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Archive - Group Reads > Exit the Actress: Discussion with Priya Parmar

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message 1: by Lyn (Readinghearts), The mod of last resort/Mod #3 (new)

Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) | 1550 comments Mod
This thread is where you can ask questions directly to Priya and get answers from the author! Ask away!

message 2: by Priya (new)

Priya Parmar (priyaparmar) | 43 comments thank you lyn!

message 3: by Lyn (Readinghearts), The mod of last resort/Mod #3 (new)

Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) | 1550 comments Mod
Hopefully you will get some questions to answer!

message 4: by Cryssa (new)

Cryssa | 25 comments Hi, Priya,
I really liked the format of the story with the journal entries and play bills. Is this the direction that you always intended to take to tell the story or is it something that developed along the way? What inspired you to tell it this way?

message 5: by Priya (new)

Priya Parmar (priyaparmar) | 43 comments hi cryssa,

i knew i wanted it to be a series of first person voices. i liked the way that mirrored real life. there is no official account of an event or a day or a love affair; there is only the messy network of overlapping and often contradictory first person accounts.

i do not really believe it is possible to ever truly be objective. we all approach everything from a subjective stance and try to subtract partiality, which i think is somewhat impossible. telling the story this was allowed be to explore how legends and gossip and mystique and atmospheres all came about. it was so much fun.

while i knew this is what i wanted to explore, i had no idea how to do it. i have never read a book written like this so there was no blueprint to help. i just kept adding elements and voices and weaving them through and it just sort of unfolded this way.

thank you for asking such a marvellous question!

message 6: by Cryssa (new)

Cryssa | 25 comments I agree, it's very unique, and yet some of the best glimpses of an artist's life have come from their diaries. You're right in that they don't normally talk about momentous events, only what concerns them in the moment.

message 7: by Priya (new)

Priya Parmar (priyaparmar) | 43 comments i love reading diaries and letters. i feel like i have spent the afternoon chatting with a writer or artist after i read his or her diaries...

message 8: by Cryssa (new)

Cryssa | 25 comments I completely get that. One of my favourites is the Journal of Eugene Delacroix. He was a gifted writer although he is usually only known for his brilliant art. To this day, I consider him a friend having read his diary.
I also have been working through the Diary of Samuel Pepys. He is not so dear as M.Delacroix but he is entertaining. I can only imagine what his wife would have done to him had she found some of his entries.

message 9: by Grace (new)

Grace | 18 comments I finished it! That was a very good book. I really liked it. I liked it so much that I have already passed it on to someone else.

message 10: by Priya (new)

Priya Parmar (priyaparmar) | 43 comments cryssa, i miss peyps! he was such a great guide through the restoration! i miss his frivolous chatter and his more sincere side. he was such a randy old goat but i loved him!

grace, i am so pleased you liked it!

message 11: by Cryssa (new)

Cryssa | 25 comments I particularly liked his, "up betimes". He said it so often. Definately a randy old goat.

message 12: by Lyn (Readinghearts), The mod of last resort/Mod #3 (new)

Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) | 1550 comments Mod
So Priya - I started reading last night, and I have one question. I noticed that numerous lines in the Prologue spoken by Nell rhyme. I presume this is on purpose, correct? The way those lines flowed reminded my so much of Shakespeare's writing. It really put me in the "theatre" frame of mind.

message 13: by Priya (new)

Priya Parmar (priyaparmar) | 43 comments yes that was on purpose. the rhyming schemes of the period were a bit erratic and the language would dip in and out of them. i tried to evoke that sense of intimacy and pace with the rhyming patterns in the prologue. it was the toughest part of the book to write!

message 14: by Lyn (Readinghearts), The mod of last resort/Mod #3 (new)

Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) | 1550 comments Mod
Well, it worked really well. It made me smile and really helped me feel in the period. What a great way to start.

message 15: by Priya (new)

Priya Parmar (priyaparmar) | 43 comments oh good! it was such a risk and people were so divided over it. there was a question (with one of the lit agency's i was querying but did not go with) of whether or not it would put a reader off to open a book with rhyme. it was suggested that i cut it at one point but i really fought for it and am so glad i did. so glad you think it works!

message 16: by Lyn (Readinghearts), The mod of last resort/Mod #3 (new)

Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) | 1550 comments Mod
Priya - Although my usual is to read books that are mostly told from one perspective, I have read a couple of historical fiction books before that tell the story from the perspective of several characters. What is really different about yours is the use of the different mediums, the letters, gossip column, etc. I particularly liked it because it was actually easier to keep where each perspective was coming from clearer in my mind.

Also I found that because of the setup using so many different mediums, there was A LOT of information about many different characters. It required slower reading to get it all in. But, on the other hand, it was wonderful because we not only got to know Ellen, but got a lot of other info about that time in England.

And a really silly comment, the use of the letters and newspaper articles, etc also made it easier for me to find quotes to post as I would just flip through when I was done and fine the items by that person.

Loved your characters - they were all so real and vibrant. I can't wait to see what your next project will be!

message 17: by Priya (new)

Priya Parmar (priyaparmar) | 43 comments thank you lyn! i am so happy you enjoyed it. figuring out how to pitch it in terms of voices/narrative and information was really tricky and i kept having to recalibrating it to make it more/less challenging to follow. i am so glad you thought it worked out!

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