Over the past few weeks I’ve been interviewing some of the contenders for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Joan Hessayon Award for New Writers, and today Alison May is my last interviewee before the award is presented on Thursday at the RNA’s Summer Party. Can’t believe how the time has flown!
I ran my first new writers’ interview in March, and now today it’s a lovely summer’s day :) We’re sitting out in the garden listening to the buzzing of the bees, the chirruping of the birds and the humming of next door’s Flymo. Welcome to Yorkshire, Alison, and the sounds of an English summer!
Whereabouts do you live, Alison? Worcester, which has been my adopted home since 1999. I grew up in Scarborough on the North Yorkshire coast. The only thing I don’t love about where I live now is the absence of seaside. I miss living by the sea.
I often used to go to Scarborough as a child and loved everything about it. The sea, the donkeys, the beach, the ice cream, the arcades – what a fab place for a day out.
Where is your favourite place in the world? Somewhere with sea! The romantic in me says Scarborough Castle headland, where you can stand on the cliff top with sea on three sides of you. However, the pragmatist in me points out that there are other sunnier bits of seaside available, so I think I’ll go for Maui, sitting on the beach during whale watching season waiting to see a humpback whale.
That’s really romantic! I’m with you on wishing to be beside the sea. Wish we could be there today!
Being a writer is a great job. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? Working in the café at a tourist aquarium. Horrible polyester uniform, complete with obligatory baseball cap. Tired grumpy customers who’d be queuing too long. And constantly being asked where the toilets were (Downstairs, next to the gift shop), and whether the dogfish was ok (Yes. He’s fine. He can lie on the bottom because he doesn’t have a gas-filled swim bladder.)
Mmm, polyester. A look that’s difficult to rock.
What book do you wish you’d written? The Da Vinci Code, Harry Potter, Fifty Shades of Grey? Any of those ‘sold enough to never have to work again’ ones would be fine.
What’s your favourite song? That’s too hard. It depends entirely on mood and circumstance. Do you want a song to dance to, or a song to create a mood? Me and my beloved EngineerBoy’s official song is ‘Pure’ by the Lightening Seeds, so that would have to make the shortlist. Also, most things by Tim Minchin, including the entire score of Matilda the Musical. To dance to though, maybe ‘Atomic’ by Blondie. As I say, it’s a hard question. Anymore like that and I’ll be demanding a stewards’ enquiry.
I’m dying to see Matilda!
If you could meet anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you say to them? Such hard questions! *gives interviewer a bit of a look*
I’d love to meet Terry Pratchett, but if I did I’d probably just gush a bit about how incredible the Discworld novels are and then grin like a numpty at him, so probably it really is better never to meet your heroes.
What’s your happiest childhood memory? Happily, there are lots – recording the charts off Radio 1 and dancing to them in my sister’s bedroom. Sunday lunches at my grandparents’ house where, as it was Sunday, we would be allowed to use the front room. One memory that always makes me laugh, but I probably didn’t think was happy at the time, is the occasion when my sister and Grandma decided to cut my fringe. For reasons that I still don’t fully understand they decided to do this as a team effort and started cutting in towards the middle simultaneously from opposite sides of my forehead. You can imagine how that ended.
I remember the excitement of the Radio 1 top forty. Happy days! And I can well imagine the fringe fiasco :)
If you had to marry a fictional character, from film, television, or books, who would it be? The Doctor, just because he’s the Doctor and the Doctor’s incredible. Intelligent, hyperactive, adventurous, phenomenally well-travelled. What’s not to love?
What’s the most important lesson life has taught you? Have I mentioned that these questions are hard? I think I might actually have reached my current stage in life without accumulating any significant wisdom at all. So for what it’s worth, here are some random thoughts. Don’t give up on stuff, unless you don’t want to do them anymore. In which case don’t get hung up on the idea of not giving up. Don’t stress over things you can’t change, but be sceptical when people tell you that you can’t change things. When you want to shout at someone, have a biscuit first. If you’re still furious after the biscuit, do your worst, but generally be kind. Kind is way way better than important.
