She lives in Wales with her husband, and has a daughter and four step-children.
Gregson's last novel, East of the Sun, was an international best seller, translated into over twenty languages.
Here she dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Jasmine Nights:
Jasmine Nights is set in 1942 in Cairo,Turkey, Wales and London. It would make a fabulous movie. But you are rolling your eyes already and saying she would say that, but hear me out, and help me if you can with the casting.Learn more about the book and author at Julia Gregson's website.
The two principal characters are Saba Tarcan, a half Turkish half English singer who performs for ENSA (the Entertainment, National Services Association) that sang for the troops. She is fiery, brilliantly talented, a rebel. I need someone tough and tender for her, who also looks a little exotic.
My dream girl for this is a new discovery: Katharine McPhee from Smash, would be perfect, in fact writing this has inspired me to send the book to her. She has a fabulous voice, has the kind of in your face charisma I need, and also high cheekbones--she could easily look like a half Turkish girl. My other candidate would be the Irish Ruth Negga, a classically trained young actress who has come up through the ranks of the Royal Shakespeare Company and who was hugely impressive in Phaedra and a recent television film about Shirley Bassey, a Welsh singer. For Saba’s mother, I want Catherine Zeta-Jones (in fact, if she was in her early twenties, she’d make a terrific Saba). Catherine would get the accent spot on.
Dom Benson, a young, fighter pilot made old before his time by the war and the loss of comrades, needs to be played by an actor who is not just a pretty boy, but who has depth, and an air about him of someone who has suffered. Eddie Redmayne, who played the love lorn boy in Marilyn, would be good. If any readers who can think of other actors who are young, dark, and look complicated and intelligent, do let me know.
I enjoy films where the actors don’t get in the way of their roles by being too well known. If I didn’t feel this, I might consider Robert Pattinson, as he does have the right look of a young man who has suffered.
For the supporting roles of Arleta, the amoral showgirl that Saba goes on tour with I’d cast Michelle Williams, she was great in Marilyn and has the kind of sexy vulnerability I need.
The Page 69 Test: East of the Sun.
The Page 69 Test: Jasmine Nights.