Welcome, Audrey! Thank you for spending a little time with us here on the blog today!
You’re from the other side of the pond but you live in Switzerland?
Thanks for having me, Felicia! Yes, we moved here in 2002 due to my husband’s job. Prior to that, we lived in Buckinghamshire, England for many years. We have two sons, born in Singapore and Sydney, Australia respectively. And I’m originally from Scotland but worked in London for a while, so we have moved around a fair bit.
Miss anything about the UK?
There are so many things I miss about the UK. Being able to speak English all the time (I fumble through in French here); the fantastic choice of food and places to go/see; friends and family – of course! – and generally the feeling of being ‘home’. Switzerland is a beautiful country with a lot to offer, but my heart still yearns for Scotland. Luckily, our eldest son lives in Edinburgh, so I get to visit fairly often, and the youngest is in Liverpool and also appreciates mum popping over. And I’m sure that’s nothing to do with being taken shopping and to nice restaurants …
Ever travel to the U.S.?
Many times! My head is like a sieve these days (an inevitable consequence of getting old), so I can barely recall what I had for dinner last night, never mind the places I’ve visited! I’ll probably miss a couple, but we’ve been to Florida, Texas, New York, Hawaii, Nevada and Arizona. I adored Sedona, especially the memorable Pink Jeep ride.
Married with children, pets, or annoying roommates?
Yes, married for a very long time and with two boys in their twenties. No pets, just a mildly annoying husband (although he does put up with my anti-social author behaviour and tendency to have my nose stuck in a book).
Are you self-published, traditional, or hybrid?
Indie and proud! If you’d told me that less than two years ago I’d write a 300 page book, have it edited, format it and upload it on Amazon for sale I’d have called for the men in white coats to take you away. Now, I’m well into writing book three (not including a short novella I produced as a prequel to my first novel). I am tentatively approaching publishers, but despite some strong feedback I won’t be doing a happy dance just yet.
How long have you been a writer?
All my adult life. I trained as a journalist in Scotland, and worked for various provincial newspapers and a video magazine in London (no giggling at the back, I wrote on a typewriter. Totally ancient, that’s me).
How long did it take you to write your first book?
To be honest, I’m not sure. It developed from an online Writing Fiction course I took over a couple of months. The seed of an idea was already there, but positive feedback from the course persuaded me to develop it into a novel. It probably took something like six months, including finding a professional editor/proof reader and a cover designer.
Pantser or Plotter?
Sadly, a pantser. I have a shocking slapdash approach, writing chapters out of sequence and letting my naughty characters take me places I hadn’t even thought of. For my current book, I’ve had to print out a calendar, figure out the chronology and fill in a crazy number of plot holes. I hereby solemnly declare that – in future – I will try to be more of a plotter.
Have you ever taken the NaNoWriMo Challenge?
Yes. I gave it a go last November. I reached 30K+ words so, technically failed, but every word is a step closer to those magical words: THE END
You know I’m a HUGE fan of Hattie Hastings. How did that story come about?
I know you are! When I read your reviews of the series (originally written as a novella trilogy) I was thrilled and delighted at your reaction. How did it come about? The title just popped into my head one day. From there, I had a vague idea of what the story would be but supporting characters only emerged when I started writing. That’s one of the most exhilarating – and terrifying – parts of the process. Sometimes I wonder about the voices in my head …
What’s your favorite genre to write or do you only write in one genre?
So far, I’ve only written romantic comedy, although I always include ‘darker’ topics. After all, Hattie Hastings deals with death in more ways than one. I would love to write a twisty, psychological thriller but I’m not sure I have it in me. My default setting is to inject humour into everything, which might not work too well with a crazed serial killer!
What’s your favorite genre to read?
I love romantic comedy – what a surprise – but I’m also a sucker for twisted thrillers, particularly if they keep me guessing right to the end.
What are you reading now?
The Abattoir of Dreams by Mark Tilbury. It certainly ticks all the dark, twisted, ‘where is this going?’ boxes.
Favorite beverage to read with?
A cup of coffee (make that several cups) during the day, a glass of wine (or two) at night.
Where do you get the most writing done?
For a long time, I worked in my little office space downstairs. More recently, my preferred writing spot is at the kitchen table. Nice and cosy, with a radiator by my leg and easy access to the kettle and corkscrew. In the summer months, I like to sit outside and enjoy the view over the Alps. Although I tend to drift off and achieve very little.
Totally addicted to social media or could you live without it?
A bit addicted. Having grown my Twitter following from four to approaching 3.5K, I’m always checking in and get ridiculously excited when people ‘like’ my comments, share something I’ve written or follow me. Especially pretty well-known authors, although I do wonder why! I have a dedicated FB author page too, and a new author website which is very much a work in progress …
Where do you see yourself in five years with regards to your writing?
