Sunday, 28 May 2017

Fab Firsts - Q&A with Alice May

Take a chance on an author new to Rachel's Random Reads - Alice May. 

Fab Firsts is my new regular Sunday feature, that is going to be highlighting books that are firsts. When interviewing authors, it will be about their first book, as well as other firsts in their lives. When reviewing books for this feature, there will be a mix of debuts, first books in a series, the first time I read an author, and possibly other firsts depending on what I can think of!

If you are an author wanting to take part in Fab Firsts then please do email on gilbster at gmail dot com and I'll whizz the questions over to you.

I hope you enjoy this look at a variety of hopefully fabulous firsts, while making some sort of dent in my review and paperback TBRs which are my current main focus!

Hello Rachel Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to be interviewed for your Fab Firsts feature.


My name is Alice May and I am the author of ‘Accidental Damage’ which is book 1 in the series ‘Tales From The House That Sat Down’. I am currently working on the sequel ‘Consequences’. There is also a third book (as yet un-named) in the series which is in the early planning stages. In addition to these projects I am writing and illustrating a children’s book.

1. Can you tell a bit about your first book?

‘Accidental Damage’ is the tale of a family of six who suddenly find themselves homeless after their old cottage falls down completely out of the blue one day. With nowhere to go they are forced to move into a tent in the garden. The tent is supposed to be a temporary solution but when their house insurance company refuse to help them the tent becomes a more permanent fixture.

Told retrospectively from the mother’s point of view, ‘Accidental Damage’ is packed with both humorous anecdotes and brutally honest reactions to what it is like to live in your garden whilst working out how you are going to rebuild your home. 

It is a tale of family love and loyalty, proving that if you pull together as a team and look after each other you can survive anything. 

2. What was your original Inspiration to become a writer, and to write your debut novel?

Having been a prolific reader all my life, I had always thought that one day I would write a book. Nevertheless I was completely unprepared for the fact that one day would suddenly arrive unexpectedly and that I would quite literally just sit down and actually start writing.

No joke! One minute I wasn’t writing and book and the next minute I was.


The urge to write completely overwhelmed me and once I started I found I couldn’t stop. I wrote day and night for three weeks. My beloved husband thought I had gone a bit mad, but by the end of that time I had 60,000 words and the initial draft of my first novel. 

It seemed that ‘Accidental Damage’ was a story that wanted to be told.

3. How long did it take you to write your first book

As I mentioned, the first draft was written in approximately three weeks, but after that began the lengthy process of editing and re-writing as well as cover design etc. It was important to me that I be able to use my own artwork on the cover of the book.

Having never done anything like this before I was completely clueless and had to learn everything from scratch, which has been fun and scary at the same time. All in all it took about six months to get ‘Accidental Damage’ ready for publishing. Then on 1st August 2016 ‘Accidental Damage’ was officially published. It was an amazing feeling.

4. If you could do anything different in retrospect, what would you change about your debut, or how you went about writing it?

In retrospect I would probably do a lot more research into the world of publishing. There are so many different ways to approach it.  I had no idea that promotion and marketing were going to be such a massive part of the whole process or that you would have to devote quite so much time to it that it can get in the way of actually writing.

5. Was your book self or traditionally published, and how did you go about making that decision?

‘Accidental Damage’ is self-published. I am a control freak and wanted to retain complete artistic control over my work and self-publishing allows me to do that. I do appreciate that this makes the promotion and marketing side of things a lot more work but I don’t regret my decision.

6. Do you have any tips for other first time authors?

I would advise any first time authors to join social media author/writer groups. There are so many inspirational people out (authors/reviewers/bloggers etc) there with fantastic advice for newbie authors. Find a group that is supportive and inclusive and you can ask all sorts of daft questions about writing, publishing and promotion and get practical advice and support. The book community is a very special one.

7. What was the first book you bought?

The first book I bought was Watership Down by Richard Adams. I was ten years old and saved my pocket money for it. I must have re-read it a hundred times and eventually the pages all fell out. 

8. What was your first pet?

My first pet was a rabbit.

9. What was the first prize you won?

I remember wining a first prize for poetry in an Eisteddfod (a traditional Welsh festival of literature, music and performance) when I was 16.

Thank you so much Alice for answering my questions.

Contact details

‘Accidental Damage’ by Alice May is available from

Twitter: @AliceMay_Author

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