Blog Tour: Q&A with Alexandra Burt, author of The Good Daughter.



What if you were the worst crime your mother ever committed?

Dahlia Waller's childhood memories consist of stuffy cars, seedy motels, and a rootless existence travelling the country with her eccentric mother. Now grown, she desperately wants to distance herself from that life. Yet one thing is stopping her from moving forward: she has questions.

In order to understand her past, Dahlia must go back. Back to her mother in the stifling town of Aurora, Texas. Back into the past of a woman on the brink of madness. But after she discovers three grave-like mounds on a neighbouring farm, she'll learn that in her mother's world of secrets, not all questions are meant to be answered...






Today on Hummingbird Reviews, I am completely delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Alexandra Burt's brand new novel with Avon, The Good Daughter which was published on 23rd February in both eBook and paperback. I'll be sharing with you a short Q&A from the author, talking about her new novel and the setting behind it, as well as discovering writing influences and a whole lot more. I hope you'll grab a cuppa and enjoy!
Were there any real experiences or places/towns that served as the 'real' backdrop for 'The Good Daughter'? Is Aurora, Texas an actual place, can you talk about that?
Aurora is a fictional small Texas town. I live in Texas and have come across old farmhouses and buildings around rural Texas that have remained abandoned for decades. They sit undisturbed and are left to their own devices. To some, an abandoned farmhouse is just an eyesore, a building with shattered windows and boarded up doors - most people hardly give it a second thought - but there are stories left behind within those walls. Regardless if they are rooted in reality or made up, there are remnants of peoples' lives. An abandoned building is such a metaphor for time passing, nature taking over, at the same time the building remains stuck in the past. Houses are not just bricks and wood and stucco but they are a state of being.

There was one house in particular that caught my attention. It was up for sale about a mile from where I live. It sat on two wooded acres and was built in the 70's. It was a whopping 5,000 square feet, almost unheard of in the 70's. The description went something like this: Grand is what this home literally is. Nice yard of two acres, shade trees, 20' x 40' pool. Architectural details around every corner, must see this home to appreciate. By the time I ran across the listing the house was unfortunately under contract. I found out it had been vacant for decades - the owner had inherited it from his parents but had never lived there, had built a modern bungalow in a newer subdivision - he just never got around to selling it. It came up in a discussion with a friend and she told me that she had actually toured the house and that it was a time capsule; Formica, shag carpet, in-ground bathtubs. Someone's life had literally been abandoned; appliances were still plugged in, not one fixture, not one lamp had ever been replaced. There was wood panelling, gaudy furniture and d├ęcor that hadn't been touched in decades. I didn't see it with my own eyes but I was told the highlight of the property was the pool. The online pictures showed it in pristine condition, cornflower blue tile and clean water. Reality belied those photographs: according to my friend the pool was filled to the brim with frogs.

What else does one do with that picture but write a novel about an old abandoned house and its former inhabitants confronting the past?


Who influences your writing?
I remember reading Alice Hoffman many years back, before I even thought about writing and being completely enthralled. I'm not sure that authors influence me, but yes, I see a commonality there. I am a huge fan of magical realism. I think I kind of see the world that way, it's not a huge leap for me. I get some sort of tunnel vision once I work out a plot in my mind, after all, all authors tell the stories they feel compelled to tell. In the end who we are individually as writers is all we have and that's what appears on the page. Being mentioned with the above authors is truly an honour. I hope I will always read as a reader, not as a writer. I love being swept away by a story, being consumed by it.


Do you have any writing rituals? What does your writing space look like?
My writing space is pretty average; I have an office with a desk, a laptop. Bookcases, a stocked bar (always comes in handy) and I write with the radio playing in the background. I try to write every day and I try not to think about my characters all the time - but I fail at both ends. Especially during the first draft, there's no getting away from the story. The time I spend writing is minute in comparison to the time I spend thinking about it. I assign actors to my characters, I print out photographs of settings, and I collect items that the characters own, almost like a prop list in a play. I've mentioned obsessions, right? I have my entire novel plotted out on one sheet of paper or a dry erase board. It has to be condensed and I have to be able to take it in all at once.

Before I begin a new project, I rearrange the furniture and move my desk to a different spot. I clean the entire room, almost like a cleansing ritual to get rid of stagnant energy. It sounds very superstitious but it's really just a spring cleaning. Out with the old, in with the new.


About the author.

Alexandra Burt was born in a baroque town in the East Hesse Highlands of Germany. Mere days after her college graduation, she boarded a plane to the U.S and worked as a freelance translator. Determined to acknowledge the voice in the back of her head prompting her to break into literary translations, she eventually decided to tell her own stories. After three years of writing classes her short fiction appeared in online magazines and literary reviews.

She currently lives in Central Texas with her husband, her daughter, and two Labradors. She is an outspoken animal welfare supporter, and a proud vegan. One day she wants to live in a farmhouse and offer rescue dogs a comfy couch to live out their lives.

You can purchase your copy of The Good Daughter on Amazon UK.