BIOGRAPHY OF TYNE O’CONNELL, British Author of 13 Internationally bestselling books, including Pulling Princes & Making The A-List and in 2015 awarded Most Eccentric British Thinker by the Eccentric Club (patron H.R.H. Prince Philip).
I was born in the back of an ambulance in Windsor on the 7 October 1960. I have spent most of my life living in Mayfair, where I’ve brought up two husbands and three children while giving birth to 13 books and I am now a granny.
My life in Mayfair St James’s has given me a special affinity with the area. My fictional characters and scenarios were formed in the crucible of Mayfair’s eccentric village life. The area has been my inspiration, which is why, in 2005 as my health struggles ended my days of active duty on Mayfair’s social scene I took to my bed and began researching its history. It wasn’t until the end of 2013 following a suspected stroke that I was diagnosed with a brain tumour in my hypothalamus and pituitary.
Larks such as climbing the locked gates of Mount St Gardens at three or five in the morning – having called my husband to run across the road with the rescue-ladder while I straddled the gates on Mount St stranded ten feet above the street in my six inch heels – were no longer feasible.
I began suffering excruciating headaches, seizures, fractured hips and ribs due to brittle-bones, dizziness and constant fatigue ending my active Mayfair Social Life. I took to my bed-salon and embarked on an extensive research into Mayfair’s past from the Domesday Book, the diaries of Pepys and Evelyn and the works of Aphra Behn, Margaret Cavendish and the British Archives.
As well as writing fiction I write for the Mayfair Eccentric directory www.MayfairEccentrics.com a search engine and guide to all things Mayfair and Eccentric.
In uncovering the history of Mayfair St James’s from 1660 to the present I began writing the book, Mayfair Eccentrics which reveals the history of the secret coterie of Eccentric women and forward-thinking gentlemen who created this haven for eccentrics of the Restoration of the 1660’s.
Mayfair Eccentrics – The Book – reveals that this luxurious area was owned by and built by women for women – specifically the women who would spearhead The Enlightenment in their Mayfair St James’s Salons in the 1660’s onwards.
Over the past fifteen years, immersed in the British Archives and ancient manuscripts I uncovered the long hidden truth behind the women land-owners of Mayfair, notably Mary Davies from which Mayfair takes it name, and the worlds first woman architect, Lady Elizabeth Wilbraham who designed the area although until last year when the Royal Society redressed the matter, her architectural achievements were attributed to her young pupil Sir Christopher Wren. Even the cost of building Mayfair and St James’s was met by a woman; the Catholic wife of Charles II, Queen Catherine of Braganza who also gave Britain tea; the drink which still fuels the Eccentric salons of Mayfair St James’s.
Since 2012 I have also run dandizettes.com the Quintessential British Style Guide with tips on being an English Eccentric and elements of my research into dandizettes have fed into the research for my book Mayfair Eccentrics.
In 2015 I was humbled to be honoured by The Eccentric Club (Patron HRH Prince Philip) as the MOST ECCENTRIC BRITISH THINKER
Mayfair Eccentrics was my first foray into non-fiction. My first seven books were contemporary women’s fiction. My first book, Sex Lies & Litigation published Headline Review 1996 was set in London’s Inns of Court and Mayfair and earned me the title; Mistress of The Unzipped One-Liner. My books, often set in Mayfair were all character driven – the area of Mayfair a character itself. The protagonists of my Contemporary Women’s fiction have all been career driven women navigating the chaos of urban life and men.
With my three children at boarding school, in 2003 I began a teen-fiction boarding-school series set in two fictional single sex boarding-schools (based on Eton and St Mary’s Ascot) in which a shy awkward American girl with talent on the fencing salle, slays the heart of The Prince and heir to the throne and ultimately finds acceptance from the Horrible Hon.’s and Terrible Toffs who had hitherto made her life hellish.
Pulling Princes and The Calypso Chronicles were an instant international hit and republished a number of times by Bloomsbury USA and Piccadilly UK and I was crowned; “A naughty Enid Blyton for our times!” by the Telegraph. The Mayfair Times more kindly declaring, Pulling Princes “A Right Royal Read”
In 2005 my health declined and I sought escape in researching the history of my home of Mayfair and St James’s using the British Archives, ancient manuscripts dating back to the 9th Century from the Cotton Library (the origin of the British Library) and reading the works of Margaret Cavendish, Aphra Behn, Pepys, Evelyn, Ben Johnson and other writers and diarists of the 15th, 16th and 17th Century.
My research uncovered an intriguing narrative of a coterie of proto-feminist Eccentric women, many of them Roman Catholic – which was a revolutionary and bold stance as Catholicism in Britain was associated with extravagance, decadence and debauchery – qualities eschewed by mainstream Britain.
