Thursday, February 18, 2016

Author Spotlight: Eleanor Lloyd-Jones

It's that time again to introduce today's Jazzy World of E's Bookshelf Author Spotlight. Today, we're meeting new author Eleanor Lloyd-Jones. She released her debut novel, Housing Elephants this past November.  I had a chance to interview Eleanor and asked her about what we can expect to see from her next and about her writing process. It's my pleasure to present to you, today's Author Spotlight on Eleanor Lloyd-Jones.
Eleanor Lloyd-Jones' Biography
Raised in a little village in North Wales, a fierce love of books and reading was instilled in her by her parents from a very early age, and she has vivid memories of reading secretly under the blankets with a torch for hours after lights out, often getting caught! She was blown away by The Borribles Trilogy - Michael De Larrabeiti at nine years old, and it was then that Eleanor Lloyd-Jones fell head over heels with the idea of imaginary worlds.

A persistent and professional daydreamer, something she still prides herself on being, she spent most of her early childhood inside her own head making up stories or scenarios, climbing trees, building dens or doing anything arts and crafty. Music also played a huge part of her young life. Growing up on The Beatles, U2 and Status Quo, her obsession with Top of the Pops and vinyl twelve inches grew into a love affair with music that has only grown and expanded over time: there is rarely a moment where music is not playing in her life, and in turn, rarely a time when she is not singing, even if it is in her head!

She had always thought she would write a book some day - it has been an ambition for as long as she can remember - and has always been told that she ‘has a way with words’. Over the years, she’s dabbled in the odd piece of prose, helped friends to write letters and résumés and prides herself on her hilarious lyrical genius when composing poems for friends' birthdays! Life, however, got in the way and her dream was stored on the back burner as she put herself through university and started a family. It was only when she was nearing the ‘forty’ milestone that she decided it was time she got some of the ramblings and chatterings in her head down on paper.

A creative, guitar-playing mum of one boisterous, but pretty damn cool boy, she classes herself as a Yorkshire gal now after moving to Leeds when she was eleven. Eleanor works full time as a teacher, but grabs every spare minute she can to write; be it on the train, lunchtimes at work or foregoing sleep for an extra hour or two in the evenings. Her hope for the future is for people to fall in love with her characters as much as she does. Not a big ask really!

An Interview with Eleanor Lloyd-Jones

JWOEB: I want to thank you for taking the time to interview today. You just released your debut novel, Housing Elephants in November. How does it feel to finally have your book out?

Eleanor: Thank you for having me! Honestly? It is still completely and utterly surreal. I look at it on my kindle sometimes and I can't quite believe it happened, nor how it happened! One minute it was a thought, the next I'm receiving 5 star reviews from people I don't even know! It really is indescribable! Incredible though. An incredible feeling. Pride is the most prominent emotion I suppose, and I am not sure that will ever go!

JWOEB: It's great to be prideful of putting something out like your first book. Was Billy and Eve's story one that you always had in the back of your mind? Or was it something that came about more recently?

Eleanor: It really is. It was a story that came about by accident actually. I had done a creative writing course, and the final piece for it was a 2000 word short story based on a photograph of our choice. Eve and Billy were born of that photograph. I submitted it and then tucked it away for a while, but Eve kept chattering away in my ear and made me thing more about her story. I started to write and after about the first chapter, it was clear that she was in fact trying to tell me that I had gotten her story wrong to start with! Billy and Eve in the original story are very different to how they turn out in Housing Elephants. They told their story, and I think they told it because they knew I had gotten it wrong! That's what I like to think anyway J

JWOEB: You have to listen to the characters. Do you think you would revisit their story down the road?

Eleanor: You certainly do. They definitely have little personalities of their own. Sometimes I write and I don't know where my words have come from because the characters have done the talking!
Yes I will, because I left the book on a bit of a controversial, 'to be continued'

JWOEB: Touché. When can we expect to see the next book? And can you tell us anything about it?

Eleanor: Hehe... some people don't like books to be left hanging, but I feel this one needed it. There is definitely more to say about this pair! The next book is on the back burner for the moment as I have started another story that is about two VERY loud characters in my head. They are trouble makers! wink emoticon I am quite engrossed in their story at the moment. But the second part of Housing Elephants will definitely be the next thing I write after this one. Was it Housing Elephants you'd like to know a bit about? Or my current work in progress?

JWOEB: Let's go with your current work in progress first. I think most readers do love troublemakers.

Eleanor: Ok... I don't want to give too much away just yet, but it is about two friends who have grown up together having only each other to rely on. They're fairly happy just rolling along in life until the girl receives a letter that could change her life. She asks her friend for help, and they end up on a bit of a road trip to discover her future. There are twists and turns along the way, which I will keep to myself for now.

JWOEB: That sounds very intriguing. We'll have to keep an eye out for it. And how about Housing Elephants'?
I hope it will intrigue people! 

Housing Elephants is about the meeting of two lost souls who are devoid of the love and protection from the horrors of life that they should have without question from their parents. They meet and begin to heal each other, but things go wrong along their way, so it is their story of trying to survive. It's a very 'real' story about real life and real people rather than fairytales and magic dust ;) 

Not that there is anything wrong with fairytales and magic dust!

JWOEB:  As I reader I do love those real life stories. You connect on a different level with the characters. I do love that magic dust and fairytales.  What are some of your favorite books that offer that real life, real people settings?

Eleanor: Fairytales and magic dust definitely have their place!

