Elisabeth Adler

Biografie şi Bibliografie

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MY STORY

When I was a little girl living in Yorkshire in the north of England, I was short and very skinny and painfully shy. I had wispy blond hair, I was blind as a bat and wore little round gold glasses that slid off the end of my nose and were the bane of my life.


I met Richard, a good-looking (and quite full of himself was my first thought!) young American in London where we were both working: he for a tv company, me for a talent agency. He came to live in the apartment next door to the one I shared with a couple of girlfriends. Then of course he came round to 'borrow a cup of sugar' plus check out the girls. We fell in love - and took it from there. Three months later he accepted a job with an American TV company in Brasil and we parted, I thought for ever. We wrote, he called, then a few weeks later he telephoned to say he was sending me a first-class ticket to Rio (not because he could afford it but because he had a generous friend who owned the Brazilian airline) He loved me and would I join him.

All things considered, my father was very good about it! (though I didn't leave him much choice). Off I flew, in the depths of a freezing English winter to sunny summer Brasil. It was the first time I had ever flown first-class and I remember being very impressed, especially when we stopped in Paris to pick up the President of Brazil's wife, magnificent in a ballgown and emeralds. I felt quite out of it in my gray miniskirt, black sweater and boots and I was very glad when she changed into leggings and a sweatshirt and settled down under a blanket for the long flight.

The view as the plane circles Guanabara Bay is heart-stoppingly beautiful, one of the loveliest sights in the world. But at the airport there was no sign of Richard. I stared with a sinking heart at the milling throng, all speaking that most impenetrable and foreign of foreign-sounding languages, Carioca Portuguese. Could he have forgotten the time of the flight? Forgotten me? Changed his mind? And then I spotted him, rushing through the crowds, late as usual. Need I say, that we fell into each others arms and that we have been together ever since.


And waiting for me at the apartment was the most adorable fluffy white angora kitten with blue eyes whom we named Pog, the first of our cat family. She traveled the world with us for many years.

We spent three years living in a sub-tropical paradise on Ipanema beach (remember that famous song, the Girl from Ipanema?) and Rio was possibly the most romantic city in the world for two young people in love. There never was a beach so white, a sea so green, a sky so intensely blue you felt heaven was right there; people so joyous, girls so gorgeous, music so romantic, Carnival so outrageous, forget dancing 'til dawn, we danced for ever...


Let me tell you that many nights we walked home along Copacabana beach, hand in hand, in the moonlight. That on our local cafe terrace a magnificent cheetah lounged on a chain close by our table; that in the forested mountains brilliant birds took to the air with a flutter of giant wings and raucous squawks; that small dogs on jeweled leashes stepped as daintily as their beautiful owners along the swirling mosaic-tile sidewalks of Copacabana, where stepping daintily was a necessity if you didn't want to break your stiletto in the cracks between those tiny tiles. That we hung out with all the young musicians, and with Antonio Carlos Jobim who played his guitar and sang his new songs for us. And that now we have now been married for thirty-three years.

So tell me, do you think I'm qualified to write about romance?


What else can I tell you? That I'm 5'3" and wishing it were more; l28 lbs and wishing it were less; that I have the same wispy blond hair and myopia that has plagued me since childhood. I wear contacts or glasses, but I like the glasses to be fun. I have a pair of thin red oval frames bought in Capri last summer, and also a pair of small round tortoise-colored ones that my daughter tells me are cool (true praise from your daughter) But sometimes, our of sheer vanity, I go without and just grope my way around. Do you know how much rosier the world looks so when you don't see it too clearly? And how much better-looking people become?

My hair is straight and refuses to curl except in humid climates, so that's just the way it has to be. I love the sun but have given up sunbathing and resorted to fake tan. Currently, I have a fondness for Clinique's Bronze Lilac lipstick as well as Chanel's Sugar Rose, and Bobbi Brown's Aubergine lipgloss. And I love 24 Faubourg perfume from Hermes, as well as Robert Isabell's Ceylon.

Have I dropped enough brand names yet? Actually, here's a couple more: Neutrogena Sugar Beige lipstick, and Benefit Nine-One-One, which I think is a miracle - you can use it as a blush, a lipstick and even eyeshadow - absolutely great for travelling light.

