Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Weberview week. A huge welcome to Peter Davey





Twitter buddy supreme: Peter Davey.
He and Carol Hedges have given me more fun and laughter than almost anyone in years. I have loved their quick -witted banter on Twitter and have grown to be very fond of these particular cyber buddies. Twitter aside though, I have read everything Peter Davey has published and I really love his books. But Peter is much more than just a very talented writer, so I invited him to the barge for some good coffee and geveolde koek to tell me more about what makes him tick:

Peter, now the barge has stopped rocking and our tea has stopped sloshing, let me begin. I know you from Twitter mainly, and you've become a real buddy in the last months, but I don't honestly know much about you other than your wonderful writing and stunning photography and poetry. Tell me, have you always been an artist or have you also had to have a 'day job' like me?

I’ve always had a passion for writing, painting and drawing, Val, and worked as a professional artist and tutor for many years, mainly in the pre computer graphics days. It was a job which worked well around bringing up our two children as I could more or less make my own hours and, when my wife went into full-time teaching I became a part-time Mum, waiting with the other mums at the school gate and definitely earning my ‘New Man’ badge. That said, I’m very glad to be in a position now where I can do my own thing – if I earn some money from it, it’s great, but it isn’t the primary consideration.

Being a 'part-time mum' was very modern thinking for something that's a relatively new trend in society. I'm impressed! But Peter, you're quite a linguist aren't you? I know you write in French and you also speak Spanish. Have you ever lived abroad?

I’ve never actually lived abroad apart from studying painting in Barcelona when I was 18. However, one advantage of living so near the Channel ports is that I can easily pop over to France where I have friends and family, and also to Spain. The last surviving member of the French branch of our family is my 95 year old aunt whom I spend many happy hours chatting with – though she’s so talkative I usually end up just saying ‘Oui’ and nodding lot. I don’t speak Spanish nearly as well as I’d like but I love the language and culture and go to a class once a week, which I really enjoy.

Well, I kudos to you that you've written novels in French. People keep asking me when I'm going to translate my novels into Dutch, but I wouldn't dare. My Dutch is far too …shall we say…singular...Anyway, your novel, Fraud, now. It's just brilliant. It's recently been nominated for best novel of the year in the 2014 E-festival of Words, and it still rates as one of the best novels I read last year, certainly the best of the general fiction I read. What was the inspiration for the book?



Thank you, Val. The idea came from my own futile attempts to get my work published and my amazement at the arrogant, discourteous and indifferent attitude of most publishers and agents to new writers. It seemed to me that it was less about the quality of the work than the name or face on the cover and I began to wonder if I would have stood a better chance had I been a gorgeous, attractive and feisty girl in her twenties rather than a boring old fart in his fifties. That was the germ of the plot but once I started writing, it kind of took on a life of its own as I got more and more involved in the reasons and motivation for dishonesty and the part it plays in our society.  

Ah, so that was it. It certainly spoke to me as a writer who's tried to get published. But Fraud was so full of deceptions and twists to the plot, it was totally riveting. I was amazed you managed to sort it all out in the end. Apart from that, though,  you've also written a fantastic set of short stories, plus two truly lovely novellas, but they're all completely different. Do you like trying out different styles and genres, or is there a common 'Peter Davey' theme that runs through them? One thing I have noticed is that they all feature very real and ordinary people. Is this something you like to focus on?



Absolutely. My characters are loosely based on people I know who – like most people – are rather ordinary on the surface but extraordinary when you get to know them. I find people who have had a lot of conflict and difficulty in their lives the most interesting (rather an obvious remark for a writer, I suppose). I also prefer writing about ordinary situations – real life as I experience it – and I’m not really into sci-fi, the paranormal or whatever. But you’re right, my books are quite different in style and I’m still trying to find my “voice” as a writer. As I’m going to be 64 in September, I suppose I’d better hurry up!

Well, I think you have a voice, and that's one of sincerity. I really appreciate it!  But I have to say that 'Loved and Lost in Lewisham', the short stories, are quite ribald and punchy in parts. By contrast, Patrick's Little Dilemma and Simone Simone are very sensitive and gentle stories. I loved them all, but I wonder which style you enjoy writing the most?

Peter: ‘Loved and Lost’ was the sort of book which could’ve been written on drugs (though it wasn’t, as far as I remember). I wrote most of it in a kind of mad splurge one weekend and whenever I’ve tried to repeat the exercise, I just sound silly and self-conscious (more so than usual). I’m aware that it’s rather uneven but it doesn’t seem to take kindly to revision so I decided to let it stand. I do have real trouble thinking up plots, though. The plots to all my stories have tended to evolve rather than be planned, and it is they (and the characters that emerge with them) that generally determine the style of the book.

Now you've really surprised me. I find your books incredibly tight structurally and very well crafted, so I imagine the evolution must always occur with a mind to the framework of the plot. Maybe this is because you also write poetry, which is pretty disciplined. That reminds me... what I did want to ask you is what parts do poetry and art play in your creative life? Do you spend as much time on these as you do on writing fiction?

