Author interview with Elaine Spires

Today on Becca's Books, I have the fabulous Elaine Spires! Let's get started! 

B ~ Elaine, for anybody who hasn't heard of you, could you introduce yourself? 

E ~ Yes, of course. I'm a writer who likes to specialise in humorous, contemporary fiction with sex, a bit of travel and twists! 

B ~ After doing a little research, I found out that you're not only a novelist, but a playwright and an actress! How do you find the time to write between those things? 

E ~ Fortunately, writing can be done anywhere and at any time. I find myself writing at 2am or at 6am sometimes, especially if I've got a deadline to reach. I have a modest little house in Antigua - Avacado Cottage - and I go and spend time there whenever I can. I finished my latest novel there, this summer. Quite hard writing a book set in the snowy Essex countryside in the middle of winter while I was in the hot, sunny Caribbean!

B ~ I also read that you've travelled a lot! Can you tell us about all of the places you've travelled to? 

E ~ I've been very fortunate in that I've been almost everywhere I've ever wanted to go, except Japan. I've been to North, South and Central America, into the Arctic Circle, Scandinavia, most of Europe, the Far East, the Middle East, Australia, India, Indonesia, Thailand, the Caribbean, the Canaries, Madeira and quite a few places in Africa. 

B ~ Have any of them inspired you when it's come to writing your novels? 

E ~ Yes! My Singles' Trilogy consists of three books, Singles' Holiday - set in Antigua, Singles and Spice - set in India - and Single All the Way - set... in Essex! And Sweet Lady is also set partly in Antigua. 

B ~ What is your perfect destination? 

E ~ That's a difficult one - most destinations hold their own charm and/or attraction. For cities, New York, Madrid and Buenos Aires take some beating, in my opinion. For beaches - my beloved Antigua. For a short-haul sun break - Ibiza. 

B ~ Elaine, as a writer, have there been any challenges that you've had to face? Writer's block, struggling with characters etc? 

E ~ Of course! As I said - writing Single All the Way in the summer was a challenge. I don't find I have much writer's block, fortunately - or perhaps I should say 'yet'; it's more 'what happens next?' The worst for me is re-reading something you've written and just deleting it. That's hard. And something I found very hard this year was adapting Singles' Holiday from a novel into a stage-play. (It ran 13-17 October at the Brentwood Theatre.) I had to cut out characters, which has to be the writer's equivalent of a mother choosing which child she throws from the life-raft! 

B ~ Who would you say were your target audience for your novels? 

E ~ I would probably say women, yet I have lots of male readers who enjoy my books and give me great, positive feedback. 

B ~ And also, what genre? 

E ~ I find it impossible to put my work into one genre. It certainly isn't chick-lit. Romance? Yes. Erotic? Somewhat. Humorous? Yes - but also poignant at times. Contemporary probably covers it. 

B ~ Is there a particular genre that you like to stick with? And if so, why? 

E ~ That's difficult to answer. I simply write as me - how it comes out on the page. All my books are different - What's Eating Me and Sweet Lady are both written in the first person, the others in the third person. 

B ~ How would you describe your writing process? Do you have a routine, or do you usually just go with the flow? 

E ~ I believe that to be a writer you have to write. Once I've got my characters and their back-stories clear, I chuck it all down; I write until I come to the end of a chapter or I need to think hard about what is going to happen next. Then I go back and re-read it, editing as I go.

B ~ Elaine, I'd like to ask you about your characters. During your character's creation, what's your favourite part? Is it their appearance, their personality, their lifestyles or family? Or a mixture of the above? 

E ~ I tend to start with their character. I think about the things they would say and what their voice sounds like. I much prefer writing dialogue to description and I think this comes across in my books. You find out a lot about my characters from what they actually say to each other and their comments on the events in the storyline and of their observations of each other. 

B ~ Would you say that a lot of your characters contain elements of yourself in them? 

E ~ Hmm! Well, my heroines - if that's the right word! -Eileen in What's Eating Me, Eve in the Singles' trilogy, Eleanor in Sweet Lady - are all likeable, I think! So, they have some of me in there. Eileen, certainly, as I have suffered with food issues all my life. And Eve, of course, because I worked for such a long time as a tour leader with singles' groups. She reacts as I would in the situations she has to deal with. But are they autobiographical? No. 

B ~ How many novels have you written altogether? 

E ~ I've written five novels and a book of short stories - Holiday Reads. I'm now working on my next novel, called The Banjo, which is set in Dagenham in the 50s, 60s and 70s and might well turn into another trilogy! 

B ~ Did you ever imagine yourself coming so far? 

E ~ I hoped I would. I'd written a few one-act plays and I also wrote a TV drama series for Antiguan television. What's Eating Me was a play; my one-woman show, a 50-page monologue, which I performed on the London and Edinburgh fringes. When it was over I decided to turn it into my first book - and when I'd finished I found I was on a real high and wanted to carry on writing. So I did! I've also written a comedy series - the Amazing Adventures of Maisie and Em. We shot the pilot in Antigua this summer and are hoping the series will be made next year. And I've written the script for Cinderella (that was hard!) that Melabeau Productions are putting on at the Brookside Theatre, Romford this Christmas. 