In The Restoration of the 1660’s, persecuted Catholics along with other eccentrics, found acceptance in King Charels II’s reign of tolerance. These women and forward-thinking gentlemen – including King Charles II himself – created, not just the area of Mayfair and St James’s, but defined the very essence of what it means to be British; from tea to Empire and our link to country pursuits, tradition, our stiff-upper-lips, tolerance, love of dancing and dinner parties, and our sartorial excellence and eccentricity.
My absorbing research into this extraordinary English village of eccentrics soon became my life’s work.
Delving into the history of this area, which has become the international home of Eccentrics and intellectual and sartorial misfits in all forms including spies, Royals, Aristocratic Roman Catholics, Authors, sartorial-excellence, art, artisans, fine-tailoring and club-land was and is endlessly fascinating.
It was in 1995, in a feature for Vogue, ostensibly to promote my book, Sex Lies and Litigation which first exposed my life as a Catholic Mother living with and bringing up my three children with their two fathers; my ex-husband S.P. Santospirito and Eric Hewitson that captured the attention of the world’s media.
What had seemed to us three, a thoroughly sensible and fun way of staying together for the sake of the children, garnered the attention of magazines, newspapers, television, documentarians, Hollywood producers and studios all saw in our triumvirate – our three-parent family – a sit-com, a movie… a scandal.
To the horror of my children’s Catholic boarding schools and our respectable in-laws, my book promotion turned into a series of articles, television appearances and a parade of Hollywood producers (who had been faxed the story from someone at British Vogue before publication) all focused on my lifestyle rather than my book. In the process our three parent family, was formally branded, “My Two Husbands”.
Cassandra Jardine, writing a feature in The Telegraph described me as, “A later day Elinor Glyn” in reference both to my writing and my eccentric decision to bring up my three children in a parenting triumvirate with their Two Fathers.
Despite intense press speculation, our family was far from the saucy menage-a-trois they desired and rather a Triumphant Triumvirate of Parenting; a modern twist on The Traditional Catholic Family and a simple case of keeping our family together. My first husband was a brilliant father and it seemed madness to me to throw a perfectly fine father out with the marriage.
In hindsight I can see that my eccentric lifestyle was born of my exceptionally conservative albeit peculiar upbringing.
As the youngest daughter of a retired British Spy and an anthropologist, I had attended high-school in the elite Embassy Enclave of Canberra in the 1970’s where I was educated by Nonegenarian Flemish Sacre Coeur nuns aged 90 – 104 at the time. These magnificent women had given aid in the Boar War, the Spanish Civil War and cared for the vulnerable in both World Wars, harbouring Jewish children in Flanders during World War II.
I was privileged to be educated in their extraordinary world, for my nuns were utterly splendid Feminist women; diminutive in their Victorian habits, they cultivated a mixture of Victorian Stoicism with larky-mischief; each nun armed with an umbrella taller than herself, they held all men with suspicion and honoured culture, independent-thought, an investigative mind and freedom of conscience as the apotheosis of goodness.
I remain inspired by memories of them dashing across frosty lacrosse fields in their ancient black wooly habits or marching us up and down the sweeping outdoor staircase in the rain with piles of plastic wrapped books elegantly balanced on our heads, are hands stoically clasped demurely at the front, as we walked up and down the stairs – the rain pouring down upon us.
My unusual Victorian upbringing was considered by some as a glorified finishing school but looking back I feel privileged to have attended a school that left me accomplished in Le Cordon Blue, Semaphore, Croquet, Latin, Flower Arrangement, Diamond Valuation, Archery, Deportment, Millinery, Elocution, Embassy Dinner Seating, Silver Service, Fine-Tailoring & Textile Design and Needle-Point.
At 17, I returned home to Mayfair, with an 18ct Diamond Encrusted safety pin in my ear, armed to the teeth with handmade ballgowns and boxes of millinery concoctions, fully prepared for a world that hadn’t existed for several decades.
For the first few years I put my diploma in Gemology to use, dealing in diamonds and other gemstones, as I travelled across India, Tibet and South East Asia. I also sold exotic fabric and my own handmade jewellery to Liberty on Regent Street. I kept hens on my Mayfair rooftop and swanned about in ball-gowns around the world. Attired in long gloves and kid-leather bespoke shoes, I wafted across Europe, Eastern Turkey, Iraq, and the Far East, living for a time in the South of France and a few years in Cairo where I taught sheiks how to play baccarat.
By 22 I had married a trainee Italian doctor & given birth to 2 sons. By 28 I’d divorced my first husband, married an artist & given birth to my daughter Cordelia in a Victorian bathtub (quite by accident). As a Catholic with impeccable etiquette, I was too well-mannered to ask my first husband to leave and so it was our parenting triumvirate took shape.