Haven’t a clue! Hopefully with a few more books to my name, perhaps a publishing deal (a girl can dream) and several kilos lighter. Yes, I know that’s nothing to do with writing, but sitting on my butt for hours on end doesn’t help my quest to slim down a bit.
What’s your next project or release?
I’m working on another standalone novel. It’s romantic comedy again, a bit ‘out there’ like Hattie, but hopefully people will enjoy it. There’s nothing wrong with a slice of escapism, served with generous dollops of laughter and a few weepy moments.
EXCERPT – Untitled WIP (Work in progress)
A group of girls in their early twenties burst through the door, giggling and nudging each other. Despite the bitter cold, they were dressed as if going to an Ibiza nightclub. Tight, sleeveless dresses and sporting more fake tan than a Strictly Come Dancing contestant. Jinnie couldn’t help noticing one had miscalculated the tan application from the calves down, her stiletto-clad feet snowy white.
‘Hiya, Ed,’ smouldered one of the girls, flicking her long, blonde hair away from her face. ‘Didn’t know you were in town, otherwise I’d have come in sooner.’
‘How’s your mum?’ enquired another, a wodge of pink gum visible as she chewed with open-mouthed fervour.
‘She’s not too bad, Kylie,’ Ed replied. ‘Good days and bad days. Now, what can I get you ladies?’
As they flicked through the drinks list, Ed whispered to Jinnie: ‘Don’t worry, I’ll deal with these. You sort out those two’ – a couple of men in paint-splattered overalls were at the bar – ‘and I’ll fix the complicated stuff.’
Taking their orders, two pints of Belhaven, Jinnie angled the glasses and began to pour. As she did, a strange tingling feeling started at her toes and rose rapidly to her fingers. The sensation grew, as if an electric current was passing through her entire body. Before she knew what was happening, Jinnie thrust the pints at the men and nudged a startled Ed aside.
‘I’ve got this,’ she declared, reaching for a couple of cocktail shakers. ‘OK, two Zombies, a Sex On The Beach and a White Russian coming up.’
Like a human whirlwind, Jinnie spun around and measured out the ingredients. Peach schnapps, vodka, cranberry and orange juice. She flipped a bottle in the air, performed a twirl, and caught it behind her back. Oblivious to the gasps around her, Jinnie filled a shaker and agitated it at hyper speed. On to the next one. Rum, brandy, more juice and a dash of Grenadine. Swivelling her hips in time to an imaginary beat, she shook and shook some more. Grab a glass, up it goes, neatly caught in one hand. Drinks poured, on to the next one. Bailey’s, vodka and – dammit – where was the cream?
‘Jinnie, stop. Just, please … stop.’ Ed placed a hand on her arm, his other holding an opened carton of cream. She lunged for it, but he moved it out of reach. As she scowled at him, the tingling feeling began to fade. At the same time, a smattering of applause rang out around the bar.
‘It’s bloody Tom Cruise in a skirt!’ one voice called out. ‘Woo, hoo, darlin’. You available for private parties?’ shouted another. Jinnie’s vision swam for a few seconds, and she felt her legs give way. In a flash, Ed wrapped a steadying arm around her shoulder and walked her around the bar and on to a stool. Jinnie breathed deeply, her nose pressed into Ed’s denim shirt. He smelled of something warm and spicy, with an undernote of cedarwood. Nice. Was it his deodorant or aftershave. She leaned in closer and—
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Don’t let anyone, particularly yourself, stand in the way of your dream. Writing a book is a marathon, not a sprint (unless you’re one of those people who effortlessly produce several books a year. How??!!) Just write when you can, keep copious notes, and hook up with like-minded people. The writing community on Twitter is amazing, and there is a ton of support on FB too.
Many thanks, Audrey! Give my best to Hattie… and Gary!
EXCERPT from The Haunting of Hattie Hastings:
Hattie dragged herself upstairs. She needed a shower, otherwise she’d be reduced to spraying herself with Febreze. Her stomach growled, her head ached and it was still only five o’clock in the evening. When was it considered reasonable to go to bed? Would eight o’clock be too early? That was three long hours away. She could take a bath instead, but that involved far too much time and effort.
As she waited for the shower water to heat up, Hattie stripped off and tossed her clothes on the bedroom floor. Seated at the dressing table, she fiddled with the annoying clasp of her necklace. Unable to undo it, she clipped her hair up, and felt a peculiar warm sensation on the back of her neck. Almost as if someone was breathing inches behind her. What the … ? Hattie swivelled around but, of course, there was no one there. Get a grip, woman!
Ten minutes later, Hattie felt fresher and no longer likely to be mistaken for a down-and-out. She dressed in her favourite pyjamas – or passion killers, as Gary had dubbed them – and headed downstairs. She still had little appetite, but a drop of liquor might help ease the path to sleep.
