Today I’m delighted to welcome Nene Davies to Me, My Books and I:
Born in 1959, Nene Davies is technically a Baby Boomer and hopes that’s a good thing. She lived in England for her first ten years, until her parents returned to Wales where Nene was raised in beautiful Pembrokeshire. In 2002, Nene and her husband packed up their three children and emigrated to Australia.
Nene’s short story The Edge was commended by FAWNS in 2009. In 2012, her short story Miss Understood was published in Narrator Australia’s anthology, Day One appeared in the anthology Foreign Encounters by Writers Abroad, Santa’s Helper Helps Herself appeared on the ABC Open website and Nene’s writing group e- published Ten Minute Tales. Her first novel Distance was published in June 2013 by Really Blue Books. Nene lives her dream in sunny Brisbane and writes full-time.
To find out more:
Where did the idea for Distance come from?
In 2002, my husband and I together with our three children, emigrated to Australia from our small village on the West Wales coast. We were lucky; most people were incredibly supportive and we really had a very smooth journey, but I started to think about the ‘what ifs’. I feel sure that many people would also love to follow their dreams and emigrate to another country, but what if, for one reason or another, they are unable to do so? I gave my fictional family in Distance a mountain of problems and issues to overcome. The grandmother in the story is devastated that the family wants to emigrate and this leaves her daughter (the mother in the story) utterly torn between duty and dreams.
Who designed the cover and why did you go for that particular design?
I can’t claim any credit for the cover – it’s all down to my publishers, Really Blue Books. I absolutely love it – the colours remind me of outback Australia and there are two little birds which I like to think of as a mother and chick. Motherhood is such a strong theme of Distance.
Which of your characters would you like to meet in person and why?
I wrote Distance from the point of view of the mother, Isobel because I felt that she was the character I’d be able to relate to the most. I think we’d be friends, and though she can be an absolute drama queen at times, she has a kind heart and adores her husband Leo and their three children.
Is any part of Distance based on your own personal experiences?
Yes – the bones of the story are based on our experiences of emigrating across the world, but we certainly didn’t have the problems that Isobel and Leo face – my own mum was shocked that we wanted to leave Wales and didn’t feel that she could come with us, but she visited Australia four times for holidays and absolutely loved it!
What makes it stand out from the crowd?
It was my intention to write a really honest, warts and all story about what it could be like to uproot yourself and your family and travel to an unknown country, 12,000 miles away from home to start a new life. I’ve been told by some of my readers that it’s refreshing to have an honest and realistic account – things are not always sunbeams and rainbows, even in fabulous Queensland! A number of people have said that they’ve been moved to tears by the story – and that really blows me away as I think it’s my job as an author to create emotion.
Where is your favourite place to write?
I like writing longhand in a favourite coffee shop, but I really get down to work at home. My little office is blue and white and very calm. I love to have a scented candle and fresh flowers on my desk just to help with the serenity. I can’t concentrate if I’m surrounded by a mess, which is ironic really as I’m naturally a very untidy person!
Who are your favourite authors and do you think they have influenced your own writing in any way?
I’m always drawn to Australian authors, but a favourite author from way back, would be Maeve Binchy. Her talent in making you feel as though you are just sitting down over a cup of coffee and having a chat, is wonderful.
Are there any occupational hazards to being an author?
Writing is my passion, so I’d have to say no!
Who is the most interesting person you’ve ever met?
My lovely husband of thirty-one years. Life is never dull!
Paperback or eBook?
Distance has been digitally published, so I’m an e-book fan of course! But there is also something so special about a paperback. Perhaps it’s the new book smell, or the crispness of the pages. I love the tactile nature of book covers too.
Sweet or savoury?
I’m a chocolate fiend – so I’d have to say sweet.
Hot or cold?
Coffee has to be piping hot! Iced coffee has to be freezing cold! I don’t think I could really pick one over the other.
Early or late?
Dogs or cats?
We had two cats and a dog in Wales and now have a little rescue dog from the RSPCA. So again – both really.
Any last words for your readers?
Never give up on your dreams!
Thank you so much for being here today Nene, it was a pleasure to have you on my blog. I particularly enjoyed reading about your inspiration for the book!
Now check out the book:
“Forty year old Welsh mum Isobel Richardson can cope with most things; her husband’s redundancy, a shortage of money, three spirited kids and a demanding old house. She sees the loss of Leo’s job as a chance for new beginnings and her drive and determination propel the family towards a sparkling new life in Australia. However, Isobel’s mother Helen is devastated. Cold and unsupportive, she rejects Isobel’s invitation to join in the family adventure and throws the guilt card firmly down on the table. Isobel is horribly torn, but Australia’s promise of opportunity becomes irresistible and despite the difficulties, she truly believes they are doing the right thing. However, when the family lands in Oz and the longed-for dream unfolds, unbearable guilt at leaving a broken Helen behind is compounded by the pain of missing absent son Ben – and all the while Mother Nature is hatching some plans of her own. Isobel is reduced to a tearful mess, pushing Leo away, snapping at the children, overwhelmed, scared and irrational. Worn down and confused, she inches closer and closer to running back to her mother and the life she knew in Wales. After all, she reasons, Leo and the children don’t need her now. Has the great Australian dream really eluded her after all?”