Q&A with Nick Albert:
Can you tell me a little bit about your book?
‘Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds’ is the first in a five-book series of humorous memoirs chronicling our quirky lives since we gave up the stress and pollution of modern Britain and bought a derelict farmhouse in beautiful rural Ireland – a country we had never before visited. Hindered by a lack of experience and money, we combined our optimism and enthusiasm with a second-hand DIY manual and set about renovating our new home. Since then, we’ve rescued seven dogs and two cats, become reluctant chicken farmers and learned to live life at a slower pace. Along the way there were many thrills and spills, some sadness and tragedy, but overall our new life has brought us lots of laughs. We really are living the dream!
Where did the inspiration for your book come from?
As an Englishman living in Ireland, I’m frequently asked, “Why did you move here?” This happy event usually occurs at dinner parties, soon after I’ve cornered some unsuspecting stranger in the kitchen. Lacking what most people would consider appropriate social filters, I tended to treat that polite ice-breaking enquiry as a genuine expression of interest, requiring a comprehensive answer and perhaps a slideshow of photographs. After a few minutes, these poor unfortunates would either pretend to have a heart attack, or politely slip under my arm mumbling, “You should write a book.”
Okay, that’s not entirely correct! In truth, I was extremely lucky to find a publisher with vision and patience who loved my story. Even though they disliked the rambling manuscript I’d already written, they could see the potential for five or more memoirs and were prepared to work with me for a year while I wrote the first Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds book.
If you could describe your book in one sentence what would it be?
The comical tale of an English couple and their unruly dogs searching for a better life in rural Ireland.
What is a typical writing day like for you?
I like my routines and need to have a clear desk and a focused mind before I begin writing. Every morning after breakfast, I’ll take my dogs for a long walk through the forest or across the moorland surrounding our house. After some exercise and a shower, I’m usually ready to write by around 11am. Ideally, I’ll start my workday by catching up with emails, fan mail, social media and other marketing tasks. It’s amazing how much stuff authors have to do these days, outside of research and writing. On a good day, my desk is clear and I’m ready to write by around 2pm. I have a strict rule not to work beyond 6pm, except for when my wife is away in England visiting family. If I’m close to a print deadline and feeling the need for a little more writing time, I’ll announce a period of ‘Digital Detox’. It’s rather a false economy as there’s usually a bunch of catching up to do when I go back online, but sometimes the writing has to take priority.
If you could recommend just one book to read what would it be and why?
If I could only have one book, it would be the life story of British Air Force pilot Robert Stanford Tuck, ‘Fly for your life’ written by Larry Forrester. Not only is it a cracking tale of bravery during the Battle of Britain and whilst he was a prisoner of war, it’s a really well written memoir.
Who are your favourite authors?
Hmm. That’s a tough question to answer honestly. My book collection is somewhat eclectic; I’m not sure what that says about me. As well as a library, I have dozens of stacked boxes bulging with hundreds of golf books, biographies featuring authors from all walks of life, loads of thrillers, some sci-fi and the complete works of Sue Grafton, Lee Child, Tom Holt, Terry Pratchett and William Shakespeare. I’m never without a book. One secret I can reveal, if I’m writing comedy, I’ll only read thrillers – and vice versa. When I was a student living in Norwich, England, my first flat was next door to the best second-hand bookshop in the city. What heaven! Back then I read a lot of sci-fi books and thrillers, purely for the escapism. Because I was from an Air Force family, I also collected hundreds of military biographies. Other favourites in my collection were Clive James, David Niven and Spike Milligan. These books were treasured possessions, I still have most of them now.
Tell me something interesting about yourself (that’s not in your author bio!)
At the age of 14, when I still had hair and before I acquired wrinkles, I worked as a professional actor on stage and TV. Before my dad convinced me I’d be better off with a proper job, I even did a little modelling!
What are you currently working on?
I’m well into writing book four of the Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds series. At the same time, I’m working with Andy Stevenson, who is doing an awesome job narrating the Audible audio version of book three.