Back in the lounge, Hattie surveyed the drinks cabinet. There were half-bottles of strange liqueurs they’d picked up on their holidays. What was cachaça when it was at home? She squinted at the label. Brazil. They’d definitely never been there. Tanqueray gin. No idea where that originated from, but if it got you tanked … She poured herself a generous measure and topped it up with some tonic that was a year past its sell-by date. Flatter than Keira Knightley’s chest but it did the job.
Taking a swig, Hattie wished again that she was more of a hardened drinker. A couple of these and she’d be lights out and nobody home. Admittedly, that was the effect she was going for, but the ability to chug a few more might help to numb the pain for longer.
As the gin sneaked its way around her bloodstream, Hattie swayed around the room. If Gary had been here – if Gary had been here during a party – there would be glasses everywhere. His glasses, to be precise. He’d been notorious for ‘parking’ his drink somewhere, forgetting where it was and pouring himself a new one. Hattie had tried everything, from dangly glass markers to indelible ink pens, to identify which drink belonged to whom, but Gary always left a trail of semi-supped glasses in his wake.
Suddenly, Hattie felt a peculiar sense of being watched. Had Johnny come home unexpectedly? No, she hadn’t heard the front door opening and closing. In any case, he’d have at least spoken to her before heading to his room. Her sleep-deprived and grief-addled brain was playing tricks with her, that was all.
Reaching the CD player, Hattie considered putting on some Fleetwood Mac. She could channel her inner Stevie Nicks and flap around a bit. All she needed was some dry shampoo to oomph her curls and a slightly gothic outfit. Nope, Pokémon pyjamas were not hitting the mark. She started rifling through the CD collection then … hang on … where had that glass come from? Hattie looked in disbelief at what appeared to be a shot of whisky topped up with water. Balanced slightly precariously on one of her precious Steps CDs, like it was a coaster. She nudged it nervously aside with her finger. A quick sniff confirmed her suspicions. It was whisky. One of Gary’s favourites. Hattie would rather gargle bleach than touch the Scottish stuff. Eurgh! Who ever thought that a combination of smelly socks with a hint of plant compost would make a best-selling drink? Well, millions of people clearly did but …
A ghostly and gloriously witty romantic comedy – PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED AS A NOVELLA TRILOGY
Some people just won’t take death lying down …
Hattie Hastings is happily married to lifelong sweetheart Gary, until a terrible tragedy leaves her widowed and heartbroken. Struggling to cope, she is left reeling when her deceased other half returns, popping up at the most inappropriate moments.
As Hattie tries to convince others – including brother Jack, and best friend Cat – that Gary has returned, he finds himself under the care of spirit guide Clarence, and also befriends another inhabitant of the place called The Present.
Meanwhile, Hattie’s mum Rachel is facing a daunting battle, and Cat’s ex-husband Stewart is determined to prove he deserves a second chance.
Throw in a tentative spot of dating for Hattie and you have all the ingredients for a book that’s been described as ‘brilliant’, ‘hilarious’ and ‘a great feel-good read.’
‘There is nothing ordinary with this book. It is a fabulous blend of fun and sadness. One minute I was smiling and the next I had to put my Kindle down as I couldn’t see past the tears in my eyes.’
Sarah Hardy, Top 500 Amazon reviewer
‘Absolutely loved this! Funny down-to-earth characters, great pace and flawless flowing writing style.’
The author has created some very strong characters that made it very easy to care what happened to them. It is difficult to write about the topics of death, loss and trust, without either being fluffy or morbid. The author did this and so much more.’
Other books by Audrey Davis
A Clean Sweep
Finalist – 2017 McGrath House Independent Author Awards
A laugh-out-loud tale of love, lies and second chances.
Love comes around when you least expect it. Fifty-something widow Emily isn’t expecting romance. Nor is she expecting a hunky twenty-something chimney sweep on her doorstep.
Daughter Tabitha knows something isn’t quite right with her relationship, while her boss – Abba-loving Meryl – thinks she’s found the real deal. Are they both right, or pursuing Mr Wrong?
Emily’s sister, Celeste, has the perfect marriage … or does she? Can a fitness tracker lead her down the path to happiness or heartbreak?
Susan is single, overweight and resigned to a life of loneliness. There was the one who got away but you don’t get another try, do you?
Prepare for a rollercoaster ride of emotions in a book that will grab your heart, make you smile and wish you had a chimney to sweep.
A marriage in tatters. An affair that threatens to blow their world apart. Meet Emily and Jim and discover their lives in the poignant and thought-provoking prequel to A Clean Sweep.
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, less 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. Parts Two and Three were published in early/mid 2018.