Drew Davies: The Wanstead author making waves in women’s fiction

Drew Davies' new book - With or Without You - is out this Friday, July 31. Picture: Drew Davies

Drew Davies' new book - With or Without You - is out this Friday, July 31. Picture: Drew Davies - Credit: Archant

The new normal has been Drew Davies’ for some time.

The front cover of With or Without You, the latest book by women's fiction writer Drew Davies. Pictu

The front cover of With or Without You, the latest book by women's fiction writer Drew Davies. Picture: Bookouture - Credit: Archant

The Wanstead author watched on as coronavirus forced most of the country’s workforce to do what he has been doing for 10 years: work from home.

“It has been interesting to watch people adjust to the new normal, and see the issues they face — like cabin fever, or a lack of space.”

By nature, he is observant, something which has influenced his choice of career.

Drew is fascinated by people and their habits, with this natural interest a key part of why he currently sits amongst the UK’s most exciting women’s fiction authors.

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The 40-year-old finds this classification amusing; after all, “most books are written for women”, he says.

Be that as it may, Drew finds women “more interesting” to write about. With Drew’s third book out on Friday (July 31), he is evidently very good at it.

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To understand how he created With or Without You, it’s important to look back.

Born in London, Drew moved to New Zealand when he was four, enjoying a self-confessed small-town life until returning to London aged 21.

By that point Drew’s interest in writing was well established, having attended a performing arts school in Auckland alongside being declared New Zealand’s Young Playwright of the Year in 2000.

In his own words, he “began to be seen” as a writer around the age of 20, and once in London, he pursued that career in earnest.

As with most people, the breaks weren’t immediate. In fact, Drew’s first book — written at 24 — wasn’t published.

Coping with rejection requires perspective and balance, with the author possessing an abundance of both. This is no accident.

Alongside writing, Drew has always worked in digital marketing, a stabilising influence (in more ways than one).

“I need to see people and spend time in reality.”

Perspective also comes with age and experience, with Drew keen to attribute part of his success to this.

“As you get older, you relax into who you are. When I stopped worrying about success, things started to happen.”

By “things”, Drew is referring to the publication of his first book – The Shape of Us.

Published in 2018, he started writing the book when he was 30. With a knowing smile. Drew recalls how the book’s popularity grew: “Once one agent noticed it, others began showing an interest.”

Fast forward two years and Drew’s third book — With or Without You — is mere days away from publication.

Set in the fictional London borough of Chomley, the author reflects on how relevant its themes have become in the current situation.

“Although I started working on this book before Covid, it actually addresses a lot of themes which surround the pandemic, such as loneliness and neighbours helping neighbours.”

Chomley — the backdrop for a story both equal parts heart-warming and heartbreaking — is partly inspired by Redbridge, Drew’s adopted home.

He speaks glowingly of the area. “I moved here just over four years ago. I love it! During the pandemic I’ve been working with Age UK and Redbridge Mutual Aid — it’s important to be part of the community.”

In a manner fitting of the area, Without or Without You doesn’t shy away from important topics.

Its protagonist pair are a British-Asian couple, with Drew clear that this is by design.

Initial reviews of the book are “polarizing” he says, with a slight tone of satisfaction.

A book which makes people think will be received differently — “this is absolutely OK”.

After the dust settles on this Friday’s release, Drew’s attentions will turn to his next offering, due out in November 2021.

Despite being pressed for more, he is keeping shtum on the details.

What he will reveal, however, is his excitement for that next book; both its creation and release.

Drew is an author in love with the process; by his own admission, he loves writing books that satisfy a societal need, saying: “We need to feel a sense of communication, of wholeness.”

With or Without You will certainly create that.

For further information, visit bookouture.com or amazon.co.uk.

Find Drew on Twitter — @Drew_Davies.

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