Little Beauty: A Chat with Alison Jameson and a Giveaway!

litte beautyAs I mentioned yesterday when I reviewed Little Beauty, I have been given the opportunity to ask the author, Alison Jameson a few questions, which are below.
When you’ve finished reading then why not enter the giveaway t win one of five copies of Little Beauty to see what a brilliant book it is for yourselves?

Little Beauty by Alison Jameson is out now published by Doubleday Ireland and priced at £14.99

Why do you write?

I write because, ultimately, it makes me happy. I feel I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing in life and that makes me feel content and ‘grounded’. Before becoming a full-time writer I worked in advertising for many years and in the end I left because I felt I was in the wrong job. Writing is not easy but it’s good to get up in the morning and look forward to my working day—instead of tossing and turning—which I did most Sunday nights!

Where is your perfect place to write?

I love the quiet of an empty house, when my husband and son are out and I know I have the place to myself. I have a little study at the top of the house but sometimes I still like to write at the kitchen table—where I’m close to the kettle and can make lots of tea. I always listen to music, usually movie soundtracks and look forward to that too. If the weather is bad and I’m tucked away in a quiet house with some tea and music –that’s perfect!

Which books/authors inspire you?

I loved Annie Dillard’s book The Maytrees and anything by Jane Austen. I’m currently reading Middlemarch and am amazed by George Eliot’s intellect. She was a seriously smart woman and well ahead of her time.

What was your reaction to seeing your first book in a bookshop for the first time?

It felt a bit surreal and I felt slightly embarrassed to be standing there looking at it. I felt proud and happy but also that I wanted to get out of the bookshop quickly (before anyone spotted me…)

What are you working on now?

These questions?

No, seriously….a new novel. I spent last year in Portland, Oregon and then six weeks in Paris. I absorbed a lot in those places and I’m pretty sure they will be a big part of my next book.

Can you give us an insight into Laura’s character – I’d say in general people have to take her as they find, but are there hidden aspects of her that you imagined, but didn’t include in the book?

I think she is the kind of woman that some men would find extremely appealing. She doesn’t care about her clothes or make-up or how her hair is – but she is completely natural and real—also not at all self-aware which is both good and bad. Her own modesty is attractive but she is gauche in social settings. She is a complex character and I felt while writing her that I could have made her more attractive but she was somehow holding me back. She’s had a hard start in life and I guess that left her without a clear sense of self-worth. She’s difficult to figure out and that’s deliberate–because real people are often a mass of contradictions too.

The beauty of Whale Island is described vividly in the book, but I couldn’t work out if it was a real place. Is it, or is it a composite of places you are familiar with?

Whale island is a composite of places I visited on the West coast of Ireland, including some of the islands. It is very scenic and beautiful but also lonely and bleak—especially when the weather is bad—which is usually is!

The characters on Whale Island seems sometimes to be caricatures, rather than real people. Are any of them based on people you’ve come across over the years?

One reader described them as a ‘Greek chorus’ which I thought was quite apt. They work in a pack—at times comic and at other times vicious. I deliberately left them as they are as it is this’ wall of judgement’ that Laura faces from them on a daily basis.

On the cover of the book, the ocean is very grey and uninviting – as it is described often in the book – was this something you particularly wanted for the cover, or did the designer just get it spot on?

The designer got it spot on. Beautiful and yet bleak is exactly how I remember the coastline that I saw and how I’d imagined it when writing the book. The sea for all its beauty does not bring much happiness into Laura’s life—and yet it is always there, she can’t get away from it.

Are there any aspects of the story that you had to leave out of the book? If so, what were they?

I left out lots of things! That’s as much a part of writing as what I put in. I wanted something new to happen in every chapter so there is a reason for everything that’s there now. I spend a lot of time self-editing and cutting. I try to leave some things to the reader’s imagination too—because that way they’re part of the story—and that for me is the real pleasure of reading.

Huge thanks to Alison for answering my questions and now, the part you’ve all been waiting for – the giveaway!!


