On his way back up from the yard Bird had seen something white and round – a girl who had curled herself into a ball. Lifting her was like retrieving a ball of newspaper from out of the grass or an empty crisp bag that someone had flung over the ditch. She seemed to lack the bones and meat and muscle of real people. She felt as if she was filled with feathers.
On the day Midge Connors comes hurtling into Bird Keegan’s life, she flings open his small, quiet world. He and his two sisters, Olive and Margaret, have lived in the same isolated community all their lives, each one more alone than the others can know.
Taking in damaged, sharp-edged Midge, Bird invites the scorn of his neighbours and siblings. And as they slowly mend each other, family bonds – and the tie of the land – begin to weigh down on their tentative relationship. Can it survive the misunderstandings, contempt and violence of others?
A poignant and powerful study of the emotional lives of three siblings and the girl who breaks through their solitude.
Our Q&A with Alison Jameson
Please tell my readers a little bit about yourself and your publishing journey.
This Family of Things is my fourth book and its publication is just as exciting (and nerve-wracking!) as my first one. I’ve been writing novels for more than ten years now and I had a long career in advertising before that. I feel compelled to write and try to write something every day – some days are more productive than others. I am passionate about nature and very sensitive to my surroundings – I grew up on a farm in the Irish midlands and the freedom I was given as a child definitely inspires my writing now.
Describe yourself using three words?
Good humoured, sensitive, curious.
What inspired you to write your first novel?
I’m a big reader and I wanted to write an intelligent, contemporary novel about complex relationships for women. The first chapter I wrote was about an awkward date at the Art Institute in Chicago and I took it from there.
What time of day do you like to write?
It really depends on what’s going on. I’m a mother and I also work in an academic library so at the moment it’s whenever I have time (and I always find the time somehow). My brain feels very fresh in the morning but it’s usually a chaotic time in our house!
What is your favourite book and why?
One of my favourites is ‘The Writing Life’ by Annie Dillard – she writes about writing in a really unique way and I always have a copy on my desk for company and inspiration. I also love ‘The Remains of the Day’ by Kazuo Ishiguro
How did you pick the title of your book?
This Family of Things was originally a chapter title. I love Mary Oliver’s poetry, in particular Wild Geese and the last line is ‘ in the family of things’. The title fits the book very well I think – and I hope you’ll agree when you read it.
Are the characters in your book based on real people?
No. I might get an idea from someone I meet but I would never use a real person in a novel. It’s much more fun to invent someone completely new.
What’s your favourite word?
Maven. It’s Yiddish for a ‘know it all’.
If you were a colour what would it be?
Farrow and Ball ‘Yellow cake’
Do you plan your story beforehand or go with the flow?
I try to fool myself about having a plan but ultimately it goes where it wants to go.
Who is your favourite author?
Elizabeth Strout. Annie Dillard. Joan Didion
You are attending a dinner party with four fictitious book characters who would they be and why?
Olive Kitterage, Rebecca du Maurier, Captain Underpants and Hamlet.
What book are you reading at the moment?
Anything is possible by Elizabeth Strout
Where in the world is your happy place?
Friday evening dinner at home with my husband and son – Or eating coffee cake at my Mum’s house.
If you had one superpower what would it be?
To be invisible (Oh the places I’d go)
If you could give any literary villain a happy ending who would you chose?
I love Pride and Prejudice and worry for Lydia. She wasn’t a villain but she caused a lot of trouble. I would get her away from Mr Wickham – and perhaps have a carriage roll over him. One of Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s perhaps.
Are you working on a new project?
Yes. One of the best things about finishing a book is being able to start something fresh and new.
Do you have any upcoming events our members can attend?
I’ll keep you posted!
You can purchase your own copy today ~ Amazon UK
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