My career as an author, which had been predicted when I was 9 by Sister Athenasia who assured me I had the soul of a poet. And though I wrote and had poems, essays and articles published it was not until 1995 that my career as a published author took shape over G&T’s in THE THREE GREYHOUNDS in Soho with Geraldine Cooke – who headed up Headline Review. I was launched as “Mistress of The Unzipped One-Liner” with my first Contemporary Women’s fiction; SEX LIES & LITIGATION which was pub 1996 as part of a 5 book deal. Though more literary than other Headline imprints I was part of the 90′s vanguard of London Chick Lit with a literary twist. My first three books were set in the arcane world of London’s Inns of Court fulfilling my father’s desire for me to be a barrister.
Over the next eight years I wrote a book a year, all published in the women’s contemporary fiction genre. In 2003 Red Dress Ink published, Sex With the Ex, a book set in the Mayfair and St James’s world of London’s exclusive Private Member’s Clubs described by USA Today as; “A Clever chick-lit look at the highlife Brit style” USA TODAY
In 2004, inspired by my 3 children’s antics at boarding school, I penned my bestselling YA Series, PULLING PRINCES pub Bloomsbury USA, Piccadilly UK. The series were set in the exclusive world of English Public Schools; Eton College & St Mary’s Ascot, the books giving a deliciously naughty insider’s peek into the closed world of aristocratic & royal teens. “Outrageously funny and a serious contender for the teen chick-lit throne.” – Claudia Mody, THE BOOKSELLER
“It is sure to have fans of the previous novels rolling on the floor laughing their royal crowns off.” SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, USA
Mayfair has not only been my home for most of my life but it is where I birthed thirteen books and brought up my two husbands and three children. As a Catholic and a woman, Mayfair holds a special place in my heart, from its beginnings in 1660 as a retail residential & Cultural Oasis designed by the worlds first female architect Lady Elizabeth Wilbraham.
Mayfair was the birthplace of Feminism and thanks to a confluence of events in The Restoration, including the Mayfair Salons of Margaret Cavendish, The Duchess of Newcastle, it was the birthplace of the British Enlightenment, English Afternoon Tea Parties & the crucible for the British Eccentric as a national identity.
After years of serious illness I was finally diagnosed with a brain tumour in the hypothalamus and pituitary in January 2014 for which I’ve undergone extensive treatment, retreating to my bed-salon in the manner of a sickly consumptive female meme beloved of French literature.
After extensive investigation and treatment of my brain tumour I was once again able to write and focused on compiling a thorough history of Mayfair as the birthplace of the British Eccentric.
Initially I started www.MayfairEccentrics.com a directory site for all things Mayfair & St James’s but it was the research and writing of its history and affinity with Royals, spies, spaniels, Catholics, authors, artists, dandies and dandizettes and most relevantly the anecdotal tales of the Eccentric Residents from Mad Madge the Duchess of Newcastle and Aphra Behn in the 1660s through to Byron, Winston Churchill, Nancy Mitford and our present reigning monarch that ignited my inspiration for the book Mayfair Eccentrics… and for life.
The book is now complete, but handing over the pages of Mayfair Eccentrics is like relinquishing the life-raft which was my salvation as the rest of my life sank.
PULLING PRINCES – A ROYAL CHRISTMAS was published 25 Dec 2014.
PULLING PRINCES – A ROYAL CHRISTMAS part II 25 Dec 2015
British Author of 13 Internationally bestselling books, I also run the Mayfair directory site, www.MayfairEccentrics.com – A one-stop guide to all things Mayfair past & present.
My fiction has earned me the title of “A naughty Enid Blyton for our times.” The Telegraph declared me, “A latter day Elinor Glyn” in reference to bringing up my 3 children & 2 husbands in our single Mayfair household. Despite intense press speculation, there was no ménage à trois – I was keeping my family together with a modern twist on staying together for the sake of the children.
My career as an author started over G&T’s in THE THREE GREYHOUNDS, Soho with Geraldine Cooke of Headline Review. SEX LIES & LITIGATION was pub 1996 part of a 5 book deal in the 90′s vanguard of London Chick Lit.
In 2004 inspired by my 3 children’s antics at boarding school, I began my bestselling YA Series PULLING PRINCES pub Bloomsbury USA. Set in a fictional Eton & St Mary’s Ascot the books give a deliciously naughty insider’s peek into the closed world of aristocratic & royal teens.
As the daughter of a retired British Spy, I attended high-school in the elite Embassy enclave of Canberra in the 1970’s where I was educated by Flemish Sacre Coeur nuns aged 89-104.
My unusual Victorian upbringing ensured I left school accomplished in Le Cordon Blue, Croquet, Latin, Needlepoint, Flower Arrangement, Diamond Valuation, Deportment, Millinery, Embassy Dinner Seating & Semaphore.
