Today is the paperback release date for Alexandra Brown's 5th book The Great Village Show and because I am a huge fan of Alexandra I was over the moon when she agreed to come on to the blog for a chat about her new book.1) For those who have yet to read The Great Village Show can you tell us a little of what they are missing?
A slice of warm, quintessential, and very real village life in the summertime – think The Archers in book form. My books are set in the fictional village of Tindledale following the lives of all the people that live there, and The Great Village Show follows Meg’s story. Meg is missing her son, Jack, who has recently left for uni, so when her cosy cottage feels empty, Meg decides to bring out the bunting and get involved in helping to organise the village show. There are also two newcomers to the village – mercurial celebrity chef, Dan, and shy Jessie Cavendish, who appears to have it all, but as is often the case … appearances can be so very misleading.
2) In the film adaptation of The Great Village Show who would you pick to play Meg?
Sheridan Smith. I’m a huge fan, and she’s such a versatile actress that I reckon she could portray Meg perfectly.
3) Tindledale has to be my favourite village I have ever come across in a book, is it based on anywhere you have been?
Thank you. Well, I live in a rural village surrounded by fields and populated with some very interesting characters! I’m saying no more … :)
4) Where is your favourite place to write and do you have a writing schedule?
I’m not one of those authors that can write in cafes, so all my books are written in my office to the sound of my black Labrador, Puppy Oscar, snoring loudly. I’m very superstitious and always light a candle and make sure my lucky poncho is on me or my chair before I begin. I write from about 10ish, after I’ve taken QT to school and walked Puppy Oscar down by the lake behind my house, and then usually break for lunch around 12ish to listen to Jeremy Vine on Radio 2 while I hang out on social media for half an hour or so, depending on how many words I need to write that day. I work on until 5ish, unless I’m on a deadline then it’s all different and I write all day and night long, breaking only to sleep, and food tends to be Konditor & Cook’s Curly Wurly cake brought to me by my husband, followed by Haribo and chocolate and crisps, and well, any kind of junk food at my desk – I get very angsty and irritable when I have to break away from the story and end up being an utter nightmare for a few weeks. But when it’s done, I’m a dream, until it starts all over again.
5) Your characters in both the Carrington’s and Tindledale series are all so well developed do you ever find it hard to leave the characters behind after you finish a book?
Ahh, thank you. And yes, very much so, I still think about Georgie, Sam and Eddie from Carrington’s, and Syb’s from Knit Off, I guess it’s inevitable when I’ve spent so long with them inside my head.
6) Before becoming an established author what was your job and has it always been your dream from early on to become an author?
Yes, my dream was always to write, and as a child, reading and writing were my escape, but I never imagined that I could become a proper author who wrote books for a living. I ran way from home when I was 16yrs old, with two qualifications in English language and English literature (they were the only subjects that I was naturally good at, as homework and revising was impossible at home). I managed to find a place to live and a job in an office, nobody really checked CV’s in those days, so I ended up doing that for twenty years before I was able to leave the corporate world and realise my dream to write full time. Six books on, I thank my lucky stars every day that I now get to write instead of wrangle my way through the politics of office life, which I found very stressful at times.
7) When you begin a new book do you have a beginning, middle and end in mind or does the storyline usually develop and take its own direction as you progress?
It varies. Some books are almost fully formed in my head, whereas with others I may only know the beginning and the ending – I often write the ending first, I like knowing where I’m heading, it feels comforting, like a life raft that I can cling on to when the words won’t come. I’m also terrible for tinkering with the prologue when I don’t know what to write next. My agent has told me to leave it alone, so I’m trying to do that now …. fifteen page prologues are rubbish, nobody wants to wade through that to get to the real story.
8) Has your husband Paul read any of your books and if so is he good at giving advice?
He never reads my books, he’s dyslexic and doesn’t enjoy reading fiction for pleasure, but he’s brilliant at plot brainstorming and comes up with all the good ideas and plot twists. It’s very infuriating at times, especially when I’ve been pondering on a plot problem for days - I tell him, and he casually comes up with the perfect solution, as if by magic.
9) Can you tell us a little about the book you are currently working on and does it mean a return to Tindledale for us?
Ooh, well, I actually have two more Tindledale books on the go, The Mystery of Orchard Cottage and Not Just For Christmas. The Mystery of Orchard Cottage is about newcomer, April, and what happens when she visits her elderly great aunt, Edith, who lives in Orchard Cottage in Tindledale. Edith has always wondered what happened to her sister, Winnie, who disappeared many decades earlier. Not Just For Christmas is Kitty’s story – readers of The Great Christmas Knit Off and The Great Village Show will know her. Kitty runs the Spotted Pig café & tearoom in Tindledale, having come to terms with her husband Ed’s death on active duty. When she hears Ed’s army dog, a black Labrador called Monty, is being retired and needs a home, it awakens Kitty’s heartache once more.
10) Finally, as you know I am such a fan of yours that I am often found stalking your twitter posts and as well as details of your wonderful upcoming releases you also often show us the gorgeous shimmering nails you are sporting, can we have a pic of what colour you are sporting at the moment?
Ta-dah!!!! My current colour is a very summery Raspberry with a Silk Sari top coat.
What a gorgeous colour! Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us Alexandra.
Happy Publication Day!
You can read my review of The Great Village Show bu clicking HERE