Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Can Happiness Be Bought?

         I met Winslow Eliot through Twitter, and then on FB. She accepted my offer to interview her, and then I started my research on this amazing woman. Here is what I found.

Winslow is the daughter of Alexander Eliot, former Art Editor of Time Magazine and the writer Jane Winslow Eliot. I won’t give you her full lineage here but it’s worth checking out at http://winsloweliot.com/biography/.

She is also a very prolific writer herself. She is the award-winning author of the novels Heaven Falls (which won 1st place – romance category in the Reader Views), Bright Face of Danger, A Perfect Gem, and Pursued, as well as the inspirational books: What Would You Do If There Was Nothing You Had To Do and WriteSpa-An Oasis for Writers: Writing Through the Year. Every morning she writes and shares her “daily happinesses” before turning to her work of the day: writing more books and mentoring writers. On a more personal note, Winslow loves dancing, singing, tarot, people, and sacred places. She especially loves her husband bringing her coffee in the morning so she doesn't have to get out of bed to begin writing.

       Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Winslow, who has kindly offered to give away one copy of her newest book, The Happiness Cure. See below for a chance to win a copy.  

AMM.   What was it like growing up with such famous parents, and did the knowledge of who your grandparents and great-grandparents were have an impact on you as a child?
WINSLOW: Once my dad retired from being the art editor of Time Magazine, both my parents became more like seekers and adventurers rather than glamorous writers. They wanted to meet interesting people, and to visit sacred places, and they were always taking us to museums and on various cultural explorations. And with regard to my earlier heritage (my great-great-grandpa being the president of Harvard, the whole Mayflower connection, having an English lord as a cousin, my mom’s grandmother being a suffragette, and things like that…) well, they kept a lot of that from me until later on—when I was in my late teens. They wanted me to be an individual and free, always.
AMM:  Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from?
WINSLOW: I think it is great I traveled so much, especially growing up, because I can pull out locations and situations from just about anywhere. So “place” is inspiring. But my characters become as real to me as people. It’s hard to explain. I love them—that’s the inspiration, perhaps.
AMM:  How old were you when you knew that you wanted to write?
WINSLOW: Four or five years old. My nanny in Greece gave me some blank notebooks and I remember scribbling furiously in them, filling them up, way before I knew how to write. They’re like mysterious hieroglyphs when I look at them now—I wonder what on earth was I writing? But I felt I was creating magic, I remember that feeling, even though I had no idea what I meant by magic.
AMM:  Tell me about The Happiness Cure. What was your inspiration behind this book?
WINSLOW: Initially, I loved the idea of a phony guru who promises that if you’re happy you’re cured of all your ills. I’ve suffered from depression, and it was like salt in the wound when people said, “be happy.” Or “the cure for depression is happiness.” So I was trying to be ironic. But as I wrote it (and it really is not a serious book—it’s one of my twisty-turny-romantic-and-suspenseful fun novels) I got more serious about the ideas behind using happiness as a cure, or figuring out whether the guru was actually trying to “cure” a desire for happiness. It was really a fun thing to write about. The most fun I’ve had with a book.
AMM:  Can you tell me a bit about your weekly BlogTalkRadio show?
WINSLOW: This was inspired by my WriteSpa – an oasis for writers. It’s a place where writers can rest, rejuvenate, and enjoy their writing journey without stressing. I’m there to offer odd writing practices and an encouraging smile. The radio show is based on my book Writing through the Year – which is 52 weeks of these writing practices. But the radio show itself has evolved into something even more interesting for me: I’ve had guests on the show that offer their own practices, or share their writing experiences. For example, I had a gardener on the show who created the analogy between writing and gardening, which my listeners said was really inspiring.
AMM:  Here is a question many writers struggle with. How do you juggle your time between writing and social networking?
WINSLOW: I don’t juggle! When I am writing, I’m absolutely devoted to writing. I start early in the morning and, on ideal days, that’s all I do until I take a break around noon. I do post my “daily happinesses” on line first thing in the morning, and I might check in with a few friends and some brief ‘good mornings’, but my real conversations I save till the evening, when I’m relaxing with a glass of wine, a comfortable couch, and I feel like conversing with my wonderful social media friends. It really is like having a party in my living room. Love it.
AMM: What do you like to do besides writing? Any hobbies?
WINSLOW: My favorite hobby is tarot and other kinds of readings—I do professional readings, too, so it’s not just a hobby. There’s a magic and story-telling quality to the tarot that I cherish. I also love dancing…I used to belly dance, but now I practice a Sufi dance meditation practice. My husband and I both sing and play guitar so we do that together and with friends. Also, we travel: I have lots of family members living in southern California—including our son and daughter—so we go there a lot.
AMM: What’s next for you?
WINSLOW:  The Happiness Cure was JUST published, so I’m still a bit out of breath from that! But I’ll let you know.

Happiness for sale!
The Happiness Guru offers everyone’s dream… for a price. For Kairi, he offers even more. Much more. Will she bite? Will a charming stranger save her … or lead her deeper into a trap? Is love better than happiness? As whirlwind events escalate, Kairi is plunged into intrigue and danger. She has to determine what happiness really means—for her.

Here are some of the places where you can find Winslow:    

FB link: https://www.facebook.com/winsloweliot.author?ref=hl
Wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winslow_Eliot  
Twitter link: https://twitter.com/winsloweliot
Link to Heavens Falls:  http://www.readerviews.com/Awards2010Winners.html


And now for a chance to win a copy of The Happiness Cure. Remember to play daily to increase your chances of winning.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Great interview, Ann Marie! Being an introvert, I find most of my happiness at home. Although I am more than a little obsessed with Universal Orlando. Something about being there is magical to me; it's like being a kid again (only better) when I walk through the gates. :)

  2. Wonderful interview! Great getting to know you a bit Winslow. Can't wait to read your book.