This Valentine’s Day, Roxy Squires is waiting for the phone to ring…
Roxy is famous. At least, she used to be. She’s a good-time TV presenter and, OK, so things haven’t been going so well recently, but she knows her big break is just around the corner. What she’s really looking for is someone to propel her back to the big time.
Enter Woody, one-time pop star and Roxy’s ultimate dream date, now working as her window cleaner. He’s the answer to her prayers – but for some reason, he doesn’t want to be famous any more.
And it turns out that they’re not the only celebs in the village. Roxy’s living amongst a motley crew of former stars and fame survivors, who meet weekly to discuss their new lives. Is this the reality check Roxy needs? Or maybe it’s a chance to do the unthinkable and fall in love…?
Eleanor Prescott worked as a PR in the music business for ten years. Her second novel, Could It Be I’m Falling in Love? is released on February 14th.
How did you become a music PR?
I’d always been a massive music fan. As a teenager I’d been obsessed by David Bowie (to the point of spending a whole afternoon rooted on the pavement, gazing at the house he’d once lived in two decades before!). I’d worked in the music department of my local library, had summer jobs in record shops, and even managed to bend my university dissertation into a study on Kylie Minogue So after a brief post-uni spell selling pants, I managed to bag a receptionist job at a company that made advert soundtracks. Although my duties were ordering couriers and doing the sandwich run, it got the word ‘music’ onto my CV, which led to a few music admin jobs and PA temp work at Radio 1. Eventually I stumbled into PR and then got an interview with MTV.
It seems like a really glamorous job. Was it as fun as it sounds?
It was amazing! I’m so lucky to have had the privilege. Standing in the wings at gigs, or hurtling through the dancers, musicians and pop stars in the warren of backstage dressing rooms at a music awards ceremony was my teenage dream come true!
What was your best moment?
There were so many ‘best’ moments… Working in the photography pit at gigs (you’re closer to the bands than anyone else in the building – so close you can see up their noses!)… Experiencing the madness of working on the MTV Europe Music Awards red carpet (electrifying – deafening – terrifying!)… Going on tour with Russell Brand… Flying in a helicopter Vegas-bound over the Grand Canyon, knowing every penny was covered by expenses!
What was the strangest thing you were asked to do?
There was the story I had to kill about the R&B star whose gold teeth had been stolen from his dressing room… And the presenter who wouldn’t leave his hotel room until I’d been to the shops to buy him clean pants…
Which of the stars you met impressed you the most?
Tom Cruise and Will Smith were fantastic. They said ‘hello’ and shook hands with absolutely everyone, from the producer, to the security man, to the work experience boy.
Do you ever miss working as a music PR?
Yes and no! MTV took over my life, with long hours, and loads of travel and weekend work. The parties were brilliant, but there comes a time when you don’t fancy yet another late night. My life is the opposite now. As a writer/mum I spend my life in jeans, weeks without make up, and can barely remember what staying up past eleven o’clock feels like! But bizarrely, when I’m asleep I dream that I’m back at my desk at MTV!
In the book, ex-TV presenter Roxy Squires is desperate to hang on to her 15-minutes-of-fame. Did you ever think you’d like to be famous?
Liz Hurley once said that she wouldn’t wish fame on anyone, and I think she’s probably right. Fame opens lots of doors, but it closes many more.
What inspired you to write the book?
A hangover the morning after a friend’s wedding! . A former pop star had been there – someone who’d been briefly (but dazzlingly) famous, years beforehand. He’d been out of the public eye for ages, but this hadn’t stopped me and my boss from drunkenly photographing each other, doing thumbs-ups in strategic positions on the dance floor, with the pop star in the background, politely rising above it as he danced with his wife. And despite the hangover, that got me thinking… what does a celeb do with the rest of their lives once their stint with fame is over? Can they just get a normal nine-to-five?
Are any of the characters based on real people?
The main character, Roxy Squires, is ‘90’s era ladette who refuses to accept that her career is now over. Obviously she’s inspired by the fantastic, kick-ass ladies who graced our TVs back then, but she’s not supposed to be any of those women in particular. A lot of those original ladettes have gone on to have amazing, long-lasting careers – quite the opposite of Roxy! (I LOVED the ladettes, by the way. They inspired my wardrobe and bucked up my twenties. I’d have bitten my arm off to be one!). And the other characters…? They’re not intended to mimic anyone in particular, but were inspired by the stories that ceaselessly fill up our newspapers each day. There’s a tabloid sex-scandal survivor whose curves have been buried by biscuits; a former chart-topping pop star; a disgraced TV weatherman; an infamous soap villain who’s now forever stuck in panto; and a former politician….
Roxy still has a crush on her teen heartthrob, Woody. Who was yours and did you ever meet him?
I remember having a massive crush on Michael Hutchence, but I never got to meet him. But I was a teenage goth for a while, and very into The Mission (fronted by the fabulously-named Wayne Hussey). The very first gig I went to was The Mission at Camden’s Forum, and almost 20 years later The Mission played The Forum again, and a journalist invited me along. Bizarrely, the journalist had been to school with Wayne, and got chatting to his mum in the crowd. After the gig, Wayne’s mum invited us backstage, and I finally got to meet Mr Hussey – in my thirties, with him (still a goth) probably 45! It wasn’t very rock ‘n’ roll. Wayne had a cold and was drinking Lemsip. But I loved that!
And finally, what are your top 5 favourite romantic songs – and why?!
I’m not really into love songs (when I got married, I walked down the aisle to Led Zeppelin!), but I’d have to say 1) ‘Inside Out’ by Imelda May (vs Blue Jay Gonzalez – the Latin Mix) because falling in love is a rollercoaster riot of emotions, and I love the joy of this track. Plus Imelda tells her bloke she loves his ‘wobbly bits’, and there can’t be a truer love than that! 2) ‘Lovefool’ by The Cardigans. 3) ‘Mad About the Boy’ by Dinah Washington. 4) ‘Too Lost In You’ by Sugababes. And 5) ‘I Will Always Love You’ by Whitney Houston (because it’s the ultimate belter!).