Today author of ‘Alice in Theatreland’, Julia Roberts, joins me as she introduces an excerpt from her new book, as part of her blog tour. Please keep your eyes peeled in the near future as I will be reviewing this book!
Until then, it’s over to Julia Roberts!
Thank-you, Kaisha, for hosting me on your blog today as part of the Alice in Theatreland blog tour. Below is an extract from around midway through the book so I thought I would just give a little background to it.
Alice Abbott arrives in London in the summer of 1976 with high hopes of a star-studded career in show business. After a slightly hostile reception at the audition she is offered a job as a member of the chorus-line in a new West End show called Theatreland
Her star certainly seems to be on an upward trajectory when she is asked to understudy the leading lady and starts seeing Peter, the male lead, however, everything is about to change after accepting an impromptu invitation to a private dinner from the show’s producer, Richard.
From that moment, Alice’s good fortune grinds to a halt and everything in her life starts to go wrong…
The traffic was crawling through Knightsbridge, but it was nothing compared to High Street Kensington where it was at a virtual standstill. Alice glanced anxiously at the meter and then at her watch. She pulled both the windows down in the back of the cab to let some air circulate, but the noise of angry drivers tooting their horns was too much for her fragile head, so she had to close them again. She gazed up at the iconic Biba store as the cab inched forward. Maybe Peter and I can go shoe shopping there when I get my bonus payment, she thought, a smile finding her face for the first time that day. She still found it hard to believe that the pop star she had idolised for so many years was so nice in real life and was such an amazing kisser. She blushed at the thought.
‘So, what is it you do love? I mean, two o’clock is a bit of an odd time to be starting work.’
‘I’m in a West End show.’
‘Matinee today, is it?’
‘No, final rehearsals. It’s our last preview show tomorrow and our opening night on Saturday.’
‘Oh, is that the one with them two pop stars starring?’
‘Yes, Tammy Dixon and Peter Flint,’ she answered, butterflies dancing around her tummy at the mere mention of his name. It was so tempting to tell this complete stranger that she and Peter were seeing each other.
‘That’s them. Shows are not really my thing, I’m more of a football man, but I remember reading about them in the paper this morning.’
It must have been another review of the preview shows, Alice thought. How funny that this cabby is completely unaware that he’s got the stand-in Melanie in the back of his cab.
‘Yes, apparently, they’ve got over their little lover’s tiff and are back together.’
Alice felt like she had been punched in the stomach. What was this man talking about? He must have got it wrong.
‘It’s all over the front page of the early edition of the Evening News. I’ve got a copy here if you fancy a read, we’re not going anywhere for the next five minutes or so,’ he said, handing his crumpled copy of the paper through the glass partition that separated them.
Alice could feel that her cheeks were flaming red as she took the paper. Just moments earlier she had been about to tell this man that she and Peter were dating. Just moments ago, she had still been under the delusion that Peter loved her; the same Peter that was staring up from the front page of the paper with his arm around Tammy. A big fat tear rolled off the end of her nose and landed right between his eyebrows, spreading slightly as blood would do if he had been shot. What an idiot I was to trust him, Alice thought, why didn’t I listen to Gina? She folded the paper closed without reading the story.
It’s 1976; a summer of soaring temperatures and the year nineteen-year-old Alice Abbott’s life changed irrevocably…
Alice’s childhood dream of seeing her name up in lights seems close to fulfilment when she attends an audition for a new West End show but first she must impress theatre impresario, Richard, a man with an unhealthy penchant for innocent young dancers.
Befriended by Gina, an experienced dancer who is determined to protect her new friend from the sleaze behind the glamour, and attracting attention from the male lead in the show, Peter, a former pop star who she’s had a crush on for years, Alice’s star seems to be ascending until she accepts Richard’s impromptu dinner invitation.
Alice’s apparent naivety places her in peril, but is she really as innocent as she appears, and just how far will Richard go to protect his guilty secret?