A Staycation Story - Rosie Travers - This Writing Life #32
Updated: May 20
Today, I'm delighted to host a guest post from Rosie Travers...
A Staycation Story
One thing the enforced lockdowns over the last twenty months or so seem to have taught us all, is to appreciate our local surroundings. How many of us noticed things about our immediate neighbourhood we’d never noticed before? An unusual building, or an area of wasteland transformed into a thriving wild-flower meadow? To me, the idea of finding inspiration on my doorstep isn’t that new.
I’ve just relaunched my debut novel, The Theatre of Dreams, the story of an unlikely trio of characters who form an uneasy alliance in a campaign to preserve an iconic seaside pavilion. The original idea for the story came from a blustery walk along the sea front in Lee-on-the-Solent in Hampshire back in 2016 when I stopped to read an information plaque on the seafront. I grew up less than ten miles from Lee-on-the-Solent, but it was only on this walk that I learned about the town’s historic art deco entertainment complex which had been built on the promenade in 1935 and demolished less than forty years later. The site is now a carpark. I had no idea the building had ever existed.
My imagination was well and truly captured. I wondered why the vast complex, with its 120 foot observation tower, cinema, restaurant and ballroom, hadn’t been saved for prosperity. Later research revealed the building had been a loss-making white elephant ever since its construction, and had undergone many transformations before the local council decided to demolish what had become a neglected eyesore in 1971.
My writer’s brain was soon buzzing. The wonderful thing about writing fiction is being able to incorporate snippets of real life into an imaginary world and adding our own happy endings. I invented my own unfashionable south coast town, Hookes Bay, and created my own art-deco pavilion, which had once been a glorious seaside theatre but had closed its doors for the last time as a seedy nightclub, and now stood in the way of a prime seafront property re-development.
Naturally the plot to save my pavilion had to be far more interesting than a simple quest to raise funds and canvas the local council. Readers deserved something far more entertaining! In no time at all I had come up with a trio of main characters, Kitty, the pavilion’s elderly owner desperate to cling onto her family’s legacy, Tara, the disgraced actress unwittingly recruited to help her out, and Dominic, a building conservationist, reluctantly caught up in Kitty’s convoluted campaign.
Despite their differences, Kitty and Tara are both passionate about ensuring performing arts are available to all members of the local community. That accessibility is one of the more serious themes running through the book and seems quite apt in the current climate. If ever there was an industry which needs our support right now, it’s live entertainment.
I’ve been lucky enough to spend time living overseas, and travel to some amazing places, but The Theatre of Dreams is living proof we don’t have to stray too far from home to find the spark to ignite a story.
Thank you, Rosie, for writing such a fab guest post, and sharing an insight into your writing life. I look forward to reading Theatre of Dreams
The Theatre of Dreams
Musical theatre actress Tara is down on her luck and in desperate need of a job. When 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. However, it soon becomes apparent Kitty is being far from benevolent as Tara becomes unwittingly embroiled in the old lady’s elaborate plot to save her family’s derelict seaside pavilion. When Tara finds herself falling for Dominic, the dedicated conservationist who shares Kitty’s passion, if not her motives, for restoring the old seafront theatre, she realises saving the pavilion could also provide the chance to salvage her career. But only if she can pull off the performance of a life-time...
About Rosie Travers
Rosie Travers grew up in Southampton on the south coast of England. She spent many years working in local government before becoming a lady of leisure when her husband took an overseas work assignment in California in 2009. She began a blog about life as an ex-pat wife which rekindled a teenage desire to become a writer. Now back in the UK, Rosie lives with her husband Neil and cat Ed on the edge of the New Forest.
Rosie’s novels are inspired by the landscape and cultural history of her native south coast and contain sprinklings of mystery and dashes of romance. Her debut, The Theatre of Dreams was first published in August 2018 and was a contender for the RNA Joan Hessayon award. In July 2021 she published A Crisis at Clifftops, the first in a series of humorous cosy mysteries set in the Isle of Wight featuring a former pro-golfer turned amateur sleuth, Eliza Kane.
To find out more about Rosie and her books, please click on the links below:
Amazon page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rosie-Travers/e/B07CVZ2CQ5/
To purchase Rosie's books, please click on the links below:
The Theatre of Dreams https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B084C5753Y/
Your Secret’s Safe With Me https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09HV7Z5TR/
A Crisis at Clifftops https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0975WTWPK/