This week I’m delighted to welcome Emma Tallon, author of the heartstopping thriller, Dangerous Girl, to my blog. Emma is interviewing her character, Anna Davis. First, let’s find out a bit about the story. Here’s the cover:
Sometimes your enemies are closer than you think
Anna is finally happy. She’s rid of her abusive ex and she’s co-owner of London’s hottest new club, with her best friend Tanya. But she is worried about her boyfriend, Freddie. He’s keeping things from her. And he won’t tell her where he goes in the middle of the night.
Freddie is furious. A girl has gone missing from one of his clubs and the police are all over him. When a familiar face turns up and threatens him, he’s offered a deal – find the girl or Anna will be killed.
With time running out, Freddie risks everything to save Anna’s life. And if there’s one thing Freddie Tyler is known for, it’s that he never gives up. Not without a fight…
What readers are saying about Dangerous Girl:
‘WOW WOW WOW I loved Runaway Girl and Dangerous Girl was no different, I devoured it in a day… the twist at the end had me shocked to the core, really did not expect that.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars
‘If I could have given more than 5 stars, I would as it is a truly riveting book and I look forward to the next one from Emma Tallon.’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars
‘What an amazing, totally addictive read it was, I was left speechless, if you enjoy reading books by Martina Cole, Mandasue Heller, Casey Kelleher, then you will just love this one.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars
‘Had me gripped from page one and the brilliant ending only leaves you waiting impatiently for the next instalment. An excellent 5 star read.’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars
It sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? Now let’s move over to the interview with Anna,
Interviewer: Today we have Anna Davis joining us, for our ‘meet the characters’ chat. I’ve got a few questions lined up, so I’ll dive right in…
- Anna, you’ve been dating businessman and London bad-boy Freddie Tyler for a while now. What first drew you to him?
Anna: It was his frank openness and his respect for my boundaries, I think at first. When we met, I wasn’t looking for anything. In-fact I was actively trying to stay away from men. But Freddie befriended me at a time where I really needed the support of friends. He didn’t push, he didn’t try it on or ask me out on a date. He was just there for me and made me laugh and made me feel… safe, I guess. Which I don’t think most people who think they know him would understand. But we just grew from there. We went through some… intense situations, shall we say, at the beginning. I think that drew us together and helped seal a bond that had already been forming.
- That’s interesting that you mention how he made you feel safe. You were in a very abusive relationship previous to meeting Freddie, with someone who was in the same line of work. Did that not make you wary? Did you not think at any point that you might have been walking straight into the same mistake?
Anna: No. I didn’t think that. Because Freddie is nothing like Tony. Tony Christou was a monster. He was a nasty piece of work who felt powerful when he hurt those weaker than him. He was sadistic and cruel, mainly I think, because he was too unintelligent to deal with his deep insecurities any other way. Men who act that way might talk the talk and think they’re smart, but they’re not. They’re just insecure cretins, blessed with a total of three brain cells.
Freddie might be in the same line of work and I’m not so naïve to think that he’s perfect, but he only resorts to violence when it is necessary. In his line of work, that is sometimes the case and we can’t escape that fact. But he would die before he ever hurt someone he cared about. There is a distinct line that he would never cross. Because he just isn’t that sort of person. He’s a good man, an intelligent one who works hard to give his family everything and to see them happy. I’d trust him with my life, if it came down to it.
- You seem like a very intelligent person yourself. You run a successful business, you’re very independent, confident, I was surprised to hear of your past with Tony. What made someone like you stay with someone like him?
Anna: It’s always people who have never been in that situation who ask this question. Domestic abuse is something that can and does happen to anyone. It is something that goes on behind closed doors, never in public. It can happen to the most powerful of women. The ones in the designer suits wearing the red lipstick, who crush goals at work and laugh the loudest at the party. It’s not just the ones who sit in the corners, hanging their heads and avoiding eye contact. It is a social disease that doesn’t come with a warning sign.
Domestic abuse is never just physical either. It’s mental too. Someone who wants to crush you and make you suffer or cower, has to trap you mentally. They have to make you think that you can’t get out, or that you deserve it. This is the real power that they wield and it’s much stronger than their fists.
They never start out that way either. No-one would stay with a guy who hit them on a first date. Instead they pretend to care, to be interested. They give you something you need, whether its someone to listen, a show of love, emotional support… and then when they turn on you, they apologise sincerely and explain in great detail why it was your fault that they did it. They’re very convincing. You’re shocked, but they tell you it was a one-off and you weigh up all the good against this one bad. And you stay. Then it happens again. This time the shock factor is fading, and again they’re sorry and it’s your fault. They tighten whatever hold they have on you. Perhaps they slowly alienate your friends and family so that they are the main person in your life, maybe they’ve taken over your finances, or hold your children against you. They’ll use anything.