Great advice! I find biscuits have helped me make many major life decisions.
And finally, please tell us about your latest book, where we can find it, and where we can find your blog/website
My debut novel, Sweet Nothing¸ is out now, available as a kindle ebook here
Would you risk everything for love?
Independent, straight-talking Trix Allen wouldn’t. She’s been in love once before and ended up with nothing. Now safely single, Trix is as far away from the saccharine-sweet world of hearts and flowers as it’s possible to be.
Ben Messina is the man who broke Trix’s heart. Now he’s successful the only thing rational Ben and free-spirited Trix see eye-to-eye on is the fact that falling in love isn’t part of the plan. But when Ben’s brother sets out to win the heart of Trix’s best friend, romance is very much in the air. Will Trix gamble everything on love and risk ending up with zero once again?
You can also buy my novella, Holly’s Christmas Kiss, here, and you can find out more about me on my website: www.alison-may.co.uk or by following me on twitter @MsAlisonMay
Thanks so much for coming, Alison, and I hope you’ve enjoyed your trip back to Yorkshire. I look forward to meeting you in real life on Thursday!
If you’ve enjoyed meeting Alison, and have any questions or comments at all, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you!
29 thoughts on “Good to meet you…author Alison May”
I would also rate biscuits as items of major importance when making big decisions.
I totally agree, James! Digestives are good for run of the mill problems (what to have for tea, etc), but my biscuit of choice at the moment, for all major decisions, is a Fox’s Golden Crunch Cream. Thanks for your comment!
I love the chocolate crunch creams. Sooo good. A chocolate hobnob is the classic decision biscuit for me though.
I’m with the Cookie Monster school of thought too, ‘live in the moment – if the moment is unpleasant, eat a cookie’, I’m lucky enough to see the sea from my house – sorry, that sounds smug! To be fair, it rains a lot here! All best wishes for Thursday! x
Oh that sounds lovely, Christine, rain or shine! Thanks for your comment, and your good wishes!
I love the sea in winter which is definitely an artifact of growing up at the seaside. I love it when it’s grey with no tourists and just a few hardy local dogwalkers for company.
Fabulous interview :) I’m still trying to think which fictional character I would marry – great question! Best of luck for Thursday, Alison! xxx
They are great questions, aren’t they? Credit to Helena for that!
Thanks for coming, Berni! My fictional fiance changes often. Alison’s hero Ben is sounding a good candidate!
Thanks for the wonderful interview, Helena and Alison. I love the biscuit advice. How many of the world’s problems could have been prevented if only people had taken time to step back and have a biscuit before deciding on more martial means to settle their disputes? We’ll probably never know, but it is interesting to contemplate. Best of luck on the RNA Award!
Hi Matt, I agree! Nothing like a packet of Jammie Dodgers for cordial relations! :) Thanks for your lovely comment, and for your good wishes!
What a delightful interview as usual, Helena. I may need to put you in a book. You just always make me smile. And all you Brits talking about “biscuits”! LOL Isn’t it odd how “American English” deviated from the original English. How did we go from biscuits to cookies? I”m totally addicted to soft, chewy cookies. Can’t keep them in the house in any number. I’m only allow myself to buy two and bring them home. One for DH and one for me.
Helena, I hope you won’t consider me rude if I disagree with your guest. Not about living by the sea. How perfect that would be. But Alison, you’ve clearly given a great deal of thought about “wisdom.” I think you’ve really hit some great points. So much so, I’m copy and pasting with your name. Sometime in the future, I know I’ll need these ideas, and I’ll give you credit.:)
I made the mistake of copying someone’s words about why we write and sticking them over my computer. Didn’t put the name with it. Have always regretted that.
Best wishes to you all on Thursday. Make sure you report the results, Helena. Fingers crossed. :)
Alison hit some great points, didn’t she, Marsha? Feel free to quote away! Maybe you could put us both in a book – that would be brilliant. Alison can dispense the wisdom, and I’ll dispense the biscuits :) And I wonder, too, how biscuits changed to cookies when they reached America. Although we have cookies, here, too, mind you, but they’re not quite the same as biscuits. Biscuits are smaller, and my husband would be quite peeved if I only brought him one back from the shop!!
