Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Eva Rice, The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets



I come across the novels featured on my site a few different ways. Sometimes I email a publicist and ask for them to send me a review copy. Other times I contact an author directly or the author sends me an email. And then there are books, like The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice, which find their way to my house totally unexpected, a surprise gift for no special occasion. Every night I snuggled into my bed, late at night, and was transported to a whole other world via this terrific novel.

Mother-daughter relationships, ‘coming of age’, post- war England, teenagers, early rock n’ roll, friendship, secrets; it all figures into this book. I didn’t want The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets to end and was so sad to leave behind the characters of Penelope and Charlotte and Harry.

Eva is the daughter of famous lyricist Tim Rice but will now be known from writing this amazing novel that takes us to post war England. I know you will love it like I did!


Since your dad’s career was music, did you grow up singing show tunes? My favorite of his is Beauty and the Beast, I love belting out the music from the movie although I seriously can’t carry a tune.

Yes, I grew up with show tunes, but more than that with pop music. At the end of the day, my Dad would rather be listening to the Rolling Stones than sitting through a show... I was obsessed by Gigi and Mary Poppins, then Hair and Guys and Dolls. Oh, and South Pacific. All the greats. You can't beat them.
Have you ever bumped into Elton John when he was working with your father?
I have met Elton on a couple of occasions and he was very lovely and friendly. All that tantrum stuff must be just the rumour mill! Ha ha!

Who is more like you- fun loving Charlotte or reserved Penelope? How would you describe yourself?

I think that I am probably a bit of a mix of both Charlotte and Penelope, although I don't like to write myself into my characters really. I don't think that Penelope is that reserved, just naive and unsure of herself, and Charlotte brings her out of herself. Charlotte is braver and cooler than me, but I'd like to think that I am a bit more street wise than Penelope!

The girls in the book positively swoon over singer Johnny Ray. Who was your teenage crush?

I was obsessed with several pop stars when I was growing up, in order: Marti Pellow from Wet Wet Wet, Jason Donovan, and all of Take That. More recently, I grew alarmingly transfixed by the Strokes.


I imagined Magna as being like this enormous mansion like The Biltmore. What was your inspiration for the massive house where Penelope lived?

I combined a number of great houses to make Milton Magna, taking a room from one and a garden from another. I think that writing about places is just as fascinating as writing about people, and I hope that Milton Magna came over as a character, just as much as the people within it. It's tragic that so many of the great country houses in England were destroyed mid way through the last century- normally due to the fact that the owners simply could not afford to keep them going.


What is the last book you read and what genre is your favorite?

The last book I read was Madam Depardieu and the Beautiful Strangers by Antonia Quirke. It was brilliantly written, enviable style. I am a massive fan od D H Lawrence, the Rainbow is one of my favourite books ever. I love his total over the top-ness. I also adore Jilly Cooper and I collect children's books about horses. Strange, but true.

You’re a young mom; what do you think is the most difficult aspect of motherhood?
I find being a mother and a writer pretty hard. I am writing this while my daughter is on a visit to the park with a friend and my mum is wheeling my son out after his feed. It's hard to combine anything with motherhood, and anyone who disagrees with that is lying!

What is the last movie you saw?

The last movie I saw was Factory Girl. It wasn't great but Sienna Miller was good. My best films ever are Back to the Future, O Brother Where Art Thou? and Local Hero.


What kind of music do you listen to? Do you have an ipod?
listen to a great deal of pop music, and always have done. I am music obsessed really. I am currently into the Kaiser Cheifs who are just amazing. Their lyric "All I need is a ball and a wall, a sledge and a hill and heavy weather" is brilliant.



Where do you see yourself in ten years from now?


In ten years time, I see myself living in Cornwall, where part of my next book is set. It is about five hours from London, and utterly beautiful. I think I would still need my fix of the big smoke, though. London is addictive, irritatingly enough.

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37 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Wow! Thank you for having an interview with Eva Rice, whose book I just finished and adored! @ 5:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Loved this book too and also did not want it to end. I was totally transported to a different time and place. I'm not a big fan of movies turned into books, but this is so visual and the characters so well developed that I could see this as a movie. @ 7:32 AM  
Anonymous laura said...
i've also just finished this book
for about the 10th time
i love it.
it's one of the very very few books i can read and re-read and never get tired of it.
it's beautiful and makes me wish for a life like that. @ 3:10 PM  
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Anonymous Anonymous said...
I love love love the book, but I want to point out a mistake in it (shock horror)
When Marina goes to Magna to find Harry it says her stockings were ipped and her skirt was dirty or something along those lines. But then, like, 2 pages later it says that her wide-leg white trousers were dirty, or something similar. Basically, the out fit was changed halfway through a scene. @ 7:47 PM  
Blogger Andrea said...
I truley loved this book! I have not read a book in a long time that made me teary when it was all said and done...not just because of it's wonderful characters, story, and the illustrations that came about in my head as I was reading, but because I didn't want it to end!
I would love to see this book transformed into a movie(If not already done)! I think Johnny Depp would make a wonderful Harry! @ 12:24 PM  
Blogger Poppy said...
I heart this book.My onl disopontment was that it ened so quikly and still left woundering about what happened in th end i wish there could be a squel.I hve named an old china doll Penelope now, hahaha. @ 8:07 AM  
Anonymous Ales said...
I've also just finished this book, which I loved. it made me dream of being moved in the '50s and it was so great. I really think it should be made into a movie. it'd be a real success. @ 10:04 AM  
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Anonymous Anonymous said...
A really good book, and I loved the characters.I shall miss them. If you liked this, read Nancy Mitford's classic, "The Pursuit of Love" Wonderful characters again and must have influenced Eva Rice. @ 3:40 PM  
Blogger Siham said...
Like most of the people commenting I also just finished the book and googled Eva Rice because it left me wanting more. Completely agree with the movie idea someone mentioned, this book was way too much fun for it not to be completely exploited. Thanks Eva! @ 7:55 PM  
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i loved, loved, loved this book! ama-ZING!!!:) @ 3:08 PM  
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