It is such an honor to welcome wonderful Fiona Davis to The Debutante Ball! Fiona is the author of one of my favorite books THE DOLLHOUSE (now available in paperback!), and her new book THE ADDRESS is coming out this Tuesday, August 1st! Congratulations, Fiona! As someone who absolutely loved THE DOLLHOUSE, I cannot wait to get my hands on Fiona’s latest!
THE ADDRESS tells the story of two women, a century apart, whose lives are forever altered by their time in New York City’s most famous residence, the Dakota.
After a failed apprenticeship, working her way up to head housekeeper of a posh London hotel is more than Sara Smythe ever thought she’d make of herself. But when a chance encounter with Theodore Camden, one of the architects of the grand New York apartment house The Dakota, leads to a job offer, her world is suddenly awash in possibility—no mean feat for a servant in 1884.
One hundred years later, Bailey Camden, an interior designer and former party girl with a complicated family history connecting her to the Dakota, gets an opportunity to oversee the renovation of an apartment in the building. Dismayed by the requested changes to the original design, but desperate for work and distraction from the temptations of the 1980s party scene, she jumps at the chance. As her work begins, she discovers a century-old secret of murder and madness within the building’s walls that just may change her life forever.
And guess what? You can enter to win a copy of THE ADDRESS by retweeting on twitter :
— The Debutante Ball (@DebutanteBall) July 29, 2017
You can also enter by sharing the post on Facebook. We will select and contact the very lucky winner on Friday, August 4th at noon (US Only).
Welcome, Fiona!! We’re thrilled to have you on The Debutante Ball!
Tell us a secret about the main character in your novel.
When I was trying to get a visual sense of the character of Sara Smythe in The Address, I found myself drawn to an 1892 painting by John Singer Sargent of the British aristocrat Lady Agnew. In the portrait, Lady Agnew wears a frothy white dress with a lavender sash, exactly what you’d expect from a wealthy member of the upper class. But her gaze is direct and penetrating, one eyebrow slightly raised, as if she’s looking right back at you and not entirely pleased at what she’s seeing. The contrast between her no-nonsense demeanor and the lush surroundings intrigued me to no end, and gave me the idea to place a working-class character from a humble background in New York City’s Gilded Age.
Talk about one thing that’s making you happy right now.
A friend recently recommended one of those almost-ready-made meal delivery companies, and I’m loving it! (It’s SunBasket). Before, eating at home involved choosing the recipe, making a list, and going shopping before any cooking even took place, and then of course I’d end up with a bunch of limp parsley in the vegetable drawer of the frig. Now, three times a week, I unpack a bag, do a little chopping and mixing and end up with an amazing dinner. It’s still home-cooked, but with way less effort.
When you were a teenager, what did you think you’d be when you grew up?
My sophomore year of high school, I took an accounting course and thought I’d found nirvana –neat columns of numbers that had to add up, assets versus liabilities. I figured I’d be an accountant, which seemed perfectly reasonable given the rest of my family are engineers. But after flailing through Accounting 101 in college, I escaped to the literature and drama departments, where there were no absolutes and I learned life isn’t always a straight line.
Where do you love to be?
In my home office, where an angled mirror gives me a view of the Hudson River from my desk, and where I write. It’s full of photos of friends and pets and family, and I painted the walls a soothing perfect grayish-rose color (Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray, for any home renovators!) There’s also a chaise lounge covered in books to be read. I love the room because it’s where I have spectacular adventures without having to deal with airport security lines or jet lag.
What is your advice to aspiring writers?
There are a ton of great books on writing fiction out there – ones I return to again and again for inspiration on the technique and craft of creating a novel. These include Bird by Bird (Anne Lamott), Stein on Writing (Sol Stein), and On Writing (Stephen King). Once you’ve devoured them, head to the theater and take in a play. I learn something new about character, dialogue, pace, and tension from every show I see.
Fiona Davis is the author of THE DOLLHOUSE and THE ADDRESS. Based in New York City, she worked as an actress, journalist, and editor before turning to fiction, and is a graduate of the College of William & Mary and the Columbia Journalism School.
Want to know more about Fiona? Check out her Website and follow her here:
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