I absolutely adored every page of Beatle Meets Destiny, a quirky and very Melbourne-ish boy-meets-girl story. So I was very happy to get the chance to speak to author Gabrielle Williams, who is just as funny in an interview, as she is in her book.
I really enjoyed reading a book set in the Melbourne I know. Did you know from the start that the book had to be set in Melbourne? And on a related note, do you think people who live in Kew are going to get upset when they read your book?
Beatle Meets Destiny was always going to be set in Melbourne because I’m extraordinarily lazy. Setting it in Melbourne – in my suburb of East St Kilda – meant that when I needed to do research I simply walked out the door, went to the shops and came back again. Research done. And dinner bought for that night. It’s what’s known in the business as killing two birds with the one stone, and I’m a big fan.
On the other hand, I could have set it in Paris, France, which would have meant an overseas trip to the world’s most romantic city for research purposes, so … well, actually, funnily enough, my next book is going to be set in Paris, France.
Beatle is a very endearing character, despite the fact that he is cheating on his girlfriend. He’s not a bad guy – just a bit inexperienced and confused. Was it difficult for you to get this balance right?
I think Beatle is gorgeous. Kind of like my dream boyfriend – except for the cheating on his girlfriend part (that, and the fact that he’s eighteen and I’m … a fair bit older). But I think you’re right; he gets himself in a mess mainly because he’s confused and inexperienced. If he just tried a little bit of honesty, things wouldn’t go so horribly pear-shaped. But he’s trying, in his own funny way, not to hurt Cilla. Maybe that’s why he’s endearing – his heart’s in the right place, even if his lips aren’t!
Several of the characters in your book believe in superstitions, astrology, or the idea of destiny. Do you share these interests, or are you a sceptic?
My sensible self will tell you that horoscopes are crap. But then, secretly, I always read my horoscope. And I’m quite superstitious. And I wouldn’t walk under a ladder, even if you paid me. And the fact is, freaky things happen and you can’t help but notice them. For example, one of the themes that runs through Beatle Meets Destiny is the significance of names like Destiny. Ironically, in real life, my agent’s surname is Darling; a German film director has recently optioned the book and her surname is Justice; my publicist is called Rose (and roses trigger a fight in one scene in the book); and my editor’s name is Cat (and cats also feature heavily). Spooky? Yes. Superstitious? Me?
You have a real knack for the language teenagers use and the way they talk to each other. Have you been eavesdropping on all the teenagers you know?
I’m a shocking eavesdropper: my kids, my kids’ friends, teenagers on trams, couples in cafes, wherever I am, I listen in to other people’s conversations. I can’t help myself. I’ve even developed the skill of holding a conversation with one person, while at the same time listening in to the people behind me or beside me. Yes, Australia, I really do have talent.