With the greatest pleasure, I'm introducing you to one of the most compassionate, tolerant and wonderful women I know, Elle Amberley.
Since reading her first blog post, I have known that Elle is a woman that I will never forget. She has added to and changed my life.
Thank you for taking the time and honoring me with this interview. Hugs
1.) I understand you have lived in several countries, which countries did you live in?
I have lived in almost every Western European country there is, America and Australia.
2.) Is there one thing you liked about particular country more than another or something you learned by living in different places?
I love France and never quite understood why we kept moving around when it my was my mother’s favourite country. I loved the language and the culture which I assimilitated very quickly. I also love Italy, it’s such a wonderful country and its inhabitants are so friendly and welcoming. Australia wooed me as a twenty-something.
America was a big turning point, provided an escape. It was also a culture shock. I loved the friendliness of Californians even if I didn’t always like what I saw, especially how some viewed homeless people. My stint in California inspired my latest novel.
3.) When writing about women’s and children’s issues what do you like to focus on? Is there a particular thing you like to bring attention to?
General injustice and anything related to abuse. I’m a firm believer in equality, so yes I am a feminist in the sense I believe women and men should have the same opportunities and rights.
4.) I too love all different styles and types of music, from the classics, big bands to today’s new
artists. What kind of music moves you the most and do you use music when you write?
I’m an intense type of person, I like big emotions. I like to be surprised, a dramatic change of rhythms for example. I always say two things saved me while growing up; books and music.
I love different styles but a few years ago I found the whole package. We have a program on the British radio called “Desert Island Disc” in which a celebrity discusses music tastes and what they would take with them if stranded on a desert island. No hesitation for me.
5.) I understand you write in both French and English, what do you find to be the main difference between writing a story in French or English?
Writing in French came as a shock to me. It followed a trauma and a new person coming into my life, the person who understands me the most.
I had not managed to talk to anybody about this. This happened on a particularly dark day when I was torn between decisions; he simply sat at me his desk and placed a pen in my hand. The whole sorry tale poured out in minutes, in French and through tears, and in the form of poems. I stared at it afterwards, shocked but liberated.
I love writing in French, I’ve developed a whole
new style which I suppose is fitting since I like variety.
6.) Most people hide something about themselves from others and many write under an assumed name. Is there a particular meaning behind your pen name?
There is a rather personal one. I’ve heard a lot of pros and cons regarding pen names, sometimes people judge without knowing the full reasons. Noms de plume are nothing new, it’s a choice we make. Sometimes we have to hide for good reasons; living in fear is never fun.
7.) Will you tell us a bit about your new novel“Nowhere Left to Hide,” when it will be available and where we can find it?
Signed copies will be available through my
website. Otherwise all usual channels and Amazon of course, either in paperback or as an ebook.
The story follows Natasha Parker, a British
student, as she is offered the opportunity to study in California. She jumps at the chance to leave her childhood ghosts behind her and once in America finds friendship and love. The question is: can she really let go? And what happens when her visa runs out?
8.) If you could change one thing about the world or how we deal with each other what would it be?
Injustice would cover it, people going hungry, homeless, racism and abuse of any kind. How to deal with? Good question! More tolerance, more awareness, better education, more fairness.
9.) After reading so many of your posts on various blogs, your website, and The Women on the Verge I am
intrigued and astounded by your ability to show such compassion and knowledge of people. What helped you most in learning how to be so compassionate of others?
I have no idea; I am hypersensitive, same as my
children. Perhaps certain experiences have reinforced my compassion. You have a choice, always, to react to whatever happens to you. You can go into victim mode or pick yourself up.
I’m not always as tolerant as I’d like though. I also have a short temper.
I suppose I’m good at seeing things from a different angle and all too often put myself in other people’s shoes. Empathy is good, there is a lack of it in our society, and too much can be emotionally shattering. Sometimes I get too angry in reaction to what I see or read, or I cry. That’s when I know I need a break and need to refocus.
10.) Where can people read your writing or contact you?
I love hearing from readers and they’re always welcome to follow me on Twitter and Facebook or email me.
There is a contact form on my website www.elleamberley.co.uk
I also regularly blog on Women On The Verge, a wonderful community where I found my voice and have shared many very personal experiences.
Thank you so much Marta, I’ve loved taking part in this interview and answering your very thoughtful questions, such a pleasure and honor. Thank you for your friendship, I hope we meet in person one day.
