2 Jul 2014

Tigers Of Wrath‏ by Elizabeth Housden

Title : Tigers of Wrath
Setting: Rural Hampshire
Principal Characters: Colin du Barrie - leading British portrait painter and sculptor, gifted, charismatic and attractive
Flora Bellinger - devoted mother, beautiful, a little shy but determined to embrace her new surroundings and fellow villagers, she is the nearly-divorced wife of over-bearing, philandering international Banker, Edward Bellinger
Griselda du Barrie, Colin's manipulative, money-grasping, unfaithful nearly ex-wife of Colin
Max Talbot, farmer and Diana, his warm, friendly, gossipy wife
Guy Colquohoun, stud farmer and Miranda, his wife
Adrian Carey, famous travel journalist and TV personality and his wife Marina - Flora's parents
Felix and Raphael (Raff) Bellinger, Flora and Edward's young sons
Flora leaves her husband for his constant infidelities with their two young children Felix and Raphael and sets up home in a charming village in the South Downs National Park. Slowly she gets herself involved in village life which she loves. A bombshell is dropped in their laps as it is suddenly announced that the government intend to build a new motorway on their doorstep, in full view of the village. A protest group is swiftly formed with Colin and Flora, together with several friends, very much leaders of this movement and as a result Colin and Flora, deeply attracted to each other, are very much thrown together...
Lurking in the background are Edward - international banker of some renown, bullying of his nearly ex-wife and duplicitous in the extreme. Matching him, equally manipulative and scheming is the grasping nearly ex-wife of Colin, both only keen on one thing - money and the making and keeping of it for themselves, particularly if it is at the expense of their previous partners. And then there's Giles, Colin's politician brother, the man on the inside who seems a lot more about the building of this road than is possibly good for him...
The quote Tigers of Wrath is from one of William Blake's Proverbs of Hell. In full, it is "The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction."


Can you tell us a little about your latest book?
It is a modern romance, set mostly in rural England. The two main characters are thrown together in the village's fight with the government over the building of a new motorway. But other factors are at work in their personal lives and unknown to them both real danger to one of them is getting ever closer...

What inspired you to write it?
The main male character is an artist. I write about things and people and situations with which I am familiar. My mother was a professional artist as are two of my four children. I have been surrounded by them all my life! I, too live in a village and know very well what community spirit can be engendered when a common cause is worth fighting for!

How did you come up with the idea for the cover?
A sculpture of horses is integral to the story. The quote Tigers of Wrath suggests horses should be on the cover but I wanted people to say, "why horses and not tigers?" Then I'd say, "read it and find out"! And they do ask and they do find out! My elder son is a designer with the National Theatre. He and my website designer, according to my direction, did this for me. The sculpture is mine. They both design all my book covers.

If it was made into a movie, who would you like to play the main characters?
Colin, I'd like to be played by Jude Law (I know him, too!) he has the right combination of toughness and sensitivity, Flora, probably by Gemma Arterton - she's beautiful in the right way and an excellent actress.

What is it about this genre that appeals to you so much?
I write about people and places with which I am familiar. Within that framework, I can then set about making fictional characters real - their dialogue, how they live on a day to day basis, their work, how they feel about their children and I love writing dialogue for children! I have spent so much time with them and they are wonderful to write about and easy, for me, anyway, to make really real. My life, my up-bringing, everything belongs here. Therefore I can invent stuff round it.

What made you want to become an author?
I've always written and made up stories when I was a child and later, for my children. When they were growing up and as I got older, not so much work came my way in the theatre, as is typical (!) so to release my creativity, I started to write novels. I had written several plays which have been performed professionally and so I thought I'd write books too.

How do you come up with character names?
I don't know. They name themselves, always, every time. I have no hand in it at all.

Name one of your all-time favourite books?

Who, or what, inspires you?
Great playwrights, artists and writers, mostly, my favourite of all time is Shakespeare and several of my books have been inspired by lines from his plays which I often use in the titles. Tigers of Wrath is not Shakespeare, of course but William Blake. Places inspire me, too, chance remarks in conversation with people and once a picture on a tea towel I was putting away!

Where is your favourite place to write?

Anywhere where I can sit with my iPad!

What is your favourite movie that was based on a book?
Don't Look Now

Name two of your favourite authors.

