On the Couch with Brooke Davis

Brooke DavisWho is Brooke Davis?
Apparently she’s a fictional character from a show called One Tree Hill. The Good Reads website kept attributing quotes from her to me. I had to write to them and say, ‘These quotes are from a fictional character, not from me, who is an actual human being.’ They wrote back and said: ‘You certainly don’t seem like a fictional character,’ which I was glad about.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
The usual things: floss more, be better with my tax receipts, handwrite more letters, learn to sew, become a yoga legend. I love imagining what the life of a Perfect Brooke might be like. I think there’ll always be a pretty large gap between her and I.

Who inspires you and why?
My two brothers and my dad. I think it’s hard to know how to be a man in Australia sometimes, and I think all three of them do it uniquely and honorably and with a certain dorky, kind and loveable grace. My brothers are respectful, polite, gentle, and very funny, playful characters. And my dad has softened as he’s aged. I’m sure that was hard for him to do—he would have grown up with an idea of how a man should be, and he’s had to adapt to a changing world. He’s allowed himself and his views to change, and is always open to discussion about anything, even if it opposes his mindset. There’s a malleability to him that I didn’t know he possessed. My brothers and my dad are beautiful examples of how a man can be in the world. I respect and love them all so much.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
At the risk of sounding like a bit of a hippie, I’d love to have the chance to spread the very simple and small concept of practicing everyday empathy. So many of our experiences of this life might be different if we were taught about understanding and compassion for all human beings; if we were encouraged to devote time to think deeply about how things are for people who are not ourselves, whether it’s the postie or the refugee or the celebrity on the front cover of a magazine. If we were to make being kind to each other, and to ourselves, a priority—I just wonder what that kind of world would look like.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I love going home to Victoria: the weather can be pretty terrible and always reminds me of why I live in Perth! But my family is there, the landscape is incredible, and it’s definitely where my heart is.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
The sunset over the ocean. I’ve lived here for six years and have never gotten over how cool that is!

What are you currently reading?
Tara Moss’s The Fictional Woman. I want to be her when I grow up. It’s smart, considered, accessible and kind of heartbreaking. I just finished Evie Wyld’s All the Birds, Singing and was blown away by it. So very dark and such thrilling writing. I love the way she manipulates time in this novel, it’s so effective.

What are you currently listening to?
Agnes Obel.

Happiness is?
Stillness. A peaceful mind. Riding my bike along the Perth coastline in the very early morning. Reading a book (any one!) by Alice Munro.

What does the future hold for you?
I don’t really know, it’s such a strange time for me. I’ve been saying stuff for most of my life and suddenly people have started to listen to me. I just hope Future Brooke doesn’t say anything too stupid in public!

Brooke Davis grew up in Bellbrae, Victoria. She attempted to write her first novel when she was ten years old, which was a genre-busting foray into the inner-workings of a young teenage girl’s mind – Anne of Green Gables meets The Baby-sitters Club meets Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret – titled Summer Sadness. Fortunately it remains unfinished, as she quickly realised she didn’t know the first thing about sadness, or being a teenager.

Once she left those teenage years behind, she completed her Honours degree in writing at the University of Canberra, winning the Allen & Unwin Prize for Prose Fiction, the Verandah Prose Prize, and the University Medal. Brooke recently completed her PhD in creative writing at Curtin University in Western Australia, and was awarded the 2009 Bobbie Cullen Memorial Award for Women Writers, the 2009 AAWP Prize for Best Postgraduate Paper, and the 2011 Postgraduate Queensland Writing Prize while there.

She loves to sell other people’s books, and is sometimes allowed to do that at two very nice bookshops: one in Perth and one in Torquay. Lost & Found is her first proper novel, and much to Brooke’s surprise, proved to be the buzz book of the 2014 London Book Fair. The translation rights have since been sold into sixteen countries and major deals have been confirmed in the United States and Great Britain.

Lost & Found is published by Hachette Australia and is available from Bookworld and all leading book retailers.

Image: Brooke Davis