As 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?
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!!
THIS GIVEAWAY HAS NOW CLOSED
Many thanks to all those who entered, the five winners are:
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: http://tinyurl.com/nysktte’
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!