I returned to Mayfair, a safety pin in my ear, fully prepared for a world that hadn’t existed for decades. I dealt in diamonds, made & sold hats, kept hens & taught sheikhs how to play various casino games. By 22 I’d married & given birth to 2 sons. By 28 I’d divorced, married an artist & given birth to Cordelia. I was too well-mannered to ask my first husband to leave.
Now a proud Granny, I’m collaborating with my daughter on a book based on our own relationship.
PULLING PRINCES – A ROYAL CHRISTMAS was published 25 Dec 2014
Having spent most of her life in London’s Mayfair & St James’s where she has brought up two husbands and three children, the area features heavily in her writings and acts as a backdrop to many of her books.
As well as her career as an author, Tyne runs Mayfair Eccentrics, an online insiders guide to the area’s past and present for residents, businesses and visitors.
After Tyne wrote a feature in British Vogue in 96 about her unusual family (republished in Gloria Steinem’s Ms Magazine USA), The British Press focused on Tyne’s Mayfair lifestyle living with two husbands and sending her three children to exclusive English boarding schools.
THE TELEGRAPH UK described Tyne as, “A latter day Elinor Glyn.”
SUNDAY INDEPENDENT IRELAND, declared Tyne’s lifestyle raising her three children with two husbands as; “an art installation”.
Tyne has also written a bestselling British Boarding School series, The Calypso Chronicles / Pulling Princes, based on her three children’s experiences at boarding school and published by Bloomsbury from 2004 – present. The books have been described as modern classics with reviewers drawing comparisons to an up to date version of Angela Brazil’s boarding school books of the early 1900’s.
Set in a fictional Eton College where Princes William and Harry attended & the nearby St Mary’s Ascot school attended by Princess Caroline of Monaco and which Tyne’s daughter Cordelia was boarding at the time the books were written, The Pulling Princes series provides a, “deliciously naughty insider’s guide to the midnight feasts, incredibly close friendships & romances of entitled toffs, British aristocratic & royal teenagers.”
Tyne has been a motivational speaker in London for various women’s groups and organisations, including WWW.WHEREWOMENWORK.COM & WWW.AURORAVOICE.COM Using her own experience, combined with humour and the lateral thinking techniques she has picked up from her longtime friend and travelling companion EDWARD DE BONO
How to Get Your Children into Oxbridge,
Why Single Sex Boarding School is Best For Your Child:
She has also spoken at Luxury goods promotional events about.
‘Juggling men and other ball games’,
‘How To Graciously Accept Compliments’;
‘How To Be The Girl In The Room Every Man Is Focussed On’ and
‘Why Feminists Expect Gentlemen To Open Doors And Give Up Their Seats.’
‘Educating Children While Travelling the World.’
‘Philanthropy and Travel.’
‘Unconventional Families (based on her own eccentric lifestyle: bringing up her three children in the same household as her husband and ex-husband).
‘Making Your Marriage Work Even In Divorce.’
‘The Importance of Education & Bringing Books To Children Internationally.’
Tyne O’Connell has been an active philanthropist throughout her life. Her focus on educating children, specifically girls, by ensuring books get into the hands of all children including those living in remote impoverished areas around the world or in war zones.
Tyne also works towards raising awareness of conflict diamonds.
In conjunction with helping to raise financial aid and awareness, she has donated her own books (translated into local languages) to remote communities around the world.
She has also contributed stories to the bestselling series of books, Girls Night Out, Kids Night In (pub by Harper Collins) to raise money for children living in conflict zones of the world WarChild.
TYNE O’CONNELL’S WORK WITH THE FLOATING LIBRARY
During her Gap Year for grown ups after all her children had left boarding school, Tyne O’Connell travelled up and down the Mekong in Laos with Mrs Souliyasak and Community Learning International. This organisation ensures books reach the children in the remotest areas of Laos through the floating library.
The books are handed over to villages in large fabric book bags with twenty-six pockets full of text books for various age groups in English, Laos and French.
Each village receives a bag and each four to six weeks the boat library exchanges the books.US$500 buys a boat trip while a bag containing hundreds of books costs $200. Donating to the community learning project is possible via www.
TYNE O’CONNELL’S WORK WITH WARCHILD
In the past ten years O’Connell has also worked with War Child a charity which provides support and food to children living with war including organising the glamorous fundraising Celebrity Halloween Ball for War Child in 2003 at Claridges Hotel Mayfair.
O’Connell has also contributed short stories to the bestselling Girls Night In, Big Night Out and Kids Night In, series of books, which have raised millions for children living with war.
TYNE O’CONNELL’S CAMPAIGN AGAINST CONFLICT DIAMONDS
Tyne O’Connell has been actively campaigning against conflict diamonds since 1983 when as a student of Gemology she became aware of the cost of mining on indigenous peoples and the trade in blood diamonds.
