Las Vegas Showgirls and More: an interview with Elizabeth J Church

Las Vegas Showgirls and More: an interview with Elizabeth J Church

Purchase a copy of All the Beautiful Girls || Read our review 

AllTheBeautifulGirlsartworkbingbongTell us what your book is about in your own words.

It’s about the way in which childhood experiences warp the lenses through which we see life and impact our choices in love. It’s about the sanctity and power of women’s friendships, outcasts, shame, and redemption. It’s about the fact that we can choose our reactions to things, that we can choose resilience.

Do you feel as though your writing is inspired by what you experience in everyday life or by what you have read?

My writing is influenced primarily by my life experiences, what I’ve observed, and the puzzles of human behaviour. I’ve entered my seventh decade on this earth – which means I have a good deal of experience upon which to draw.

What advice would you give to fledgling novelists?

Never listen to naysayers; do not permit them to rob you of your enthusiasm, inspiration, and dreams.

Who are some of your biggest literary influences?

Faulkner, Shakespeare, Hardy. On the more risqué, feminist side, Erica Jong.

The Las Vegas showgirl is an iconic figure associated with glamour and sex, but you show that the real women in such roles are more complex and three-dimensional. Do you think such stereotypes are becoming outmoded?

I can only hope that’s the case, in particular with regard to viewing women as a commodity, a package to be sold. But maybe those stereotypes are being replaced by a new version of female caricature: Hollywood’s depiction of a leather-clad, 98-pound woman who can outkick, outpunch, and overpower even gargantuan men. These are not the strong women I want to see depicted, and they are not the enduring, courageous women I have had the privilege of knowing.

While the novel is set in the 1950s and 60s some of the themes around women’s sexuality and the abuse of women is more relevant today than ever. Did you set out to write a novel exploring these themes?

download (1)I set out to write about women’s bodies – how they’ve been used, abused, denigrated, glorified and objectified (actually, try to find a verb that has NOT been applied to women’s bodies). I wanted to write honestly about women’s sexuality – not simply to say something like “and then the bedroom door closed” to end a scene or chapter. Many of the battles I thought women had fought and won are currently being re-fought – but this time around, I see confident, phenomenal energy behind women’s outspoken resistance to attempts to shut us down. And, this time, I think we have far more support from the men in our lives, with younger men coming to the fore – and that gives me great hope for the future of women.

Who would play Lily/Ruby in a film adaptation of All the Beautiful Girls?

I can name actors for nearly all the other characters in my novel, but Lily/Ruby stumps me. If you’ll let me dip into the past, though, I’d like to see Rita Hayworth – that glamor, red hair, and striking beauty.

What do you have planned in the future?

I’d like to finish my third novel and be satisfied with it. Then, I’d love to head to Scotland – I think not returning there once more before I die would be my greatest regret at this point.

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      Publisher details

      All The Beautiful Girls
      Author
      Elizabeth J. Church
      Publisher
      HarperCollins
      Released
      08 March, 2018

      Synopsis

      The dazzling, powerful story of a gutsy showgirl who tries to conquer her past amongst the glamour of 1960s Las Vegas – finding unexpected fortune, friendship and love.In the summer of 1968, Ruby Wilde is the toast of Las Vegas. Showgirl of the Year, in her feathers and rhinestones, five-inch heels and sky-high headdresses, she mesmerises audiences from the Tropicana to the Stardust. Ratpackers and movie stars, gamblers and astronauts vie for her attention and shower her with gifts.But not so long ago Ruby Wilde was Lily Decker from Kansas: an orphaned girl determined to dance her way out of her troubled past. When she was eight years old, Lily survived the car crash that killed her parents and sister. Raised by an aunt who took too little interest in her and an uncle who took too much, dancing was her solace, and her escape. When a mysterious benefactor pays for her to attend a local dance academy, Lily's talent becomes her ticket to a new life.Now, as Ruby Wilde, the ultimate Sin City success story, she discovers that the glare of the spotlight cannot banish the shadows that haunt her. As the years pass and Ruby continues to search for freedom, for love and, most importantly, herself, she must learn the difference between what glitters and what is truly gold.
      Elizabeth J. Church
      About the author

      Elizabeth J. Church

      Elizabeth J. Church was born in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Her father, a research chemist, was drafted out of Carnegie Mellon University, where he was pursuing his graduate studies, and was sent to join other scientists working in secret on the Manhattan Project. Church's mother, a biologist, eventually joined her husband in Los Alamos. Church practiced law for over thirty years, focusing on mental health and constitutional law issues. She is the author of The Atomic Weight of LoveAll the Beautiful Girls is her second novel. She lives in Northern New Mexico.

      Books by Elizabeth J. Church

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