Please welcome Priya Parmar, author of the superb EXIT THE ACTRESS to The Eclectic Reader. Priya is absolutely delightful to correspond with and I wholeheartedly and enthusiastically recommend Exit the Actress to lovers of historical fiction.
If you could be dropped into any novel as a character who would you be and why?
Any novel? That question is so interesting and makes me suddenly realise that many of my favourite novels do not end well with happy characters leading happy lives. The pathos I enjoy on the page would not be a kind of pathos I would want to live through.
I adore The Great Gatsby but find Daisy Buchanan a tragic, unhappy woman who is determined not to look at her own heart and Nick a character who has to lose a dear friend to see that he is not in the driver’s seat of his own life. I love Wuthering Heights but much as I would love Heathcliff I would want to love him in life rather than as a window tapping, regretful spectre. Julia from Brideshead Revisited, Mercedes from The Count of Monte Cristo, Scarlett from Gone With the Wind, Milly from Wings of the Dove: all wonderful women in wonderful books but it never goes well. Equally, I love Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca but I would want to have a first name and not have my house burned down by a loony Mrs. Danvers.
In more recent novels, I love Philippa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl but that doesn’t go well for Anne and while Mary ends up with the man she loves she has ghastly, scheming parents and then loses her siblings. Not good. I also adore Sandra Gulland’s marvellous Josephine B. trilogy but her fella ends up on Elba and married to someone else. Of Sharon Kay Penman’s brilliant books, I love the character of Joanna Princess of Wales from Here Be Dragons but has a difficult time with her difficult father King John. I just read Anne Fortier’s delicious, Siena set Juliet, a reworking of the wonderful but tragic Romeo and Juliet history. Terrific history, terrible life.
So, books I love with characters I love, leading lives I would want to live? Jane Austen is wonderful for that. She puts them through the ringer but gives them real happiness in the end. Of all her heroines, Marianne Dashwood form Sense and Sensibility and Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice are particular favourites but Anne Elliot from Persuasion is who I would choose. She loved and lost Captain Wentworth before the story begins and he vowed never to love her again but they work it out. They do not love the way characters do at the beginning of love, but the way they do at the end. It is not a fairy tale happily ever after where you cannot imagine how they will love after the last page, but a thwarted, recovered, proven love that has shown its mettle and is determined to survive. That is the kind of novel I would want to live in.
Thanks Priya for answering my question. Anne Elliot from Persuasion is a great choice, and I love the reasoning behind your choice. I loved Exit The Actress but if you need further convincing check out my review here.
Visit Priya Parmar's website or her blog The Plum Bean Project to find out more about this author and her work.
HOW TO ENTER:
*Competition is only open to followers of my blog (so if you're not a follower & you'd like to enter just click on the follow button on the right hand side of my blog - easy peasy)
*Leave a comment with a question for Priya or tell us which character in a novel you would like to be. Don't forget to include an email address.
+ 2 comment on my review of Exit The Actress.
+2 post about this give-away on twitter or your blog & leave a link
Ends March 31st and the winner will be announced on this blog. Good luck everyone!
And of course if you just can't wait - order your copy of Exit the Actress