Roughly equal, I would say. I love writing fiction in the morning - the earlier the better - but run out of steam by lunchtime so tend to go out and do some drawing or photography. I love the opportunity to share my poetry on the internet and get some feedback – which has all been so gratifying – but for me it’s a much more private and intimate activity, often just netting fleeting thoughts and observations. As to painting and drawing, nowadays I only work outside, directly from nature, so I do a lot less in the winter for obvious reasons. It provides a foil to writing – as long as I resist the temptation to lie back in the grass and fall asleep! I can’t really say which activity is more important to me – I think they are all different aspects of the same thing. 
  




Some of Peter's stunning drawings and art

I live with a photographer, so I think I understand that it has parallels with poetry - encapsulating moments and thoughts, that is. But this aside, I notice you only do e-books. Is there a reason for not producing paperbacks of your books through companies like Amazon's Create Space or Lulu.com?

No, I would love nothing better than to publish a paper book and have the pleasure of holding it in my hands. However, I do think, whether we like it or not, that e-reading is the future, at least for fiction. Perhaps, like the ‘Fifty Shades’ lady, I will be courted by Random House on the strength of my massive success on Amazon – though I rather doubt it!  


Well, even if you never gain those rather dubious heights, if you ever feel like making a paperback compendium of your work, let me know!  I would love to have a Peter Davey collection on my bookshelf rather than just in my Kindle - which brings me to my last question.  Is there anything new on the Peter Publications horizon?

Well, since Luc Besson hasn’t yet contacted me with that multi-million dollar offer to turn ‘Simone’ into a screenplay (No? what's he doing, then?), I’ll just carry on translating my other three French novels which I find interesting and enjoyable. I’ve also got a kind of psychological thriller on the go about a relationship between a young woman and an older man which has more to it than meets the eye, so hopefully that will come to fruition in the next year or two. Apart from that I will just carry on drawing and scribbling poetry and growing old disgracefully. 

Oops, sorry about the bump there! Someone's just crashed into the barge, so there goes your tea, Pedro! Just a thought, do you want to go for a spuddle? We can both be disgracefully old doing pirouettes with my rowing boat and outboard round the harbour…the ducks will be scandalised! 




For anyone who would like to buy any of Peter's wonderful e-books, you can find them here:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/PETER-DAVEY/e/B00AY5A9ZW/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Or find him on Twitter at:
https://twitter.com/PedroYevad
Or on Facebook at
https://www.facebook.com/peter.davey.50?fref=ts

15 comments:

  1. What a GREAT interview!!! I have one of Peter's lovely wateercolours in the Writing Attic and the Pink Sofa spends a lot of time whinging that it can't paint nearly as well.
    Peter, I am the complete opposite to you: I write best in the afternoon, and find the morning only good for small sketches of characters. I am really sad that none of your books are available in print - I have bad astigmatism, and find even working on a screen for a short time tires me out, so when I read, it has to be print. Yours are the books I lament most that I haven't perused. One day...........thanks for this,I really enjoyed reading it.

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  2. What a lovely idea - a dialogue in a blog! Great stuff, from both of you.

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  3. Great interview. I always envy people who have the ability to draw of paint ,a truely wonderful gift. I haven't read any of Peter's books but I might do now I see what a wonderful sense of humour he has.

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  4. Thank you all. I hope Peter will find his way back on board to answer to respond to some of these, but it was lovely for me to have him here. Val xx

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  5. Anne, I love his books. All of them. Each of them is completely different though!

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  6. Lovely idea to do an interview. I haven't seen any of Peter's work but will see if I can find anything on Google.

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  7. Thank you, Jenny! All Peter's books are on Kindle if you're interested!

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  8. Thanks so much for all the lovely comments Carol, Jo, Anne and Jenny and I was so grateful to Val for the opportunity to waffle on about myself and I'm glad you liked my drawings. I have some more available on FB and Pinterest. Carol, you've inspired me to get into print!

    Peter

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  9. Brilliant, loved this interview, so when are you all coming to the Funny Farm for fun and tea?

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  10. Yay!! I'm so glad you managed to comment, Pedro!! Whoopee! And brilliant that you are going to print! If you need any help, let me know! xx

    Heather, it's lovely to see you here too! Your funny farm is very high on my list of 'places I must go'!! xx

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  11. Thanks fabulous Heth for your lovely comments! I'm already living in a funny farm but I'd love to see it's French equivalent. Excuse me, pretty nurse has just arrived with my medication!

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  12. I'm not really anonymous by the way, Heather. The name's Bond. James Bond. But in my lucid moments I'm Pedro. Pedro Yevad. XX

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  13. Pedro, I don't think you could be anonymous if you tried, bless you! You're just so pleased you've conquered the commenting mystery you wanted to do it twice :) XX

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  14. THis interview totally rocks at all levels!!!!

    Madly catching up with everything after 5 days off so no time to be terribly witty - I love the dialogue aspect of this too - clever girl!! xx

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