O’Connell has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the trade and written and spoken in the media to campaign for the Kimberly Process Certification. She has travelled extensively to diamond mines around the world and actively sought to create global awareness and legislation to stop the trade.
Previous to 2000 De Beers were buying diamonds from guerilla movements and conflict areas, thereby making every man directly financing civil war. No girl who loves diamonds wants to be complicit in the suffering of others.
Through the establishment of the Kimberly Process Certification scheme and De Beers own “Diamond Best Practice Scheme”, the diamond industry has largely restored its good name. Or has it?
Tyne has written: “Knowing how the diamond trade works, I am aware that with the best will in the world it is inevitable that conflict diamonds are easily washed with Kimberly Process Certified diamonds in the market place. It is unavoidable.
A diamond mined in a conflict zone can easily be transported across borders and sold as a diamond mined in a conflict free zone thereby securing Kimberly Process Certification. Then there is the issue of diamonds associated with the displacement of indigenous people.”
A great deal remains to be done in the area of eliminating the trade in conflict diamonds. The recent atrocity in the quest for diamonds has been the displacement of the Kalahari bushmen. The global recession gave them a short reprieve but the mining is back on track now as the demand for diamonds grows.
The UN states that mining should not happen on indigenous peoples land without their prior knowledge and consent. www.survivalinternational. This consent has not been given, putting De Beers at odds with diamond consumers who support Indigenous people’s rights to their traditional land. We must look elsewhere for our diamonds.”
In 2010 O’Connell travelled to the Argyle Mine in N.E. Western Australia where all the world’s gem quality pink diamonds are found.
Rio Tinto leased the land from the indigenous people. This only resulted through energetic campaigning. In 2005 RioTinto signed the landmark Indigenous Agreement to deliver long-term economic benefits to Aboriginal communities in the East Kimberley, while protecting Aboriginal cultural and environmental interests throughout the life of the mine.
This agreement is unique to this specific area in the Northern Territory of Australia and Tyne is now campaigning to ensure Rio Tinto and other mining companies afford the same agreement to the traditional landowners of mines around the world, safeguarding the interests of local communities and the environment.
So far pink diamonds – or diamonds from the Argyle mine remain the only guaranteed source of conflict free diamonds in the world.
So while you should always request the Kimberly Process Certification, the only real certain way to avoid diamonds are blood free and environmentally mined remain Argyle mine-sourced diamonds from the Northern Territory.
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As the daughter of a retired British Spy, Clementyne Rose grew up in the elite Embassy enclave of Canberra in the 1970′s educated by Flemish nuns of the Sacre Coeur order with the expectation that she would marry a diplomat or world leader. Her nuns, born in the 1870’s to 1890’s had protected & educated women & children through numerous wars & deprivations in Europe – more recently shielding Jewish children from Nazis. They instilled in the girls a view of men as opportunistic week willed charmers. chancres looking to ride their way to success on the skirts of women.
While women were the stronger sex, responsible for men and children who were historically complicit in letting these loveable rogues get away with taking the credit for women’s achievements.
History was a lesson in Great Men Or Rather The Women Close To: Socrates, Homer, Thackery and Einstein. Sex education involved a blackboard with a stick drawing of a boy surrounded by “a sphere of need.” Girls were instructed to avoid entering a boy’s sphere of need at all costs as they lacked either the judgement or strength of character to control their actions.
O’Connell’s unusual Victorian upbringing ensured by 17, Tyne was accomplished in Le Cordon Blue, Croquet, Literature, Latin, Needlepoint, Flower Arrangement, Semaphore, Diamond Valuation, Deportment, Millinery & Embassy Dinner Seating. Tyne returned to London armed with gloves, hats, a smart tweed with impeccable deportment and elocution and a passion for bespoke tailoring – in other words, prepared for a world that hadn’t existed for decades and settled in Mayfair.
Mayfair and St James’s has been home to Royals, authors, eccentrics, spies, aristocratic Roman Catholics, dandies, dandizettes, artisans and independent women since the Restoration. Home to the notorious salons of the aristocratic Bluestockings, a group of scholarly women authors and thinkers, the village of Mayfair & St James’s has singularly retained the historic traditions of a London now only read about in books. One can still imagine Handel strolling down Brook St, Oscar Wilde or Evelyn Waugh at prayer in Our Lady of the Assumption on Mount Street or Nancy Mitford selling books on Curzon St or Oscar Wilde sipping champagne from a duchesses slipper at the Ritz on Piccadilly.
Tyne runs www.MayfairEccentrics.com, an online insiders guide to the area’s past and present for residents, businesses and visitors and writes for www.dandizettes.com a site for female dandies. By 23 O’Connell had two sons and continued living with her husbands after their divorce. When she married her second husband in 1988 he moved into the family home and three years later Tyne gave birth to her daughter Cordelia.
