no guarantee that their hard work will ever be read by more than a handful of people, and definitely no certainty of any financial reward?
For me the answer is easy. Writing is a compulsion. This path chose me. I have no formal creative writing qualifications, no inherited ‘literary genes’. I left school at sixteen and trained as a secretary.
I did, however, grow up in a house surrounded by books. Reading was escape, a refuge. We didn’t have a lot of money and we didn’t do a lot of travelling – but through the pages of books I go could anywhere I wanted to. From Dr Seuss to C S Lewis, via Enid Blyton, I could solve mysteries and have my own adventures. Inspired by these authors, when I ran out of books to read, I wrote my own. I scribbled in notebooks before and after school. Later I created my own magazines and even penned novels of teenage of angst, before moving onto historical sagas after I discovered the books of Victoria Holt and Catherine Cookson.
With the onset of mortgages, marriage and motherhood any ambitions of being a ‘writer’ were put aside for a good twenty years or so until I unexpectedly found myself with time on my hands as an ex-pat wife, uprooted from the south of coast of England and transplanted to the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains in Pasadena, California. I began a blog about my surreal new life. It was initially cathartic, but it quickly became a habit; that compulsion. The spark had been ignited and the creative juices flowed. Words, sentences, ironic commentaries popped into my head, uninvited. I posted my ex-pat blog once a week, but I found 500 words could be whittled off very quickly. Perhaps it really was ‘my time’ to sit down and write that novel.
A couple of months and 60K words later I had done it (or at least thought I’d done it). It wasn’t a particularly good novel, but I continued to work on it, determined to learn my craft. On my return to the UK I took a creative writing class, I joined the Romantic Novelists New Writers’ Scheme, entered competitions, and served my apprenticeship with many rejection slips.
Ten years on and I’ve actually now completed four full novels. The first sits in a drawer (although it one day might come back out), the second, The Theatre of Dreams was published in August 2018, the third, Your Secret’s Safe With Me, launched in February 2019. The fourth, as yet untitled, will shortly be looking for a home.
I’ve tried to stop! I have moments of huge self-doubt, that awful ‘imposter’ syndrome rears its ugly head. But then a scene falls into place, a dialogue pops into my head. A half-baked manuscript I’ve put aside comes back out and I think, this isn’t that bad after all.
My books have been described as ‘intriguing’ and ‘refreshingly different’, ultimately my aim is to be uplifting and entertaining. I like a feisty heroine with flaws (because we’ve all got them) and I enjoy creating unusual situations to test my characters’ resolve. I write feel good fiction because I think the world needs it, and never more than right now. Yes, I read meatier books, I like a good tense thriller as much as anyone else, but sometimes it’s good for the soul to sink into a comforting cloud where the underdog triumphs to reach a Happy After Ever (but not without a bit of a bumpy ride first).
Shortly after I’d published The Theatre of Dreams, I received this message from a reader: “I think everyone should have a Theatre of Dreams in their life and not give up easily and overcome obstacles…it is inspiring and uplifting. Thank you for writing such a lovely book and the pleasure I had reading it.”
It was a defining moment, and it’s why I sit hunched over my keyboard right now.
Rosie Travers Links
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rosie-Travers/e/B07CVZ2CQ5/
The Theatre of Dreams
A devious octogenarian recruits a disgraced actress and a penniless architect to play a part in her elaborate plot to save her family’s historic seaside pavilion.
“Romance, scandal and a cunning plan.”
“Heartwarming and filled with suspense – a rare combination.”
Your Secret’s Safe with Me
A romantic novelist and her daughter make an unexpected move to a sleepy coastal village and discover anything but calm water.
“A fabulous cast of characters, witty dialogue and a bundle of secrets and twists that will keep the reader guessing.”
“Entertaining, funny and hard to put down!”https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07L9K978J/