Title: Abolish the Rose
Author: Alanna Irving
Genre: Adult Women's Fiction
Release Date: April 10, 2022
Cover Design: Matthew Fielder
Camille Addison resents the hand life has dealt her. Enrolling in an evening class to distract herself from memories of frustration, she finds herself instead turning to face the tumult of relationships, loss and love that has led her to where she is.
Abolish the Rose takes us on a journey through the traumas of the past in search of meaning in the present. Through a vivid catalogue of heart-warming and harrowing life experiences, we are drawn to question, along with Camille - how much control do we have over the path our lives take? Would we change the past if we had the chance? What is a life well lived?
Trigger warning: miscarriage (non-graphic)
What inspired you to write this book?
I actually started writing it out of petulance. I couldn’t find anything I wanted to read in the library, and I felt like every blurb I read was the same: „X was perfectly normal....and then something horrific happened!“ Or sometimes, „X seemed perfectly normal, but something horrific had happened in the past!“
I told myself, if this is what I need to write to be published, I’ll come up with the most horrific thing I can and write about it. As it turned out, I did have a story to tell, and some themes I wanted to explore, and I think it turned into the best novel I’ve written so far.
How long did it take you to write this book, from the first idea to the last edit?
I wrote the first draft in a little over a month in about 2015. I then worked on it for six months or so, didn’t get anywhere with it, and put it away. I spent another few months tinkering with it in about 2017/18, then put all my writing on hold while I did my Masters degree. I returned to writing in 2020 and started a completely different novel, but I still felt like I wasn’t finished with this one, so I came back to it again. From starting with Atmosphere Press to release date will have been about 7 months. So, overall, a long journey!
Who would enjoy reading your book?
I write the kind of books I’d want to read, which are books with real, flawed characters, difficult topics, and no guaranteed happy ending. I like books that don‘t spell everything out for me; the reader has to do some of the work, join the dots, form their own opinion.
What’s something you hope readers would take away from it?
I want readers to take away whatever message it is they find or need to find – one of the beautiful things about stories is that they can speak to everyone differently. For me it’s a message about the constant pressure we’re under these days to be happy, to fulfil dreams, to be constantly productive and filling our time with worthwhile, soul-nourishing, Instagrammable activities. Sometimes life doesn’t go to plan and time is wasted and there isn’t a shiny happy social media feed, and maybe that’s ok too.
Do you have a favourite quote or scene in the book that you find yourself going back to?
I loved him, I did. I just also blamed him for stealing thirty-three years of my life.
I love a short, punchy ending to a chapter. At this point in the book you don’t know who she’s referring to, and it really sums up the main character’s struggle with her conflicting emotions.
What’s the best piece of advice you have received?
The best advice I ever received was when I first started dancing salsa. My teacher said there are only two things you need to do to be a good dancer: „Relax, and keep moving.“ It’s great advice for salsa and it’s great advice for life.
If you could give a shout out to someone(s) who has helped in your writer journey, please feel free to mention them below!
There have been lots – my endlessly supportive parents, my highschool English teacher, the publisher I met who said my books weren’t right for his publishing house but spent months working on my manuscripts with me because he saw potential in them. Even my Director of Studies at university, who told me I was unteachable, at the wrong university, and had no talent at writing – that just made me even more determined to prove her wrong!