Sal Thomas

Author Sal Thomas joins us in the hot seat today to talk about her latest book, The Accidental Housemate. Read on to find out what shocking incident at 8 years old stuck with the author, and which authors have influenced her writing

Author Sal Thomas Answers all our Questions

  1. Latest Book: The Accidental Housemate
  2. Can you give us the ‘elevator pitch’ version of your latest book.
    Cath is 40, widowed, has three kids and a dead-end job. When she decides to take in a student lodger to make ends meet, she doesn’t count on a mature student turning up and turning life upside down.

    The Accidental Housemate
    Cath Beckinsale is in a jam. She’s a single mum of three, with her 40th birthday in sight and a precarious hold on employment. And she can’t quite let go of her late husband Gaz, whose ashes are still in an urn on the kitchen table.
    To make ends meet a student lodger seems like the perfect solution – after all, what’s one more child in the house? But when Dan flies in from the US, complete with guitar and chest hair on display, it’s immediately clear that he’s no teenager, but someone who quickly sends life in an unexpected direction.

  3.  Tell us something about yourself that we likely don’t know! The more obscure the better!
    When I was eight, I heard my next-door neighbour being murdered, but my mom thought he was just having noisy sex, so we didn’t call the police.
  4. Do you write in silence, or with music? If you write to music, give us the top three songs on your writers’ playlist this week.
    That very much depends on my mood. But the three songs that never fail to get the juices flowing are:
    Mr Blue Sky – The Electric Light Orchestra
    Swing Swing – Ellie Dixon
    The Bike Song – by Mark Ronson and the Business Intl
  5. Are you a plotter or pantser?
    Very much a plotter. I only have a limited time to write, so I try to ensure every word counts towards the word count.
  6. Have your characters ever ‘gone off-script’ – hijacked your story and taken it in a direction you didn’t expect?
    There have been deviations, a powder-turn here and there, but I try not to let them get too out of control. See previous answer ref limited writing time!
  7. If you could spend time with any character from any of your books, who would it be and what would you do?
    I really love the daughter, Leanne, in this book. She’s overcome difficult circumstances and has emerged as a strong and sassy young woman. She doesn’t take any shit. I admire that in her.
  8. Which of your characters can you say you would least get along with in real life?
    There’s an uber-influencer mom-blogger character who wears power suits and has hired help. I suspect she would intimidate the bejeezus out of me.
  9. Do you read your reviews?
    I had a little peek, but then quickly realised that way madness lies. It’s a bit like having a perm. You think it’s a good idea at the time, then you have to look at yourself in the mirror every day… I figure I can’t change the outcome, so probably best not to get too hung up on them.
  10. What has been the toughest criticism you have been given since becoming a published author?
    Less criticism, and more the realisation that this industry is a sausage machine. It does not stop. When you write commercial fiction, you are but a mote of dust caught in the sunbeam of a reader’s / publisher’s temporary gaze, and then pffft. Gone. But I get it. It’s a business. You just need to manage your expectations.
  11. What is the best compliment you have received?
    Someone once said that I wore brown well. I don’t know why that stayed with me, but it did. But generally I am cripplingly bad at taking praise of any kind, despite my craving it
  12. Do you have a day job when you are not writing? If so, what do you do?
    I’m the Marketing Director of a Brand Consultancy called NOKAMO. People assume that this means I will be good at marketing my books. People are wrong.
  13. Can you name three authors who have inspired your writing?
    Arrgh. If I say really good authors, people will be like ‘ooh, get her!’. But sod it.
    Jerome K Jerome showed me what ‘laugh out loud’ really looks like.
    JoJo Moyes’ One Plus One made me want to write a RomCom.
    Mharie McFarlane showed me that you could also deal with tough things in them.
  14. What was your favourite book as a child?
    The Lord of the Rings. I am, at heart, a total nerd.
  15. What scene in your latest book was the hardest scene to write (without giving away too many spoilers!)
    The sex scene in the book I am currently writing was TOUGH! I still have no idea if it is a realistic rendering of two people meeting one another’s genitals for the first time, or the most cringeworthy attempt at erotica the world has ever seen. I need to go to sex scene school. Does that exist? *Writes it down as a potential passive income idea*
  16. Do you have any other author friends? If so, can you name a few and have any of them given you a piece of advice you would consider invaluable on your publishing journey?
    I went to the Harper Collins Author party in July, and that was a fab opportunity to meet a number of new author friends. But a special shout-out to Pernille Hughes and Kathryn Freeman for taking me under their wing and telling me about the inner workings / machinations of the industry. Thanks to them I didn’t quit my day job! I also live round the corner from Martin Griffin who wrote the thriller The Second Stranger. It is well worth a read if you like thrillers.

For Bonus Points – Answer our fabulous frivolous questions!

What is your biggest fear?
Anything bad happening to my son.

If you could have any superhero power, what would it be?
The ability to stop anything bad from happening to my son.

If you could write one line to be etched into your tombstone, what would it read?
She never did find anything funnier than a fart.

If you could give your younger self ONE piece of advice, what would it be?
Don’t buy those fake suede high waisted shorts.

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Finally – Who are your latest Cover Crushes?
I am guessing you mean covers I covet?
I really love Yellowface’s cover – so striking.
And Maggie O-Farrell’s Hamnet / Marriage Portrait twin-set are beautiful. Like the whole of the V&A on paper.

You can purchase Sal Thomas’ latest book: The Accidental Housemate

If you would like to hear more about Sal Thomas and her books, you can find here on instagram:


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