Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Debut Spotlight: Rosie Travers

Today it's my pleasure to be shining the spotlight today on an author who is fairly local to me, Rosie Travers and her debut novel The Theatre of Dreams which was published earlier in the Summer.

I grew up in Southampton on the south coast of England and initially trained as a secretary. Following a move to Southern California with my husband in 2009 I began a blog about life as an ex-pat wife which re-kindled a teenage desire to become a writer.

On my return to the UK I took a part-time course in Creative Writing initially concentrating on short stories before attempting my first novel. I am a member of Hampshire Writers Society and The Romantic Novelists Association. I now live back on the south coast with my husband a very spoilt cat.

Twitter @RosieTravers
Instagram: rosietraversauthor
RNA Profile:  rna_author/rosie-travers

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your writing journey? 
My writing journey began as a teenager, I was an avid scribbler but then real-life took hold and after training as a secretary I juggled a career in local government with raising my family. I didn’t pick up my writing ‘hobby’ until I moved to the US with my husband in 2009 and became a stay-at-home-mom. I began a blog about ex-pat life, which rekindled my creative juices. When I returned to the UK in 2012 I took a part-time creative writing course, and fuelled by some success in short story competitions, I joined the Romantic Novelists Association New Writers’ Scheme.  The Theatre of Dreams was accepted for publication by Crooked Cat Books and launched on 1 August 2018.

If you had to give an elevator pitch for The Theatre of Dreams, what would it be? 
A devious octogenarian, a disgraced actress and a bankrupt architect form an unlikely alliance to save an iconic slice of local history in a story of second chances and unexpected friendship.

The Theatre of Dreams features a rundown dance academy in a seaside resort, where did the inspiration come from?  
The novel is inspired by a building - the Lee Tower entertainment complex in Lee-on-the-Solent, Hampshire. Built in the Art Deco style in 1935, it featured a cinema, restaurant, ballroom and 120 observation tower and was demolished by the local council in 1971. When I learned about the existence of this magnificent Art Deco building in a somewhat sleepy south coast town, my imagination caught fire. It seemed a travesty that such a unique facility hadn’t been saved and preserved for future generations. I just knew there had to be a story there somewhere.

The Theatre of Dreams is purely a work of fiction. I created my own Art Deco pavilion which had transformed from theatre to nightclub, and now housed a dance school. A seafront regeneration programme threatens the pavilion’s future. Kitty, the pavilion’s elderly owner, concocts a desperate and elaborate plot to save her beloved building, but she needs help to pull it off. Enter Tara, an out of work musical theatre actress.

One of my reviewers has described Kitty as a ‘shrewd old bird’ which is exactly the impression I hoped to create. She is manipulative but not malicious and I liked the idea of the two different generations united by a common cause.  Initially reluctant to embrace Kitty’s plans – which involve some not totally legitimate activities, Tara finds the opportunity to restore the pavilion irresistible. As Kitty begins to reveal secrets from her past, an irrevocable bond forms between the two women.

If you had to describe Tara in three words, what would they be? 
As Kitty states when she recruits her “attractive, congenial and highly gullible” – although that’s four words! 

To be fair, Tara is in a bad place when Kitty first makes contact. She’s lost her job in the West End and is ostracised by the theatrical community. She seizes the chance to resurrect her career, not realising quite what she’s let herself in for. Tara has her own ambitions and she’s actually a feisty, determined young woman. She and Kitty are kindred spirits.

What lessons have you learnt during the whole writing/editing/publication process?
It’s been a massive learning curve. I am a complete beginner although the Theatre of Dreams is actually my second full-length novel. The first – a far more traditional girl meets boy romance – was rejected and revised many times before I finally gave up on it. Second time round I ensured The Theatre of Dreams was the finished product I wanted it to be before I started submitting to publishers and agents.  I’ve found the actual marketing process the hardest part. I knew very little about book promotion before I started out – it’s been like learning a new language. I’ve had to acquire several new skills and get my head around social media. It’s still very much a work in progress.

What advice would you give to other aspiring authors who are thinking about writing a novel?
Write it! The best piece of advice is don’t give up. If you really want to be a writer, you have to stick with it and not cave in at the first set-back. Listen to advice and act upon it. Join a writer’s group for support because only other writers understand the ups and downs and inevitable self-doubts of the creative process.

Did you treat yourself to something special to celebrate your publishing deal? 
It seems a long time ago now – nearly eight months from signing the contract to publication but I think I celebrated with a glass of champagne - or two. 

Finally what can we expect from you next? 
I’d liked to write more novels – I’ve got plenty of ideas but  finding that magical ingredient to make a book stand out from the crowd is the difficult bit. I’m working on it.

Musical theatre actress Tara is down on her luck and in desperate need of a job.  

When terminally-ill octogenarian Kitty invites her to take over the running of her former dance academy in the old-fashioned resort of Hookes Bay, Tara thinks she’s found her guardian angel.

But it soon becomes very clear Kitty is being far from benevolent. 

Too late, Tara realises helping Kitty will signal the end of an already tarnished career, unless she can pull off the performance of a life-time.

The Theatre of Dreams is published by Crooked Cat Books and available as ebook and paperback on Amazon.

Universal buying link: mybook.to/theatreofdreams

1 comment: