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April 2015

Spring has Sprung

Last week everyone I met in New York was deliriously happy to be welcoming spring after endless months of grueling winter. My friends and family in England are equally excited that sunny days have arrived there too. The season has finally changed. As I am sure you’re aware, LA is not like the rest of the world. Here we have three seasons not four.

First of the year comes Awards Season- The Oscars, Grammy’s, Golden Globes, Bafta and Screen Actors’ Guild Awards. We Uber ourselves to parties and dinners then recover from all that socializing by binge watching reality TV. We change gear when the last of the dry Santa Ana winds blow in from the desert and we shimmy into Vacation Season which begins in May on Memorial Day and ends in September on Labor Day.

We embrace high summer by leaving town. We have to get out. Los Angeles has a 16.5 billion dollar tourist industry. People flock here from all over the world to relax but we are completely stressed out after months of negotiating the road works on the 405 and endless tailbacks getting to our therapy sessions, yoga classes, aesthetician and hairdressing appointments. We desperately need that vacation in Hawaii or a couple of months on Martha’s Vineyard. I go to the south of France and stay not far from Cannes, which is like a scaled down European version of Santa Monica only with better wine and a warmer ocean.

Coming back to town we gear up for the Holiday Season – Before we know it Halloween is upon us and we’re setting out pumpkins and planning our costumes. There’s barely time to recover before we’re ordering turkeys for Thanksgiving dinner. After a few days of cleansing and juicing we begin planning for Hanukkah and Christmas. The New Year celebrations come in a tardy third and only if we have any energy left.

I sometimes miss springtime in London. About now I’d be booking my ticket for the Chelsea Flower Show and clearing out my winter closet to make way for a new linen jacket and white jeans. Here I already have summer-wardrobe fatigue and the closest I’m going to get to a flower show is the organic kale and broccolini on display at the Farmers’ Market. Yes. I’m ready to get out of town and to the unpredictability of the weather in England and to get wearing my unworn Burberry mac.

Exclusive Celebrity Interview

I lived in Stratford Upon Avon, birthplace of William Shakespeare for thirteen years. It’s a tiny town where the local industry is all things Shakespearean. I got to know him well during that time and was thrilled when he agreed to this exclusive interview to celebrate his 450th birthday. He is currently in LA pitching a remake of Coriolanus so we agreed to meet at The Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

I joined him at a corner table where he sat resplendent in a black- laced doublet, starched while shirt and ruff. His earring caught the light as he turned his head to greet me. I wished him a happy birthday and while we waited for our lunch I asked about his wife Ann and the kids. He told me they were all great and that one of the twins was planning on being an actor. I agreed it was hardly surprising.

“Mr. Shakespeare…” I began, eager to begin the interview once he had finished his quails eggs.

“ Wench more ale.” He yelled, signaling the waitress and sinking back into the cushions. “A dish fit for the gods.” He said, wiping his mouth on the sleeve of his shirt.

“Mr. Shakespeare…”

“Pray call me ‘Will’ fair Lady… shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?  Thou art more lovely and more temporate.”

This threw me quite a bit, so I swiftly pulled out my iPad, grateful I had questions prepared in advance.

Will, you’ve written thirty-eight plays, one hundred and fifty-four sonnets and you don’t even own a laptop.  You’re married with eight children. You’re also an actor. How do you fit it all in?

‘All the world’s a stage and one man in his time plays many parts.’ He answered thoughtfully.

There are rumors of an affair. Do you deny them?

‘I am one who loved not wisely but too well. Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments. I am a man more sinned against than sinning. We have seen better days.’ He added.

What would be your advice to aspiring writers?

‘This above all, to thine own self be true.’

And hard work? That’s important too?

‘ Nothing will come of nothing think again.’

And fame, is that for us all?

‘Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them. By the way I love your blog.’

Thank you. So Will tell me who do you think will win the forthcoming election?

He sighed. ‘Now is the winter of our discontent … to be or not to be, that is the question. I come to bury Caesar not to praise him. By the way do you know anywhere round here where I can but some new hose? I’m looking for something with a bit of stretch, these don’t have any lycra in them.’ He added pointing to his stocking leg.

I took this as the signal to end my interview. I felt it had gone well. There was definitely enough in there to interest my subscribers. Shakespeare had never discussed his marriage or his political views before.

“I’m thinking Burberry.” I said standing up. “ Why don’t we nip across to Rodeo Drive.  They’ll be delighted to kit you out.

‘Once more unto the breach.’ He murmured dragging himself out of the chair. ‘Pray tell my Lady, how goeth your knight? I hear he has a new book out.’

Lights. Camera. Action…

Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words.

– Arthur Brisbane.


My UK publicists needed photographs of my life in LA  – shots by the ocean in Malibu, having afternoon tea, writing at my desk, relaxing in the sunshine. They asked for images that would capture the contrast between London and California, pictures that would reflect the themes in my novels as well as ones that can be used for my ongoing series Lady Terry’s Tips where I give advice on topics ranging from writing, traveling, public speaking to lifestyle and career change.

I feel that this photograph, taken by my pool on the first day of shooting, captures that formerly elusive je ne sais quoi. It is worthy of Vanity Fair don’t you think? There are many more I will share in coming weeks, but I think this one is perfect to put with some tips on writing and working from home:

  1. Get out of your sweatpants and fix your hair. It’s a long story, but a few years ago a convicted felon escaping custody drove off in a stolen car Mad Max style down Wilshire and into the side streets of our neighborhood. The police eventually cut him off in our street. He leapt out, ran to our house, shimmied onto our roof and stayed there for six hours until a SWAT team managed to get him down. Fox news filmed the unfolding drama and we watched it all play out on my neighbor’s television. I was ‘unavailable for comment’ mostly due to the fact that I was still in pajamas and sans make- up. I also met most of my neighbors for the first time that day.  I know it’s an extreme example, but it illustrates the point.
  2. Our best creative work happens when we are in flow, using our imaginations, having fun. Obviously there will come a point where we become hypercritical of our writing and believe we’ll never be the next e.e. Cummings, E.L. James or J.K. Rowling. But remember that’s only because the rest of us all have proper first names. There is a time for editing, a time for revising, a time for throwing most of our work in the trash, but there is also a time for play.
  3. Also take time for work. I mean the tough stuff, the sitting at your computer for long enough to write a half decent sentence, even if it takes the entire day. Oscar Wilde is famously quoted as saying “ I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back in again.”
  4. Keep writing. We can all find excuses. My particular one is that I’m traveling so much. As they say, we can fool some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time. Frankly I just believe that we can’t fool ourselves for very long. Just get up earlier and write or stop talking about wanting to be a writer. Writers write. It’s as simple or as complicated as that.
  5. I love my vintage typewriter. Even though I use a laptop, just having it there as a prop sets a tone and a mood. Surrounding yourself with novels, books you love, bric a brac you treasure creates ambience. I’m all about ambience as you can see.

PS. We took a “grown- up” picture too – click here