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Rachel-K
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East of the Sun: Questions for Julia Gregson?

Hi all, please start the conversation by posting your questions for Julia Gregson here!
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eadieburke
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Re: East of the Sun: Questions for Julia Gregson?

Julia:

 

Just one question: Were any of your characters personalities based on anyone you knew or were they pretty much fictitional?

Eadie - A day out-of-doors, someone I loved to talk with, a good book and some simple food and music -- that would be rest. - Eleanor Roosevelt
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vivico1
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Re: East of the Sun: Questions for Julia Gregson? thru chapter 20 & general

Julia, I have a couple of questions for you, and these are in general or through chapter 20 so guys there are no spoilers for anyone up to that point reading this too.

 

I had a question about the boat trip to India. I would have thought that these "fishing fleets" might have been in a less luxurious ship. These really sound like extravagant trips, all the great foods and parties and booze and they way they are taken care of. Where they really so grand at this time? If so, could most girls' families afford these trips or were these made up of more of the upper crust group, rather than maybe middle class girls?

 

I feel like not only the girls but most of England, maybe Europe and the world, may have been naive about what the people of India really wanted at this time and what they were willing to do to get it. At this time in your novel, since I am not sure myself, had Gandhi just started his protests or was he a movement yet and what about the masses that were looking for blood. It just seems an extreme time to be sending young girls to India. Or was it as simple as the naive arrogance of a then ruling nation do you think?

Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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vivico1
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Chapter 20. Ithaka

Julia,

I found your use of Nigel reading the poem Ithaka to them before they get to India quite interesting. What made you decide to use it? It seems to me maybe a double meaning here, that these young people having the time of their lives on this voyage need to enjoy it because this journey will be the rich thing they remember of this time, not the destination of India that they really don't know what they are in for there. But it also seems forboding in a way of saying, their journeys now through life, they need to really take notice of, be a real part of and get the most of, because their final destinations, i.e. what they think they are going to India for, or what they will be there, will not be as they suppose. It is a very interesting poem for this particular journey.

 

I think I like Nigel and wonder if he will be in the book later...don't tell me tho lol.

Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Julia_Gregson
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Re: East of the Sun: Questions for Julia Gregson?

Hi Eadie,

 

Forgive the time delay- I've never blogged before!

This is such a hard question to answer.  I do believe in Flaubert's 'Madame Bovary c'est moi.' because I do recognise elements of my own character in Viva and in 'Tor, not so much in Rose because she is an outstanding beauty! and much nicer than I am.

I was very much influenced too in the writing of the book by memories of a childhood heroine of mine, Mrs Smith Pearse, a very fine woman who lived for years in India and who was my best friend when I was five.  I think a lot of her goodness and integrity went into the character of Rose. 

 

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Julia_Gregson
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Re: East of the Sun: Questions for Julia Gregson? thru chapter 20 & general

The Kaisar-i-Hind (note feminine spelling) was the actual name of one of the ships that regularly transported Fishing Fleeters  to India, and it was luxurious and the food was famous.  P and O did have other wonderful ships that went East too , most scrapped,  but you're absolutely right, not all of the ships were so posh, and of course some parents did economise.

Regarding the political situation in India in 1928: there was considerable unease amongst the Brits. who knew the writing was on the wall. Gandhi assumed leadership of the Indian National Congress in 1921, but had been organising protests with peasant farmers and urban laborers since around 1915.  For the British Sahibs and memsahibs, the  parties, the polo, the fun went on, but many were planning for a difficult return to England, where they  faced an uncertain future

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Julia_Gregson
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Re: Chapter 20. Ithaka

I love that poem too, and think it has tremendous resonance.  I actually had it framed for my daughter on her 21st birthday.  I agree with you, it is full of promise but sadness too and some foreboding.

Nigel is a lovely man, quivering with sensitivity. I shan't tell you his fate! 

