Interview With Arlette Gaffrey

Arlette Gaffrey

Arlette Gaffrey has just published her first book, "A World of His Own: In the Land of the Creoles" and was delighted to be interviewed for this website.

Arlette, welcome to Women's Book Reviews. Your book takes place in New Orleans. Is that where you grew up and went to school? If so, is that where you currently live?

I was born and raised in New Orleans, I come from an old Creole family. A pure Creole is someone of European French and Spanish heritage. For years and years even when I was little the French and Spanish Creoles were called the creme da la creme of New Orleans society, and my family was part of that society.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your family?

I was married to a career Naval Officer who was also a Navy flyer. I have three children, a daughter and two sons. I also have six grandchildren, three boys and three girls. When I was 18 years old I went to my first fashion show, and before the day was over I was hired to be a high fashion model. I modeled from age 18 to age 58. Since we were military, and we got transferred often to different parts of the country, I was able to model wherever we were stationed if I wanted to. I loved modeling, and even now once in awhile I'm asked to go back to modeling, but I always say no, been there, done that. Now I just want to write books.

Is this your first book? If not, can you tell us the names of your other books?

"A World Of His Own-In The Land Of The Creoles" is the first book I wrote and the first I have published.

When did you first become interested in writing? Was it difficult to find a publisher for your first book?

All my life, even as a child I would write little stories, but I never let anyone see them. But some where in the back of my mind I knew that some day I might try writing something. However, being a military officer's wife, moving around a lot and being left alone for long periods while he was at sea, and I was alone with our little ones I never had time to even think of writing, But once I was alone and my children had all left the nest, I thought I would give it a try.

And yes, I had a very difficult time trying to get a publisher to take my book. I managed to get three different agents, but none of them worked out through no fault of mine. One changed jobs, one got pregnant and told me she didn't want to have to deal with a newcomer while she was in that condition, and the last one decided to have a nervous breakdown and sat on my book for almost a year before I could get it back. Any way after hitting my head against brick walls, I went with Outskirts Press a Print On Demand publishing company. And I'm so happy I did. Because I own my book, no one can change one line in it, or do anything to it, unlike a major publisher can. I plan to have Outskirts Press publish all my books in the future. Besides getting a major publisher is almost impossible now because the competition is so stiff. And another problem I had, is I write clean books, a book my 13 year old granddaughter can read. No explicit sex or rough language, and that seems to be the trend today. A lot of agencies told me I would have to sex my book up if I wanted it to sell, but I wouldn't and it's doing just fine.

What gave you the idea for the storyline for A World of His Own? Have you always been interested in the history of New Orleans?

I dearly love my hometown. Growing up there in the 30s and 40s it was truly an enchanting city. And it was so romantic. I have no idea how I came up with the story. I know it started forming in my brain for about a year. Then although I already knew a great deal about my beautiful city, I still had to do a great deal of research which I love because I learn so much. So it took me a few years to get it down on paper the way I wanted it. I cut my teeth on New Orleans history. Since we had no Television in those days, story telling was always so exciting and interesting and my family always told me about my hometown, and about my family and I loved hearing those stories.

Was your family one of the original families that settled in Louisianna?

My family goes back many generations in New Orleans but they were not original settlers. They arrived in New Orleans somewhere around the early 1800s. My grandfather was one of the head doctors in New Orleans when I was little. I was born in a big, beautiful home that had been in our family for over a hundred years. But after World War 11 it was sold, it is now a Bed and Breakfast. And I am going home this June and I'm taking my thirteen year old granddaughter Simone with me. We will be staying in the home where I was born. If any one is interested in seeing how it looks just go to www.elysianfieldsinn.com When I was five we moved up to the Garden District of New Orleans to another large beautiful house so I could attend Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart) Academy. This is a private Catholic (French) girls school. I spoke the pure Parisian French before I spoke English.

Do you have plans for another book? If so, will the story also take place in New Orleans?

I am now almost ready to have my second book about New Orleans published by Outskirts Press. This one is titled "Beyond The Columns" and it is set in 1846. I have two more books written, these are called Regency Romances because they are set in England around 1814. One is titled "A Marriage Of Convenience" and the other is titled "Courting Jennifer" and I am now working on my fifth book, (third about New Orleans) which is titled "The Casket Girl" and the time is 1734.

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