B ~ Regarding reviews, how does it feel when you readers get in touch with you to praise your work? 

E ~ I love it! It is an amazing feeling knowing someone, especially someone you don't know, has enjoyed your work and has taken the time to let you, and other readers, know. 

B ~ Have you had negative reviews? If so, how do you feel about them? 

E ~ Only really one. It was for Holiday Reads. The 'critic' said it was 'nothing special' but did give me three stars! I have mixed feelings about negative reviews. I mean, if you put yourself out there you have to accept that not everyone is going to like what you write. It would be totally unrealistic - although absolutely wonderful! - to get all 5-star reviews. And if a criticism is valid - poor research or grammar errors - then that's fair enough. What's awful is if someone is just nasty for being nasty's sake, although I've been fortunate in that it's never happened to me. Unfortunately, the internet's turned everyone into a critic! 

B ~ Which of your published novels took the longest to write? 

E ~ Singles' Holiday. It is really three novels in one and has the largest group of characters and things that happen. 

B ~ Do you mind family reading your work? 

E ~ I love it. But only when it's finished!

B ~ Have you wanted to be a writer for a long time? 

E ~ Yes. I always knew there was a book in me. As I said, I wrote plays and really enjoyed doing that. I went to the Anna Scher Theatre and Anna always encouraged her actors to write. 

B ~ Were you a reader beforehand? 

E ~ Absolutely! I've been a bookworm all my life. Never happier than when I'm lost in a book. 

B ~ Are there any characters from your novels that you would love to bring to life and have a cuppa with? 

E ~ Oh yes! Vicky in Sweet Lady - I want to know how things finally worked out with her and if she kept her dark secret. And Tyrone, from the same book. I actually quite fancied him! And Eileen. As well as being in What's Eating Me, she also appears in Singles and Spice and Single All the Way. And Jo and Frances from Singles' Holiday. They're strong, likeable women. 

B ~ Are there any risqué moments in your books? 

E ~ Yes, there are. My books are about adults and sex forms a part of contemporary adult life. 

B ~ How do you feel about writing these parts? 

E ~ I enjoy it to be honest. I do worry that it's going to come over like some trite bodice-ripper, full of clichés, but I generally read it out-loud to myself and that way I can gauge how real, how true, it sounds. 

B ~ What do you hope to achieve with your novels, Elaine? 

E ~ Truth. I want to tell the truth about food issues, about what really goes on on a singles' holiday, about what it was like growing up in Dagenham in the 60s. 

B ~ What do they offer to the reader? 

E ~ Escapism? Yes. They will find themselves in Antigua or in India, for example. Lusty love? Yes - some of that, too! Handsome heroes? Some handsome, some with warts and all, some nice, some not-so-nice. 

B ~ Do you have any favourite quotes regarding writing? 

E ~ No. Not really. 

B ~ Or anything that spurs you on when you're feeling particularly unmotivated? 

E ~ I tell myself - 'Just get on and write.' As I said earlier, I try to just chuck it all down. And sometimes, when you are just throwing down ideas, it suddenly takes on a life of its own and before you know it you've written a chapter. Procrastination is a writer's worst enemy. 

B ~ Do you have a large family? Any children? Is it hard when putting together a novel around family-time or working? 

E ~ I have one beautiful grown-up daughter of whom I am immensely and as she is a grown-up it's not hard writing a novel around my time with her. I have no live-in partner of any kind which makes writing, and indeed, life, simple.

B ~ Lastly Elaine, do you have any advice that you'd like to give to any aspiring authors out there? 

E ~ 1. Do your research thoroughly. 
2.) ALWAYS use correct grammar (unless a character's poor grammar demonstrates something about them). Nothing winds me up more than a writer who can't use their own language correctly. 
3.) Get on and DO IT! 

Elaine, thank you so much for being here on Becca's Books today, it has been an absolute pleasure and I look forward to diving into my first Elaine Spires novel! 

~ Author Bio ~ 

Elaine Spires is a novelist, playwright, actress and director. Her background in education and tourism perfected her eye for the quirky characteristics of people, captivating the humorous observations she now affectionately shares with the readers of her five novels and book of short stories. She has recently adapted her novel Singles' Holiday into a play which was staged by Melabeau Productions at the Brentwood Theatre in October. She has also written a TV drama series, Paradise View, which was produced by HAMA TV (Antigua) and a comedy series, The Amazing Adventures of Maisie and Em which is in pre-production at the moment. Elaine was recently in the West End in two runs of The Ladykillers. She is very busy at the moment with directing Cinderella for Melabeau productions at the Brookside Theatre Romford. Elaine spends her time between Essex and Antigua. 


Elaine Spires can be found on TwitterFacebook &

Holiday Reads ~ Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US
Single All the Way ~ Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US
Singles and Spice ~ Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US
Singles' Holiday ~ Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US
What's Eating Me ~ Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US
Sweet Lady ~ Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US



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