After writing a feature in British Vogue in 96, Married To Two Husbands, republished in Ms Magazine USA, The British Press focused on Tyne’s Mayfair lifestyle living with two husbands and sending her three children to exclusive English boarding schools. The press were more shocked that their three parent family was not a manage a trios but rather a traditional Catholic family with a twist.
The family lived in a fourth floor walk up on Mayfair,’s Mount Street Mayfair above Purdey’s Gun Room and Louboutin opposite, Mount Street Gardens and the Jesuit Church of The Assumption where as Oscar Wilde they attend the Sung Latin Mass.
After an appearance on the Gay Byrne’s Late Late Show in Dublin, THE SUNDAY INDEPENDENT IRELAND were shocked that Tyne’s three parent family was not a manage a trios and declared her lifestyle a living “art installation” – a family styled Gilbert & George.
Articles about Tyne’s Mayfair Life have appeared in VOGUE UK, MAYFAIR TIMES, Gloria Steinem’s Ms. Magazine USA, UK Elle and been widely covered by UK print & broadcast media. THE TELEGRAPH UK described Tyne as, “A latter day Elinor Glyn” SUNDAY INDEPENDENT IRELAND, declared Tyne’s lifestyle raising her three children with two husbands as; “an art installation”. All Tyne’s children have left home, her youngest son and daughter both graduated from Oxford and her two sons are married. In 2012 Tyne became a granny. She is currently co-writing a book with her daughter and working on the sequel to the Pulling Princes series and a history of Mayfair & St James’s eccentrics. All her books are available as e-books on Amazon and other ebook outlets.
CONTEMPORARY WOMEN’S FICTION
Tyne O’Connell was in the 1990’s vanguard of British Chick Lit Authors. Her books stood out by offering a unique peep through the key hole of the lives of British Eccentrics, aristocracy and the private members clubs of London. The exclusive London enclaves of Mayfair and St James’s usually act as the backdrop to her characters stories, all of which are spiked with sharp wit & lashings of naughty mischief.
Initially published by Hodder Headline, her first five books have now been released in e-format. Cassandra Jardine (The Telegraph 9 Dec 1996) likened Tyne O’Connell’s writings and lifestyle to that of, “A later day Elinor Glyn” The Guardian described her writing style as “Bridget Jones on speed.” SUNDAY INDEPENDENT IRELAND suggested Tyne O’Connell’s lifestyle was an art installation in the style of Gilbert & George.
Sex Lies & Litigation was published in 1996 by Hodder Headline Review, foreign rights were sold in over thirteen languages and it shot up the best seller lists. Set in the secluded world of London’s Inns of Court – the heroine, Evelyn is a fledging criminal barrister, fighting off a string of “bad lipstick days” and “anti-girlfriends” as she defended her clients and attempted to keep her wig on straight through strings of extraordinary incidents. Two more books set in London’s Inns of Court followed. Making the A-List, Headline was first published in 1999 and recently released in e-book is set in the London Art World during the height of Brit Art; the action dashing from Notting Hill to Mayfair to Shoreditch.
TYNE O’CONNELL TEEN & YA FICTION
In 2003 O’Connell moved into the Teen Fiction Genre. Inspired by her three childrens adventures at boarding school. Pulling Princes, the first of four in the internationally bestselling YA series titled The Calypso Chronicles was published by BloomsburyUSA 2004 – 2012. The books are set in the exclusive all girls Catholic boarding school St Augustines – loosely based on her daughter Cordelia’s boarding school,St Mary’s Ascot and a fictional take on nearby Eton College (Eades). All four books in the series were inspired by O’Connell’s three children and their friend’s first hand boarding school adventures. Although entirely fictional, the series offers a unique peek inside the extraordinarily privileged world of Posh British Teens. Full of illicit dorm feasts by torchlight, scaling the walls of Eton and midnight dashes from Royal Berkshire to the night clubs in Mayfair & Chelsea. The books are teen toffs at their naughtiest best. If you want to know what the sons and daughters of the world’s Royals and ridiculously rich get up to at boarding school, look no further!
PULLING PRINCES LAUNCH PARTY
The launch party for Pulling Princes was hosted in Mayfair by Park Lane’s Met Bar at the Metropolitan Hotel. The event was attended by, Viscount William Astor and his sister Lady Flora Astor and the Hon. Skye McAlpine as well as celebrities such as Holly Willoughby and Sarah Cawood and covered by OK Magazine (June 29th 2004) ‘A Right Royal Read,” THE MAYFAIR TIMES“Budding Anglophiles ….will soak up the flood of upper-class British culture in this book” – WASHINGTON COUNTY COOPERATIVE LIBRARY SERVICES “Outrageously funny and a serious contender for the teen chick-lit throne.” – Claudia Mody, THE BOOKSELLER For more on Tyne’s YA books go to www.calypsochronicles.com
TYNE ON SCREEN
In 2005, O’Connell starred with Adrian Dunbar & Alan Corduner in Against Nature directed by Antony Zaki. The film was based on the book A Rebours by Huysmans which is widely believed to be the infamous “poisonous French novel” that leads to the downfall of Dorian Gray in Oscar Wilde’s, book The Picture of Dorian Gray. The film was shot in the opulent Private Member’s Club, Home House London and premiered at BAFTA on Piccadilly.
