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Geri Halliwell-Horner is adding some spice to our reading lists this year, but instead of publishing a musician memoir, she’s taken over the young adult sphere.
But you don’t need to be a young adult to pick up the book. In fact, the former Spice Girl wrote it with the intention that anyone could buy the book titled Rosie Frost & the Falcon Queen.
“I think the best books are for anyone,” she says in a new interview with Billboard. “You can be from [10-years-old] on upwards, but I would say that time is quite formative years of really working stuff out and we’re defining ourselves, we’re growing.”
The book follows 13-year-old Rosie, who suddenly becomes an orphan and is sent to a mysterious school for gifted teens. It’s there she must face bullies, a chilling deputy headmaster, and unraveling the mystery of who/or what killed her mother. All this on top of getting good grades and making friends — as if being a teen weren’t hard enough.
“The world needs a new hero, an ordinary hero that finds a power they never knew they had,” she says, and hopes that her character, Rosie, can do just that.
As an added bonus, anyone who orders the book will be able to scan a QR code, which features two original songs written and sung by the pop star titled “Ghost in My House” and “Beautiful Life.”
In an inspiring conversation with Billboard, Halliwell-Horner breaks down her writing process, what led her to become an author, partnering with the Barbara Bush Foundation, her favorite Halloween costumes and how it feels seeing people dress up as her decades later.
How did you get the idea to add music into your book?
I love things that are really interactive and immersive, and then I got the idea because I’ve got a younger son and he has children’s books that are obviously for much younger [ages]. They put in nursery rhymes. and I thought, well, why can’t you do that, but for older people? And then it feels like our club that we can all join into — that was the point.
The interactive element is so unique and really helps connect you to the story more.
Yeah, that’s what I feel. You just help that narrative and the first song, “Ghost in the House,” is when she gets locked in the Falcon Queen Gallery by Ottilie, and Ottilie is just such a — we can’t say the word — and it’s horrible. It’s 3 a.m. and she’s really scared, and this gallery is full of paintings of amazing women from history, from Queen Elizabeth I to Charlotte Brontë, Amelia Earhart … Frida Kahlo — all sorts of amazing women — but it’s 3 a.m., she’s locked in there and she comes face-to-face with the ghost of Anne Boleyn, who becomes her mentor.
How is the the songwriting process different from writing a book?
Totally different. I really like writing a song. I mean, I’m no Mariah Carey, but I like writing songs in the sense that I feel very happy and comfortable in the writing process. I feel that that’s my strongest contribution to music, is the writing process. But I would say comparing songwriting to book writing, songwriting is a bit more like an espresso coffee. Like, boom, off you go — you got three minutes to do it. Whereas a book is a whole meal. It’s a seven-course meal of taking you on a journey and holding your attention to keep you page-turning. So you’re invested. Why do you want to turn that page? Why do you want to do this? There’s an important feeling there, connection with that character, and hopefully I’m feeding you as a reader. I’m hoping that you go, “I want to know what happened to Rosie,” but I also want you, the reader, to find your own power through her.
Do you have any tools or things that help motivate you to write?
Yeah, totally. First of all, the phone’s got to be outside the room. Just creative killer. And then I read Stephen King’s book about writing, and this was further down the line. Go in a dark room, no distractions, with limited stimulants [and] visual stimulants as possible, so you’re in the zone.
You also partnered with the Barbara Bush Foundation. How did that come about?
It’s really instinctive. A lot of my decisions in life are instinctive. Reading has given me so much, you know, America has given me so much because all your American television, those movies that inspired me. The Barbara Bush Foundation I just heard about and I thought, “This is amazing.” You know, the power of reading changes your life.
What I love about it is, first of all, it’s partisan. It’s not about politics; it’s about people. And Barbara Bush, she’s a Falcon Queen. She used her platform wisely and well; she didn’t squander the moment. And she uplifted others. She said, start with the parents or the caregivers or the guardians, and if they’re reading, then the children read. It’s helping across multi-generations, and I just thought that’s such a lovely thing — and it’s Warren Buffett that inspired me. He was always sharing his money, sharing his profits. So I thought, you know what? I think it’s really healthy to do the same.
When did you know you wanted to be an author?
I studied English literature before music because I was doing theater. … D. H. Lawrence, Hamlet and I really loved it, and I was getting good marks for my essays. But then I went into music. But again, it was a natural part for me. I like the writing bit, but then I was [songwriting], so I always felt like a writer. You know, throughout my music career, I worked on the movie [Spice World], on the scripts. I always liked that sort of conceptual part of it — creating.
Now that Halloween is coming do you have a favorite costume? And how does it feel seeing people still dressing up as Ginger Spice?
It’s very flattering to see anyone dressed up as me. I love dressing up myself. So my favorite one you can see on my Instagram … and I actually think I won Halloween the year that I did it — I did the guy from Peaky Blinders.
Have you thought about who or what you’re going to be this year?
It involves — it’s quite a good character from an animation. Yeah, I’m not going to spoil it.
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