Domestic abuse is a slow, strategic takeover of the mind. And no matter how confident or intelligent you are, if somebody that you’ve already let in emotionally plays with your head that way, the best of us can fall. Men, as well as women.
- I had no idea. You eventually left though, didn’t you? What was it that broke the cycle for you?
Anna: Tony had made sure that I felt like I couldn’t leave and threatened my life if I even tried. For a long time I was in a very bad place. I had sort of… folded into myself, in self-preservation. I tried not to think about it, kept my mind busy with anything else I could fill it with. I think when we are in that position, it is easier to just hide from it and pretend it isn’t real. Because the alternative, having to accept it whilst still going through it, is just soul crushing.
So, I just lived in a haze of awful acceptance most of the time, bracing myself for the worst beatings, accepting the blame and quietly cleaning myself up afterwards. I spent my time focusing on how not to anger him, rather than how to get myself out of it.
It was after a particularly bad incident, he had hospitalised me and… well, I don’t want to revisit the details. But that was the straw that broke the camels back. I was lying there in the hospital bed, broken and defeated and I realised that I wasn’t living anymore. That this sad existence was no life. And I decided there and then, that I would rather die trying to get away, than exist in a place where I was unhappy and bullied every day. I would rather start over again with nothing, than continue to be battered around that big house with all the expensive, meaningless crap inside.
I decided I wasn’t going to believe his lies anymore. I wasn’t going to accept that I was stupid, or weak, or a slut, or lucky to have him. Because none of that was true. I had no idea whether I would make a success of my life, or whether I would only manage to exist somewhere else in peace. But either of those possibilities was better than staying. So, I finally left. Terrified and with no real plan, but I did it. I broke free and I left that all behind me.
And I just want to add here, to anyone reading this that might going through the same sort of thing – talk to someone. Don’t keep it a secret and don’t let whoever is bullying you rule your life. Get out. There is always another option and there is always another corner ahead with something better around it.
- Thank you, Anna. Gosh, you were really brave. It must have been very hard for you. But you did go on to make a huge success of your life. Your club, Club Anya, is one of the hottest ones in London now. Can you tell me some more about that?
Anna: Yes! When I left Tony, I met my best friend Tanya. I rented a room in her flat. It was actually her idea, her ‘baby’. She had been saving up to open this club for a while and had some incredible ideas for what she wanted to do with it. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do at that point. I had worked in marketing before I met Tony and was thinking about trying to get back into it, see if anyone would hire me. But then I had the idea that perhaps I could offer myself up as a partner in her venture and she accepted.
It turned out to be a great decision as Tanya and I each have very different skills and experiences, and combined we were able to launch a great place to be. Tanya’s past gave her valuable insight into what works and sells in a club, what people want to see and do. She runs everything to do with the front of house, makes most decisions on the acts and the staff. I run the back office, keep things running smoothly on paper, deal with suppliers, pay the staff etc, and I also run our marketing campaigns.
It’s crazy to think back to when I left, to when I sat in that car with my whole life in a bag, having no clue of what was in store for me. I had no idea I was going to meet Tanya, or Freddie or start up a club… It just shows that you never know what’s around the next corner.
Now, three years on the club is still going well. We try to make sure we bring in new acts and keep things fresh, but overall we’re just really happy with everything. And seeing as it’s going so well, we’ve been talking about opening up something new, with a completely different twist to it…
I’m not going to say any more than that, until everything is finalised, but watch this space!
- That is intriguing! So what else is in store for you all going forward?
Anna: Who knows? I don’t think even we know what’s coming next. Hopefully our next venture goes well and is a success, but we’ll have to see. Freddie has some interesting plans in the works, but as I’m sure you’ll appreciate, I can’t discuss them. And Tanya… Well, after getting rid of that total snake, she seems to be moving on ok. There’s a new face on the scene and he seems pretty nice, so fingers crossed! We’re having the pair of them over for dinner soon, so I’m looking forward to that.
- Oh nice! So, one last easy question then, what are you planning to cook for this upcoming dinner date? Any favourite dishes?
Anna: Freddie’s favourite dish of mine is a slow cooked beef stew, but Tanya isn’t a fan, so I’ll be scouring the cook books to find something new to try this time. Possibly a fish dish, or some sort of curry – all I know is whatever I do choose, I won’t be using tabasco sauce…
Interviewer: Hahahaha! Indeed! I don’t think any of us will ever look at a bottle of tabasco the same way again, after Tanya’s rather creative use of it. Thank you, Anna, for speaking with me today and good luck with everything going forward.