Monday, August 4, 2014

Interview with Ellie Paxton, the heroine of 'Too Pretty' by Andrea Grigg

Today it's my pleasure to have a chat with the lovely heroine of "Too Pretty", the new romance novel by Andrea Grigg. As Andrea also wrote "A Simple Mistake", I'm sure fans who loved Lainey and Nick will enjoy meeting Gabrielle (Ellie) Paxton too. As you can imagine, interviewing somebody like Ellie is somewhat daunting, as she initially comes across to anybody who meets her with a 'Wow! What do you say to someone so stunning?' However, there is obviously more to this young lady beneath the surface.

It’s lovely to meet you, Ellie. My first impression is that I must be interviewing a supermodel. It must be wonderful to have such natural beauty while so many other girls feel insecure about their looks, for whatever reason. Have you found your prettiness an advantage? 

Hi Paula – it’s great to meet you too! Thank you for having me as a guest.

Your question is a good one because I think the first part of my answer will be unexpected. My brother and sister and I were brought up on the mission field in Papua New Guinea. All three of us were a novelty – my being pretty didn’t make any difference at all.

It wasn’t until I was thirteen and we moved back to Silverdene, the country town my parents came from, that I noticed how others reacted to my looks. I received a lot of attention from the boys. I wasn’t used to that, but I adapted.

Some of the girls were jealous and gave me a hard time, including my cousin Suzanne. Others wanted me to be their friend because I was a drawcard for the boys. My best friend back then, Annabel, she wasn’t like that. She was a gem.

Being pretty has its advantages, but it also has its drawbacks. For example, because I’m a blonde, some people assume I don’t have a brain. Crazy, hey? I’m not as clever as the rest of my family (they’re all medical professionals) but I’m smart enough.

The worst part about being pretty is guys are attracted to me because of how I look rather than who I am. I’ve had enough of shallow relationships and I’ve made an important decision just recently.

I'm sorry to hear about the drawbacks and the crazy assumptions people make. Yes, I heard that you made a promise to yourself not to date anybody for six months. Is this a personal decision or a move you’d recommend for every young woman?

I’ve received loads of compliments from the men I’ve dated. (I know – it sounds big-headed but I’m just stating a fact.) Now, while compliments are very nice, all of them have been about how I look. Like I said before – what about the girl on the inside? Even I don’t know the real me anymore and that’s why I’m taking the time to find out. God made me so He’ll know, right? Not everyone would need to stop dating to do it, but I need to.

Well, good for you. A nice appearance is a gift, but when you think about, it is prone to change over time, unlike the person within. But not all men are shallow and focused on physical attraction, are they? It would be sad if this has been your overwhelming experience. Have you come across any men with more depth of character? I guess what I’m trying to ask is do you try not to judge men on surface values, the way you feel they’ve often judged you?

Unfortunately it has been my overwhelming experience, but I’m the eternal optimist and always hope the next guy might be the one interested in the real me. And yes, I do know men who have great depth of character – my father and my brother are great examples. And then there’s a guy I’ve just met who seems to be … oops, I’m not supposed to be even thinking about Nathaniel! Next question please.

Sure, I understand. On the bright side, you’ve just left country town life for the big city, which must be exciting. What are your first impressions of Sydney? 

Actually, I’ve lived in Sydney before when I ran away with … um … I won’t go into that just now. Let’s just say I’m much happier being here this time around. I love walking around Circular Quay with its cafes and views of the harbour bridge. And of course the Opera House is amazing. Sydney is a beautiful city and a lot bigger and brighter than Silverdene!

Making such a big move is often fraught with anxiety, especially with the higher cost of living. Have you managed to find any work in Sydney yet? What experience do you bring from home, and what sort of job are you looking for?

I adore living here, but I still don’t have a job. I’ve had a few offers, but not the kind I was after, if you know what I mean.

I love office work and have a Certificate IV in Business Administration. I’m sure God has a job for me. Waiting for it to appear is a test of faith that’s for sure. I really believe I’m meant to be here in Sydney so it’ll happen. I just need to be patient and let God work it all out. In the meantime, I’ll just keep walking my landlady’s dogs and do some volunteer work. I’ll be fine.

