author of Arabelle's Shadows
1.Can you tell us a little about your book, what inspired you and why should we read it?
Arabelle’s Shadows is a novel about an international model called Arabelle. The story moves between Arabelle’s present - where she is living in Bangkok and dating a Thai socialite called Naak - and her past – Arabelle becoming a model and as a depressed teenager. I was inspired to write this story because I feel that many people are looking for happiness in all the wrong places. Arabelle is beautiful and thin but it wasn’t enough to make her happy. Other characters have a lot of money, some are happy, some are not. I wanted to show that happiness comes from within.
Through out the novel Arabelle battles her vile Shadows. The Shadows are those dark thoughts in your mind telling you that you’re not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, that you’re unlovable. We may not all be so controlled by our Shadows that we become as depressed as Arabelle, but we all have own Shadows to contend with. Arabelle’s Shadows will hopefully show you how to beat them.
2. You said that Arabelle's Shadows is based on a true story, is that your own story?
Arabelle’s Shadows is based on my own experiences. I love reading books based on real life, it makes the novel so much more personal. I chose to make it a novel instead of a memoir for a couple of reasons. One, I don’t feel I’m old enough yet to be telling my life story. Two, you have a lot more creative freedom when a novel is fiction. I wanted to tell the story of my emotional journey rather than worry about names and details.
3. There are a lot of references to the world of fashion in your book, do you like it? Have you worked in that sector in real life?
Honestly, I don’t really think that much about fashion. I think that people should have their own style, their own fashion sense, but I think always following and buying the latest trends is just too much effort! That said, I worked as an international model for six years and I know the modelling industry well. There are certain aspects of being a model that are fantastic, like being able to travel and live in cities all over the world. You meet some really great people too. However, I wouldn’t recommend it as a career. I believe that the industry often takes advantage of young girls, using them more like commodities than people.
4. What was the hardest part of writing Arabelle's Shadows?
The hardest part of writing Arabelle’s Shadows was talking about the depression. As the novel is based on my life writing about some of my darkest moments was extremely difficult and emotionally exhausting. I had to be very careful to make sure I didn’t lose myself to my own Shadows. Thinking about being depressed all the time is a great way to become depressed!
5. Your book obviously moves a critique toward the obsessions of teens nowadays, what was exactly your purpose while writing Arabelle's Shadows?
I think that teens have always had issues. I think that the problem with being a teenager is that you have no control over your life. Your parents, your school, your friends are always telling you what to do. You’re trying to work out who you are but you don’t have the freedom to express yourself fully. My purpose for writing the Arabelle’s Shadows was more to show how difficult it can be to be a teenager. I also wanted to show all the mistakes I made with the hopes that some readers will learn from Arabelle and not have to go down the same path I did.
6.Your dream cast for an eventual movie adaption of your book?
Most people in the book are pretty young so I’d like it to be a completely unknown cast. I want all the model characters to be played by model actors and actresses. The cast would have to be from all over the world.
7.Who or what inspired you to become an author?
I was modelling in Paris in 2002. I’d just finished reading Wuthering Heights and I thought I would like to make people feel emotions the way this book just made me feel. My parents always taught me that we could achieve anything we wanted in the world if we worked hard enough for it. So I immediately thought of the plot of two novels and got started working out how to write a book.
8.Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
I have two books that I would like to write. They are both quite different from each other as well as from Arabelle’s Shadows. I’m still in the plot development stage though. I think a lot but I haven’t started writing anything just yet.
9.Print or eBook?
I’ll let you know when I finally get an e-reader. I really hope I like it because it’s so much more environmentally friendly. That said, my dream house would have an enormous library filled from floor to ceiling with books about everything!
Everything in Arabelle's life is coming together. She has confidence, great friends, she's even dating Naak, a wealthy Thai socialite. But there are too many models in Bangkok. Arabelle’s broke, she can’t find an agent in New York, and Naak isn’t as wonderful as he first appears. Slowly the Shadows creep back into Arabelle’s mind, bringing with them thoughts of hopelessness and despair. The vile Shadows know something Arabelle’s refusing to remember and, if she’s not careful, they’ll use it to destroy her. Based on a true story, Arabelle’s Shadows takes us on a journey through the struggles of growing up, not quite making it as an international model, and attempting to overcome a crushing depression.