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eadieburke
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Re: East of the Sun: Mrs. Smith Pearse


Julia_Gregson wrote:

Hi Eadie,

 

Forgive the time delay- I've never blogged before!

This is such a hard question to answer.  I do believe in Flaubert's 'Madame Bovary c'est moi.' because I do recognise elements of my own character in Viva and in 'Tor, not so much in Rose because she is an outstanding beauty! and much nicer than I am.

I was very much influenced too in the writing of the book by memories of a childhood heroine of mine, Mrs Smith Pearse, a very fine woman who lived for years in India and who was my best friend when I was five.  I think a lot of her goodness and integrity went into the character of Rose. 

 


It sounds to me like Mrs. Smith Pearse was that special grandmother type of a person who really took a lot of time to tell you a lot of stories. It's a shame that she isn't around any more to see how much she influenced your writing. That intergenerational connection in every child's life is very important for both the child and older person relating the stories. My children have learned so much from my dad and even now that he is gone, they still comment and repeat many things he has told them. He loved music, theatre and reading and those loves have carried over to me and them and I'm sure onto their children.

 

At what point in your life did you decide to become a writer?

Eadie - A day out-of-doors, someone I loved to talk with, a good book and some simple food and music -- that would be rest. - Eleanor Roosevelt
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Julia_Gregson
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Re: East of the Sun: Mrs. Smith Pearse

Hi Eadie,

 

Please let me know if you got my subsequent message on Mrs Smith Pearse ? I was looking it over and it disappeared off the screen.  I'll write it again if you haven't received it, I love remembering her, because,  you're right she was such a special person in my life.

 

Regarding the last part of your question: I'd always longed to write, but left school very young (aged 15) my father was in the air force, so we travelled a great deal as children and I went to thirteen different schools.

I began to write in my mid-twenties after having umpteen other jobs, and for me it was like all the lights going on, and I knew I'd found what  I wanted to do.

Writing is in the family: my father wrote two books as a very young man that were published by Macmillan. His uncle, Gordon Dickson was a successful science fiction writer. My sister writes, and so does my husband (screen plays).

Do you write yourself ?  

 

Julia 

 

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eadieburke
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Re: East of the Sun: Mrs. Smith Pearse

[ Edited ]

Julia_Gregson wrote:

Hi Eadie,

 

Please let me know if you got my subsequent message on Mrs Smith Pearse ? I was looking it over and it disappeared off the screen.  I'll write it again if you haven't received it, I love remembering her, because,  you're right she was such a special person in my life.

 

Regarding the last part of your question: I'd always longed to write, but left school very young (aged 15) my father was in the air force, so we travelled a great deal as children and I went to thirteen different schools.

I began to write in my mid-twenties after having umpteen other jobs, and for me it was like all the lights going on, and I knew I'd found what  I wanted to do.

Writing is in the family: my father wrote two books as a very young man that were published by Macmillan. His uncle, Gordon Dickson was a successful science fiction writer. My sister writes, and so does my husband (screen plays).

Do you write yourself ?  

 

Julia 

 


 

Julia:

 

I don't see the information you wrote about Mrs. Pearse. If it's not on the blog then it didn't get submitted. I often do that myself - write a whole paragraph and hit the wrong key and "puff" it's gone! I did read about her at the end of your book but that's about all I know except what you mentioned before that she spent a lot of time in India.

 

I really admire people who can tell or write a good story. I think it takes a certain skill to hold people's attention. I would love to be able to write but I believe I would need to have several writing courses. I tend to be too wordy. I think less is best in writing but you need to use the right words in order to convey your message. That's the skill I feel that I lack. They say that each one of us is a walking story. It's just that you need to tell your story in such a way as not to bore people to death. It's all in the choice of words.

 

I believe another assest of a good writer is imagination. I would be lacking there too since I am definitely living in the real world at all times. I am not even a good day-dreamer. Every author needs readers and that's where I come in. I am very good at escaping into a good story and blocking the rest of the world out, but that story is someone elses imagination. 

