Character Interview with Ella Sinclair by Patricia Leavy – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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Character Interview with Ella Sinclair

Interviewer: You are rumored to be a longtime friend of iconic filmmaker Jean Mercier. How did you two meet?

Ella: It was in London. My first book of essays, titled: My Boyfriend or My Vibrator? Woman’s New Existential Crisis had just come out and I was doing a book reading and signing at a local shop. He showed up with a friend who I think had dragged him there. At the end of the reading, a line quickly formed and he’s not a patient man. So, what does he do? He walks right to the front of the line, says “Pardon me” to a woman waiting to get her book signed, and introduces himself to me. He said, “I’m Jean Mercier, the filmmaker.” I guess he thought I’d be impressed. I looked at him flatly and said, “Congratulations. Now that you’ve cut in front of everyone in line, are you even going to buy the book?” I think I shocked the hell out of him. But he did buy the book and surprisingly, he also found the patience to hang around until I was done with the signing. He and his friend invited me to join them for dinner at The Ivy. Naturally, I said yes. I was in my twenties and flat broke, and it was a free meal, with an acclaimed filmmaker no less. We got on smashingly. That was the start of a decade-long friendship that I do believe will last a lifetime.

Interviewer: He has a reputation for how he treats women in his personal life. What do you think about that side of the legendary filmmaker?

Ella: People want simple answers, but life is complex. Jean’s created some of the greatest, most interesting, sensitive, and provocative roles for women in the history of cinema. There’s a reason so many actresses are dying to work with him. And yet, he can be quite a piece of shit to women in his own life. Tell me, which is better: the male director who never casts women or does so only in clichéd, trivial ways but may be a hell of a good guy in private, or the man who creates professional opportunities for women that wouldn’t otherwise exist and gives the collective imaginary new, powerful representations of women, but uses up women in his personal life as if they were pieces of gum he was chewing until the flavor runs out? When these are the choices, what’s the answer? How do we define morality? Who’s a good guy? Who’s a bad guy? What matters, life or art? How are they related? What’s public and what’s private? Despite what many claim, it’s rarely as simple as we might wish. Life is textured. As for me, I adore Jean as a friend and as an artist, but you’d never catch me in bed with him.

Interviewer: Let’s talk about the man you are sleeping with, Hollywood star Finn Forrester. You met on the set of a Mercier location shoot. What will you tell us about your love story?

Ella: Jean invited me to crash at the inn in Sweden while they were filming Celebration. Finn and I fell madly in love. Neither of us expected it. I guess when you meet the one, there’s no rhyme or reason, it’s just something you feel body and soul. The little things you don’t know about each other sort themselves out over time. There’s nothing better than that inexplicable feeling of love. Or so I’m learning.

Interviewer: So, can we expect little Forresters in the future?

Ella: Stay tuned.

Controversial filmmaker Jean Mercier is shooting a film on location in Sweden. While spending the summer creating his latest work of cinematic art, he lives in a nearby inn with his lead actors: Albie Hughes, British veteran of stage and screen; Charlotte Reed, British indie film queen; Michael Hennesey, American TV heartthrob; Willow Barnes, fallen former teen star looking to make a comeback; and Finn Forrester, legendary Hollywood movie star. Mercier invites his friend Ella Sinclair—a beautiful, bohemian-spirited American philosopher known for her provocative writing—to stay with them for the summer. When Ella arrives, Finn is instantly enchanted by her, and soon they fall madly in love. Finn wants to plan a life together, but Ella harbors fears and convinces him to wait until the film wraps to decide their future. In a case of life imitating art, the film they are creating explores “the big questions” and prompts the stars to reflect on the crossroads they face in their own lives. How will their experiences on location affect them when they return home? The answers won’t come until months later, when the cast and crew reconvene on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival—but their revelation will make for one unforgettable night.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Soon they were soaking in the tub, surrounded by the soft glow of candlelight. Ella leaned against Finn and sighed contentedly as he wrapped his strong arms around her.

“I thought about you all day today,” he said.

“You did?”

“I couldn’t get the image of you with those kids out of my head. You were such a natural with them.”

“I’m crazy for tiny humans, always have been. I love their curiosity, big imaginations, big emotions. When a toddler is overjoyed, it’s infectious. They can’t contain it and it just oozes out of them. They feel everything so fully, so honestly, with their whole selves.”

“Do you want to have children of your own?”


He squeezed her waist and said, “Have you ever thought about it?”

“Have you?” she asked, turning to face him.

“Ella, I would love to have a family with you someday, when we’re ready. Do you want to have a family with me?”

“Well, yes, but…”

“But what, baby?”

