Wallis Thorn has fallen on hard times – very hard times – and it’s particularly painful as it’s all his own fault. He had a huge country house and estate – Stumbledirt – plus a healthy bank balance and staff to serve him, but he squandered it all away. Now he’s destitute. Desperate to get away from the squalid city, he gets onto the first bus he sees, which happens to take him past his old home, now a hotel.
Wallis decides to stay there, although at present he hasn’t a clue how he’ll pay. However, he has a plan – to get his home back. He thus summons his cousin Rook, twin sister Esme and younger brother Cyrus to meet and come up with a scheme. It’s not a simple process. The family members haven’t spoken to each other for years and there are very many tensions for all sorts of reasons. On top of that, Rook brings his long-time friend and financial advisor, Heath, which causes a lot of upset. Another old schoolfriend appears and a rejected fiancé. Surely it’s a recipe for disaster?
The story moves back and forth in time, intriguing us and then explaining how this eccentric cast of characters came to be in this current situation. There are miserable and pampered childhoods, overbearing and pampering parents, happiness and despair, love and manipulation all at work.
Sharply satiric at times, indulgently humorous at others, Stumbledirt is a wonderful piece of consistently excellent writing. It keeps you enjoyably intrigued – and guessing – all the way through.
I talked to Tricia about her very original book.
Tell us very briefly about Stumbledirt.
Stumbledirt is about the eccentric Thorn family, who havIng all for various reasons fallen apart, and on hard times, get back together with a common aim – to buy back their former home and save it from its current use as a tacky hotel.
What’s the story behind the story? Why did you write this book?
The story was actually written when I’d just lost my own home and almost everything in it. So I pulled on the emotions I felt then and came up with the story. Writing about the Thorns and all of their craziness got me through a very difficult time in my life. I’d lost a great deal of my trust but at the same time found out how fortunate I was to have family around me.
Who’s your favorite character?
That would be between Rook and Heath. Maybe Rook as he was such huge fun to write.
Which character is most like you?
I would have to say Rook again. He is a lot like me in that he refuses to grow up and doesn’t really care what people think about his eccentricities.
What makes Stumbledirt stand out from the crowd?
I hope it does and if so, I’d like to think it’s because I broke a lot of rules in that book. I mashed genre together and let things deliberately clash to create a sort of chaos which I hope defines the Thorns. They are a crazy bunch and I needed to give them the madness they deserved.
Stumbledirt has a fantastic cover. Tell us about that.
I know, doesn’t it? The artwork is from my partner in crime, Yuramei. We have worked together for a number of years now and she knows me so well, I couldn’t think of anyone who would be able to draw my characters like she can. She just gets me and working with her is an absolute joy.
I saw they had just started up and were based in Scotland. I’m from Glasgow and being involved in something new and so close to home was a huge attraction.
What are you reading at the moment?
I’m reading The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe.
Do you write every day? Is it hard to find the time?
I do write every day and I make the time. If I don’t write I get crazier than I already am and that could never be a good thing. If possible, I start at nine in the morning and this gives me much needed routine.
What one snippet of advice would you give to aspiring self-published authors?
Hire a professional editor. That’s the best thing you will do for your book.
What ereading device do you have? And why did you choose that one?
At the moment the kindle app on the iPad, though I do have an actual kindle. I chose kindle because of the convenience with getting books from amazon.
Do you dress up or dress down to write? Or maybe you don’t dress at all?!
Ha ha! I dress casually… but always wear make up. So I may be a slob but the lipstick is perfect.
Where can we find your website? And other social media?
and I am on Twitter as @tabathathorn and @PMLeckie.
Anything else we need to know about you?
Well, you probably don’t need to know that I collect Asian Ball Jointed Dolls and that most of my characters begin life as muse inspired by them. I hope people look up what they actually are as I’d hate folk to imagine frills and porcelain. I write the Big Deal Yaoi series as Katsura, from Katsura and Yuramei, and those are not for the faint hearted. Aside from that, people are welcome to ask me anything.
One last thing – your favorite ‘knock knock’ joke please!
Interrupting sheep w–
Stumbledirt is published by Paddy’s Daddy Publishing and available here: