Beaumont, Maria 1965- (Jessie Jones)

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Beaumont, Maria 1965- (Jessie Jones)

PERSONAL:

Born 1965; married Matt Beaumont (a writer); children: Sam, Holly.

ADDRESSES:

Home—London, England. E-mail—[email protected]; [email protected]

CAREER:

Dancer, writer, and teacher. Has also worked in the advertising industry.

WRITINGS:

NOVELS

Marsha Mellow and Me, Arrow (London, England), 2004.

MissFit, Arrow (London, England), 2005.

Motherland, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 2007, also published as 37, Hyperion (New York, NY), 2008.

(As Jessie Jones) Rubbish Boyfriends, Avon, 2008.

SIDELIGHTS:

After marrying Matt Beaumont, a published novelist, Maria Beaumont decided to become a writer as well. Before then, Beaumont had been a dancer and dance instructor who also worked in the advertising industry. The daughter of Greek immigrants, Beaumont grew up in London, where she currently lives with her husband and two children. Beaumont's first book, Marsha Mellow and Me, was published in 2004. The novel tells the story of a pseudonymous novelist named Amy. Afraid to tell her conservative mother about her trashy, yet popular, novel, Amy hides from the press lest her true identity come to light. In her second book, MissFit, Beaumont portrays female protagonist Charlie, the daughter of a domineering Greek father whose only wish is to see his daughter married to a Greek. Charlie, of course, has other plans.

Discussing her defiant female protagonists in a Trashionista interview, Beaumont explained that "the problem for me with most chick-lit heroines is that they're shallow, fluffy and ever so nice. I like strong, edgy characters. Even if they're f**king up their lives, I like them to do it with style!" In the same interview, Beaumont discussed her writing career, observing that "if you haven't got thick skin, think twice before becoming a writer!" Beaumont has obviously followed her own advice, as her third novel Motherland, was so successful that it was published in the United States as 37, the original title that was nixed by her London publisher.

In 37, protagonist Fran Clark is about to celebrate her thirty-seventh birthday. As Fran rapidly approaches a full-on mid-life crisis, she obsesses over her aging body and the search for a perfect party dress. She also misses an important job interview that her husband has arranged for her, and Fran fears her husband's disappointment should he find out about it. In the midst of this, Fran garners support from best friends Summer and Sureya. As Fran struggles with her marriage, she begins drinking. Though the plot is somewhat dark, critics have commented that Fran's sense of humor tempers the story's tone. Indeed, Bookreporter.com contributor Terry Miller Shannon noted that "Fran's black humor lightens what otherwise could be a depressing take on her ongoing woes and problems as a wife and mother." A Publishers Weekly reviewer also remarked upon the book's "ample doses" of comic relief, noting the "breezy storytelling and an upbeat feel even in the down moments."

Following the publication of her first three novels, Beaumont published her fourth book, Rubbish Boyfriends, under the pseudonym Jessie Jones. The story is about Dayna, a woman who dates a string of men who are ill-suited to her: the overly amorous Simon, rock-star wannabe Chris, sarcastic Archie, and so on. Finally, it seems as if Dayna has met the perfect man, but she's not interested in him. Nevertheless, Dayna finds out that she is pregnant, and it is unclear who the father may be. In a series of flashbacks, Dayna relives her previous relationships as she attempts to identify the father of her child. In an interview in the Chicklit Club, Beaumont discussed her pseudonymous novel. Indeed, Beaumont has not attempted to hide her dual-identity as Jessie Jones. Beaumont explained: "I needed to have a pseudonym because Maria Beaumont had Motherland being published at the same as Rubbish Boyfriends and I wasn't allowed to have two books out at the same time. I thought it impossible to come up with a pseudo—I wanted to be Paige Turner but Matt (my husband) said that was really naff. He said I should just choose my favourite sounding name in the whole wide world. I chose Jessie James but—again!—I wasn't allowed. So, James became Jones and there you have it."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Bookseller, January 20, 2006, "Maria Beaumont Moves to Hodder," p. 13; February 16, 2007, "Beaumont: Motherland," p. 12.

Entertainment Weekly, January 11, 2008, Tina Jordan, review of 37, p. 73.

Publishers Weekly, October 22, 2007, review of 37, p. 35.

ONLINE

Bookreporter.com,http://www.bookreporter.com/ (August 19, 2008), Terry Miller Shannon, review of 37.

Chicklit Club,http://www.chicklitclub.com/ (August 19, 2008), author interview.

Jessie Jones MySpace Page,http://www.myspace.com/jessiejonesrules (August 19, 2008).

Maria Beaumont Home Page,http://www.letstalkaboutme.com (August 19, 2008).

Trashionista,http://www.trashionista.com/ (August 19, 2008), author interview.

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