“I would want to have children with you, but I wouldn’t want to have them without you.”

“What do you mean?”

“The way I grew up, it just made me not want to do it on my own.”

“You wouldn’t be. We’d be together. I’m not going anywhere.”

“Finn, there’s more than one way to be alone. You spend your life flying around the world to shoot movies and attend film festivals. Where would that leave me? Alone.”

“Sweetheart, if we choose to have a family someday, some things would obviously change. I’ve been thinking about this since we met, but I didn’t want to bring it up and scare you away by asking too much too soon. But after I saw you today, I thought we could at least talk about it. It’s just a conversation.”

“You’ve been thinking about it all this time?”

“Yes,” he said, gently running his fingers down her arm.

“What have you been thinking about?”

“Well, we could take some time to be alone together, to travel. If we had a child, you would both travel with me to film sets. I can get the studio to rent us a house. We’d hire a nanny and any other kind of help we want so you could write, I could work, and we could all be together. When our oldest is school aged, I would only take jobs in LA, except maybe in the summers when we could all still travel as a family. We could show them the world. Being a husband and father would be my priority. You wouldn’t go to so much as a single doctor’s appointment alone unless you wanted to. If I had to give up acting and be a stay-at-home dad, that’s fine too.”

“Wow. You’ve really thought about this.”

“Well, yeah. I can’t help it. Our future spilled out before me when you told me you love me. But it’s just a fantasy. Sweetheart, there’s no pressure. Until today, I didn’t even know if children were a possibility. If we live our lives together, just the two of us, I’d be perfectly happy.” He planted a soft kiss in her hair.

“Just a fantasy?” she asked.

“Yeah, for now. Do you ever fantasize about our future?”

She nodded.

“Tell me.”

“Well, I always imagined that I’d keep working, but less than I do now. I’d want to spend time with my babies.”

“Babies?” he asked. “How many?”

“Three. Two girls and then a boy. I don’t care about gender, it’s just what I imagine.”

He rubbed her shoulder. “Tell me more.”

“They’d all look like you,” she said.

“Oh, see, in my mind each one of them looks just like you.”

She smiled and he kissed the tip of her nose.

“Keep going,” he said.

“Well, I like your idea of traveling together. I imagined that…”

“What, baby?”

“It’s silly.”

“Tell me anyway.”

“Well, it’s just a fantasy, but I can picture us buying a little house in the French countryside for summers and holidays. You know, one of those old stone houses with wooden beams on the ceilings and a wood-burning stove, with plenty of room outside for the kids to roll around in the grass and a space for me to write.” She crinkled her nose and shook her head. “I told you, it’s silly.”

“Not to me. I think it sounds perfect,” he said, kissing her. “So, two girls and a boy, huh? I should warn you, I’ve always liked traditional names, like Emily and Sarah. I’m guessing you gravitate toward more free-spirited names like Lula Belle or Blue Moon. I’m prepared to fight you on this.” He playfully put up his dukes, but she grabbed one of his hands and kissed it.

She laughed. “Actually, I was thinking if we had a girl, maybe we’d call her Betty. It’s completely traditional, but modern too. I don’t know. It’s just a thought.”

“Betty, huh? I love it. And you know what else? I love you.” He stopped to stroke the side of her face. “I love you so much, Ella. There’s no fantasy we can’t make a reality if we choose to. Come on, sweetheart. Let’s dry off and slip into bed. I want to show you exactly how I feel about you.”

About the Author:


Patricia Leavy, PhD, is an award-winning, best-selling author. She was formerly Associate Professor of Sociology, Chairperson of Sociology & Criminology, and Founding Director of Gender Studies at Stonehill College. She has published more than forty books; her work has been translated into many languages, and she has received more than forty book honors. Her last novel, Hollyland, was featured on She Reads in “The Most Anticipated Romances of Spring 2023” and was the 2023 Firebird Book Awards 1st Place Winner in Pop Culture Fiction and 1st Place Winner in Summer/Beach Read. Patricia has also received career awards from the New England Sociological Association, the American Creativity Association, the American Educational Research Association, the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, and the National Art Education Association. In 2018, she was honored by the National Women’s Hall of Fame and SUNY-New Paltz established the “Patricia Leavy Award for Art and Social Justice.” Patricia lives in Maine. In addition to writing, she enjoys art, reading, and travel.

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  1. Thank you so much for hosting today.

  2. Marcy Meyer says

    I enjoyed the interview and post.

  3. Rita Wray says

    I enjoyed the excerpt.

  4. This looks like a great read.

  5. Bridgett Wilbur says

    I would love to read your book.

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