Author Kristin Contino joins the Spotlight this week to discuss her second novel, A House Full of Windsor
Author Name: Kristin Contino
Book Title: A House Full of Windsor
Book Genre: Women’s Fiction
Release Date: July 13, 2021
Congratulations on your release! How would you describe A House Full of Windsor?
A Martha Stewart wannabe and her royal-obsessed compulsive hoarder mother end up on a reality show where they’re forced to confront their messy pasts.
What sparked the idea for the book?
I was watching an episode of Hoarders where a mother and daughter were fighting about the mom’s house. It made me wonder how having this type of parent would impact you emotionally, but also how it would shape your relationships, career path, etc. The Princess Diana aspect came into play naturally since I’ve been following the royal family my entire life and now work as a royal reporter.
How long did it take for you to write it? Did you do have to do any research?
It took about a year and a half to finish. I ended up signing with an agent for the book in 2015, but we learned it wasn’t right for the market at the time and I mentally shelved the manuscript away, thinking maybe I would revisit it in the future. Fast forward to 2020 and on a whim, I decided I was going to pitch the novel again – and here I am.
I read several fascinating nonfiction books about hoarding and did a lot of Internet research (there are forums for children of hoarders, for example). I also spoke with a friend whose mother is a hoarder so that was helpful in terms of getting a child’s perspective. To write Debbie’s flashback scenes I watched a few documentaries about the 1981 royal wedding and went through a good amount of news coverage of Diana and Charles’s relationship. I did visit London a few times while writing/editing the book so that helped, and I was there for Harry and Meghan’s wedding so that gave the wedding scenes a new perspective when I reworked AHFOW last year.
Wow—that’s some cool research! For you, what’s the hardest thing about writing?
Finding the time and energy. Like many authors, I need to juggle my regular work (I work full-time as an online editor, plus serve as chief reporter at royalcentral.co.uk) with writing and marketing books, taking care of my family, house, and so on.
What are your interests outside of writing and reading?
Unlike Debbie, I’m not quite a hoarder but I do enjoy antiquing and collecting vintage royal books and that sort of thing. International travel is a huge passion of mine and I’m looking forward to getting back to that soon. Also, I’m really into theater and try to get up to NYC to see a Broadway show a few times a year.
Are you working on a new project?
I’m almost done with my next book, which I’m staying fairly tight-lipped about right now! I also have a sequel to AHFOW that I wrote a few years ago, but it needs to be reworked quite a bit due to some changes I made to the first book since then. It may or may not see the light of day … we will see.
Where can readers find you (website, blog, social media, etc.)? Feel free to include any upcoming, live/online events, workshops, too!
My website is www.kristincontino.com and in terms of social media I’m the most active on Instagram (www.instagram.com/royallykristinc). Facebook is www.facebook.com/kristincontinowriter and Twitter is www.twitter.com/royalkristinc.
Thank you, Kristin! A House Full of Windsor is out TODAY.
Spanning from 1980s London and the royal wedding of a century to a present-day reality TV show, A HOUSE FULL OF WINDSOR explores how one woman’s messy past shapes her family’s future.
Sarah Percy’s career depends on New Yorkers taking her household advice as gospel. “Sarah Says” used to be the most popular segment on the city’s top morning show, but ratings are down and it looks like Sarah might not have a tip for everything, after all… especially when her mother gets involved.
Debbie Windsor, Sarah’s mother, is a shopaholic and compulsive hoarder, a secret Sarah has worked tirelessly to hide her entire life. Debbie was always fascinated by royalty, but when her real-life love story started to parallel Princess Diana’s, she turned to collecting royal souvenirs to fill the void. Leaving her husband’s native England and relocating the family to her hometown in Pennsylvania doesn’t help the situation, and two decades later the house is a royal mess. Debbie’s safety is on the line, but she brushes off any attempts her family makes to help.
When Sarah’s brother gets a job on Stuff, a TV show about compulsive hoarding, he nominates their mother for an episode and promises his famous sister’s participation. Backed into a corner, Sarah and Debbie agree, but everyone has something at stake whether the episode does or doesn’t go off without a hitch. With both family and romantic relationships on the line–including the connection between Sarah and the show’s sexy host, and Debbie’s budding romance with a local shopkeeper –long-buried secrets and resentment must come to the surface for the family to move on.