A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to read and review Romany's new book "Spun Into Gold".
Romany has been busy promoting her book and took some time out to chat with Magic Seats. You can read the book review here.
Romany is a globally recognised female magician. 1st prize winner of the World Magic Seminar in Las Vegas, 1st prize at Magialdia in Spain, International Brotherhood of Magicians 1st prize in Stage magic and was also the Magic Circle Stage Magician of the Year.
Magic Seats: Thank you for joining us for a chat today. I hope that you are well.
For those who have not read the book yet, what was your inspiration to write this book? How did the idea come about.
Romany: I was inspired by the book “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert that I read.
Once I started writing my story, I couldn't stop, I got up at 4am and wrote for ten hours a day non stop for three months! That was the time it took to write the whole book but then it was Xmas so I got back to magic. After that I rewrote the whole thing about twenty times which took two years.
Magic Seats: Sounds like a long process to write the book. How did you manage to recollect so many memories and stories from your past? I have trouble recollecting the last year!
Romany: All my memories seemed to come back in detail with no problem at all. I don't keep a diary. I think once I was sat thinking about those times, I accessed that place in my brain that remembered. I also can't remember small details from yesterday or names of people I've met, but writing the book brought it all back.
Magic Seats: It must have been amazing for all the memories to come flooding back and thinking about your early days. What advice would you give your younger self if you could relive those times? Would you do anything different.
Romany: Yes. In fact, I wrote this book as if I were writing the book that I wish I had found in the bookstore when I was younger. I would try to explain that the most important thing in life is to create a happy life. That this is more important than achievements, than money, than anything. Before I found more practical ways to create a happy life in my late thirties, I wasted so much time being unnecessarily unhappy. I’m now passionate about teaching this to young people. If I could anything differently, I would practice the 'happiness' techniques I now use daily. They make such a difference!
Magic Seats: That's good to hear as your story does document sometimes that you were unhappy. Was it difficult to share certain elements of your story? (e.g bulimia / eating disorder)
Romany: It was. Until I wrote this book, I kept my eating disorder totally secret. But I was aware of how much this issue is affecting young people, more so with instagram and social media.
I was 50 when I wrote the book and mostly well. I felt that whatever the consequences, if people stopped liking me, or stopped booking me, if I could make a difference, pass on some of my knowledge and encouragement, then it was worth the challenge and risk to tell my story.
Ironically what I found was that none of my fears came true. People seemed to like me more when they knew that I was struggling too. Everyone has their own problems. Plus, I got letter after letter or message saying that they were living with a similar issue, whether an addiction or a different life challenge. What struck me was how we keep these stories secret. I have found that speaking your story sets you free. I am certainly in the best health of my life now and I think that's due to the book in a great degree.
Magic Seats: That's good to hear that you are doing well. You document many highlights. What achievement in magic are you most proud of?
Romany: My greatest achievement is in finally getting a decent stage act. If you read my story, you'll know that it took me so many years of trying and wrong turns. I simply wanted to have a good act that delighted an audience. The realisation that I'd really achieved that came a few times in recent years. Firstly at the World Magic Awards in Las Vegas in front of Siegfried and Roy, then when I performed for Prince Charles and lastly at the Genii convention last year in Florida. Richard Kaufmann asked me to do my 45 mins full act as the first half of the Saturday night show. It was a big deal, and it went really well. Big heroes of mine were there: Gaeton Bloom, Paul Harris, Jim Steinmeyer, Lisa Menna, Alexandra Duvivier, Noel Britten and others and I thought to myself that finally I'd realised my life-long dream.
Magic Seats: That is a massive accomplishment in magic. I understand that you are now using your experience as a motivational speaker. How did you get into that?
Romany: “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert was the book that motivated me to start and finish mine. I wanted to give Liz my book to thank her. This idea led me to jump off a cruise ship to get to her seminar, (long story) but she still didn't get it. Finally, last February, I travelled half way across the world to go to a women's retreat in Fiji where she was the VIP speaker so that I could finally give her the book.
I got myself hired to do a show and a keynote speech. It went extraordinarily well, although I ran overtime because I didn't realise that it was funny. I enjoyed it so much, I decided to repeat the experience. The joy of a keynote is that there are no magic props to worry about! Plus, I am so excited about inspiring and encouraging people, it's rewarding when people write to say that you inspired them to write a new song or to have courage to do something.
Magic Seats: Thats great that the book has lead to new opportunities. What’s next? In the book you say you enjoy writing. Any more books in you?
Romany: I do love writing and I write for magazines and articles. I've challenged myself to find a million readers of my book, so that will take a while! I've just applied for Arts Council funding to write a new show, one more based on storytelling but of course including magic too.
I'd like to do something different with the emphasis on encouraging and inspiring. More than anything, I'd like to do it in comfortable clothes, I am SO tired of corsets, uncomfortable hats and high heels! Doing two shows a night on a rocking cruise ship stage, loading 40 props before the show starts including five birdcages is tricky! I'm thinking 'colourful, fun, funny, inspiring, comfortable, easy, teamwork' are the new words I want to work with!
Magic Seats: Some great words to work with and I hope that they bring lots of new opportunities for you. Thank you for your time today and good luck with your book!
Romany promotes her book via the websites and social media below. She also actively searches for her million golden readers. Encouraging all that enjoy her book to let others know.