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The story behind The House That Made Us by SJV
2022/03/04  |  By:   |  Features  |  

As you may remember, we were giddy to be able to share the news that we acquired a new novel – The House That Made Us – written by a very familiar face to you all, under the pseudonym Alice Cavanagh.

One Day meets Up, The House That Made Us is a love story – and a life story – told through a series of photographs, inspired by a true story… and we can’t WAIT for you to fall as in love with Mac and Marie as we all have done here at @TeamBATC HQ!

And, as a special treat, we asked Alice to begin a  new column for us all to enjoy, and here’s the second episode.

Writers differ when it comes to finding inspiration.

Some look into the middle distance for a month; others go to Rio with a toyboy; and me? I get ambushed.

That’s how it was with The House That Made Us, the novel I have just finished writing, and which I am dying to share with you. The idea began with a photograph in an old album. An elderly Great Great Aunt and a Great Great Uncle, married for an uncountable number of years, standing proudly in front of their tatty bungalow.

I knew the story, even though I never met either of them. The house was falling apart – indeed, they were falling apart – but they refused to move out.

There they stood, him with his trousers pulled up to his chin, and her with a terrible hairdo, beaming all over their faces. They didn’t see the rotting wood of the porch, or the weeds rioting on the path. This was their home, the place they raised their children and loved each other; they saw it the way it was decades earlier when they and the house were young.

That’s when the ambush happened. I was grabbed, bundled down a dark alley by an idea. What if they had taken a photograph in that same spot every year since they wed?

That was that. I was enslaved to building this couple, to winkling out their flaws, to discover what made them laugh, which flavour crisps they preferred. I had to know about the big arguments and the big makings-up. All of it in their modest house, which posed with them each year, like another member of the family.

I came to love them, and to love how they loved each other. If I have done my job properly, so will you. Be kind to Mac and Marie, of Sunnyside, won’t you? They are favourites of mine.




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