It’s Monday morning again, time for another Meet the Characters post and this week Rosie Travers is joining us. Rosie is inteviewing her characters Tara Wakely from her debut novel The Theatre of Dreams. Let’s take a look at the awesome book cover first, and find out a little about the story.
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 lifetime.
It sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? Here’s a short extract.
Dominic Flynn picked up after a couple of rings.
‘Coastline have written again,’ Kitty said. ‘Robbie is urging me to accept their offer.’
‘Don’t you go signing anything, Kitty, my love,’ Dominic said at once. Kitty found the Irish inflection in his voice irresistible. If only she were twenty years younger. No, not twenty, more like forty.
‘He says the council will support Coastline’s plans. They’ll be calling for the pavilion to be demolished,’ Kitty told him. ‘I can’t allow that, and I can only delay Robbie for so long. He can be very persuasive.’
‘Don’t let him threaten you. You should have called me earlier. I’d have been round like a shot.’
As much as Kitty liked the idea of Dominic Flynn rushing to her defence like a medieval champion, the only way he would ever stand a chance of beating Robbie was in a game of stealth, and even then the odds would be stacked against him.
Kitty had been a gambler all of her life. There was no need to stop now. She took a deep breath. ‘You remember what we were talking about the other day? I really don’t think I’ve got much choice.’
‘Oh Kitty, it’s too risky a strategy. You don’t know these people. You don’t know what you’re dealing with.’
It couldn’t be any worse than burying three husbands. It couldn’t be any worse than losing her only son. One final shuffle of the pack. She had to do it. She owed it to Jez.
Fancy reading more? You can buy the book here:
What readers are saying about The Theatre of Dreams
“What a treasure trove this novel is! With adorable characters and a narrative containing lots of little plot twists, there’s never a dull moment.”
“It is a fantastic read, with a fabulous balance of great characterisation and a story that kept me engaged right to the last page.”
“This was a delightful debut, filled with engaging characters and set in a charming seaside village. This was book really was a true pleasure to read from first page to last. I found myself so thoroughly invested in the lives of both Tara and Kitty. I was sad to say goodbye to these two ladies when the book ended.”
Now let’s move onto Rose’s interview with Tara Wakely, musical theatre actress, age 34.
I understand you have a new job, Tara. Can you tell us a bit about it?
I wish I could. I originally thought I’d been invited to Hookes Bay to run a dance school. Now I’m not so sure.
Can you explain?
My employer, Kitty Keaton is being extremely vague. After I lost my last job – we won’t go there – she wrote to me out of the blue. I was pretty grateful to have the chance to make a fresh start and get away from London. Now I think Kitty might have ulterior motive for recruiting me and it’s all to do with this old seaside pavilion of hers.
What’s so special about this pavilion?
The building was originally designed as a theatre, but Kitty’s step-son Robbie converted it into a nightclub. Now he is putting pressure on her to sell up to a local property developer. To be honest it is bit of an eyesore on the seafront, it’s very run down and covered in graffiti. But there’s no denying it’s got this air of faded grandeur about it. Restored it could quite magnificent. It would also be the perfect venue for establishing my creative arts hub. That’s a big dream of mine, to inspire a whole new generation of performers. (Big sigh) Perhaps I shouldn’t say anymore. It’s just wishful thinking.
Go on, Tara, don’t be shy. You sound as if you might have your own plans for Kitty’s pavilion?
My big mouth has got me into too much trouble in the past. I’m not saying anything, although I admit the pavilion has crept under my skin. I can’t put my finger on it. It’s almost as if it’s put a spell on me. Or perhaps that’s Kitty. It wouldn’t surprise me if she practised a bit of black magic.
The building has obviously captured your imagination, have you had a look inside?
Oh yes, I’ve had a guided tour with Kitty’s friend Dominic. He’s seems very keen to restore the building back to its former glory. In fact, he’s quite passionate about it.
Perhaps it’s not just the pavilion that’s captured your imagination, Tara. Perhaps it’s Dominic?
You might be right. I sensed a definite spark between us but when I asked if we could meet up again to look at his old photographs of the pavilion back in its heyday, he became very abrupt, and the whole conversation turned quite bizarre. He implied part of the reason Kitty had invited me to Hookes Bay was to keep her step-son Robbie, “distracted”. I certainly don’t like the connotations of that. After what happened in London I’m in enough hot water already. I was happy to remain incognito as Kitty wanted, and who doesn’t add a little embellishment to their CV these days, but now I’m seriously starting to wonder exactly what I’ve got myself mixed up in.
What is Kitty up to? Is there trouble ahead for Tara? You can find out by buying the book here:
Rosie Travers Bio
I grew up on the south coast of England and after initially training as a secretary I juggled a career in local government with raising my family. I moved to Southern California in 2009 and began a blog about life as an expat wife which re-kindled a teenage desire to become a writer. On my return to the UK I took a course in creative writing and joined the Romantic Novelists Association’s New Writers Scheme. My debut novel, The Theatre of Dreams was published by Crooked Cat Books in August 2018 and a second novel, Your Secret’s Safe With Me, will be released next year.
When Saffy’s sister called to say she was stuck abroad with no hope of getting home to run her usual ‘singles Christmas lunch’, Saffy knew she would have to abandon her plans for wild festive parties in the city and head down to remote Cornwall to save the day. But family parties are so not her thing and both her sister Hannah and sexy single dad Logan seems certain she’ll never manage. Can she prove them wrong? Now on pre-order from Amazon and other retailers.