What a miserable week it has been! Nothing but rain, rain, rain. Fear not, I am here to cheer you up with drink and a lovely chat with this week’s Friday Night Drinks guest, author…. Audrey Davis.
Thank you for joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?
Ooh, I’m kicking off with a Tanqueray gin and tonic, with lots of ice and a sprinkling of juniper berries, because I’m posh (not really)! Then I’ll move on to a cheeky wee red, perhaps a Saint-Émilion Grand Cru.
We can do posh! If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?
I don’t go to many bars here in Switzerland, so I’d choose somewhere in my native Scotland. Probably The Clachan — the country’s oldest licensed pub in Drymen, Loch Lomond. And I’d highly recommend the beer-battered fish and chips to soak up the booze!
If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?
That’s a tough one. Can I be naughty and say Freddie Mercury and David Bowie? I’m so sad I never got to see Queen in concert, but I was lucky enough to see Bowie twice — in Edinburgh and at the Montreux Jazz Festival near where I live. In fact, he lived in the same village many years ago. Queen recorded in Montreux, and there’s a lovely Freddie statue down by the lakeside. We could do a quick rendition of ‘Under Pressure’ to entertain the punters, with me on backing vocals (or maybe not).
You REALLY do not want to hear me sing, trust me! I’ll just sit back and cheer you on. So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. What have you got going on? How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?
I’m promoting my third romantic comedy, A Wish For Jinnie, which is available for pre-order and will be published on June 22. It’s been a long time coming, as I was badly let down by a publisher, and effectively lost three months when I could have been getting my editor and cover designer on board. A ten-day blog tour kicks off on publication day, and I also have a bunch of lovely FB group reviewers ready to post on the big day.
What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?
Receiving some incredible reviews, saying how much people had enjoyed my books. When someone writes, ‘This stunning writing draws you in with humour, poignancy and charming characters,’ you can’t help feel proud (and a little tearful). My biggest, ongoing challenge is marketing and advertising. I muddle through, reading endless posts and downloading courses, but never feel I’m making much headway.
The perennial problem for writers. What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, it’s just us talking after all!
I’d love to see one of those little ‘Best Seller’ orange flags appear for one of my books. And having one adapted as a TV series would make my head explode with excitement! At the moment, a few ‘bigger name’ authors are reading one of my books, and a good review from them would also cause a happy dance around the kitchen.
Fingers crossed, then, as they seem like perfectly achievable ambitions. What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?
My WIP, Lost In Translation. I’m around 48K words in, but seem to have fallen into my usual trap of failing to plot. I tend to write chapters out of sequence, then have to try and stitch it all together like a badly-knitted jumper! It’s set in Switzerland and draws on a lot of funny experiences I’ve had since moving here in 2002. But it’s absolutely not autobiographical …
We believe you, thousands wouldn’t! I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?
I’ve travelled pretty extensively (I lived in Singapore and Australia many years ago), so it’s hard to choose. If pushed, I’d say Africa — I went on an amazing safari/beach trip to the Masai Mara, the Serengeti and Zanzibar a couple of years ago — and Japan. We had a family holiday there in October to tie in with the Rugby World Cup. I fell in love with the place and the people, despite the rather scary typhoon that kept us confined to barracks for a day! I hope one day to visit Rwanda and channel my inner Sigourney Weaver, meeting gorillas in the mist.
Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know about you.
I’m a PADI qualified advanced scuba diver. I haven’t done it in ages — too much of a scaredy cat in my old age — but in the past I’ve swum with sharks, explored the inside of WW2 shipwrecks and did a couple of night dives when the colours of the sea life are very different.
Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?
So many to choose from! I’d go for Into The Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes. It made a big impact on me, so much so I read it again recently. Dark, thrilling and utterly gripping, it’s the kind of book I’d love to write if I switched genre.
Catherine has been enjoying the single life for long enough to know a good catch when she sees one. Gorgeous, charismatic, spontaneous – Lee seems almost too perfect to be true. And her friends clearly agree, as each in turn falls under his spell.