Daphne du Maurier and Philip Pullman

If you could have a dinner party with any authors from any time in history, who would you choose and why?
Shakespeare, obviously, because he is the greatest playwright who has ever lived and there will never be anyone better; John Galsworthy, because I want to know if he thought Irene should have married Soames and if he thought the failure of the marriage was his fault or hers (!); Kenneth Graham because I want to know if he was writing for adults or children; Ann Frank because I just want to give her a hug, the poor darling; Oscar Wilde because he is a genius and if his last words really were, "Either that wallpaper goes, or I do,"; Michael Morpurgo partly because he once lived in the village where I do and partly I want to know how he felt about the National's brilliant dramatisation of his book, War Horse; and Ariana Franklin because she is so talented and so very sadly died before finishing her brilliant series that began with The Mistress of the Art of Death and I'd like to meet her but also to find out what happened to the glorious naughty bishop and the feisty doctor!

Tell us a random fact about yourself.
Although younger than her by many years, I have always looked remarkably like the actress Elizabeth Taylor. Once, a few years ago, I was flying to meet my husband in Barbados. I became aware after a short while that people seemed to be getting up, walking past my seat and giving me what Paddington Bear called, a hard stare. I ignored it. After a while, I went out to the galley for something and found the air hostesses in a huddle. "Elizabeth..?" said one. Being my name, obviously I turned and said, "Yes?" She then told me there was a rumour going round the plane that Elizabeth Taylor was on board. Was I her? "No," said I, but I had been mistaken for her before (I had, notably in Harrods, but that's another story!). However, no one on board wanted to believe it and when I arrived at Barbados, I found a band of very excited singers, specially lined up on the tarmac, singing me a Barbadian welcome! I couldn't enlighten them, obviously, it would have been too cruel and I made a hugely dignified descent from the plane in very large dark glasses. I eventually met my husband in the In Transit lounge and he fell about with laughing!

Who would play you in the movie about your life?
Me (please).

Tell us an interesting fact about where you live.
I live right on the edge of an ancient smuggling route called The Shipwright's Way. It was along this road, which dates back to the 14th century, that the wood that built Nelson's Victory was carried! I think that is just wonderful!

What are your (writing) plans for the future?

I am writing a trilogy for children - a kind of Da Vinci Code for teenagers set partly in our time and partly in Shakespeare's and, for adults, an historical novel relating to who it was who actually murdered the Princes in the Tower! I have just completed my first historical novel based on a true life smuggler who lived and worked in the Isle of Wight where I grew up which will be released soon. I have completely fallen in love with the main character! He is just to die for!

Tell us one thing that's on your bucket list.
To play Elizabeth Taylor in a movie of her life. I've always looked like her, always, always.

Favourite myth / fairytale?
Red Riding Hood - the Roald Dahl version, though!

Who / What did you want to be when you were a kid?
An actress. And I was and am! Very lucky girl, me - to live the dream!

