Colleen Hubbard’s new novel Housebreaking published April 19, 2022. A native of New England, Colleen Hubbard now lives in the U.K. with her family. She wrote her debut novel, Housebreaking, while on maternity leave from her job with the NHS. She graduated from the University of East Anglia's MA program in creative writing, where she earned the Head of School Prize with a distinction. To learn more, visit colleenhubbard.com.
Synopsis of Housebreaking from the publisher:
Following a long-standing feud and looking to settle the score, a woman decides to dismantle her home—alone and by hand—and move it across a frozen pond during a harsh New England winter in this mesmerizing debut. Home is certainly not where Del’s heart is. After a local scandal led to her parents’ divorce and the rest of her family turned their backs on her, Del left her small town and cut off contact. Now, with both of her parents gone, a chance has arrived for Del to retaliate.
Her uncle wants the one thing Del inherited: the family home. Instead of handing the place over, and with no other resources at her disposal, Del decides she will tear the place apart herself—piece by piece. But Del will soon discover, the task stirs up more than just old memories as relatives—each in their own state of unraveling—come knocking on her door.
This spare, strange, magical book is a story not only about the powerlessness and hurt that run through a family but also about the moments when brokenness can offer us the rare chance to start again.
Colleen answers some questions that I posed to her about Housebreaking:
1. What kind of research did you have to do for your book?
My book is about a woman who dismantles – or un-builds – a house. I interviewed an architect, Brad Guy, who dismantles houses for material reuse purposes. It was also very handy to look at a book he cowrote, Unbuilding, to see what it actually looked like when someone smashed down a wall or ripped up a kitchen.
2. What do you hope your readers take away from your book?
I hope the characters feel a real connection to them as they do to me. And I hope it makes people laugh.
3. Do you have any say in what your book cover looks like?
I was asked my opinion, and I had some little picky comments (like I wanted a different floor that looked more rough, like it wasn’t in an elegant and expensive home), but overall I thought the designer did a great job right out of the gate.
4. What is the most difficult part about writing for you?
Finding, or prioritizing, the time with small children and a job.
5. What are you reading now and what have you read recently that you loved?
I’m right now reading Post Traumatic by Chantal V Johnson, and I recently loved Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield.
Order Housebreaking from Bookshop.org.