Oh dear, I'm sure many of us understand the anxiety of being somewhere new without any immediate means of supporting ourselves. I hope something perfect for you comes along soon, because as you said, God surely must have a plan. Waiting sure can be a test though. I'm hoping for you though, and looking forward to reading what happens in 'Too Pretty'.

Thanks Ellie, for being a guest on my blog. 

My review of this novel is here

'Too Pretty' is published August 2014 by Rhiza Press and Andrea is offering a free signed copy to anybody who would like to comment on this blog post below. Please leave your contact details for us to contact you if you are the winner.

 Andrea Grigg grew up in Auckland, New Zealand, but has lived more than half her life in Australia. She lives with her husband on Queensland’s Gold Coast, where they have raised their three adult children.
Recently retired from teaching ten-year-olds, if she isn’t being a domestic executive or socialising, Andrea can be found in her cave, writing stories. Andrea is the author of Too Pretty to be released in August 2014. You can visit Andrea at her website


  1. Oh Ellie what a nice person you really are! Thanks for the nice compliments about Sydney. But I'm sorry you can't seem to find a job. I guess I'll just have to get this book that I hear talks about problems young and pretty girls face. As I never had that problem I'd be interested to know more.( I'd offer to meet you for coffee at the Queen Victoria Building but I'm of a different generation from you and you need younger friends.)
    That boy's name you let slip, hmmm, I think that just might go somewhere, but I won't snoop.
    Nice to meet a young woman interested in what God's plans are for her life. Thanks Paula.:)

    1. Hi Rita,
      She does sound like a very sensible person, doesn't she? I agree with you, it is an interesting problem to have and I can understand how she may be frustrated. As for Sydney, I'd love to return, as I haven't visited since 2004.

    2. Hi Rita, Ellie here. I'd LOVE to have coffee with you, especially in the Queen Victoria building - it's magnificent! My grandmother and I used to spend hours over a cuppa. I think we'd have plenty of things to talk about. Let's do it!

    3. Let me know when you're coming to Sydney!

  2. Wow! That was great. Interesting that Ellie's prettiness didn't have any effect in the PNG culture and that just being white skinned made her and her siblings a novelty. Our denomination has a number of outreaches and churches in PNG including some of the remote areas and I've heard similar comments from missionaries about our unique 'pale skins'. Lovely post Paula and Andrea (or should I say Ellie).

    1. Hi Lesley,
      Cultural differences are fascinating, aren't they? Our church used to have some outreaches to PNG. I like Ellie's surprise to arrive in Australia to discover that she's thought very pretty.

    2. Hi Lesley - as strange as it sounds, being thought of as pretty really did take some getting used to. Then there was the jealousy aspect to get my head around. Looking back, it's easy to see why I went off the deep end for a bit. I often say, 'Thank the Lord for praying grandmothers...'

  3. Hi Ellie - what an interesting perspective. So much of our culture focus on the external and the physical. I think you are showing a great depth of wisdom seeing through what is essentially skin deep - to those things that last. I wish you luck in your job hunting and your future relationships. Thanks Paula and Andrea for introducing us to Ellie. I see I have another book to add to my to-read pile.

    1. Hi Jenny,
      It really is skin deep, and it will surely be an interesting read to how how Ellie copes with it. She does come across as wise in her outlook.

    2. Hi Jeanette, Ellie here. Two things I know. God is faithful and He knows me better than I know myself. It's going to be an interesting 6 months. I've got this sense of anticipation which just won't leave me. I think I'm going to have a story to tell ...

  4. Hi Ellie, lovely to hear about you. I was an MK so I'd be interested to hear more of your story. And I've just moved to entirely different city! So I can empathise with you a bit on that point as well. I'm impressed with your resolve not to date for six months and I hope you find the experience strengthening and encouraging. Thanks Andrea and Paula for the lovely post. I'd enjoy winning a copy of this book. I had fun reading 'A Simple Mistake' and I'm intrigued by this book.

  5. Hi Linsey, Ellie here. Wow! We sure have some things in common, don't we? As for my resolution, well, I really am determined to stick to it, no matter what. I also can't wait to see what God does during this time. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Hi Linsey,
    Yes, you and Ellie would have a lot in common to talk about, both being MKs. My husband used to attend PK camps when he was young. I can imagine many interesting conversations if there are also MK kids camps.

    The winner will announced on Friday.

  7. I'm pleased to announce that the winner, chosen by, is Lesley Turner.