Many thanks to all those who entered, the five winners are:

Jayne B
C. Parkin
Wendy Tolhurst
Sarahann Tonner

They will be contacted in due course.

It is very simple to enter the giveaway, and you can gain entries in the following ways:

1. Leave a blog comment telling me what you’ll be reading this summer.

2. Tweet the following and leave me a blog comment to tell me you’ve done so:

‘I’ve entered to win a copy of Little Beauty with @svmitche:’

Important Notes: The competition will end at 10pm on Wednesday 17th July and the winners will be selected using a random number generator and notified the next day. If I have not heard from the winners by Friday 19th July, then I will select as many others as applicable. UK entrants only please. Good luck!

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34 Responses to Little Beauty: A Chat with Alison Jameson and a Giveaway!

  1. Cath says:

    This summer I’m going to be trying to work my way through Great Expectations. Plus I’ve got a huge stockpile of books ready waiting for when I’ve finished it!

  2. Cath says:

    Tweeted too 🙂

  3. Michelle says:

    I’m slowly working my way through the Anne of Green Gables books on my kindle – when I get some time to myself to read!

  4. Michelle says:

    Tweeted too!

  5. kristy brown says:

    I’m working my way through the Stephanie Plum series again by Janet Evankovich x

  6. kristy brown says:

    Tweeted @cluckyhen0

  7. C Parkin says:

    I’ve got loads to get through, Agent Zig Zag by Ben Macintyre and The Dinner by Herman Koch are first on the list.

  8. C Parkin says:

    Tweeted as @Earlybird2013

  9. Rebecca C says:

    I’m currently reading ‘This is how is ends’ by Kathleen MacMahon, nothing like a little Summer romance!

  10. sam bailey says:

    When my ma was alive she was a big big lover of books and would often try to get me to try different genres of authors. So when she passed i took her books and im now looking into Wilbur Smith who was one of her favourites

    Ive also tweeted as @samvicbailey

    Thank you

  11. Charlotte Ingham says:

    I’m working my way through the Southern Vampire Mysteries series 🙂

  12. Charlotte Ingham says:

    And tweeted – @charlottiiie

  13. Jayne B says:

    I’m reading ‘The World According to Bob: The Further Adventures of One Man and His Street-wise Cat’.

  14. Jayne B says:

    I’ve tweeted @MAMASITA_JAINE

  15. Sarah R says:

    I have been saving The Hobbit and The Great Gatsby for the summer 🙂

  16. Sarah R says:

    I have also tweeted @Chicken_1983

  17. Tracey Peach says:

    I have not decided yet what I will be reading next as there are so many good boooks to choose from!

    Tweeted @DwarfHammyMum

  18. Sue says:

    This summer I want to read The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton. I’ve read her other books and loved them, so I’ve been saving this newest one as a treat for the summer!

  19. Rachael says:

    This summer I’ll be reading The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton. I have read her other books and thoroughly enjoyed them, so hoping that this one will be just as good.

  20. Kathleen Marsden says:

    Fry the biography

  21. Sarahann Tonner says:

    This summer I will be catching up on Robert Harris – Imperium. A book I have been looking forward to reading for some time 🙂

  22. Tammy Tudor says:

    I’m reading The Cuckoo’s Calling 🙂

  23. Vicky Limerick says:

    I have just finished Dynamo biography so I’m ready for a new book.. hoping to win one 🙂

  24. Vicky Limerick says:

    I have tweeted…. I’ve entered to win a copy of Little Beauty with @svmitche:

  25. Wendy Tolhurst says:

    I’ll be catching up on some James Patterson books over the summer, as well as the books I have downloaded onto my kobo

  26. Wendy Tolhurst says:

    have tweeted as @tonkatol

  27. Jacqueline Fawcett says:

    I think I might re-read The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins, can’t get enough of those books!

    Retweeted as @Tangfasticz

    😀 xx

  28. Sophie Hedley says:

    I’ll be reading Rush of Blood by Mark Billingham 🙂

  29. Abigail Milner says:

    This summer I will be finishing off reading the Game of Thrones series

  30. Abigail Milner says:

    I’ve tweeted

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