But there is a darker side to Lee. His erratic, controlling and sometimes frightening behaviour means that Catherine is increasingly isolated. Driven into the darkest corner of her world, and trusting no one, she plans a meticulous escape.
Four years later, struggling to overcome her demons, Catherine dares to believe she might be safe from harm. Until one phone call changes everything. This is an edgy and powerful first novel, utterly convincing in its portrayal of obsession, and a tour de force of suspense.
That is one I have never come across before, I will add it to the list. So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?
Hmm, there’s a failsafe plan? I’d opt for an Alka-Seltzer and lots of water before bed, and a good old full Scottish breakfast, with black pudding and mountains of bacon.
After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?
Relaxing by the side of a shimmering swimming pool with a great book on my Kindle and a cheeky cocktail or two.
Sounds fabulous, maybe that will be a possibility in the not-too-distant future! Thank you so much for joining me, Audrey, this has been a delightful way to round off the week.
Audrey’s new novel, A Wish For Jinnie, will be published on 22 June and you can pre-order a copy here.
Have you ever felt that life has got it in for you? Jinnie Cooper certainly does.
Unlucky in love, broke and exiled to a sleepy Scottish village, she really needs to shake things up.
When she gains possession of a battered old lamp, Jinnie’s world changes in ways she could never have imagined. With her affections divided between two men, can her unlikely housemate help – or hinder – the path to happiness?
Packed with mystical mayhem and a liberal sprinkling of magic, it’s a laugh-out-loud rollercoaster ride with a cast of characters you’ll take to your heart.
Audrey Davis survived secondary school on the West coast of Scotland. Rubbish at science but not too bad at English, she originally wanted to be an actress but was persuaded that journalism was a safer option. Probably wise. She studied at Napier College in Edinburgh, the only place in Scotland at that time to offer a journalism course.
Her first foray into the hard-nosed newspaper world was as a junior reporter in Dumfriesshire. Duties included interviewing farmers about the prize-winning heifers to reporting on family tragedies. She persuaded her editor to let her launch an entertainment column which meant meeting the odd celebrity – or just the downright odd. From there, she moved to the loftier rank of senior reporter back in her home patch. Slightly more money, fewer farm animals but a higher crime rate. As Taggart would say: ‘There’s been a murrrrder!
After a stint in London on a video magazine – yes, she is that old – Audrey moved to Singapore with her fiancé. She tried valiantly to embrace the stinking heat, humidity and lack of jobs, although she did work briefly on a magazine which was banned by the government for ‘artistic’ use of naked men’s bottoms.
Next on her adventures was a land Down Under where her main focus was raising Cost Centre One (aka firstborn) and coming to terms with the imminent arrival of Number Two. Still, she loved the Aussie way of life – BBQs, beaches and bring your own booze to restaurants – so it came as a blow when OH announced a move back to the UK. Not a job between use, the climate a possible deal breaker and an Exorcist-style vomiting infant on the flight home didn’t bode well …
Always a survivor, Audrey sought out similar-minded friends (i.e. slightly bonkers), got the children into a good school and thought about taking up writing again. Sadly, thinking about it was as far as she got, unless you count shopping lists. Then, hubby drops another bombshell. Switzerland. As in – it’s packing time again. Off to the land of cheese, chocolate, scarily efficient trains and a couple of teeny, tiny issues. Like driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road and speaking a foreign language (French). The former was conquered fairly quickly (we’ll skip over the wall demolition in week two), the latter remains an ongoing battle of the hopeful against the hopeless. At least she provides amusement for the local workforce.
It wasn’t until 2016 that Audrey rediscovered her writing mojo with an on line Writing Fiction course. From there, her first novel – A Clean Sweep – was born, although it took a bit longer than nine months from conception. A short, darker prequel – A Clean Break – followed, and in November 2017 she published the first in a novella trilogy, The Haunting of Hattie Hastings Part One.
Next week, I have the ever lovely Heidi-Jo Swain joining me for drinks, so make sure you don’t miss it.