I am a huge Jodi Picoult fan. I love how she writes about real life and how it affects people. I love they way she builds characters that you can relate to instantly, like you say. She just has such a wise outlook on life and seems to be able to nail it every time. My particular favourites of hers are Lone Wolf, The Storyteller and Leaving Time.

JWOEB: Jodi Picoult is definitely an author who knows how to do that.

Eleanor: Absolutely

JWOEB:  Besides being an author, you also work as an teacher full time. How is it balancing the two?

Eleanor: Hard. lol
I feel like i never have time to write as much as I want to. I am very lucky in that I have the school holidays, so i do take advantage of that time.
I am sometimes so tired after work that even though I am desperate to write, I just can't
sometimes I am desperate to write when i get home but i have school planning or marking and assessment to do so i have to be disciplined!
I am currently on half term this week though, so I am hoping to get some words boshed out while I am off! The 6 weeks in the summer are a godsend!

JWOEB:  Being a teacher there's a lot of work that goes into it that takes place outside of the classroom. The fact that you find time in the midst of all that is impressive.  Those holiday breaks  end up being the best.

Eleanor: Most definitely!

Most of Housing Elephants was written in the summer, I have to say!

JWOEB:When I was looking over your bio, I noticed music plays a big part in your life. And you also play guitar. Do certain songs inspire you while you write? Or do you have to write in silence?

Eleanor: Yeah, I am a total music junkie! Unless I am teaching, asleep or socialising, I am listening to music. I can't write in silence no lol. I have my headphones surgically attached to my ears at all times whilst writing. Housing Elephants has its own playlist in fact, and the highlights of that list are in the front of the book. Songs are what often inspire my to write a lot of scenes. I will know what the scene needs to entail, but a song might suddenly come on that just speaks to me about how to make it play out. I am listening to music as we speak J

JWOEB: I'm a big music junkie too. I always have it on myself. I also noticed one of my favorite bands, U2 in your bio. I also like finding likeminded people about them. Do you have your book playlist on Spotify or Youtube for readers to listen to them?

Eleanor:Yeah I grew up listening to Bono crooning! I am not such a big follower these days, not that I don't like their music. I just have lost touch with them a little. Although I did watch their concert in Paris on the television the other month... that was pretty awesome. My HE playlist is on Spotify yes... here is the link...

This is a slimmed down version of the list too...

JWOEB: I like that you have two versions. The first one does looks one of my longer playlists. Lol

Eleanor: Yeah I cut it down even more to write the list for inside my book... But the main one was played constantly as I wrote the book, and I added to it nearly every day

JWOEB: We now know there are two books we can expect from you. Do you plan to attend any signings in the future?

Eleanor: Oh gosh I don't know! I don't feel important enough for that at the moment! Ha!
I guess it could happen one day, if people were wanting to come and see me! It would be a bit embarrassing if I went and no-one wanted anything signed wouldn't it haha!
Once I have a bit more exposure I suppose my 'fan base' might increase and it might be something I will consider. Watch this space i suppose hehe!

JWOEB: Sounds good. What do you hope readers take away from your book after they read it?

Eleanor: I hope they 'get it' in the way it is meant to be 'got' i guess, and I hope that it touches them in some way, whether they relate to the characters, or whether part of the story helps them through something or what, I don't know. I hope they fall in love with my characters as much as I do, but for the most part, I hope that they are lost for a little while inside of my words. I hope i can take them away from the stresses of daily life and that they can feel like they have been somewhere different for a while. I just hope they enjoy it enough to want more I suppose :)

JWOEB: It's always good to get lost in a story. Is there anything you would like to say to your fans or readers who are new to you?

Eleanor: Hi! Lol. Thank you for stopping by and taking a chance on little old me. Reading is so subjective, and it's all well and good when someone says, "Oh you should check out this author, she's really good." Because taste in books is like taste in food, or taste in music, and I am not expecting to appeal to everyone out there, so I am just so grateful to anyone who takes a chance on someone who so unknown compared to so many authors out there. It's a completely saturated market, so every single follower, fan, reader counts and I am just so very thankful. Thank you. All of you. So much. :)

JWOEB: I love that. :) I want to thank you again so much for taking the time to interview with me today. It was great getting to know you more and about your books.

No, thank you for having me and taking the time to promote me. It's guys like you that make our jobs so much easier. We love you all! So thank you. Very much!

Books by Eleanor Lloyd-Jones

"… And the greatest of these is love.” 

Love is patient and kind… Its strength can build bridges and knock down walls. It can give people hope - a purpose. But there is a side to love that is unforgiving and cruel - a side to love that breaks hearts.

Love can suffocate, and love can turn to hate.

Billy Taylor meandered through life, only ever giving half. Ruled by his father’s grief, he gave up on his own dreams in a bid to keep life ticking along, desperately craving the unconditional love of his parents. It wasn’t until Eve Swallow fell into his life again, rousing his empty heart, that he dared to hope for a chance to live life on his terms.

Never quite good enough in the eyes of her overpowering mother, Eve kept herself locked away inside her own head, immersing herself in her passion for art and music, and doing anything in her power to avoid getting close to anyone. When she connected with Billy’s eyes, that still haunted her dreams after so long, fear kicked in, and all she could do was the one thing she was sure would protect her…


If two lost souls were to collide and a love so deep was born, it would surely take a herd of elephants to tear them apart…

*Warning: Contains scenes that some readers may find upsetting*

Eleanor Lloyd-Jones Social Links
Twitter: @EleanorLloydJ

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