My favorite clothes come from Banana Republic, Max Mara and Morgan Le Fay, though I am not a dedicated shopper and absolutely hate trying on anything except shoes.

In my books I often describe the clothes my women wear; their perfumes and scented candles; their sofas, pillows and beds and rugs, simply because it seems to me to tell you a lot about who they are. I couldn't conjure up characters so well without those details and besides they are exactly the sort of intimate things you would know about a friend.


These are the small details that make my stories come to life for you, the things that make women tick, things I thought you might like to know about me.

What else can I tell you? That I have a preference for the colors blue and yellow, that wonderful sunshiny Provencal look. That I love good food and I'm a jolly good cook. Some of my recipes appear in my books. I'm a whizz at Yorkshire puddings, and my bread and butter pudding, I say with all modesty, is to die for - more of a souffle than a pudding. (See Fortune Is A Woman, Chapter 23, page 286 for recipes). *Also English Sunday Lunch Recipes.

Actually, I'm probably not as good a cook as Richard, he's much more precise, but we both enjoy having friends and family over for meals which somehow always end up being a feast with lots of wine and laughter. You can squeeze twelve, or at a push even fourteen, around our long pine refectory table.

I love Italian food and French champagne and have a new and sneaking fondness for a Cosmopolitan. And my biggest passion in life - after my family and my cats and writing - is travel.

ABOUT WRITING

The first question anyone asks a writer is How do you do it? My answer is, I don't know. It's certainly not any magic formula, it's simply something there, inside my head. Maybe its due to that childhood shyness that cut me off from people and forced me into a world of my own imagination, I was an observer rather than a participant, an eavesdropper on conversations, a gleaner of information. A writer must be all these things.

INSPIRATION

(see also A Writing Experience and Music)

Inspiration is a mystery. I've never known how to define it. For me, it's never based on an incident I read about in a local newspaper or a magazine article. If I had to pinpoint it, I would say inspiration is an interactive chain of thought which always for me begins with the main character. As I write her, I get to know her, to understand how she thinks, reacts, who she is.

Once I have the idea for that character, that person, then the other characters emerge and the story begins to form around her. After that, my imagination takes over.

CHARACTERS

All my characters are fictitious, though some are based on real people. For instance, Annie in The Rich Shall Inherit was inspired by my own mother's Yorkshire family. And my wonderful Maudie, (my absolutely favorite character and the narrator in Legacy of Secrets) is the quintessential Irishwoman, like many I got to know when I lived in Ireland, old ladies full of wild stories and off-beat charm. And friends tell me they recognize Anabelle in the character, Ellie (the owner of a small cafe in Santa Monica) in Sooner or Later).

Leonie, Maudie and Ellie are a part of my family, along with Al and Marla in All or Nothing (published Dec '99 by Delacorte), and Zelda and Ed in In A Heartbeat (published in Dec 2000 by Delacorte) and of course, my lovely Lara and Dan in The Last Time I Saw Paris (published summer 2001 on St.Martin's Press).

They lived in my head when I was writing them. I almost became them. I ate with them, drank with them, spoke for them, dreamed about them, and slept with them. (And so, unfortunately, did Richard. He says to tell you never to marry a writer, she's usually only half there.)

LOCATIONS

In my novels, location always plays an important part. (see Travel) I write about places I know, whether it's Hong Kong and China in Fortune Is A Woman, Provence in The Secret of the Villa Mimosa, or L.A. in All or Nothing. Almost any place my characters go is real, the cafes and restaurants, the streets, the local shops. I have been there and what I do is try to take you there with them. (For a small sample of this kind of writing, see English Sunday Lunch, and A Writing Experience)

LOVE/HATE

For me, too, writing is a love/hate occupation. I love it when I start a new book, I can't sleep for the long months I'm writing it and I love it when it's finished and out of my head, at last.

Writing is also a never-ending business. I write all the time: on my mac, on the little notepads I keep in my purse and scattered around the house, in the middle of the night when an idea comes to me. And why oh why do they so frequently occur in the middle of the night? It's such a pain because then I have to get out of bed and write everything down immediately. If I don't, I know I'll have forgotten it by morning. The fact is there is no rest for a writer. And nor, Richard grumbles when the light goes on yet again at two in the morning, is there for a writer's husband.