COLLABORATIONS & CONTRIBUTIONS
Tyne has contributed stories to the Girl’s Night In & Kid’s Night In series to raise money for War Child and NO STRINGS. She is also a contributor to the HolidayGoddess series www.holidaygoddess.com In December 2014 one of Tyne O’Connell’s short stories will feature in Penguin Australia’s Bumper 10 Year Anniversary Edition
TYNE O’CONNELL’S BACKGROUND
Descended from William Smith O’Brien and Daniel O’Connell, Tyne (from Clementyne) was educated in the exclusive embassy enclave of Canberra by eccentric Dutch Sacre Coeur nuns most of whom were born in the 1870’s. In the 1970′s her school alone in enforcing hats, gloves, stockings (with suspenders) and wool box pleated tunics 4 inches below the knee. The books in the school library had all pages thought to be of danger to a young girl’s gentle mind stapled firmly together. Since then Clementyne has sought a life less stapled, but she is proudly states that stapled books aside her nuns were inspirational in shaping her life.
“I consider myself extremely privileged to have had my life shaped by these redoubtable women. Nothing fazed my nuns who had protected women and children from men throughout numerous wars including shielding Jewish children from Nazis in World War II. Christian Dior and Audrey Hepburn were among the pupils such myself fortunate enough to have have benefited the tutelage of Sisters Veronica and Bernard. My mother, born in 1923 often remarked “You’re schooling is more Victorian than mine.” It is to these nuns I owe my appreciation of and the skills involved in the artistry of bespoke. They ensured we all matriculated as accomplished seamstresses, skiers, Le Cordon Blue chefs. Skilled at Croquet, fencing, flower arrangement, semaphore, deportment, elocution, diamond valuation, millenary, cordwaining – each of these skills were afforded the same respect and meticulous attention to detail as literature and Latin though the main accomplishment of our education was the intracasies of Embassy dinner seating and how deal with awkward guests and bores.
By 17, I may not have kissed a boy but I had hand-stitched my entire trousseau consisting of but not limited to; embroidered bedding, bridal gown, shoes, a gentleman’s three piece suit, several hats, a cashmere overcoat, nightwear and several items of hand stitched leather luggage. Later in life, I’ve been mocked for my antediluvian upbringing but I actually feel proud that I am out of step with the “throw-away” generation I was born into.
I feel remarkably fortunate that my education afforded me an appreciation and respect for the skill and artistry and the raw materials required to produce handcrafted goods. I continued to hand make my own shoes and clothes until my career as an author made it impossible. But I still repair my daughters ball gowns, my mother’s old minks and taught my sons and daughters to do the same.”
TYNE O’CONNELL BOOK REVIEWS
“A RIGHT ROYAL READ!” Mayfair Times, July/Aug 2004
“Mayfair Author, Tyne O’Connell’s first teen novel is about an American girl who is packed off to an English boarding school and after a struggle for acceptance by the toffs finally “pulls” the fictional heir to the British Throne. Back in the real world Pulling Princes has been auctioned for a six-figure sum across the Atlantic, and Ms O’Connell knows why. “It’s about royalty so that’s the attraction. People say who is your PR? And I say “Wills and Harry.” She added. “A lot of titled friends have read it and totally related to it. It’s sort of like Mallory Towers with vodka, mobile phones and brothers in boy bands.” At her flat in Mount Street she has been pounding out the story on her laptop for another half dozen books, chronicling the adventures of the American heroine, Calypso, in the world of the “madly rich”. Ms O’Connell’s Teenage daughter, Cordelia, or “teen chick lit muse”, is at boarding school, so the author is confident of the book’s authenticity on such events as “pulling” – the teen term for kissing. “Cordelia often has sleepovers because lots of her friends live in the countryside and they like to go shopping on Bond Street. So I do have raw material coming through the flat!”
“O’Connell’s debut is a delightful, lighthearted romp around Hollywood and the world of reality television.” — BOOKLIST USA on The Sex Was Great But. . .
“Outrageously funny and a serious contender for the teen chick-lit throne.” — THE BOOKSELLER on Pulling Princes.