Things about me
I was born in the South of England and grew up in The Isle of Wight where I rode and kept horses and learned to sail with the world famous yachtsman, Uffa Fox, who was a close friend of my father's. My father was a banker and my mother a professional artist.
Ambition: all my life I wanted to act. My first professional engagement was when I was three in a pantomime. I was a rabbit and refused to have make up put on. Thus I was the only white faced rabbit amongst all the brown ones! I can still remember being in this show. Reference is made to this in my novel set in the world of professional theatre, "Brief Candle".
I went to drama school in London
I have worked in theatre always - either as an actress or a director. I am very fortunate. I also taught drama for several years part time at Bedales School and I loved it - my most favourite job of all time! I have played everything from Shakespeare to pantomime. While I was at drama school I also worked as a photographic model. I have run my own theatre company, The Misrule Theatre Company for 14 years. www.misruletheatrecompany.com. My publishing website is www.housdenpublishing.co.uk.
Favourite roles: Rosalind in As You Like It, Portia in The Merchant of Venice, Hermione in The Winter's Tale, Gwendolin in The Importance of Being Ernest, Myra in Hay Fever, Diana in California Suite and Dotty in Noises Off.
I write plays. My play The Jade King and the Animals of Destiny, the retelling of the myth behind the formation of the Chinese Zodiac that I wrote for the BBC's Big Arts Week, was the only piece of drama selected out of 1,400 entries to be filmed for the programme, has been, and continues to be, performed all over the world from Washington to the Caribbean and from London to Pakistan.
I love writing and write every day. I have written 7 novels for adults, 3 are published on Amazon as e-books, the fourth being published soon. I have nearly completed the first part of a trilogy for children - a sort of Da Vinci code for 10-15 year olds that spans the three books. The series is called The Barbary Trilogy and the first part is called The Hollow Crown.
Actors I most admire are Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Simon Russell Beale, Adrian Lester, Kevin Spacey, Ian McKellen, Kenneth Branagh, Penelope Wilton, Rory Kinnear, Ben Whishaw,
Writers I most admire are Daphne du Maurier, Hilary Mantel, C J Sansom, Mary Wesley, Philip Pullman
Directors I most admire are Trevor Nunn, Peter Hall, Edward Hall, Sam Mendes, Danny Boyle, Nick Hyntner, Deborah Warner, Rufus Norris
The titles of my books are always quotes from somewhere, Shakespeare (my novels Passion's Slave - from Hamlet - and Brief Candle from Macbeth), Natural Allies is a quote from Euripides, my next novel is called Tigers of Wrath and that is a quote from William Blake's Proverbs of Hell. Sometimes I give them a "working title" and name them properly after and sometimes the quotation inspires the whole book.
Inspiration can come from many sources. Sometimes an idea just comes into my head from nowhere, sometimes a chance remark from someone sets off a train of thought that develops when I've thought some more, others the whole notion hits me like a thunderbolt and I simply sit and write it out from beginning to end.
I set my novels in places I know well or amongst worlds that are utterly familiar to me. I never take real people and put them on the page. Each character is entirely imaginary and fictitious. I have no idea how people who haven't trained for the theatre can write believable characters as my training as how to reach the essence of people and delve into the subtext of people's lives is vital, I think, to making people real. It must be much, much harder to be a writer if one is not a trained professional actor!
My characters are real to me. I am usually quite desolate when I finish a book as that is the point I have to "let them go" out into the world on their own without me!
My book covers illustrations are often the art work of my mother who was a professional portrait painter and illustrator, my elder son and younger daughter are both professional artists in the field of theatre. Sometimes I use photographs, too and even my own drawings.
I am married to Michael who works in the City and between us we have four children, two sons and two daughters, all of whom are now married. To date I have six grandchildren, four boys and two girls.
I am a vegetarian.
I have owned many animals in my life, horses, dogs and cats. My last dog was a beautiful, intelligent bearded collie called Cinders (short for Cinderella) and my last cat was a cream coloured chinchilla called Yorick (named after Hamlet's Yorick who was a court jester. Our Yorick always made us laugh, too and he was pale as a ghost!!)
I live part of the time in rural Hampshire, partly in London and for the next couple of years, also in Dubai.
Favourite quotes: 1. The Play's the thing. (Hamlet - Shakespeare), 2. Don Pedro: "...out of question, you were born in a happy hour. Beatrice, No sure, my lord, my mother cried, but then there was a star danced and under that was I born." (Much Ado About Nothing). .3. "And the sunlight clasps the earth, And the moonbeams kiss the sea; What are all these kissings worth, If thou kiss not me." (Love's Philosophy, Shelley) 4. "...But I being poor have only my dreams, I have spread my dreams under your feet, Tread softly, for you tread on my dreams." (W B Yeats)
Favourite books: Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier, the Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Graham, The Forsyte Saga, by John Galsworthy, His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman.

“Tigers of Wrath” is the fourth fantastic novel written by Elizabeth, whose other titles have never received less than four stars on Amazon books. For all of her novels she takes her inspiration from a variety of sources, the titles of her novels are always quotes from somewhere, Shakespeare (“Passion's Slave” - from Hamlet - and “Brief Candle” from Macbeth.) “Tigers of Wrath” is a quote from William Blake's Proverbs of Hell. Sometimes she gives her novels a "working title" and names them properly after, and sometimes the quotation inspires the whole book.
One thing readers all have in common is their appreciation and enjoyment of Elizabeth’s novels, every title has received a

“I look forward to reading my next Elizabeth Housden novel!
For more information go here: http://housdenpublishing.co.uk/tigers-of-wrath/
Elizabeth is a fantastic growing author, keep an eye on her for her latest work and follow her
on Facebook!  

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