 

I have been involved with local politics and I would love to tell about some of my experiences. Possibly I will contact a writer and show them my information and let them write the story I would love to tell. We'll see!

 

Anyhow, you do have that gift of keeping people interested. How do you think I read your book in a weekend? I had to find out what was going to happen to all the characters!

 

Thanks again for that experience!

Message Edited by eadieburke on 07-08-2009 03:44 PM
Eadie - A day out-of-doors, someone I loved to talk with, a good book and some simple food and music -- that would be rest. - Eleanor Roosevelt
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vivico1
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Re: East of the Sun: Mrs. Smith Pearse

Something that always interests me, when I get a chance to actually ask a writer, is how do you pick your characters names? Viva is a kind of unusual name. But how did you pick all of your main characters' names?

 

 

Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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pen21
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Re: East of the Sun: Questions for Julia Gregson?

In your biography it says you have worked as a journalist. I know of 2 authors in Minnesota here that I have talked to that were journalists. Did your career as a journalist lead you into writing books?
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Thayer
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Re: East of the Sun: Questions for Julia Gregson?

Julia,

 

I was just wondering what is next for you? Are you working on a new novel? I, for one, can't wait to read more of your work.

~~Dawn
Live the life you love ~ Love the life you live.
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vivico1
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Re: East of the Sun: Questions for Julia Gregson?

Julia,

Fozzie aka Laura, brought up a good point on the chapters thread, I will quote just that part of her post: "I found myself puzzled by the fact that Paul reacted so strongly and so negatively to Tor's kiss (pgs. 69-71). The only explanation I have been able to come up with is that he is gay."

 

What was the deal about Paul being so upset with Tor's kiss? I would have told him to kiss my you know what after that outbreak! But what was the problem here?

Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Re: East of the Sun: Mrs. Smith Pearse

I understand what you mean about getting too wordy, I think that's why most writers write and re-write and re-write, who was it , Flaubert who said that it was like combing your hair until the tangles went.  I love the idea of that kind of clarity.

I shall look again for Mrs S.P. such a great woman.

 

Julia 

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Re: East of the Sun: Questions for Julia Gregson?

Yes, I'm convinced it did and was good training for writing books.  I was never a news journalist, my speciality was going out to interview people, and I always felt a kind of wistfulness when I interviewed a writer, as if that was what I really wanted to do.  It took me a long time to develop the confidence, and maybe the skills to try my hand.  Julia

 

Julia 

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Julia_Gregson
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Re: East of the Sun: Questions for Julia Gregson?

 Yes, I thought of Paul as gay.  Highly intelligent , cultured, artistic, but not into women at all!

Julia 

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vivico1
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Re: East of the Sun: Questions for Julia Gregson?

ahhhh, that is a revelation, because I thought maybe he thought he was above her at first, or some old school thing in the early 1900's that just made him mad at the idea of a woman kissing a man first! But you know, I can see Tor as the type to never know he was gay, or even what gay is! So it would never occur to her, she just thought all his attention as a friend had to be something more! hmmm, interesting.

 


Julia_Gregson wrote:

Yes, I thought of Paul as gay. Highly intelligent , cultured, artistic, but not into women at all!

Julia


 

 

Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Julia_Gregson
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Re: East of the Sun: Questions for Julia Gregson?

My mother in law was married off to a gay guy when she was 18 years old and was completely bewildered by the experience. j
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vivico1
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Re: East of the Sun: Questions for Julia Gregson?

Married off to him? By whom? Did they know he was gay? Why did he marry her? Did he just want a beard? I think it would be hard to marry someone of the opposite sex if you were gay, you would either feel heartbroken for yourself most the time or lead a double life and break someone else's heart when you finally decided to come out of the closet in 10-15 years. It happens still more than we know. How long was your mother-in-law with him?

 


Julia_Gregson wrote:
My mother in law was married off to a gay guy when she was 18 years old and was completely bewildered by the experience. j

 

 

Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb