Today I’m happy to be kicking off the blog tour the Alice in Theatreland blog tour with an interview and a book review too that you can view here. I adore the twist in the title after being familiar with the original I was keen to know about Alice in her world. Thank you Julia for coming on the blog today and happy publication!
What is your book about?
Alice in Theatreland is the story of a young dancer from the provinces who has West End show, Theatreland, she is unprepared for the cut-throat nature of show business and ill-equipped to deal with some of the unpleasant people she meets. Alice is unsure who always dreamed of seeing her name up in lights. When she auditions for a new to trust: her new friend Gina seems to have a secret life and the interest shown to her by the star of the show, Peter, is thrown in to question when it appears he has been two-timing her. Then there’s Richard, the theatre impresario, who has an unhealthy penchant for naïve young dancers. Is Alice too innocent to survive?
What inspired the storyline to your novel?
The idea came to me while I was on holiday in Spain. I had gone away to start writing an entirely different book, which was already plotted out, but the title, Alice in Theatreland, flashed in to my head while I was lying in the sun on the first morning. Once I had the title, the era and the storyline came to me very quickly although there was a major ‘tweak’ to the original plot which I can’t tell you about without spoiling the ending.
How long did it take you to write your novel?
Following the original scribbled plot in September 2016, I left it alone for three months while I was working on something else. I began writing properly in January 2017 and sent the manuscript to my copy editor at the beginning of April – so, in short, the answer is three months (that has just surprised me!) The edits were done over a two week period with the Kindle published at the end of April.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Developing and getting to know the characters. I like the title character and her love interest, Peter, and truly loathe the theatre impresario, Richard, but the character I warmed to as the story unfolded was Gina, the dancer who took Alice under her wing when she first arrived in London. Her upbringing left a lot to be desired and clearly impacted on some of the decisions she has taken in her life prior to where we meet her in the pages of the book.
What did you research the most while writing this book?
Having been a dancer myself in the 1970’s and experienced the audition process first-hand, I didn’t need to do any research on that front. I did however research place names and venue names. I have a little confession to make here. There is a very well-known theatre-land venue called Joe Allen’s in which I wanted to set one of the scenes. The problem is, Joe Allen’s didn’t open its doors until January 1977 and ‘Alice’ is set in the hot summer of 1976 – I hope you will forgive me the artistic licence of it being around in 1976!
I also had to be certain of the dates for the date-rape drug, rohypnol, and investigate methods used for backstreet abortions – not pleasant reading.
For those who have not discovered your novel, how would you describe it to get them interested?
I would describe Alice in Theatreland as part-love story and part-suspense thriller. It’s set behind the scenes of London’s West End theatre world and exposes the sleaze behind what appears to be a very glamourous world.
Who’s your favourite character arc of all time, fiction/or onscreen and why?
Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind. I love the transition from spoilt, pampered teenager to the strong woman she became to save her family and her home. She made some difficult and cruel decisions that most of us would find abhorrent but I believe she was, for the large part, acting selflessly.
What do you think makes the best character arc?
The transformation or inner journey – similar to life, we hopefully learn from both our triumphs and our mistakes.
Are you working on anything new at the moment?
I am about a quarter into the book I was working on at the end of last year. I will either finish that one for release in October or start on the one I intended to write when Alice took over my thoughts!
What is the theme or take home message of your book?
The acceptance that we all make mistakes but how we deal with them is what allows us to move forward.
Thank you for your time Julia.
Back cover blurb – Alice
It’s summer 1976; London is languishing in the sultry heat. Beautiful and talented nineteen-year-old, Alice Abbott, arrives in the city with high hopes of one day seeing her name up in lights but first she must impress Richard, the producer of a new West End show, Theatreland.
Alice is befriended at the audition by the more experienced Gina, who, although burdened by her own dark secrets, is determined to protect the newcomer from the sleaze behind the glamour. She also attracts attention from the male lead in the show, Peter, a former pop star struggling to escape his playboy reputation.
Alice’s star seems to be rising as fast as the temperature until she naively accepts an impromptu dinner invitation from Richard. What happened that night? And how far will Richard go to protect his guilty secret?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Julia Roberts’ passion for writing began when, at the age of ten, after winning second prize in a short story-writing competition, she announced that she wanted to write a book. After a small gap of forty-seven years, and a career in the entertainment industry, Julia finally fulfilled her dream in 2013 when her first book, a memoir entitled One Hundred Lengths of the Pool, was published by Preface Publishing. Two weeks later she had the idea for her first novel, Life’s a Beach and Then…, book one in the Liberty Sands Trilogy, which was released in May 2015.
Julia still works full-time as a Presenter for the TV channel QVC, where she has recently celebrated her twenty-third anniversary.
She now lives in Ascot with her partner of thirty-nine years and occasionally one or other of her adult children and their respective cats.
You can find out more about Julia and her upcoming books on her Facebook page www.facebook.com/JuliaRobertsTV and her website www.juliarobertsauthor.com
You can also follow her on Twitter @JuliaRobertsTV
By Julia Roberts
Life’s a Beach and Then… (Liberty Sands trilogy, book one)
If He Really Loved Me… (Liberty Sands trilogy, book two)
Time for a Short Story
The Shadow of Her Smile (free short story on www.juliarobertsauthor.com)
One Hundred Lengths of the Pool