Elle, that would be a joy for me. I hope also to meet you in person one day. Thank you for your friendship. You honor me and I have grown since knowing you. I am looking forward to reading your book.
I have the pleasure of introducing the lovely Robbie Kaye. Robbie’s love of beauty and ability to find it in the most unusual places;
brings joy and color into our lives. Her Beauty of Wisdom project is a tribute to all of life.
Thank you Robbie for sharing your spirit and joy with us.
1.) In your interview with FabafterFifty you talk about your Beauty of Wisdom project finding you. Can you tell us a little more about what captured your imagination when you took your first photograph in the series?
The first photograph I took was “Jenny” and that orange background was amazing, along with her black turtleneck and face. I went in there thinking I would photograph something humorous. But in fact, I found that these women had more integrity that anyone could imagine. As I continued photographing I realized that what I wanted to convey was just that, their integrity… with themselves and their connection to self-care, and connection with others. And… I was looking in the mirror, if I’m lucky to get to their age and if I do, if I’m lucky enough to be as courageous and wise as they are.
2.) I have never been one to think of myself or anyone else as being a particular age. Yet I do find myself missing the days when people dressed a bit. Do you believe we as a society are
losing something by our casual attitudes toward each other, life and ourselves?
I try not to speak for an entire society; I can only speak for myself. I really feel on the fence about this, because there are days when I would really like to get dressed up and days when I would really like to dress “casually.” I would have to think about the presence of formality that is equated with dressing up… and if that represents a sense of “respect” or not… it’s all so subjective really…and probably somewhat generational… generally speaking.
3.) What have you gained by talking to these women as you were photographing them?
I’ve gained an increase in respect and admiration for them and the road they have paved. They also, keep me connected to the memories of my own grandmothers. They were very special in my life…
4.) You also write music which is heartrending, loving, and tender. Your music covers a gamut of emotions, where do you find your inspiration when writing a piece?
I find my inspiration in so many places… inside myself, in relationship to others,sometimes even politics or social issues…But mostly, I just let whatever inspires me go through me… and out of me musically… hoping to offer relatable music and poetry.
5.) I understand that you studied music; can you tell us where you studied and what is your favorite genre?
I was trained classically on piano then studied music at Georgia College and then jazz at Berklee College of Music in Boston. I concentrated on piano and composition. I don’t really have one favorite genre… I have several… classical, jazz, blues and rock.
6.) Your photography speaks to the soul as if it was visualized music. How do you pick your subjects when not photographing for the Beauty of Wisdom project?
I’d have to say that as with Beauty and Wisdom. The subjects pick me… by intriguing me, sometimes it’s about content, or color, and many times about light… light shining in unexpected places…
7.) You have said that Georgia O’Keefe has been an influence on your work. What aspects of her work inspire yours?
I love her fearlessness in her work, her boldness and grace all at the same time... I love that while she liked to paint big, she was not precocious or ostentatious. She was humble and bold all at once, attributes I aspire to.
8.) Be it in your music, photography or your writing there is a sense of compassion, beauty and joy that shines through. What helps you most to keep this sense of wonder, joy, beauty
and compassion alive?
I suppose it is like a flower that grows out of the mud… and it remembers where it came from and how beautiful it feels to bloom in the sun and above the mud…. So in essence, remembering that I have a choice as to where I want to be helps me... In the mud or in the sun, filled with joy and love and happiness. I practice the law of attraction and read text about it and listen to excerpts of talks about it… I have been blessed with attracting mentors that teach me how to get closer to the mastery of life and being. Beautiful comrades like you, who share the journey with me and remind me of all the joy that is present in life if, I just choose to see it.
9.) Would you tell us about your dreams for the Beauty of Wisdom project?
That’s easy! My dreams for Beauty and Wisdom are that I get to exhibit the photos in museums and galleries, while also having a wonderful book to accompany it. And… perhaps a documentary. Ultimately, that this work will aid in the changing of the perceptions about age and beauty. That it will offer an alternative way of thinking. So that we all can embrace the process with ease and compassion… and at the same time, creating a visibility and honoring for our elders who are already there.
10.) Where would people find your work and learn more about you?
My work can be found at www.robbiekaye.com for Beauty and Wisdom and 2 other series. More work can be found at www.robbiekayegallery.com - that’s where my portraits and landscapes are as well as other work.
Author & Poet
Marta Moran Bishop, is an author and poet. Ms. Bishop writes many books for children as well as for more mature audiences.