Many thanks to Rachel @ Rachel’s Random Resources for arranging the following interview with Alice May…..
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
Hello, I am Alice May and I am the author of The House That Sat Down Trilogy. I used to be a GP practice manager, however, I recently left the NHS in order to focus on my writing career and I am thoroughly enjoying every minute of it.
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
The House That Sat Down Trilogy is inspired by true events. I came home from work one day to find that my house was in the process of falling down. It was a bit of a shock and the subsequent consequences led to the whole family moving into a tent in our back garden; when I say, the whole family, I mean my husband, myself and four children. Our house insurance company told us that we were not covered for the damage at the property. We ended up living in the garden for nearly eighteen completely crazy months. The House That Sat Down is a fictional story that draws on my experiences during that period of time and also what happened afterwards.
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
I don’t like to base my characters on people I actually know, because I hate the thought of offending anyone inadvertently. Nevertheless, in order to make protagonists believable, it is necessary to give them very human qualities, and in that way, like all writers, I cannot help but be influenced by those around me in some way, shape or form. However I am very careful not to draw direct likenesses from specific people.
How do you pick your characters names?
I find that if a character doesn’t jump into my brain with a name already allocated to him or her, I can really struggle to find the right one. I’ve tried all sorts of methods and sometimes a character can undergo numerous name changes as novel develops, which is something I have to remember to double check before we start on the editing process as it can get very confusing. On several occasions choosing a name for a new character has become a family game with helpful suggestions being put forward at all times of the day and night. Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell? The characters in my books are all resident in my head and the stories build up waiting for the moment that I can spare time to write. Then, my process is very simple. I turn on my laptop and start typing and it is never very long before those stories take over and whichever plot I’m working on leaps forward. The first draft of any chapter is usually a bit ropey, but once it is down and I know where it is going, then I can then have some fun with it, building on the main concepts and leaning into the main emotional journeys unfolding on the screen.
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
That is a really tough question, because I genuinely admire so many authors. I love Claire McGowan’s books – I also enjoy it when she writes as Eva Woods. I really enjoy work by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling), Jojo Moyes and Jodie Picoult. I also love teen and YA fiction with my two favourite teen/tween authors being Ali Sparkes and John Flanagan. Oops! That’s already way more than five – sorry! There are so many more fantastic authors I could mention… If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them? It’s always amazing to meet with authors, so, as with the above question, it is tricky to narrow it down. However, I met Ali Sparks once, about ten years ago when she gave a talk at our local library. She was incredibly inspiring to listen to and I’ve often wondered if she realises what a fantastically positive role model she is for the young people she visits in schools and libraries.
Were you a big reader as a child?
Absolutely – I was always curled up somewhere with a book. I found very early on that disappearing into a book was the perfect way to escape from the madness of being a teenager. Not much has changed in the intervening thirty-plus years.
When did you start to write?
I began to write in January 2016, shortly after we moved back into the house after rebuilding it. The whole saga of The House That Sat Down simply wouldn’t leave me alone until I had told it, right through to the end. I wrote day and night to begin with, and three weeks later I ground to a halt to find I had over 60,000 words and the first draft of the first novel, ‘Accidental Damage – tales from the house that sat down’. A year later I was to write the second, ‘Restoration – more tales from the house that sat down,’ and a year after that, I completed the third, ‘Redemption – moving on from the house that sat down.’ The House That Sat Down Trilogy is now complete and I have enjoyed writing every single moment of its creation.
What are you working on right now?
I am currently editing the first novel in a new trilogy set in the New Forest. Books 2 and 3 are planned out but still in a very skinny state. I’m looking forward to getting my teeth into flashing these storylines out.
Do you have a new release due?
Not yet, I’d like the second and third books to be in a more advanced state, before triggering the whole release / launch madness for the first. It is always nice for all three books in a trilogy to be released with carefully co-ordinated timing.
What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?
I like to raise a glass of something nice at my local pub, and following that I think a takeaway is always an excellent idea.
How can readers keep in touch with you?
With thanks to my wonderful daughters for their kind assistance, I now have a wealth of social media links and can be found on any of the following: Facebook @AliceMayAuthor Twitter @AliceMay_Author Instagram: alicemay_author_artist YouTube: alicemayartist
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
In spite of the fact that The House That Sat Down Trilogy was born from a period in my life of complete and utter disaster, I am so grateful that it has ultimately become something so positive and uplifting. The whole journey from the ruins of my home and my life as it was then, to now has been quite unexpected and most transformational. Something that I thought would destroy me completely has, with hindsight, had completely the opposite effect. It just goes to show that good things can come from bad, triumph is possible over tragedy, and nothing is ever the end of the world.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Alice! 🙂
The House That Sat Down Trilogy: Omnibus Edition
Inspired by a true story, The House That Sat Down Trilogy is a tale of triumph over tragedy. It is an astonishing account of sudden, first-world homelessness in the heart of the New Forest, and the unexpected consequences. Written entirely from a mother’s point of view, following the collapse of her family’s home, it is an uplifting and positive read in spite of the subject matter, with a thread of wry humour throughout. Follow this ordinary woman on an extraordinary journey of survival and self discovery as she reels from disaster, before picking herself up and coming back stronger and wiser than before. Packed with humorous observations about what it is like to live in a tent in your garden with your husband and four children after a significant part of your house falls down out of the blue one day, this story takes you from the depths of despair right through to the satisfying heights of success against the odds, with lots of tea and cakes on the way.
Follow this crazy family as they cope with disaster in their own truly unique and rather mad way, and celebrate each small triumph along the way with them.
About the Author
I am a multi-tasking parent to four not-so-small children, and I am fortunate enough to be married to (probably) the most patient man on the planet. We live in, what used to be, a ramshackle old cottage in the country. Our house began to fall down out of the blue one day, which resulted in the whole family living in a tent in the back garden for quite some time, while we worked out how to rebuild our home. A few years afterwards, I decided to write a book and, once I started, I found I couldn’t stop. Inspired by true-life events ‘Accidental Damage – tales from the house that sat down’ wouldn’t leave me alone until it was written. Within six months of self-publishing my novel, I was delighted to learn that it had won two ‘Chill with a Book Awards’. This was a massive honour and motivated me to continue writing. Accidental Damage became the first book in a trilogy. The Omnibus edition of all three books in the House That Sat Down Trilogy is now available via Amazon in both paperback and kindle format.
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happy reading 🙂