Today’s guest is one of my favourite authors and all round favourite people: Amanda Jennings. Amanda writes psychological dramas including The Cliff House, In her Wake, and The Storm. She is currently writing her sixth book. Or should be. She is probably staring out of the window.
Let’s have it, Jennings…
How many times have you watched Top Gun?
I’m not sure I can give you the exact number. More than ten less than 20? I had a huge crush on Val ‘Ice Man’ Kilmer and the volleyball scene was quite the moment for 13yo old me. When I watched it with my eldest daughter, and she saw the sad scene, you know the one (no spoilers), she turned to me in horror and said, ‘Please tell me he’s ok?’ I laughed and said, ‘Nope, this is the kind of trauma we had for entertainment growing up. That’s why Gen X are all so screwed up’.
Tequila Sunrise or Pina Colada?
Pina Colada, baby! On a beach. Sand in my toes. Sea lapping… Oh god. Why am I not there RIGHT NOW??
Why are coconuts so difficult to open?
Because if you are stranded on an desert island and the only food is coconuts you want to make sure it takes a few hours of your time to get the suckers open. Something to do, innit.
What’s your secret party piece?
I watched Audrey Horne tie a cherry stalk into a knot in Twin Peaks and thought, ‘That’s ridiculous, nobody can do that.’ Anyway, next time I had cherries I tried it. KNOCK ME DOWN WITH A FEATHER if I didn’t find I could do it. I have to gurn like I’m passing a hard-to-open coconut while I do it, so I wouldn’t call is a sexy party trick, but it’s pretty cool.
What was the first gig you went to?
I’m getting PTSD remembering this, but it was Iron Maiden when I was fifteen. My dad is a dentist and he was given VIP tickets to see them at Wembley by a patient of his, who happened to be Nicko McBrain, the drummer for the band. So my parents took my twelve year sister and I. My dad wore salmon pink trousers and a collared shirt, and my mum wore high heels and and a smart jacket, and seemed to think it was perfectly ok to wander around amongst all these hardcore, very cool, heavy metallers with our stupid VIP badges on. I walked the obligatory ten metres behind them, of course, but every moment was excruciating.
What’s your favourite joke?
NOBODY EVER LAUGHS AT THIS BUT I STILL LOVE IT.
Q: What do you do with a spaceman?
A: Park in it, man.
Did you like school?
I loved school. I know. I’m weird. I loved school dinners and the fact that all my friends were there. I loved breaking the rules and putting on plays and passing notes in class and getting gold stars. I even loved exams. School was basically a place where there was a lot of opportunity to have a lot of fun. I think, despite aspirations of being an unconventional rebel, I am essentially addicted to timetables, institutional food, and being told what to do. Unless the rule is ‘Don’t walk on the grass’. If I see a sign telling me not to walk on grass it’s a physical impossibility not to walk on the grass…
What’s your most unrealistic ambition?
I’m not a massively ambitious person. I don’t really have any hard and fast goals. But maybe winning a best actress Oscar? Yeah. That would be cool. I mean, I’d have to get an acting job first.
Do you find it hard to take criticism?
Nobody likes criticism, do they? I always feel floored by it, but then tend to get the bit between my teeth and say, ‘Right, fine, I’ll do again,’ then grumble and swear and do it again and realise the criticism was totally right and grudgingly admit it.
What’s the worst place you’ve been sick?
My best friend and I went down to my gran’s house in Cornwall for a weekend away from university when we were about twenty. Gran lived in a bungalow nowhere near anywhere to go out for a drink. So the two of got hammered on gin and tonics at home. When I ran to the toilet to be sick, my friend was already there, being sick herself. She waved me away. Hand over my mouth, I ran into the bathroom and was sick into my gran’s pink bathtub. I had to get up at six in the morning and try and force it down the plughole and unblock the drain outside. Well, you did ask.
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