Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Interview (YR): Eileen Davidson's Alexis Peterson Is on the Case

Most of daytime fans know Eileen Davidson as Ashley Abbott, whom she’s portrayed on “The Young and the Restless” off and on since 1982. But many might not know that she is also an accomplished author. Along with co-writer Robert Randisi, she has penned four “Soap Opera Mystery” novels, the latest installment being “Swingin’ in the Rain.” In “Swingin’,” Eileen explores the world of swingers’ clubs as a backdrop to murder.

Daytime Dial: Here’s a question I am sure is on everyone’s minds: What made you decide to set your new book in the world of swingers?

Eileen Davidson: I had heard about different people living in Malibu who were into it. And I was like, “You’re kidding!” It was just really shocking, and it seemed like a great backdrop for a murder mystery. After I did some research, I discovered how prevalent it is in society. I’m fascinated that so many people are into it, that it’s kind of a very well-kept secret. And I’m wondering if they ever run into each other at the dry cleaners or in the carpool line.

DD: How did you research it?

ED: This is a true story. I was at Scott Baio’s birthday party, and a woman came up to me and said she was a big fan of my books and asked when I was going to write the next one. And I said, “Well, I’m kind of in the middle of writing it now.” And she asked, “What’s the premise?” And I told her, and she goes, “You’re not going to believe this, but one of my good friends was the manager for one of the top swingers clubs in L.A. for 10 years.” So I gave her friend a call, and we spoke for an hour, and she gave me so much information. She told me everything, and everything she told me I put in the book: game rooms and the dark room, where everybody denies going into, but it’s always full.

The club she managed is closed now, but she said: “I know of someone who is running another one. And if you want to go, I can get you in there.” And I was thinking I should go there for research, but then I thought, Do I really want to do that? So I told her that maybe someday I’ll check it out. But I don’t know.

DD: In theory, it seems like a good idea, but then when it gets down to it ...

ED: Exactly! Exactly! I guess my Catholic upbringing is alive and well.

DD: I like that you incorporated Alex’s fears now that we’re down to four network soaps. What are some other bits of soap business that you bring to your books?

ED: The opening scene of the book actually happened to me in the ’80s while I was filming a scene for “YR.” We were filming the scene at a park in the pouring rain, and I had a crewmember underneath me trying to push me up this steep, muddy hill that I needed to get up, and I kept sliding down. So, I have some guy under me, not in the shot, trying to get me up there, and I keep falling down. We laughed so hard, because I could not get up that friggin’ hill.

DD: I am really enjoying the slow development of Alex and Jakes’ relationship. It’s realistic, and it’s getting better and stronger. Do you purposely keep her relationship with Jakes grounded so that Alex herself does not go crazy?

ED: That’s a good way of putting it, actually, because there is so much crazy stuff going on around her that there has to be something that is a grounding force besides her daughter. So, it’s just kind of the way the relationship evolves. When he was first introduced it was not supposed to be like a love interest, but it evolved that way in the first book. It was just sort of this natural evolution.

If you want to get in on the mystery, buy Eileen’s book “Swingin’ in the Rain” on amazon.com, or wherever books are sold. And check out her first three books while you’re at it!