Meeting Alex Reece Abbott, author of The Helpmeet

This week we have another Hysteria 2015 Finalist to welcome, she is also the author of The Helpmeet. Her new novel has been selected with eleven other finalist/winners for the Greenbean Novel Fair later this month. The annual event in Dublin is an Irish Writers Centre initiative, offering writers a unique opportunity to meet some of the most influential people in Irish publishing, introducing one-to-one meetings with top publishers and literary agents.

alexreeceabbottThe Alex Reece Abbott Interview

What is one thing that no-one would usually know about you?

The location of my imaginary tattoo.

What did the best review you ever had say about you and your work?

?london short story? Anna

What did the worst review you ever had say about you and your work?

Never had a bad one, or if I have, I never saw it. Phew! Have you seen something…!

Are the names of your characters important to you?

Very. They arrive quite early on and rarely change.

How did you choose a title for your book?

They usually choose me. For the latest, The Helpmeet comes from a bible quote and

the expected role of the main character – she’s a captain’s daughter who marries

a lay missionary, living in the 1820’s.

Are there any occupational hazards to being an author?

Those ink-stains can be a real nightmare. Finding a steady supply of quills.

I’m working standing up nowadays and my lower back is very grateful.

Have you ever wished that you could be or do anything else instead of writing, and if so what?

No, other than a brief fantasy as a child that I would be the new Marie Curie. Sadly it didn’t improve my French language skills. Tant pis. On the other hand, I didn’t get the radiation burns either. C’est la vie.

Do you think there is any elitism attached to the different genres of books, both in the fiction and non-fiction worlds?

Of course – humans love lists and ranks.

Have you ever written naked?

No, but I read it once. Hard to ape.

Who would you like to play you in a film of your life?

Meryl Streep channelling Wonderwoman, Maggie Smith, Rebel Wilson and Amy Poehler Margaret Atwood , Mary Beard and Helen Clark. And Mae West.

What is the single biggest challenge you faced when writing your book?

Not being on location – partly for the research and partly because our new neighbour leaves his dog alone to bark and howl for up to six hours at a time. Soul piercing.

Do you have any hints or tips for aspiring writers?

Yes, see my coaching tips.

How do you remain sane while working?

I work across formats and genres and on two projects at a time and treat it like work. Routine. Plans (which can also take emergence). Rewards. And I work on things that interest or excite me.

What is the best excuse you have ever come up with for missing a deadline?

Never happened. Too many benefits to keeping them!

What has been the best experience you have ever had in your life?

Crikey. I’m hoping to live a little longer. I’ll let you know.

Are you jealous of other writers?

No. As a wise man once said to me – “it’s not a competition with anyone but yourself. How can you compete with Chekhov?”

Where do you find your inspiration?

Everywhere. Anywhere. I am quite a visual person.

What was the most important thing you learned at school?

That I could write fiction.

Have you had to learn new skills and tricks or attempted impossible feats in order to get a book finished?

Lots of self-coaching – see the sheet! If I need a boost I remember the wise words of Margaret Atwood: Nobody is making you do this: you chose it, so don’t whine.

And of course, Billie Jean King – Pressure is a privilege.

What is the strangest thing you have ever had to do to promote a book?

Floor-walking in a bookstore to rustle up interest for a friend at her signing.

What is the book that you wished you had written?

Just the one?! Authors like Katherine Mansfield; Donna Tartt, Patrick White,

Edna O’Brien have qualities in their writing that I admire.



You can find Alex in the Hysteria 4 anthology which supports the Hysterectomy Association.

Hysteria 4 is the anthology of winning stories,poetry and flash fiction from the 2015 Hysteria Writing Competition.

You can also meet Alex on her website:



These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not visit Thursday Throng Author Interview Guidelines to find out more.

Leave a Reply