I’m delighted to be welcoming to the blog tonight for Friday Night Drinks, fellow RNA member and author… Pernille Hughes.
Pernille, thank you for joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?
Ooh, I’ll have an Aperol Spritz please. I spotted people drinking them on a trip to Venice many moons ago, was seduced by the colour and ensnared ever since.
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 think we’d go to a Cringe night. Imagine the downstairs bar of a pub in a London square. There’s a stage and we are sitting with our drinks, listening to brave people read from their teenage diaries to enthusiastic strangers. Such a fun night out, and we’d laugh so much.
Ooh, I haven’t heard of those, that sounds like fun. I’ve got an old one somewhere with a picture of Tom Cruise as Maverick stuck to the front. 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?
I think Dorothy Parker or Doris Day. I can’t quite decide, but they would be very different experiences, I think. Dorothy would bring the biting wit and Doris would just be super lovely at all times. And obviously George Clooney, because George Clooney.
Yes, George Clooney requires NO explanation! 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 just finishing a draft of a enemies to lovers romcom at the moment. It’s an idea my editor has asked me to write, so I’m really hoping she likes it! And then I’m revising a draft of another romcom, a ‘bristly neighbours’ plot which is one of my own ideas. It’s setting is somewhere akin to Highgate Cemetery, which is the most beautiful-in-a-rambling-way, story-rich place (I recommend to tour to anyone who loves a bit of social history) and while it’s probably an unusual romcom setting it was just somewhere I wanted to write about. I’m hoping they’ll go down well with my readers!
What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?
Overcoming my Inner Critic is definitely my biggest challenge, because maaan, she is a cow. My proudest moment is probably holding a copy of my first book in my hands and giving it a good hard sniff. Or else it was telling my husband that my second book Probably the Best Kiss in the World was number one in the Amazon Beer category.
I have one of those bitchy inner voices too! What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, its just us talking after all!
Doesn’t every writer dream of their book on the big screen? Probably that, but on a smaller scale I’d love to have a foreign language version of my book in my grubby mitts. That would be special. And an audiobook too. Actually, just hit me up with an entire shelf of various versions. And more books to my name, of course – I just have to write them.
What are have planned that you are really excited about?
Well, here we are in the times of Corona, so all the plans I had have been shelved over the last months. My youngest daughter and I had a week in Copenhagen cancelled, so I am looking forward to having that with her one day, and later, when the world is safe and open again, I’d like to take a lot of city breaks. My critique partner of 7 years who lives in California and I were supposed to meet for the first time in Amsterdam at Easter, but that got cancelled too. Crossing fingers for next year …
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?
The British Virgin Islands were beautiful – my husband and I sailed around the islands before we had children, and I’d love a revisit. Otherwise I love Mauritius, in fact anywhere where I can be warm and have barefeet. That said I’m always happy when back in Denmark where my parents live– and I get to have bare feet there in the summer too. I have a thing for canals in cities, hence I wrote a hero with a Copenhagen houseboat in Probably the Best Kiss in the World, so I would really like to go to Amsterdam and also Stockholm one day. In fact, my husband and I did plan to go to Stockholm for our honeymoon, but kids happened and 19 years on we have yet to go.
Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself.
My publisher first introduced me on social media by having me jump out of a wheelie bin, because they couldn’t find a box or enormous cake. Such is the glamour of my life.
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’?
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein knocked my socks off. Normally I would shy from a wartime book, but this is a fabulous story of female friendship between a spy and a pilot in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force.
‘I have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.’
In wartime could a stalwart lass from Manchester rub shoulders with a Scottish aristocrat, one a pilot, the other a special operations executive. When a vital mission goes wrong, and one of the friends has to bail out of a faulty plane over France, she is captured by the Gestapo and becomes a prisoner of war. The story begins in ‘Verity’s’ own words, as she writes her account for her captors.
Truth or lies? Honour or betrayal? Everything they’ve ever believed in is put to the test . . .
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?
Not drinking Chardonnay is my preventative plan, and also having Paracetemol by my bedside for when I wake up in the night and feel the first twinges of what is to come. Going back to sleep on a painkiller seems to work for me. Go to cure is simply to revert to bed, lamenting ‘poor me’ and telling myself I am old enough to know better. That or a fry-up, with a hair-of-the-dog drink later in the day.
After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?
Brunch somewhere with Eggs Benedict (ham not bacon), and cosying up after, on a sofa with a romcom (film or a book) but this never happens ever, because I have a family with four teenagers and there is always stuff to be sorted. I can dream though …
Pernille, it has been so lovely chatting to you, thank you very much for taking the time to join me on the blog this evening.
Pernille’s latest book is Probably the Best Kiss in the World, a romcom part-set in Copenhagen. You can buy a copy of the book here.
Jen Attison likes her life Just So. But being fished out of a canal in Copenhagen by her knickers is definitely NOT on her to do list.
From cinnamon swirls to a spontaneous night of laughter and fireworks, Jen’s city break with the girls takes a turn for the unexpected because of her gorgeous, mystery rescuer.
Back home, Jen faces a choice. A surprise proposal from her boyfriend, ‘boring’ Robert has offered Jen the safety net she always thought she wanted. But with the memories of her Danish adventure proving hard to forget, maybe it’s time for Jen to stop listening to her head and start following her heart…
Pernille (pronounced Pernilla) studied Film & Literature at uni and took her first job in advertising, having been lured by the temptation of freebies, but left when Status Quo tickets was as good as it got. After a brief spell marketing Natural History films, she switched to working in Children’s television which for a time meant living in actual Teletubbyland, sharing a photocopier with Laa-Laa.
Now, she lives in actual Buckinghamshire, sharing a photocopier with her husband and their four offspring. While the kids are at school she scoffs cake and writes RomCom stories in order to maintain a shred of sanity.
She’s written for the Sunday Times Travel section, and had two short stories published in the bestselling Belinda Jones SUNLOUNGER anthologies.
She currently has two books out with One More Chapter (HarperCollins); PROBABLY THE BEST KISS IN THE WORLD and PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE (formerly Sweatpants At Tiffanie’s).