What motivated you to become an author and write books such as “Chasing Cleopatra?
My motivation to write a novel like CHASING CLEOPATRA was in part, well, in great part, that I always know the ending as I read books and I want to be surprised but rarely am. Kim Philby was a British Intelligence officer who was head of counterespionage for MI6 and he was in truth a double agent for the Soviet Union. His ability to act a total role for so many years fascinated me. I wanted to write a novel with twists that no one would see coming and I wanted an “older” woman (age 44) as the heroine. She seems to be perfect but hidden to all she is a trained killer for good reason. I LOVE THAT!
Do you have any favorite authors or books that have inspired you?
Lawrence Durrell’s “ALEXANDRIAN QUARTET”, Alain-Fournier’s “LE GRAND MEAULNES” and John Fowles “THE MAGUS” have all inspired me. I read them when I was young and they overpowered me with their secrets. Colm Toibin’s “THE MASTER” is one of my favorite books and again Henry James is living a secret life. I also love Shakespeare and wanted to be a Shakespearian actress but the golden handcuffs of television held me tight!
Some of our readers might not be familiar with “Chasing Cleopatra”, are you able to tell us a little more about it?
“CHASING CLEOPATRA” came out at the start of the pandemic and is a wonderful way to take a respite during these tough times. It’s the perfect cocktail of spy thriller and romance. I don’t want to spoil it too much!
You recently released an audiobook for “Chasing Cleopatra”, what was that experience like?
Releasing the book as an audiobook was FUN. Two of my friends are wonderful actresses who narrate audiobooks so I called them. During the pandemic I used the friend who had a studio in her house and she did a wonderful job. I listened to the first chapter and realized she had to exchange two voices. She also felt we needed a man for the men’s voices so we did that and we won an exciting award for it already!
What advice would you give to writers looking to work on their first audiobook?
My advice to Authors working on their first audiobook is to go to ACX (Audible). They tell you just what to do and even have actors online that can audition for your book. The key is someone who not only narrates but has the right production group. My first book was a memoir “CHANGING SHOES”, I narrated it myself at an audio studio but it is very HARD, so if you can getting a professional narrator is key. Listen to their voices as if they read your words to be sure they are what you want AND make sure to give pronunciations of names and places. Audition till you find someone who gets your characters, understands your business or your wonderful book.
Many people know you from Guiding Light, what kind of experience was it like to be on that show for so long?
Being on GUIDING LIGHT for 26 years and 10 years before on other soaps was my life work. It was where I belonged. I walked out on the set the first time and thought, I am home. Everything about it felt right. I was where I was happy. When I did films and theater I was happy as well but something about the day after day for 35 years on soap opera was so fulfilling. I loved all the other actors (well, not all -all the time) but I loved getting dressed up every day with hair and makeup and great clothes and seeing a new script every day and never knowing what would happen next week. I was so content there even though I went from being the star of the show to the mother of the star to the grandmother of the star and when the show ended I was about to be the great grandmother – a very young one of course! The friendships formed are everlasting and we still work together on web series and in theater as we use one another in whatever we are creating.
If you were to bring “Chasing Cleopatra” to the big screen who would you pick to play Cleopatra Gallier? Who would play Jake Regan?
I would use a young Tom Pelphrey as Jake (he was on Guiding Light as my grandson in law) and for Cleopatra I have someone from Guiding Light and also someone from Beacon Hill theseries that I think would be good. The problem is filming isn’t happening now so all this will change as age is very important, for Cleo to be a young 44 and Jake is 28. Would love suggestions of who to cast from your readers.
Any top tips that you can share with other writers starting out?
It seems so different for each writer. I write in the middle of the night when I get inspired and then look at it in the daylight to see if it was inspired or if it was awful. I know persistence is important but so is having a subject you are interested in and getting so involved you want to write it to see what will happen to the characters. Some people have their books all plotted out. I find the characters take over and plot the book for me. At least in the novel. In “CHANGING SHOES”, which was a memoir, all it took was sitting at a table and writing and writing and writing. But with “CHASING CLEOPATRA” which is a novel, it took waiting for inspiration and being willing to change. I had the terrorist as one person and changed it as the book took form. No one has guessed who the terrorist is yet so the change was a good one.
What is next for Tina Sloan? Any other exciting projects or goals to share?
Ah what is next for me is simply STAYING IN THE GAME. I am writing a sequel to “CHASING CLEOPATRA” and doing a few web series if COVID allows. I really believe we all need to have a project that keeps us involved with life. For me, right now that is making sure Cleo gets read and the audiobook gets heard so that people can forget for a few days all the noise that is going on and be wrapped up in Hawaii with the lives of every character.
Tina can be reached via the links below.