PERSONAL: Born in London, England; married; children: Sefi (daughter). Education: St. John's College, Cambridge, M.A.
CAREER: Heidrick & Struggles, London, England, and Los Angeles, CA (executive search firm), headhunter for six years; freelance journalist.
Adored (novel), Warner Books (New York, NY), 2005.
Contributor to periodicals, including London Sunday Times, Evening Standard, and Daily Mail.
ADAPTATIONS: Adored was adapted as an audiobook by Time Warner Audio, 2005.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Another novel, Showdown.
SIDELIGHTS: After working for six years as a headhunter with the high-pressure executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles, where she was the best revenue generator in the firm's London office, Tilly Bagshawe decided to take a break. As Bagshawe recalled on her home page, "The writing came about almost accidentally, in my late twenties. I had given up a very high powered, high stress career in the City and taken a year out to be with my daughter and relax. After about nine months I was going faintly stir crazy living down in the country baking cakes and decided I needed to do something creative, that would hopefully earn me a bit of money as well." In short order, Bagshawe was writing lifestyle articles for three major London newspapers. "It was only after about six months of writing articles that I gained the confidence to think about doing something larger in scope," she added. Since her early adolescence, Bagshawe has enjoyed Victorian novels. "I read pretty much all of Dickens when I was eleven and twelve and moved onto the Brontes and George Eliot in my teens," she recalled. "I like the big, sweeping landscapes of Victorian novels, and I like the notion of 'moral' books. I'm not averse to a bit of Gothic melodrama either, with characters being punished or maimed or burned!" Bagshawe also cited Jilly Cooper as an author whose works she enjoys and who has "influenced me although I couldn't pinpoint in what ways exactly."
Bagshawe's novel Adored is about the life of Caroline, a strong-willed woman taking on Hollywood. Likening the novel to works by Danielle Steel, Judith Krantz, and Jackie Collins, several reviewers noted the work's eroticism. Lynette Rice, in Entertainment Weekly, described it as "deliciously trampy," while a Publishers Weekly critic dubbed it "deliciously sinful." Another aspect on which contributors commented is the characterization of main character Siena. According to a Publishers Weekly reviewer, Bagshawe"nimbly captures Siena's fierce ambition," and a Kirkus Reviews commentator wrote that, while Siena is a character on a grand scale, she is nevertheless plausible and that "even the most minor cast members … have well-defined personalities and real motivations." "In the tradition of Jackie Collins and Shirley Conran, Adored is a juicy, ribald, racy gem of a Hollywood epic," concluded Bronwyn Miller in Bookreporter.com.
For her part, Bagshawe sees her books as pleasure-producing in her writing of them and hopefully in the reader's reading of them. "My books are all about escape. Writing them has been more fun than any job has a right to be," she noted on her home page. "I want to write the sort of fun, sexy, escapist books that I love reading myself, books that have made me happy when nothing else could. If people enjoy reading my books, I'll consider my goals completely fulfilled."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Entertainment Weekly, May 27, 2005, Clarissa Cruz, "Tilly Bagshawe Delivers an Unabashedly Glitzy First Novel," review of Adored, p. 104; June 24, 2005, Lynette Rice, review of Adored, p. 169.
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2005, review of Adored, p. 433.
Library Journal, May 15, 2005, Samantha Gust, review of Adored, p. 104.
Publishers Weekly, May 2, 2005, review of Adored, p. 173; August 1, 2005, review of Adored, p. 61.
BookLoons.com, http://www.bookloons.com/ (August 18, 2005), Shannon Bigham, review of Adored.
Bookreporter.com, http://www.bookreporter.com/ (August 18, 2005), Bronwyn Miller, review of Adored.
Romantic Times Online, http://www.romantictimes.com/ (August 18, 2005), Tara Gelsomino, review of Adored.
Tilly Bagshawe Home Page, http://www.tillybagshawe.co.uk/ (September 10, 2005).