Blog tour: The House by the Sea

The blog tour for The House by the Sea by Louise Douglas officially kicks off today and I’m very happy to be one of the lucky bloggers selected to spread the word about this emotional new novel.

But don’t let me distract you with my prattle! Here’s the behind-the-scenes as told from the author herself…
Hi Louise! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of The House by the Sea! Can you please briefly tell us what it is about?

A: Hello, it’s lovely to be here! 

The House by the Sea is about a couple, Edie and Joe, thrown apart after a tragedy for which Edie blames Joe’s mother, Anna. After Anna’s death, Edie and Joe are reunited in Sicily to sell the family villa. Edie’s icy heart begins to thaw in the Italian sunshine as the villa reveals its mysteries and secrets.

Did you have the plot entirely figured out when you started writing the book or did it take an unexpected turn as the characters grew on the page?

A: I never know where a story’s going to end when I start it – I wish I did, it would make writing much quicker! In this case it was Anna’s story which surprised me the most as I was writing. I grew very fond of her.

Is the Villa della Madonna del Mare shaped after a real place? How important is location for you?

A: The villa is based on one of the dilapidated seaside houses I saw on a visit to southern Sicily. While the bay and headland it stands on in the book is fictional, the places around it are real. Location is very important for me, it’s usually where the idea for a story starts. 

If this novel was going to be turned into a film, who would you cast in the role of Edie?

A: Oh wow! If I could have absolutely anyone I’d have Scarlett Johansson because I love the way she can be quiet, and awkward and yet still strong on screen.

Without giving too much away, can you tell us about a scene in the book that you love or that was particularly difficult to write?

A: My favourite scene is the epilogue, when the ends are tied up and everything comes together. I like to know where the characters are and that everything is going to be all right for them – or not! 

Is there anything that didn’t make it into the final version of the book?

A: Absolutely loads. I’m such an inefficient writer. I doubt there’s a single word in the last version of the book that was there in the first. Edie was called Beth, Briony, Helen, Lucy, Sophie, Lia, Ellen and Marnie before she was Edie. Joe was Ed until Edie became Edie then he had to change to avoid confusion. This resulted in a catastrophic ‘change all’ fail with words like: ‘Walked’ changing to ‘WalkJoe’ throughout the entire 90,000 word manuscript.

If you are already working on your next writing project, would you mind giving us a little anticipation of what we are to expect?

A: The next book is set in the run-down South West seaside resort, called (for now) Severn Sands. A 25-year-old mystery is revived after human bones are found buried beneath the old funfair in the town’s holiday park. 

What are you reading at the moment?

A: A little life by Hanya Yanagihara. It’s very good! 

Due to the popularity of social networking websites, interacting with readers – be it via Twitter, Facebook Instagram etc. – is becoming increasingly important. How do you cope with these new demands on authors and do you think that they somehow disrupt your writing schedule?

A: Yes, I do think they’re important as they give people such a great opportunity to get to know one another. And yes, they absolutely disrupt my writing schedule. It’s so easy to get distracted by threads about dogs, wildlife, books, psychology, Love Island, 1980s song lyrics, recipes, and a million and one other things…

What one piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?

A: Be yourself. Don’t overthink it. Write what makes you happy. 

Thank you for your time!

A: Thank you for having me, it’s been a pleasure. 

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