Author Lesley Pearse’s own life story almost reads like a novel in itself! Her success as a novelist came in her 50s, showing that reinvention is always possible- especially when you are following your dream! Lesley has sold more than 4 million copies of her books to date.
What was life like as a Bunny Girl?
I hadn’t planned on becoming a Bunny Girl. It was purely accidental! I was sharing a flat in London with some other girls- one had seen an ad and was going for an audition at the Playboy Club- she asked me to go along to lend some moral support. I did. She didn’t get the job – I did! Not something my friend was too happy about at the time, but we got over it and we’re still friends!
Life as a Bunny Girl was all fairly innocent in those days. But being one gave me a tremendous confidence boost. It wasn’t as glamourous as people think. It was about the costumes, the make-up, the ears!! We were picked for our big boobs, long legs and accents- we had to be well spoken. The set up was very vigilant – we weren’t allowed to associate with the men- they were all over 35 (seemed old to me then!) and I was living through the hippy years- much preferred younger men with long hair.
Did your experience as a Bunny Girl teach you anything?
It gave me confidence. After I left I went on to do promotion work – demonstrating melon ballers amongst other things- I had always lacked confidence ( I had even lived in an orphanage before my father remarried) but now (thanks to my legs) I had an opportunity to shine. That confidence has stayed with me – I can stand up and talk in front of a group for hours- although my legs are now better kept in tights!
My stepmother always told me to’ Dare to be Different!’ It was excellent advice
How did you come to be a writer?
I didn’t really do anything serious with my life until I was 40 I was quite happy being a mum. I had thought about writing, but there’s a huge difference between thinking and doing!! – I set myself 3 goals- to pass my driving test, set up a business and get something published. 3 months after turning 40 I set up a gift shop. My first short story was published in My Weekly.
Storytelling was in my blood. But it was very much telling stories as opposed to writing. I had always had a vivid imagination- walking to school as a child I used to imagine myself rushing into burning houses to rescue people or finding treasures in attics- I thought everyone else did too!
I always loved to read and find a book that could really take you out of yourself. I felt I knew what Cornwall was like just by reading Daphne Du Maurier’s books. I cannot imagine a life without books.
I was running my shop during the day and writing at night. I wrote 3 books before finding a publisher and I was 48 when my first book was accepted. My third marriage failed when I was 50 as did my business. I wrote my way out of trouble!
I am always coming up with ideas for books and can’t wait to start the next one! I’m lucky that I ‘m not tied in to one genre- I can write a thriller one day and my next book can be a romantic novel.
What about your latest book?
My latest book Belle, is about a girl who, through a twist of fate, ends up as a courtesan in New Orleans before finding her way back home. She is the character most like me that I have written about in as much as she is a fighter! So much so that I had to reassure a friend that the courtesan element is NOT based on my personal experience! I do love the character and the story- so much so that I have just finished writing a sequel- not something I normally do.
My next book will be a thriller. I ‘m also planning to spend time with my family and friends and enjoy my garden. In fact if I had the chance to start all over I would have loved to have been a gardener
Many thanks to Lesley for taking the time to talk to Fabafterfifty. I can’t wait to read ‘Belle’ – if she’s as interesting as the author who created her I won’t be able to put the book down!