Monday, November 08, 2010

Interview YR: Eileen Davidson Shows Off Her Inner Diva

If you are a true “Young and the Restless” fan, then you know that Eileen Davidson (aka Ashley Abbott) has written a series of bestselling crime novels centered on the soap-opera world. If you didn’t know that, then you need to go out right now and buy yourself the books, because you are in for a treat. Eileen’s third book in the series, “Diva Las Vegas,” came out earlier this year, and it’s even better than its predecessors.

Daytime Dial: Your books are always so much fun to read. Are they as much fun for you to write as they are for me to read?

Eileen Davidson: Thank you! Yeah, they really are. I really have a good time. I started the fourth book just last week, and it’s just so much fun getting reacquainted with the characters. I crack myself up with these silly things I write.

DD: How do you find time to fit it all in – being a mother, a wife, an actress, an author, a spokesperson?

ED: It sounds overwhelming, but really it just isn’t. It all kind of works out. I go through phases where everything is really kind of crazy and then, like right now, I’m working only one day a week for like the past three weeks, so I have lots of time. When I am home, I write when my child is at school. When I’m working a lot, I bring my computer in with me and work between scenes.

It takes a village sometimes, but it’s not constantly crazy busy. My husband’s schedule is erratic as well. But we just go with the flow and make it work. But very rarely is everything happening at the same time.DD: I love the protagonist in your book series, Alex. She is so down-to-earth and personable. Do Alex and Eileen share some personality qualities?

ED: Oh sure, we do share some qualities. And also, beginning with the very first book, I established the voice of the character. I wrote the first couple of chapters, and I established the voice of who Alex is. I’ve written every first and second chapter for all four books, and then we (Eileen and Bob Randisi, her coauthor) go from there. Like right now, I’ve sent the first two chapters to Bob, he sent me two back, I reworked them yesterday, and then I wrote an additional two and will send that back to him. But I have to rework it because it’s my voice, so I have to make sure she sounds the same throughout the book.

DD: Do you base some of the books’ circumstances on things you’ve done or experienced?

ED: Yes, I do. I have gone to the Playboy Mansion a couple of times for the Halloween party and it was such a scene that I thought, “Oh my god, this would make a great way to open a book.” When I was at the Emmys about three years ago, I was like, “This would be a fantastic way to open a book.” Getting out of the limousine with everybody screaming at you and then suddenly a bigger star comes along, and the photographers leave you and run over there. Only in Hollywood would you go through these kinds of things, and yet it’s my life. But I’m also a mother and wife, and my life is fairly boring. I pick up dog poop and I make cupcakes, and yet I have that other side of my life that’s kind of out there. It’s fun for me to share it with people and to give them a little peek behind the curtain.

DD: Do you ever get worried that your co-workers at “The Young and the Restless” will read your books and wonder if one of the characters is based on them?

ED: Not really, because I’m not mean-spirited at all. But I might base a character on someone I know. For instance, in the fourth book, I decided to base a director character on somebody I work with at “YR.” But I talked to my husband about it, and it was much more interesting to go over the top with the director. So, it kind of starts as a real person, but then it goes off on a whole different tangent. Some of my characters are inspired by real people, but they’re not based on anybody per se.

DD: I love the relationship between Alex and her boyfriend, Jakes. How did you create that relationship and get it to translate so well to their characters?

ED: Gosh, that’s a really good question. They’re still new, as a couple, since she just ended the relationship with the other guy. I guess I don’t want them to be like crazy possessive of each other, but still possessive enough that they keep each other on their toes. Do you know what I mean?

Like, my husband and I have been married almost eight years and we trust each other and are not super-paranoid, because he travels a lot. But I still want him to be jealous to a certain degree. I don’t want him to pull a shotgun out or anything but I still want him to care if somebody else is looking at me or paying attention to me or where am I. You still want your significant other to be interested but just so it doesn’t go over the top. That’s what I want for Alex and Jakes. I want there to be a playfulness and yet a kind of push-pull between them.

DD: Who are some writers you admire and who influence your own writing?

ED: A while back, I was really into all the spirituality and stuff. I was reading tons of really heavy self-help books and spirituality books, and things like “The Power of Now” and all these really intense books, even Kabbalah. I was doing all sorts of research on different spiritualities for years. And then I was at this retreat and I had forgotten to bring a book, and I happened to pick up a Sue Grafton book. It was like, this is so much fun. I guess I needed a break from all of that heavy reading, and I went into the Sue Grafton world. I read all of her books, and for this genre, that would definitely be who inspired me.

DD: Can you give me any details about the fourth book you are working on?

ED: It’s called “Swinging in the Rain” and it’s going to involve the whole subculture of swinging couples. Strangely enough, I’ve heard so much about it in the past couple of years. It just fascinates me that people are so good at sharing, because I’m not. A lot of people are apparently good at it, because it’s very popular. The more I found out about it, the more fascinated I became. I realized this could be very interesting to use as a backdrop for my book.