“Bridget Jones on speed. She’s funnier, sharper, and there’s no way she’s going to end up with anyone called Darcy” THE GUARDIAN
“Lightening Fast Comic twists” ELLE UK
“A Clever chick-lit look at the highlife Brit style” Dec 01 2005 USA TODAY about Sex With The Ex
“A wickedly funny, bitchy, romp set at the heart of the trendy London art scene.” PUBLISHING NEWS on Making The A List
“Funny exposé of It-girlschool life.” ELLE GIRL UK
“Bridget Jones for the early teen set.”- WASHINGTON POST USA
‘A spirited page-turner that is high on humour’ – COMPANY Magazine UK
‘Crucial Reading’ – COSMOPOLITAN UK
“Wickedly Funny” PUBLISHING NEWS
‘Give this to fans of Princess Mia and Georgia Nicholson as well as to readers of O’Connell’s previous Pulling Princes (2004).’ BOOKLIST, USA
‘It is sure to have fans of the previous novels rolling on the floor laughing their royal crowns off.’ SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, USA
‘Brings to mind Kathy Lette and Jilly Cooper’ MAIL ON SUNDAY
“… the impossibly glamourous O’Connell!” ELLE UK
“Excellent characterisation. Bravo!” Justine Ettler Who Weekly 8 Sept 1997 School Librarian, June 22, 2011 http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-259379711.html#
Q & A WITH TYNE O’CONNELL
1) How do you come up with the inspiration for your books?
The basis of drama is secrets, not necessarily nefarious secrets, just secrets. My first two books are set in London’s Inns of Court; the secret world of barristers. Walking behind the walled secret gardens of the Inns of Court is like entering a secret society in another century. The barristers running around in their wigs, gowns and ribboned collars clutching their pink ribboned briefs seem so out of step with the bustling of the streets outside. My next book was set in Hollywood in LA, again a world so far removed from most people’s reality that they can’t read enough of it in the tell all magazines that fly off the shelves in alarming numbers. In my teenage series I explored the world of the English Catholic all girl’s boarding school where England and Europe’s oldest and grandest Catholic families send their daughters to be educated in much the same way as they have been for centuries. I am fascinated by the sweetly naive nuns wandering about hand in hand while girls chat on cell phones, listen to ipods, post You Tube clips and generally push out the envelope like teens everywhere. Even Mayfair and St James’s in London where I have spent most of my life are a secret world within a world full of private member’s clubs and secret societies. The average tourist would have no idea about the worlds that exist behind the doors and private garden walls of Mayfair & St James. I would love to write that book.
2) Do You Draw on your own life?
Not directly. Making the A-List was written at a time when we were living in Shoreditch, the centre of London’s art scene in the mid-late nineties and my husband and ex-husband ran an art consultancy business putting us very much at the centre of the action. It made sense to write about the world I was living in. Also lots of my girlfriends were single at the time, it was the whole Bridget Jones era and there I was with two husbands – well one was an ex, but you get the idea. I found it interesting exploring the secrets of the contemporary art world. It was an intriguing time and led to many lifelong friendships. Writing about single life made me feel more part of the group of friends around me. A little bit of me and everyone I know is in that book. It is so much of its time.
3) How Do You Create your characters?
I start with a tiny aspect of myself or someone I have known well enough to make a study of them. I then think, “what if this happened” and from then on my imagination takes over. I use my friends and family as sounding boards for ideas and propose situations to them to see what other people might do in similar situations. In this way my characters take on a life of their own and in doing so they take over my life. While moving them around the chess board of my story, it is inevitable that my characters become real people to me. A writers life is incredibly solitary but inside a writer’s head it is always a very crowded house.
4) Who would you most like to sit down to dinner with?
I admire women who combine determination, practical sensibility with feminine charm, a romantic spirit and wit. I’d invite Nancy Mitford for her fine skills on the ukulele, and I wouldn’t mind if she brought Evelyn Waugh along with her to sing along. And I’d invite Hypatia the ancient Greek scholar for her wisdom and Gertrude Bell – to whom I would refer to as “Queen of The Desert” all night long as it has such a ring to it. I have always been fascinated by Gertrude; a Nineteenth Century explorer and nation shaper and one of the few representatives of His Majesties government remembered by the Arabs with anything resembling affection. A party wouldn’t be a party without Eleanor of Aquitaine. I long to ask her about her medieval Court of Love. When King Henry II went off to war she remained in Poitiers holding what became known amongst scholars as the Court of Love. Eleanor and her daughter Marie de Champagne taught matters of chivalry and courtly love to a rapt audience of troubadours. Bring back “the Court of Love” I say. Bring back chivalry. I’d also invite the adorable Blessed Teresa of Calcutta so I might ask how she went so long without sleep in her pursuit of rescuing the poor and unloved. At times I toy with the idea of inviting my good friend Edward de Bono but he’d only spend the evening making blonde jokes so I think my ideal night would be a girl’s night in.