February 2014


Edwina Darke left Sydney at age 18 to go travelling. Among other adventures, Edwina worked as a ski instructor in Austria, studied the history of fine art in Florence, lived in London and ended up spending the better part of a year living with a friend in Manhattan, New York, the setting for her debut novel, Three's A Crowd. She now lives in Sydney.

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  1. 1. What inspired you to write Three’s a Crowd?

    I’ve always loved making up stories – I have snarky bits of dialogue floating around in my thought-space all the time. They’re like knitting projects; I pick them up and put them down at random. The first scene I wrote in Three’s A Crowd was the prologue where Elan is about to be fired. The scene of this snarky, unapologetic woman being fired for a mess partially of her own making was the first row of stitches in the project and Three’s A Crowd evolved from there.

  2. 2. What is it about your main character, Elan, that will appeal to readers?

    When I create characters I try to keep them balanced, so for every good quality I give them there’s a corresponding flaw. With Elan, I started with three character traits I thought would make a good heroine: she’s loyal, hard-working and quick witted. She’s also at times single-minded to the point of blindness, terribly stubborn and says things that she shouldn’t. I hope also that she comes across as a kind character because I certainly intended her to be; a little selfish, but also kind. I think Elan will appeal to readers because of her flaws. They’re what make her Elan.

  3. 3. Being an Aussie, why did you set it in Manhattan?

    Mainly, because I love Manhattan. It’s a city of dreams, endless possibilities and romance. It’s full of museums, art galleries and restaurants and there’s always something new, fun and fabulous happening there. Also the population has amazing diversity. It’s a melting pot of a city, which allowed me to play around with a lot of different cultures and characters. I spent quite a bit of time there and, in addition to using my own experiences, there were elements of wish fulfilment. Living in Sydney is wonderful but I do miss the bright lights and throbbing pulse of Manhattan.

  4. 4. How did your own Manhattan experiences influence the story?

    A lot. Many of my favourite haunts turn up in Three’s A Crowd: Boucheron Bakery, the Dean and Deluca in the West Village, Central Park, and the glorious Central Park Ritz. There are more but I’ll cap myself here. On my last trip back to Manhattan I made a point of going to visit Central Booking (affectionately known as The Tombs). I dragged a girlfriend of mine with me on this visit and I vividly remember her looking around and saying ‘you always take me to the nicest places’ which became part of the scene when Elan made her trip there. Part of the fun of writing Three’s A Crowd was revisiting all these places with my characters and imagining what they’d be doing there. Behaving badly for the most part, as it turned out.

  5. 5. Elan had three men to contend with – Hunter, Luke and Rox. Which character was the most fun to write?

    Rox. Undoubtedly Rox. He was also the easiest character to write, in fact he practically wrote himself. He waltzed on to the page as this cheeky, fun, snark-master general and from the first bad pick-up line I adored him. Luke was a pretty close second though. One of my favourite scenes to write was the scene where Luke and Rox meet for the first time. Underneath all the bonhomie they were definitely eyeing each other up in a ‘mirror-mirror-on-the-wall-who-is-the-fairest-of-them-all’ kind of way.

  6. 6. Which celebrity would you most like to work on a memoir with?

    Ooh, good question. Michael Fassbender, maybe. He’s gifted, gorgeous and there’s an intensity about him. I’d bet he’s a man with an interesting story. Or Ellen Page. Has everyone seen her amazing speech at Thrive, the LGBTQ youth conference in Las Vegas? I cannot say how much I admire her bravery, compassion and raw honesty about her own failings. There is a woman with a story that has the potential to change lives.

  7. 7. Tell us about your journey to getting your book published.

    It took a little over twelve months after I finished the first draft of Three’s A Crowd and it felt like an eternity. I was lucky that I had a friend who knew someone at Penguin, but it took three months for my manuscript to make it to someone who got back to me even with that advantage. In the meantime I’d sent emails out to everyone I could think of. Scores of rejection emails from agents and publishing houses flooded my inbox and the really depressing thing was that most of them were rote emails; they’d not even bothered to read the first chapters. Even after the lovely ladies at Penguin got back to me it took six months from there to find a place where I’d fit. After about three months of back and forth I was given what I thought was a definitive ‘no’. Of course I was crushed, but I’d got some really positive feedback from the two editors I’d been in contact with so I sent them a ‘thank you for everything, I wish you the best’ note. A little over a month later I got an unexpected phone call from another editor, who ended up being my editor, and she signed me.

  8. 8. Three’s a Crowd was released on Valentine’s Day – how did you celebrate?

    I threw a party. There was a cake iced with the Three’s A Crowd cover, pink and silver balloons and prosecco cocktails laced with vodka-strawberry compote to give them a nice, lethally alcoholic, pink tinge. My mother, very sweetly, had the cover blown up into a 1.3m-tall canvas and set it in the hallway. It was the most divine night, friends and family were all wonderfully supportive and I felt very spoiled. This is a picture from the night. You can see the cake in the background and the roses were a present from my younger brother. Is he the sweetest or what?

  9. 9. What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt from another writer?

    Woody Allen: ‘80% of success is turning up’. There were days when I didn’t write, days I didn’t feel like writing and days I thought everything I’d ever written was totally and completely pointless, worthless, hopeless and I should have given up then and there. I kept going. Two years and four months since I put pen to paper and my first book has just been published. Most of the time, I honestly thought I’d never get here, but I tried anyway. The best piece of advice I have to give on the process: when in self-doubt, try anyway.

  10. 10. Tell us about your varied career path.

    It’s called not being able to make up my mind! I’ve wanted to be a writer since forever but for a long time I doubted I had the ability for it. To begin with, I was naturally much better at maths than stringing words together. It’s difficult to convince people (and most especially yourself) you’re born to write when your English reports are all Bs and Cs and your Maths reports are straight As. So I took some time off after high school to think about things and, naturally, didn’t end up thinking about much of anything. I did have an absolute blast though! I got my skiing instructor’s licence in Austria and worked there for a couple of months, then ran off to Italy and studied history of art. From there I flitted over to London to spend a few months with my sister and after that I ended up crashing on an old friend’s couch in Manhattan. There I fell in love and probably well overstayed my welcome. Eventually reality intruded and it was time to go home and start university. When I got to university, I did the ‘smart’ thing a.k.a. a commerce degree, majoring in accounting (with an arts degree, majoring in psychology and journalism as liberal arts afterthought). Then, after graduation, I got a job at a stockbroking firm. I enjoyed it, in fact I still enjoy it, investing in the market is educated gambling and playing poker is a long time hobby of mine. Still my fingers itched and in November 2011 I signed up for NaNoWriMo and that was when Three’s A Crowd began.

  11. 11. What are you working on next?

    I’m working on the sequel to Three’s A Crowd. Elan, Luke, Rox and the rest of the gang aren’t done yet!

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