Alison Stockham – Q&A

Alison Stockham’s novel, The Cuckoo Sister, was published by Boldwood Books on 1 February 2023.

Alison kindly answered a few of my questions.

1. Tell us a little about The Cuckoo Sister.

The Cuckoo Sister is about identity, motherhood and sibling rivalry. When Maggie leaves her family in the safe hands of her sister, Rose, she could never imagine what would happen in her absence.

2. What inspired the book?

I was intrigued by the sister/sister relationship when looking at the dynamics of my daughters. I have a brother and it seems like a very different relationship. My mother, grandmother, and other branches of my family all have sister/sisters and I wanted to explore that and see how far I could push it in a dramatic context.

3. Do you plan before you start writing or do you sit down and see where the words take you?

I am a bit of both. I tend to sketch the idea out into a rough plan with major plot points I want to hit, in order to see if the idea has enough to it to sustain a novel. Then I draft it out working with this but allowing the story and the characters to do what they do and see where they go. Then in second draft, when I know my characters and their story better, I go back and edit, working on structure and amending anything that didn’t work or adding in what I wasn’t expecting!

4. Is there anything about the process of publishing a book that surprised you?

How slow it is and then how fast. It can feel like nothing nothing nothing, the now now now, which takes a bit of getting used to!

5. What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?

I love stories and find people fascinating so I read all the time or watch TV, films and documentaries. I can lose myself in other people’s writing and learn from them at the same time. If I want to totally switch my brain off, I either go for a run or crochet. Running is odd-I can walk and think about writing; but pick up the speed and I can’t do it! Crochet, I have to focus on it otherwise I get it wrong.

6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?

Ooh that’s a great question! When asked about my favourite book, I usually either say Dark Matter by Michelle Paver or Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, or non fiction, Wintering by Katherine May. So I guess one of those…though that’s like a “who’s your favourite child” question-I’m not sure I can really answer it!

7. I like to end my Q&As with the same question so here we go. During all the Q&As and interviews you’ve done what question have you not been asked that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?

I think probably “Who do you have to thank for this book existing?” as it’s your name on the book but without a multitude of people it wouldn’t exist and many people don’t get credit where it is due. So I would say my parents for never thinking my pipe dreams were ridiculous, my husband for putting up with my stressing, my friend Laura Morley for making me just start writing and my agent and editor for seeing something worth working on. The Cuckoo Sister is absolutely a collaborative project and I am very grateful!

About the Book

You want your sister to have all her heart desires.

But – what if she wants your children?

Maggie has everything her sister Rose always wanted. A handsome husband and two adorable children, Emily and Elliot.

But what Rose doesn’t see is that Maggie is struggling. Every day is a fog of sleep loss and mess made by two tiny children. Left alone in her distress by husband Stephen, Maggie drifts ever closer to the edge.

When Maggie finally cracks, walking out one day and not returning, Rose is right there to step into the breach . . .


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.