Join me in welcoming Fleur Gaskin to Highlighted Author
Fleur Gaskin calls herself a Kiwi. She grew up in Wellington. When she was twenty, she left New Zealand to start her career as an international model. She travelled Asia and Europe, modeling as she went. Now, she lives in Shanghai with her fiancé and two cats.
Author Fleur Gaskin is with us today to tell us about her debut novel, Arabelle’s Shadows-A Guide to Understanding Depression & Other Destructive Afflictions of the Mind. She has a fantastic website set up, Fighting the Shadows, to help both those with these disorders and those who have these people in their lives.
Welcome, Fleur. Please tell us about your featured book.
When I first started writing Arabelle’s Shadows, I thought I was going to write a kind of exposé on the truth about modeling. We always hear about the rich, glamorous lives of supermodels but their lives are so amazing because they are at the top of the industry. Most models lives aren’t quite so magical. It’s the difference between a celebrity chef on the Food Network and a line cook in your local pub. Then I started writing Arabelle’s Shadows and I found that I had much more to say. Modeling became the setting for my novel, not the focus.
Arabelle’s Shadows is about depression and learning how to love yourself. In the novel, Arabelle is constantly battling her vile Shadows. The Shadows are those dark thoughts in your mind telling you that you’re not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough. Not everyone becomes depressed the way Arabelle did, but most people have some Shadows to contend with. Sometimes they show themselves through an eating disorder, an addiction or anxiety. Sometimes they reveal themselves through a temper problem or an inability to stay in a relationship. I hope that readers of Arabelle’s Shadows will learn how to control their own Shadows.
My inspiration for writing Arabelle’s Shadows was to show that wealth, beauty, thinness won’t bring us peace. Happiness comes within ourselves.
What they’re saying:
“Arrabelle’s story is in the spirit of such classics as “Bright Lights, Big City.” It’s well written and well told from an insider’s view looking back. There’s a feeling of other-worldliness in setting which is very well described. Arrabella is growing up before our eyes and we can’t help but cheer for her.
If you like coming of age stories, human struggle stories and generally raw looks into a field where most people have a short shelf life, I think you’d have a hard time finding a better example than “Arrabelle’s Shadows.”—T. Dewhirst, Avid Reader
Written in diary form, this coming of age story is based on real-life events and provides an interesting look at the not-so-perfect life of aspiring international models. Arabelle’s Shadows is quite different from many of the New Adult books I have reviewed in the past, which is not a bad thing at all. I like different.
“The story deals with very real issues, including depression, eating disorders, and suicide, to name a few. And though there are guys galore, it isn’t your typical boy meets girl, lots of angst ensues, boy and girl finally get together, boy and girl have major misunderstanding, and then boy and girl make up and live happily ever after. No, this book is real and deals with very real situations, insecurities, and relationships, which more often than not, are messy.”—Nevaeh, Amazon Review
Everything in Arabelle’s life is coming together. She has confidence, great friends, she’s even dating Naak, a wealthy Thai socialite. But there are too many models in Bangkok. Arabelle’s broke, she can’t find an agent in New York, and Naak isn’t as wonderful as he first appears. Slowly the Shadows creep back into Arabelle’s mind, bringing with them thoughts of hopelessness and despair. The vile Shadows know something Arabelle’s refusing to remember and, if she’s not careful, they’ll use it to destroy her. Based on a true story, Arabelle’s Shadows takes us on a journey through the struggles of growing up, not quite making it as an international model, and attempting to overcome a crushing depression.
My day started off okay. I had a casting at Emporium, a shopping centre near Rompo. I’ve always loved being in Emporium. Outside it’s all hot, dirty and crowded but as soon as you walk through the entrance everything’s cool, spacious and sparkly. And it’s welcoming, even though it’s full of lavish designer stores. It’s not like other stuffy malls for the wealthy, which always make me feel uncomfortable like, since I don’t have a platinum credit card, I shouldn’t be there.
After the casting I saw my friend Ying Thompson walking towards the escalator. She broke off from the group she was with and came over to give me a hug. “Hey Arabelle, what are you doing? Come sit with me while I get my makeup done.”
“Are you doing a fashion show?” I asked her thinking of all the models that’d been with her. “Nope. The others are, I’m hosting the event. Come on!” Without waiting for me to reply she linked her arm through mine and led me downstairs towards a backstage area in the basement. Ying’s a very popular singer in Thailand. As we walked through the mall you could hear people saying her name and giggling. Ying paid no attention to all the turning heads. She was on the phone, in the middle of a fierce monetary negotiation with a client. They want her to become the face of their rice crackers.
The concrete room we entered was full of people bustling around getting ready for the fashion show. We found an empty space and sat down amongst everyone else’s handbags, shawls and bottles of water.
“So what’s been happening?” She asked in a strong Kiwi accent (her Dad’s from New Zealand, her Mum’s Thai-Chinese). “I think I…” I was bursting to tell her about Naak but Ying’s assistant interrupted and started asking a lot of questions in Thai. “Sorry,” Ying said focusing her attention back to me, “what were you going to say?”
“I was out at Bed the other week and… well… I think I’m dating Naak!”
Ying pursed her lips together in a frown, not the look of excitement I’d been expecting. “No you’re not.” Ying said flatly, “Naak has a girlfriend. She left to study in the States a couple of weeks ago.”
Looking away from Ying I caught sight of my reflection in the makeup mirror opposite me. My face was stuck in the smile I’d worn when I was telling her I had a boyfriend. Except now the lines around my mouth were strained. With bulging eyes my smile looked more like a grimace.
“I think they’re dating because her family owns a lot of the property on Sukumvit Road,” Ying continued. “You know, she’s only eighteen!” Naak’s thirty.
“Okay,” I murmured. I searched desperately for something else to say in response. Luckily the brand new mobile on Ying’s lap began to vibrate. With her perfectly manicured fingers, a tiny crystal heart in the centre of each nail, Ying set about replying to the text message. Ying hates all unpleasantness and it appeared that, as far as she was concerned, the issue was settled.
I’ve had plenty of experience detaching myself from my wretched weeping soul and by the time Ying put her phone down I’d rearranged my face into neutral. My robot body looked at my mobile and told Ying, “Sorry, I’ve got to go see the agency now,” it hugged her goodbye. It smiled and acted like Arabelle didn’t care that Naak had a girlfriend.
My insides died and disintegrated the whole journey home. I paused the tears right up until I exited the elevator. When I found no one in my shared room I blinked, allowing them trickle down the sides of my face and jump to the floor.
Get your copy of Arabelle’s Shadows at these fine outlets:Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Arabelles-Shadows-Fleur-Gaskin/dp/1481073915/ Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/arabelles-shadows-fleur-gaskin/1114301682?ean=2940045092241 Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/255578
You can find more about Fleur here:Website: http://fightingtheshadows.com Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ArabellesShadows Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17282501-arabelle-s-shadows Twitter: https://twitter.com/fleurslove