Following the release of ‘Palace Addition 3 – The Eagles Nest’, I caught up with the author, James Howland, to find out more about the third book in the series, what we can expect from it and much more.
Q. So James, The Palace Addiction has turned into a trilogy! Any offers yet from Hollywood on film rights at all??
Neither Steven Spielberg or Netflix have been in touch yet but I’m always open to offers!
Q. In all seriousness, for those fans who have not read the first two books, how does Palace Addiction 3 pick up from the second book?
The Palace Addiction 3 starts at the beginning of the 2019/20 season so about four years after the second book. I think I’m a very different person from the 20 year old, piss-head student in the first book and the carefree traveller in the second but, as I reflect on in the first chapter of the new book, the constant through all of my life has been Palace.
As with the first two books, I try to keep them light-hearted and relatable. One of the great things about following a football club is that we all experience the same things and moments that feel personal to us are also shared with friends, family and strangers.
Q. Who or what have been your influences in pulling together this book?
I’d guess it’s a mixture of my Palace friends and family members who I share the journey with, and my girlfriend who is always challenging and inspiring me.
It’s also what influenced me: Covid and South London. The book was written in lockdown at a time when it was hard to imagine Saturdays ever being the same again. The lockdowns also gave a time and space for personal reflection. Having been born away from South London, it always fascinates me how much I think of the area as interlinked with my identity. During lockdown, I moved house away from South London and then to within a mile of Selhurst Park with the bitter-sweet irony of coming at the time when we couldn’t get to the games!
Q. How long did it take to finalise the book?
I wrote the first draft of the book through the first six months of this year. The ending of the story that I wanted to tell wasn’t until mid-September so as soon as that was wrapped up, I started preparing to publish!
Q. It is intriguing how life events are prominent in this book which of course, happens to us all, and makes it compelling when balancing that with events at the club. Was that your intention from the start?
Yes! For a long time, I thought that I’d stop writing after the second book because both of them had a unique angle in following Palace. In the first book, it was all about going to games, home and away, with the backdrop of student life and administration. For the second, it was about trying to find ways of following Palace in the middle of the night while living and travelling far away. I was in my 20s, carefree and I discovered Premier League Palace were becoming a global brand.
I always maintained that if I was to write a third book, it would need to be from a different angle and the pandemic provided that.
In terms of my personal experiences covered in the book (moving house/building a relationship/spending more Saturdays doing things other than watching Palace/dealing with covid restrictions), I think it’s always interesting to consider how Palace fit around these areas of my life. These days, I don’t go to every game as adulthood and maturity has slowly begun to catch up with me so while I still love the club, I have a different relationship with the club nowadays.
Q. Are there any plans for The Palace Addiction 4?
Never say never! However, I’d need another new angle. Hopefully, it would be a more positive one than a global pandemic!
Q. Seeing as the books have taken us through your life as a Palace fan to date, without giving away too much for any future books, perhaps you could give us your view on the revolution that is currently taking place at Selhurst Park at the moment?
It’s exciting, isn’t it? In the foreword of my first book, Matt Lawrence described the 2009/10 season as “The Story before the new beginning of the 2010’s fairytale” and I’m hoping that the events of this book will be the prequal of the next exciting period of following Palace. Vieira has taken the baton from Roy Hodgson and it looks like we’ve got some great times ahead. I think the final chapter of the book captures that current feeling quite well!
Q. Tell us where readers can get hold of a copy of the book (and the previous ones) which would make an excellent gift for any Palace fan…
The Palace Addiction: Administration, Ghost Goals and the Little Matter of Hillsborough