Soaps.com recently caught up with Eileen Davidson (Ashley Abbott) to talk about her latest book, her new movie role, and of course, her storyline on "Y&R." Enjoy!
Soaps.com: "Swingin’ In the Rain" was another great read. You seem to have a knack for writing fast-paced page-turners. How do you do it?
Eileen: Well, I write with Bob Randisi, and he’s a big mystery/western writer, so he’s written a lot of those kinds of books, and I think, just naturally, with this kind of a book, it’s about solving the murder and it’s about them always being in some kind of a situation – it could be dangerous or funny or unusual – something is always happening, basically, in every scene; there are never any wasted scenes.
Soaps.com: There are a lot of twists – do you figure them out as you write or ahead of time?
Eileen: Bob hates to have any kind of a plot figured out, but I need to have something just so I know where I’m going. We try to compromise, but I always tend to basically know what’s going on – it helps me to write. I’ve also found that you can’t hold onto anything, and be too attached to it, because what always happens is in the process you find out things that are better than what you first contemplated.
Soaps.com: In a past interview, you said you like to give readers a glimpse into worlds that celebrities are sometimes privy to that regular people may not be. This book featured a club for swingers. We have to ask – what inspired you to choose that scenario?
Eileen: [Laughs] Of course you had to ask. Well, I was finding out that people who I am acquaintances of are into that, and I just thought how bizarre that this is a part of their every day life – not that they do it every day – but it’s a part of their social lives. It just seemed so bizarre to me.
Soaps.com: Did you visit a club?
Eileen: No, but I went to Scott Baio’s birthday party and met a woman there who asked if I was going to write another book, and I said yes, and I told her basically what the premise was, and she said, “Oh my God, I know somebody who was the manager of one of the biggest swingers clubs in L.A. for almost ten years.” So she told me to call her, and I did and she couldn’t have been more lovely. She was just fantastic; I was on the phone for an hour and asked her all kinds of details, and everything that she told me I put in the book. She did tell me she could get me into a club if I felt like I wanted to observe it or something, and I was thinking about doing it just as a lark, you know, but my husband wasn’t too keen on the idea…I thought about going with a bunch of girlfriends, but I don’t know – I can’t imagine really going there. It just didn’t happen.
Soaps.com: It’s great that real-life “Y&R” hair and makeup personalities George, Kathy, and Patti are in the book. Are the characters in the book anything like the real people?
Eileen: Not really, no. [laughs] I made Kathy and Patti both swingers, and I told them that. They were like, “Oh my God!” [laughs] So they’re really nothing like how they are in the book, but Patti does look great, so…
Soaps.com: What do they think of being in the book?
Eileen: I think they really like it. I wouldn’t mind being in somebody’s book; it’d be funny. Somebody sent me a t-shirt that says, ‘Be careful or you’ll end up in my next novel’.
Soaps.com: Those who have become attached to Alex, the main character in your novels, are eager to hear if there are plans to write more stories about her.
Eileen: I’m going to wait to see how the fourth book does – that takes a while to find out. Although I have some ideas for a fifth book, it’s really stretching the bounds of reality now having this soap opera actress constantly involved in murders, so I’d probably have to take it in a slightly different direction, and I just don’t know what that would be like. We’ll see.
Eileen: It’s a true story about Edward Fudge, who was part of a church in Athens, Alabama. He basically went against the church teachings and the teachings of the town in terms of spirituality, and became ostracized. I play his mother in the movie and it was just a great departure – I wore no make-up, they dyed my hair brown, it was mostly in the fifties so I have a knot at the end of my neck, I was wearing an apron - it was just a real departure and I loved it.
Soaps.com: When can we see it?
Eileen: Sometime next year. There will be a website and it’s on Facebook too, so they’ll be keeping people updated.
Soaps.com: Switching gears, your alter-ego on “Y&R,” Ashley Abbott, is currently embroiled in a murder mystery much like Alex from your novels – are you loving this storyline?
Eileen: I think it’s fun – anybody could have done it, and that kind of keeps you on your toes in terms of how you play each scene – you’re kind of straddling this ‘did you do it, did you not do it’ thing, and it’s an interesting way to be working.
Soaps.com: Ashley’s been dealing with a lot what with Abby (Marcy Rylan) being threatened, Tucker’s (Stephen Nichols) infidelity being revealed, being a murder suspect, and now learning that Katherine (Jeanne Cooper) is trying to have her marriage annulled. Could Katherine’s references to Ashley’s tendency toward instability actually come into play?
Eileen: Oh gosh, I don’t know. I don’t mind that, if it does. I like the fact that she’s bringing it up – you can’t ignore it, it’s like the elephant in the room – so I like the fact that she’s bringing it up and using it against her; it’s valid to a certain degree.
Soaps.com: Given the history between Katherine and Ashley, what do you think of Katherine’s treatment of Ashley since Tucker’s accident?
Eileen: Well, I certainly think it’s out of character and kind of shocking. That gives me a very strong point-of-view to play.
Soaps.com: It’s been great to watch. Has it been fun working with Jeanne?
Eileen: I love working with Jeanne. I’ve never worked with Jeanne that much – this has been like a real nice present to be able to work with her; she’s an amazing person.
Soaps.com: Ashley and Tucker have been interesting as a power couple, if you will, in business and the corporate world. Will there be more of this down the road?
Eileen: They’re going to have their ups and downs, but they’re definitely in each other’s lives.
Soaps.com: Any other hints at what’s in Ashley’s immediate future?
Eileen: Just a lot of big stuff going on – a lot of big, fun stuff.
Soaps.com: One of our Soaps.com readers wants to know what your favorite Ashley storyline is, and who your favorite love interest has been.
Eileen: [laughs] Oh my God, I can’t! It’s like choosing a child; you can’t choose your favorite love interest. I love them all for different reasons. My favorite storyline? You know, I do like the way they’ve built this Tucker storyline, especially coming off the heels of her losing her daughter, Faith. Probably the breast cancer storyline was the most fulfilling in terms of being able to help people, but I’m liking the current one as well.
Eileen’s books are available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback, and at Barnes and Noble in paperback and Nook.
- Candace Young
Join us on Twitter @soapoperafan and Facebook. Come tweet and Facebook with us about "The Young and the Restless," all the other soap operas, "Glee" "Grey's Anatomy," and "Vampire Diaries!"