So, it’s been a while since I’ve been well enough to indulge in Friday Night Drinks, but tonight I am back with a bang with one of my most fabulous virtual nights out so far. Tonight I’m joined by someone I’ve been lucky enough to meet IRL, and who has produced probably the best set of images I’ve ever had for one of these guests spots, author and fellow RNA member, the lovely…Liam Livings.
Liam, thank you so much for joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?
A strawberry daiquiri please. In a large glass, with a glace cherry and a straw.
Oooh, one of my favourites! But we should really be drinking these in Sloppy Joe’s down in Key West, preferably when Hemingway was still frequenting the joint. But hey, this is your night so, 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?
Heaven. A gay club over 4 floors, right next to Charing Cross station. They have cheesy pop music and live acts on Saturday night – GAY is the name of the night since the Astoria was demolished. Himself, my boyfriend, used to be a member of the VIP lounge there. Oh, if those walls could talk, the celebrities we used to see!
I’m in! 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?
Goldie Hawn and Chris Hemsworth. Goldie Hawn because I’ve loved her so much since forever. Seeing her in interviews I reckon she’d be a great laugh. And Chris Hemsworth, because he’s fun, but also because Thor.
Great choices, but we might have to arm wrestle for Chris! 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 taking a break from self-editing a big backlog of my WIPs. I had 8 of them and have been working my way through and submitting them since late 2018. I’ve got one left to do and I’m just giving myself a week or so off for a change. I’m just about to read a RNA New Writers’ Scheme manuscript and write an appraisal. I’ve been a reader for the NWS since 2014 and think it’s a wonderful scheme. It’s given me lots of suggestions for common pitfalls when teaching writing workshops with my partner in sarcasm and writing crime, Virginia Heath – together we’re Real People Write Books.
I’ve not submitted my NWS manuscript this year yet so I know it’s not mine you are reading! I agree, for new writers it is the most fantastic scheme, and I am so privileged to be a part of it. We all appreciate the helpful feedback from the readers so much, so thank you!
What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?
My proudest moment was being shortlisted for the romantic comedy novel award in the 2019 RONAs. I couldn’t believe that a story about a cross-dressing gay man looking for love in Hampshire in the 1990s would be published, never mind end up shortlisted. Kev is a secondary character in my Best Friends Perfect series – the first of my published books – and he screamed for his own story. So I wrote him a trilogy.
My biggest challenge has been fitting in writing around the rest of my life.
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!
I’d like one of my books to be for sale at airports. I’d love for one of my quirky British gay romance stories to be something holiday makers pick up to read on a sunbed by a pool. I think society has a while to go until that’s the case, but it’s definitely a big dream of mine.
That would be a wonderful thing to see. Let’s hope we are moving in the right direction for that to happen soon. What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?
I have at least three fiction novels I’m planning to write in 2019. The one that’s most exciting me at the moment is a historical gay romance. Set in the 1950s, with all the societal challenges of being gay then. It’s about a surgeon and a farm hand who at first hate one another as they’re complete opposites, but soon find there’s a mutual attraction. But they need to overcome societal, professional, emotional and legal challenges to be together. I’ve never written historical before, so this is going to be a special sort of challenge. I’m really looking forward to writing it from April on wards.
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 love the Canary Islands – 4 hours from the UK and it’s so warm. I recently went to Florida for the first time and it won’t be the last. The climate, the food, the people, the laid-back nature of Key West and party atmosphere of Miami South Beach. I loved all of it. I’d like to visit India at some point, plus China and Japan. I’ve read that the combination of language and culture makes China and Japan about as different from the West as you can get without leaving the planet.
I LOVE Key West, I’ll be back there in 6 weeks. Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know about you.
I was born with bilateral (both) club feet.
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’?
I can’t pick one, so here’s a list: Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Montana Sky by Nora Roberts. Romancing The Wrong Twin by Clare London. The World is Full of Married Men by Jackie Collins. Octavia by Jilly Cooper.
Great choices, Rachel’s Holiday is one of my all time favourite books too. 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?
Alternate soft drinks with alcoholic ones. Have small drinks – singles and little glasses of wine. Stop drinking at 3 alcoholic beverages. Eat food while drinking. I had a rose wine based incident in Hampshire last summer and was completely useless for the whole of the next day.
After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?
A walk in the forest. A long bath with a book. Making food – particularly baking a cake.
Liam, thank you so much for joining me this evening, I’ve had a great time and look forward to seeing you in person again soon at the RNA Conference.
Liam’s book, Adventures in Dating…In Heels was shortlisted for the romantic comedy novel RONA 2019 award and you can buy a copy here.
Kev Harrison is a teenager, looking for a boyfriend and friends who will accept his cross-dressing. Only thing is, he lives in a small village near Salisbury, England, and it’s the nineties.
Tony Collins is Kev’s best friend, a Goth with a passion for fashion and anything to do with the Human League. He stands as the voice of reason while Kev muddles his way through coming out, career choices, and dating…in heels.
Liam Livings lives where east London ends and becomes Essex. He shares his house with his boyfriend and cat. He enjoys baking, cooking, classic cars and socialising with friends. He has a sweet tooth for food and entertainment: loving to escape from real life with a romantic book; enjoying a good cry at a sad, funny and camp film; and listening to musical cheesy pop from the eighties to now. He tirelessly watches an awful lot of Gilmore Girls in the name of writing ‘research’.
Published since 2013 by a number of British and American presses, his gay romance and gay fiction focuses on friendships, British humour, romance with plenty of sparkle. He’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and the Chartered Institute of Marketing. With a masters in creative writing from Kingston University, he teaches writing workshops with his partner in sarcasm and humour, Virginia Heath as https://www.realpeoplewritebooks.com/ and has also ghostwritten a client’s 5 Star reviewed autobiography.
Next week I will be joined for Friday Night Drinks by author Rosie Travers, so you won’t want to miss that.