I used to tell people that I was born in Manhattan and raised in the Bronx; but the truth is that apart from the stellar education I received at the Fieldston School in Riverdale, much of who I am was shaped by my two grandmothers, who encouraged me to follow my bliss. My East Side grandmother took me to (now, sadly gone) FAO Schwarz, the New York City Ballet, and afternoon tea at the Plaza Hotel, where I dreamed of becoming another Eloise. My West Side grandmother took me to the Central Park carousel and the zoo and treated me to colorful paper parasols and gummy, lukewarm pretzels from the vendors whose wares my East Side grandmother deemed too "dirty" for human consumption. There are writers on both sides of my family, and although I always loved to write, I never anticipated that it would become my profession. I had wanted to be a ballerina; and though my club feet were corrected at birth (from the stilettos I adore now, you'd never know) and my short Achilles tendons made my toes turn in (corrected at the age of 9), I was never going to end up en pointe. About a year later, I decided to become an actress when (if?) I grew up, and I never looked back. I majored in Theatre at Cornell University, worked in summer stock, and took classes with a couple of acknowledged masters. I performed Shakespeare and other classics in New York parks, basements, church choir lofts, and the occasional Off-Broadway theatre; then founded and ran my own nonprofit theatre company for several years. And when things got slow, and I found myself working three survival jobs simultaneously (one of them as a journalist and editor), I decided it was time to pursue an additional creative avenue. I began writing in 1998; and my first title was published in 2002. Since then, I've had 21 books published in three genres: women's fiction, historical fiction (under the pen names Amanda Elyot and Juliet Grey) and historical nonfiction--making a mark as one of the few Americans who is an expert on the loves and lives if European royalty, a niche that's taken me to two royal weddings. In what I laughingly refer to as my spare time, I'm still a professional actress, working when the scripts and the roles excite me. Bringing both professions together, I also narrate audiobooks, specializing in historical fiction, and am the recipient of an Audie Earphones award for my narration. Please visit me at: www.lesliecarroll.comRead more Read less
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