Debbie Bennett at Sue’s Blog Party
Welcome to day three of my Blog Party. Jessie Hastings had to leave to start her shift at the restaurant, but she said she had great fun. Hopefully some other characters from my latest novel, ‘Love Them and Leave Them’ will be turning up later in the week. My first guest today is the fabulous Crime Writer, Debbie Bennett. I see Debbie’ s holding a bottle of Baileys, and, what’s that behind her? Wow, she’s brought a large, squishy sofa for us all to sit on. What a brilliant idea, after all, this place is starting to fill up. Whilst we try to work out how to get the sofa through the door, why don’t you take a look at Debbie’s Q&As?
What is the first book you remember reading or having read to you? I grew up on Enid Blyton starting with the Five Find-Outers and moving into the Famous Five. I remember my dad bringing me a book home from work every Friday – books were never presents in our house because they didn’t count as we got them anyway! I must have been five or six as I was younger than the characters and I was cross that I couldn’t be them and have their adventures! But even earlier, I remember a big hardback book with lavish colour illustrations of Pinocchio. I was utterly spellbound by the Blue Fairy and I’d dress up as her. Many years later, I watched the film AI as an adult and when the Blue Fairy appeared in that, it brought the memories back!
What are you currently reading? I’ve just finished two books: Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Children of Time – an incredible and extraordinary SF epic that messes with your head. And I’ve just re-read Still Alice, which yet again I found moving and scary. Not sure what’s up next.
Who would be at your dream dinner party (alive, dead or fictional)? Hmm. I’ve done dinner with Neil Gaiman (no, really, I have …) and a lot of my favourite authors. And I’ve no real desire to have dinner with anyone else who’s famous (unless we’re talking Luke Pasqualino or Aidan Turner, and I’m twenty years younger and few stone lighter, and there’s wine and candles involved …) So who else? Fictional, maybe. Well Dr Who would be a fun dinner date – who knows where or when I’d eat – and I could have a holiday too and still arrive home before I left.
What’s the best advice you have ever received? Don’t dream it, be it. Credit for that must go to whoever wrote the Rocky Horror lyrics! Musical and movie aside, it’s always struck me as a great way to live. Why spend your life wishing for what you want – go out and be what you want to be. I’ve tried to bring my daughter up that way – telling her she can be or do anything she wants in her life, provided that she’s prepared to work hard for it.
What’s the worst advice you have ever received? You can’t, because … Red rag to a bull. Oh yes I can – and I will. Kind of the opposite of the best advice really. Careers advice at school was pretty awful too. I went to a private girls school that measured itself on the number of girls who went to Oxford or Cambridge university. When I dropped out of the applications process and decided I’d rather be a bigger fish in the smaller pond of an ‘ordinary’ university, I was more or less abandoned careers-wise at school. I studied science, because that’s what I was good at, but nobody ever thought to ask me whether that was what I wanted. In retrospect I should have been a journalist.
Describe your best ever holiday. Real or imaginary? I’d love to go on a cruise. Anywhere would do, but ideally to the Mediterranean with a stop-over in Barcelona (never been – and I adore Gaudi and want to look at the architecture), Venice (again, never been but the place fascinates me) and then a side-trip down the river Nile because that’s a bucket list item – seeing the pyramids at dawn by camel. I love the idea of exploring inside the pyramids, but in reality, I suspect I’d decline; while I’m not claustrophobic, I’m not sure I could wriggle down those tunnels without freaking out! And I’d have an exterior cabin on the ship with a private balcony. I’m sure this will all become reality one day, when Hollywood comes calling.
Is it best to always tell the truth or is it sometimes better to tell a little white lie? White lies every time. Why hurt somebody’s feelings unnecessarily? I’m one of those annoying people who has an opinion on everything. It’s usually unasked for, too, but there are times when I’ll lie. You’re trying on a dress and it looks awful on you? I’ll tell you in the nicest way possible (I’m a great person to take shopping if you really want an honest opinion). You’re trying on a dress at home that you’ve already bought? I’ll lie and tell you it looks wonderful and then try to find ways of making it look better for you.
What’s your signature dish? Chilli. With corn chips and salsa on a Saturday night, watching rubbish reality television with my 20 year old daughter snuggled up on the sofa. Add in chocolate and I’m in heaven. Bliss!
Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook, why? Oh Facebook, most definitely. I just don’t get Twitter at all. I can’t distil anything into such small soundbites (I’m a novelist – I have and do write short stories, but very infrequently). And Twitter moves so fast; it’s like holding signs up to cars on a busy road – they’re miles away before you’ve even finished. How do you form and maintain any kind of relationship with anybody on Twitter? Whereas Facebook groups my conversations together. I’m a member of lots of groups, open and secret, and it’s such a good way to stay in touch with people. When my daughter was working abroad, it was the easiest and cheapest way to stay in touch and we could chat as a family without all of being free at the same time.
Thanks for those answers, Debbie. I very rarely wear dresses, but, I’ll know who to come to if I ever plan to try one on. 😉 I love your analogy of Twitter. I find it moves very fast too. I’m always worried I’m ignoring someone by accident.
Did you hear a knock at the door? Let’s see who my next guest is …