In the early 1960s, no one wanted anything "old", they all wanted modern

The Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp

Eva Rice has written three novels and one non-fiction book. She lives in London.

“I make a girl with eyes like Imogen’s and a character like Lucy’s. I make a father like my own, only with bigger feet for crushing people into the ground.” How did you proceed for this novel?

When anyone is writing, they are always writing about what is around them, even if they think they are not. I am always taking bits and pieces of people and places around me for my work. Sometimes people think that you are writing about them when you are not, and sometimes you find yourself writing about people or events that you have not thought about in years. But the best thing about fiction is that you can fuse people, you can invent. So Raoul is also able to invent with his novel. You can heighten things, you can make things larger than life. That is the great escape of writing fiction.

Imogen said that “when she reads, she wants to escape, but to feel that she has learned something without even realizing it.” Why did you choose 1960’s London and old Victorian mansions?

I chose 1960s and the Victorian side of things because at this time, no one was interested in the Victorians and what they had created. Now, we are very in awe of what they did, and we try our best to keep it, to preserve it. In the early 1960s, no one wanted anything “old”, they all wanted modern. I was interested in how this time in history (Victorian era) was perceived at this time compared to now. There were not many people fighting for the preservation of Victorian buildings. Those who did included Pevsner and the poet, John Betjeman. These two men were not the best of friends, but they put aside their differences and both became involved in the Victorian Society, which was formed in the 1950s in a place called Sambourne House in Kensington. Sambourne House is still standing today, and is a monument to the Victorian way of life. Napier House, in my book, was based on this place.

“Only the most narrow-hearted of men hate fiction.” You often quote Georgette Heyer. Did this author influence you in any way? Is The Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp a historical romance?

Do you want the truth? I have NEVER read one of her books… Shhh! But my beloved Grandmother who died three years ago loved her. So I will read her one day. I like to think that my novels are in some way historical romance. Although, isn’t everything?!

Like the characters, did you grow up in a family of music aficionados?

I grew up in a family who were all huge music fans. Music was everywhere. I think that this is a massive influence on me, and on the way that I write. Still now, one of the things that connects us as a family, most strongly, is a shared love of pop music.