MY FIRST NOVEL

I wrote my first story at elementary school when I was eight or nine, a schoolgirl mystery serial. I even read an episode to the class each week though I can't remember if it ever had an ending.

I never wrote again except long letters home from whatever country I landed up in, until my daughter went off to boarding school and then, with time on my hands, I sat down and (with a ballpoint pen on lined school-notebooks) wrote fifteen-hundred pages of what turned out to be Leonie.

I couldn't stop. I wrote all the time. Early in the morning, after dinner; in the middle of the night. I'm still surprised that my family put up with me, I was so obsessed. And I was fortunate, I found a publisher right away in the U.K. and then in the US. Leonie is still in print, thirty-seven countries and twenty-two languages later, as are my other twelve novels.

However, dear Readers and would-be-writers, I must tell you that the editor made me cut seven-hundred-and-fifty of those fifteen-hundred pages. Too long, she said, breaking my heart. (each word is golden to the author) but such is a first publishing experience.

I wonder, would you like to read Leonie in the original text, complete and unabridged with all of those 'golden words' and a lots more story? Perhaps.

A little anecdote: When Leonie (title Private Desires in the UK) was published in England, Anabelle and her school-friends went to the local W.H. Smith bookstore and found copies of my book high up on the top shelf under 'A'. (Would-be writers take note, its better to be born with initials in the middle range of the alphabet - M is more likely to be at eye-level on the shelf than A) Anyhow, Anabelle and her friends took my books off that top shelf and put them in the front of the window. Now, that's support!

MY SECOND NOVEL - and a pseudonym

After finishing the long saga of Leonie, I had a complete change of pace and immediately wrote a contemporary story, Indiscretions, about the mysterious death of a once-famous Hollywood star and the efforts of her three daughters (whom she called her little Indiscretions because each was born of a different romantic encounter in a different city) to find out who killed her and why.

Indiscretions was published under the pseudonym of ARIANA SCOTT, the reason being that it came out in the same year as Leonie and my publishers did not want to confuse readers with two completely different styles of book in such a short time span.

I followed Indiscretions with the sequel to Leonie, called Peach, which carried forward the story of Leonie's daughter and granddaughter. And then it was back to Ariana again with Fleeting Images (now both novels are published under 'Elizabeth Adler.)

How did I choose my pseudonym?
It's easy finding names for characters, but when you're faced with changing your own name, it's a puzzle. What kind of person would I feel like with a different name? How to choose? I found an answer in the English Times obituary column. I took the name Ariana from one obit and the name Scott from another. I felt sure the deceased would not have minded, and it solved a problem, though I admit, in an offbeat way.

LAST TIME I SAW PARIS
published December '01 (hardcover) June '02 (paperback)

Paris: the most romantic city on earth. A place of second honeymoons and newly discovered passions. A banquet of tastes, sounds, sights, and smells. And for Lara Lewis, it is the place where she and her husband once experienced love at its best. Now, it is a place where forty-something Lara believes she can rekindle her marriage. She plans the most romantic adventure: to retrace her first honeymoon with her husband. Visit the same sights. Eat in the same restaurants. Explore the same villages. But when her surgeon husband tells her at the last minute that the marriage is over-- there's another woman--Lara's heart is broken...almost. Somewhere along the road of life, Lara has lost herself. But Lara makes a bold move: she decides to invite a man she hardly knows to take the trip with her, a much younger man. What follows is the story of two innocent Americans stumbling through France in a madcap romantic adventure that begins with missed connections, lost luggage, and language barriers, and ends up being one woman's journey to find herself and the love that has eluded her all her life.

SUMMER IN TUSCANY

published July '02 (hardcover)
Gemma Jericho is an overworked New York doctor with a handful of a teenaged daughter and a mother who worries that Gemma has no life. So when her mother receives a mysterious letter telling her about an even more mysterious inheritance in Tuscany, the three of them throw caution and convention to the wind and leave for Italy. But what they encounter is a crumbling old villa and a town divided. Half believe the villa belongs to Ben Raphael, an unnervingly handsome American. As cultures clash, gossip soars, and intrigue unfolds, Gemma is caught up in the most disturbing and delicious trouble she's ever had. And her summer in Tuscany will change her outlook - and her life - forever.

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