Friday Evening, Eight O’Clock
By author – Nino Gugunishvili
Tasha is a dreamer in search of a new dream.
She’s bored with Pilates. She’s never tried yoga. She doesn’t even have a driver’s license. She lives a pretty ordinary life as a freelance writer who battles the occasional flow of melancholy with the regular flow of martinis. Nestled into her couch, her television remote in one hand and a cold adult beverage in the other, she’s found a favorite way to pass the hours on a Friday evening. It’s comfortable and familiar, but it’s not exactly an exciting way to live. With two of her closest friends, a bossy mother, an eighty-two-year-old grandmother, and Griffin, her fat yellow Labrador at her side, she knows that there has to be something better out there.
When she gets an unexpected offer to relocate to France to write a magazine column, she thinks her circumstances are improving. But life in a new country isn’t all pêches et la crème. Now far away from her comfort zone, Tasha must find the inner strength to start a new career and navigate the bizarre and unknown world of professional jealousy, intrigue, and conflicting personalities in a very foreign land.
It’s enough to make a girl yearn for those quiet nights on the couch.
Author Q & A
1. First of all, could you please tell us a little about yourself?
Up until the winter of 2013 I would introduce myself as a media manager, or a programme buyer, or a film critic. Or, I would tell you that I have studied film and later arts management and all of it would not only be true, but an integral and a very important part of my adult life. I didn’t know back then, until the wonderful winter of 2013 that I would write a novel someday. It seemed a little too unrealistic, too dreamy, too somewhere not now, in the future.
2. If you had only a few words or sentences to persuade a reader that Friday Evening, Eight O’Clock should be their next read, what would you say?
If you’re searching for romance, unbelievable adventures, career twists blended with a thrill and drama and lots of laughs, it’s all right in front of you! So, go grab it!
3. How did you come up with the idea of writing Friday Evening, Eight O’Clock?
I know for some it may sound weird and ridiculous but I came up with an idea of writing this book while standing on my apartment balcony. On the serious side, I think, that the story of Tasha and Liz and Balthazar, Dmitri or Darren, of course is influenced by anything I’ve read or seen.
Almost every character in Friday Evening, Eight O’Clock is introduced to a reader on a stage of their lives when the change, often unexpected and drastic is just around the corner, so for me, it was very interesting to put them out of their settled lifestyles and present them with a challenge to see who they become and how they deal with the world where rivalry, jealousy, competitiveness, intrigue and even love pushes you to a certain limit. In my belief, this is the story of moving out of one’s comfort zone while entering an unfamiliar cultural and social landscape. It’s about establishing yourself while pursuing your goals and dreams. It’s about relationships within our families, friends, colleagues, it’s about love, career driven choices we make and betrayals we face. It’s about decisions that define or affect us. Ultimately it’s about transformation of individuals and what they are capable of doing to achieve their goals.
4. When did you first realize you were going to be a writer?
Probably, as early as in my childhood I sort of knew what I wanted to be. I’ve always invented and wrote essays, sketches, stories and really awful poems sometimes. I loved to be alone and fantasize, imagining alternative endings to books and films that I liked.
As far as I remember, in the second or third grade with the two of my closest friends we came up with a story of a little dwarf and wrote it in a brown covered notebook. Sadly, it got lost and who knows, maybe it would have become a nice little book for young children!
5. I feel as if this book could be about me. I don’t have a driver’s license either, I had a yellow lab Snowy, I’m only more into G&T than martinis haha.. Is there anything biographic in your novel?
Huh, G&T are perfect for me as well! Well, yes and no… I’ve never worked in publishing as Tasha, but I’ve been at the TV industry for quite some time. I’ve never worked abroad, but you never know, maybe there’s a phone call waiting, inviting me to embark on adventure!
6. Do you have any pets?
I do and I strongly believe that having a dog was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. My 10 year old English cocker spaniel is Figaro, but we call him Figu and he deserves a book about his antics to be written.
7. What made you choose the country of ‘du pain et du vin’ as a setting, do you have a special bond with France?
Absolutely! I consider myself lucky to have spent time there in my twenties, when I studied French language in Paris. Those several months formed me in great many ways and I still recall that time as one of the happiest in my life.
8. What are your writing routines and where do you do most of your writing?
I don’t have a neatly set writing routine, but as a morning person I prefer working during the day, before evening. I write in my living room, nestled on a couch in front of an old, not very comfortable wooden table.
9. What’s your favourite book that you’ve read this year or last year?
Kite Runner by Haled Hoseini which I found to be a true jewel of a book, a real masterpiece! I don’t know why it took me so long to discover it.
10. What are you reading at the moment?
I’m reading two books simultaneously now. Yes, that’s a weird habit, I totally agree! One is by hugely popular contemporary Turkish writer – Elif Shafak – “40 rules of love” and another is Dehlia Ephron’s – collection of brilliant essays – “Sister, mother, husband, dog…” which I’m rereading actually, but loving it even more nevertheless.
11. If Friday Evening, Eight O’Clock became a film, who would you choose to play Tasha and why?
Jennifer Aniston or Drew Barrymore, I think they’ll bring an undeniable wit to the character of Tasha.
12. Are you working on a second novel yet and if so, can you tell us anything about it yet?
I’m at the very beginning of my first draft and as far as it goes it’s about two sisters who both to a certain extent are experiencing dramatic changes in their lives. And just this very instant while I wrote this sentence down, I realised that again my second book is going to be about changes.
13. Is there anything else you would have liked to be asked?
What movie character would you like to play?
… And my answer is: BRIDGET JONES of course!
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About Nino Gugunishvili:
Nino Gugunishvili holds MA in arts and has worked in the film and television industries. “Friday Evening, Eight O’Clock” is her debut novel. She lives in Tbilisi, Georgia
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