I met Lorraine Elgar in October 2013 on the VC Andrews Fan Page on facebook. I’d been going around then “preaching” (posting) my theories on every post I could find. Lorraine was probably one of the few people to reach out and take my work seriously. Since then we forged a partnership indulging in our mutual love and appreciation for Virginia Andrews most famous work – the Dollanganger saga. Lorraine is passionate, creative and probably the most hard working and determined person I’ve ever met. It’s not by any means easy to take on the task of compiling the Dollanganger series timelines. It was ambitious, nerve wrecking and at times seemingly impossible but Lorraine worked day and night under pressure to complete it while juggling her mum duties and busy schedule. And that gamble has paid off. Recently Lorraine created this group, “Attic Secrets” a page where we get to discuss our theories free from any prejudice. If VCA taught us anything it’s to be understanding rather than condemning even if you have different a belief system from others. Lorraine’s vision of VCA fans having a place where they had the freedom to express themselves is a symbol of the author herself – creating an attic to get away from the Olivias of the VCA world . In this short interview we get to know a little more about Lorraine and her passion for all things VCA and celebrate all that she has contributed to the VCA realm.
- Lorraine, tell us where you’re from and a little bit about yourself
Well, my names Lorraine Elgar and I live in the coastal town of Folkestone, Kent, England, UK. I’m 32 and proud mother of two children.
- I’m like a butterfly flitting from one passionate project to the next. I’ve traced my paternal family tree back to the 1500’s , set up a (now defunct) Vintage Craft Business in which I sold various handmade items in a local shop and recently studied Criminology in which I got a distinction. I love learning and the more morbid the subject the better! I am currently studying Pyschology but have in the past been a book reviewer and written articles for UK geneology publications which I am extremely proud of.
- I’m a stay at home mum, unable to work due to the long term illness of Borderline Personality Disorder and Clinical Depression but I keep myself busy.
- Anais, my daughter, named after Noel Gallagher’ s daughter and NOT the perfume is 10 and Ryan, named after Ryan Giggs the Man Utd footballer ( though would have been called Lennon Noel if I’d had my way ;0) is 7.
- When did you first discover VCA and what was your first VCA novel ?
I first discovered an old copy of Flowers in the Attic hidden in the back of the cupboard when I was 9 years old. It had been my elder sisters. I read the back synopsis, you know the one that says ‘It was a game of hide and seek ? It was a case of tender loving murder?’ Well, that intrigued me, and the picture on the front with Cathy peeking out the attic window ? I started reading and had finished the book in three days . It was the first ‘adult’ book id ever read , my mother knew but didn’t take much notice! To be honest, I fell in love in those three days, with the dollangangers, with Virginia Andrews and it’s a love that hasn’t left me.
- What’s your favorite VCA book ? And is there a VCA character you have a crush on?
My favourite VCA book will always be Flowers in the Attic, I read it at least once a year and it’s a book that you grow with as a person. Its amazing that I can still identify with it as a 32 year old mother, as I could as a nine year old girl. It still speaks to me. For every different aspect of my life, theres a different part I can relate to. As a child, as a hormonal teenager with mother issues, exploring my sexuality, as a young woman, as a mother. I’m quite interested to see how it affects me as a grandmother ! It s a very rare book that can do that to a person.
My second favourite book has to be Dark Angel, just because it’s a great read ! which leads me to the next answer – I make no secret of my absolute love for Troy Tatterton. He is such a tragic hero! Sensitive, artistic, sexy Troy. He was my first fictional crush, possibly my only fictional crush and he and heavens love affair is so intense! What girl doesn’t want to be made love to in a barn during a thunderstorm ? SWOON 😉
- Is there any VCA heroine that you identify with and why ?
I think that’s the beauty of a V C A heroine. Theres a little bit of all of us in each one. Whether its how we actually are or how we’d like to be, or how other people see us. We can all identify.
For me, Cathy and her mother issues have always resonated with me. Not because my mother ever tried to poison me I might add, but how despite all the anger and rage Cathy holds towards her mother, deep down she is just still a young girl who desperately wants her mother to love her and is confused as to why she doesn’t. I’m that girl, even now.
Audrina is another character I identify strongly with, her confusion as to who she is echoes very much how it feels to suffer from a mental illness. I spent a number of years unable to tell who I was, what my likes were, what my dislikes were. Its like the confusing kaleidoscopic lights she gets in her way, blocking her from the truth. The horror element that surrounds her and the way she is so restricted from real life, shes almost like a lost soul trying to find its way. To make sense of it all.
Heaven , as a character, I love – to me she is the nicest but I cant say I truly identified with her unless you count looking for love in all the wrong places – Cal Dennison anyone?
- You’re well known for the Dollanganger series timelines. Was it a difficult task since there isn’t mention of exact dates ?
Well I wouldn’t say I was well known but I hope the people who have seen the timelines find them useful! I’m lucky as I have a fabulous editor in Neisha Chetty , we joke that she is my Ann Patty! I honestly couldn’t do it without her, for a start I would never of had the confidence to even try such a task without her encouragement and also with the lovely Jennifer of The Complete V C A website publishing them online. It made my day when she said she would !
Firstly, the timelines actually started off as an aid to reading the books, I’d jot down details whilst reading, there’s a few clues scattered throughout , days ,holidays etc. I use Time and Date.com to establish the day and then look out for details given such as month or phrases like ‘two days later’ . From these you can build a frame work though there are some difficult dates to decipher. I was luckily enough to have Neisha s expertise with astrology to confirm when Cathy and Chris first consummated their relationship in the attic . She very cleverly worked out the date from the moon description ! That still amazes me ! Through my research into Virginia s personal family history I also soon discovered she used certain dates from her family tree for the events in the book which helped immensely.
- You’ve created the Attic Secrets page which is now a phenomenal facebook interaction page. Did you anticipate that kind of success ?Not at all ! Literally it started as a conversation with Neisha. We wanted to be able to discuss not just the surface story but also deeper ideas and theories. We wanted it to be a place for freedom of expression but also friendly and respectful to everyone. We wanted to celebrate fans passion and talents in regards to the saga . To be honest, I didn’t believe the deeper theories would appeal to many people and was expecting five members at the most to join ! So it has surprised but pleased me greatly. We have great members who really do the VCA fandom justice and I ve been lucky enough to establish some solid friendships through this.
- What does the future hold for you with regards to VCA ? Any other projects you plan on pursuing ?
Oooh I have so many ideas, so many plans and so little time !
Already we have acheived so much,
The entire Dollanganger saga timelimes, My Sweet Audrina timeline, exclusive cast interviews from Flowers in the Attic: The Stage Play … we have a successful blog which is viewed worldwide …we ‘ve just launched our twitter account too. My own research into Virginia has put paid to rumours surrounding her death as I was able to track down both her birth and death records which had previously been undiscovered and fueled a rumour that she had never existed at all !
Future plans timeline wise include am entire Dollanganger saga timeline which will give readers more insight into what actually happened and when,
I m going to also do individual timelines and character analysis starting with Corrine, I feel this will help us understand more as to what happened and when. Other characters will be Bart Winslow, Paul Sheffield, Carries death timeline needs to be uploaded too ……..
I want to add my own theories, and some work on the symbolism hidden within the books….
Theres so much exciting stuff to come, including my research on Virginia … like I said its finding the time to fit it all in 😉
interview by Neisha Chetty