TEB Interview – James Howland (Revisited)
Seeing as the sequel to The Palace Addiction is released today, I had another chat with the author and TEB contributor James Howland. You can read our original interview from July 2015 along with a snippet from The Palace Addiction 2 in our recent article about the new release.
Q. What is ‘The Palace Addiction 2: Where Eagles Fly’ all about?
In 2014/15, I spent the season living in Australia, as well as travelling around South East Asia and New Zealand. In the book, I share how I followed Palace from abroad, stories of the many fellow Eagles I met, how I discovered what fans from around the world know about our club (mainly that we drew 3-3 with Liverpool), continued the Brighton rivalry from 17,000 kilometres away, include stories of my trip to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup, watched our captain lift an international trophy, and fell in love with Tony Popovic’s Western Sydney Wanderers.
It also contains unique insight into the season by former captain, Mile Jedinak, and co-owner, Steve Browett.
Q. How well was your first book ‘The Palace Addiction’ received?
Unbelievably. To be honest, I would have been happy with a couple of hundred sales so to be at nearly 2000 (which I hope to pass by Christmas) is staggering! Especially as I only wrote it for myself originally.
However, it’s about more than sales. I’ve received so much positive feedback from fans about the book on Amazon, Twitter, the forums and even at matches. It means so much to me as I really wasn’t sure how it would be received. I had some very negative comments on the BBS before it was even released so the sales figures and reviews have really made me proud.
On top of that, the book has given me so many opportunities ranging from having my book in the club shop, to going on television and radio, to making new friends and being shown around Budapest by one keen reader. I even received an incredibly touching letter from someone thanking me as my book had given them an escape from some genuinely tough personal times.
Q. What made you decide to pen this sequel?
Like the first book, the idea came to me as I was in the heart of the adventure. Being abroad and watching Palace in obscure locations at obscure times gave an equal amount of bizarreness, comedy and pain as I winced through the ill fated second Warnock spell in charge and marvelled at our post-Christmas turn around under Pardew. Throughout the year, I met various Palace fans at various locations – limited electricity Thai islands and at the top of Mount Doom to name just two. What struck me was a sense of feeling close to home from half way around the globe every time I encountered red and blue.
Q. How long did it take you to write and was it any easier the second time around?
Funnily enough, it was harder this time. I spent about a ten months writing and six months editing and proofing, which was much longer than the original. Part of this was deciding what to include about my travels to give a context and what was irrelevant. Although the main obstacle was finding time for my writing hobby around watching Palace, seeing my girlfriend and working full time.
Q. You continued the theme of the first book by featuring a number of different people including players, so how did you manage to get them involved?
I’ve got to say that we’re so lucky at Palace to have fans as owners. I simply messaged Steve Browett on the BBS and he was brilliant. He sent me his piece and put me in touch with Mile, who gave me a brilliant and quite long phone interview.
As for the fan contributions from around the world, they’re a mixture of friends that I’ve met around the world through our mutual addiction and people who I contacted online. All of their contributions are brilliant and give the book a worldwide picture of what it’s like to follow Palace from all corners of the globe.
Q. Do you have any tips that you have learnt along the way that you could share with any budding writers?
Just get something down and go from there. If you’ve got an idea, type it out and gauge opinion from friends as well as searching out other suitable experts (especially interested professional proof readers!) Of course, don’t be put out by advice – the more critical eyes you can get to read your work the better. Writing and rewriting and proofing and rewriting and reproofing is a bloody long process!
Q. Where can fans get hold of a copy of The Palace Addiction 2 – Where Eagles Fly?
It’s available on Amazon for £8.99 as a paperback and £3.99 on eBook. The club shop and online store will also stock it as a paperback for the same price. It should be in there in time for the Southampton game.
Q. Do you have plans for a third book or even a prequel?
Maybe one day but I don’t have an idea – yet! Hopefully I’ll be able to write one about following us in Europe in the future? Although, with Palace, it’s just as likely to be a tour of League 1!