Thanks so much for your lovely comment, Marsha, and for your good wishes. I’ll take lots of photos at the party and report back!
Am happy to share biscuit-based (or even cookie based) wisdom Marsha xx
Aloha Alison and Helena. :-)
Great interview as always Helena. I always enjoy reading these.
Congratulations you too on the awards. It’s so thrilling. :-)
I loved the SEA part. :-). I can really relate Alison. I’m an islander and right now no sea in view for me either. It’s grinding at times. I’m from New Zealand originally and my American home state is the Big Island of Hawaii. So yes! Maui I can relate to in a huge way too. Lol.
I loved your life’s lessons. Very appropriate for me at the mo. Thanks. And the ‘have a biccie’ first principle. :-). Lol. Love it.
Oh and the fringe ‘incident’. Lol. Gorgeous. :-)
I like your wiring style too. It’s very refreshing and appealing. I’ll look out for this book.
Thanks and aloha Meg. :-)
OMG two not too!!! On my phone. Can’t see well… Lol. Aloha Meg. :-)
Aloha, Meg! Thanks so much for your lovely comment. I didn’t realise you couldn’t see the sea. Of course I had the idea that everywhere in Hawaii is right by the ocean :) Like us, it can’t be so far, which is nice. Just a couple of hours’ drive for me. Thanks for coming by Meg, and for your good wishes. Aloha!
Aloha Helena! Anytime. :-) No, I’m not at home on the island at the moment. I’m on the Mainland in California but inland. It’s nasty. When I’m at home, I can always see the sea, I’ve always had a sea view. I miss it a great deal!
Very interesting on the chocolate. I also don’t like chocolate much and have never met another person who doesn’t! :-) How cool! I’ll eat the occasional thing, but it doesn’t draw me. I think it’s because I get enough iron in my diet.
Thanks and aloha Meg :-)
New Zealand and Hawaii are two of my favourite places in the world! Do look out for the the book – it’s available on kindle in the UK and US or in other ebook formats direct from the publisher firstname.lastname@example.org x
Aloha Alison, Sorry I’m long in getting a reply back to you. Got a wee bit run over this week. So glad you like my two home places. :-) I’d kill to go home to Hawai’i right now. I just need the peace of the islands…
I WILL look out for your book!! Glad it’s on Kindle. I’m becoming a fun… LOL Never thought I would.
Thanks and aloha Meg :-)
Lovely to read about you, Alison. If you and Helena don’t mind, I’ll just have chocolate and you can eat the biscuits!
That’s a good swap, Ros! People might think it strange that you aren’t keen on biscuits, but they probably think it’s stranger that I’m not actually that keen on chocolate! Good that you came by! :)
Mmmmm chocolate. Mmmmm biscuits. Mmmmmm chocolate biscuits. I’m very easy to please ;) x
Hi Meg, I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t like chocolate, either! I like it more than I used to , but as a child I really didn’t like chocolate cake. I noted Alison likes chocolate crunch creams, so if you ever come to visit, we must bring Ros and Alison, too, and they can eat them up for us! :)
Aloha Helena, Sorry to be so late getting back to you. Got a bit run over. :-) Semi-back on deck now. I know on the choccie thing! Isn’t that amazing really. You and I are the only two people in the world I think. LOL. Yes, we’ll rope in Ros and Alison on my next week up your way and have wine as well… :-)
Aloha Meg :-)
Fabulous interview, ladies! Best of luck to both of you.
Ah, The Doctor. Brilliant answer! Is there a particular incarnation you have in mind? I’m still pining for the Tenth.
Thanks Heather! I’m really looking forward to Peter Capaldi as the doctor. He was great in The Musketeers recently! Thanks for coming by!
Well preferably Tenth, but I’d go with Eleven no complaints at all!