Author RA Williams opens up in an exclusive piece for Female First
Author RA Williams opens up in an exclusive piece for Female First

To celebrate the publication of his debut gothic horror The Gift (Whitefox), author RA Williams speaks to Female First and reveals five things he'd like his readers to know about him...

1. I was chucked out of the Hotel Meurice in Paris for writing “Herman Goering Slept Here” in their super cool frost wall instead of “Paris, je t’aime" or “J’Adore Le Meurice” like everyone else. It’s a point of fact that during the Nazi occupation of Paris in WW2, the Hotel Meurice was General Dietrich von Choltitz’s HQ.

2. Coming of age in the ‘80s I grew up on Punk and New Wave. In some ways, New Wave changed the entire trajectory of my life. There are 17 shoutouts to my favourite songs sprinkled through-out my books. Some are rather obvious, others cheeky.

3. Eleanor Annenberg, the main character in The Gift trilogy is based on an actual person I met, quite by chance, in Michigan in 1988 — once in the isles of a video store in Southfield and a second time one summer evening in Cranbrook’s boathouse with a lot of other cool kids.

Even as a teen, Blair Beitner struck me as someone bound for greater things. Kind. Confident. Charismatic beyond both her years and stature, this was a force to be reckoned with whatever her life path be. What became of her at the time I did not know.

I moved to Los Angeles before the ‘80s was over, often wondering what became of Blair. Wasn’t I the berk when I learnt 30 years later she became Selma Blair?

4. Victoria Beckham once tried to buy my pea coat for £10,000. Sounds reasonable?

In 2005 I was, by fate (a polite way to put it), part of a trendy clothing brand that partnered with Victoria Beckham. This was some years before her own VB brand took off. We attended a PR event in Tokyo with her team. In December it’s a bit chilly there so I brought along a Double RL pea coat with Lieutenant Commander pips on the collar. Little did I know her husband David was a huge Double RL fan and fancied the very coat I had, but was unable to score one before RL had sold through all 100 they issued (all news to me. I just liked the flippin’ coat).

So, Victoria offered me a very nice price for mine. I respectfully declined. I looked smart in the coat and didn’t want to give it up. When I next saw them at dinner in Beverly Hills, the first thing David said to me was: ‘Nice coat’.

5. I flew to London from Los Angeles for just a night in 2006, when Led Zeppelin played a single charity concert in London. I flew to England, stopping in Gander, Newfoundland to petrol up before the trip over the pond. Landed in Stansted where my Dad had served in the RAF and drove into London. Went to dinner before the concert, had a quick nap after and then flew back to LA.

Was it worth it? Come on. It was Led Zeppelin!

The Gift, by Ra Williams, is out now
The Gift, by Ra Williams, is out now

MORE FROM BOOKS: Five things I'd like my readers to know about me, by West Camel

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