Tuesday, March 5, 2013

TBR welcomes Ali Bacon

TBR: Welcome to TBR, Ali. Will you share a little bit about yourself?
Ali: Hi, I’m Ali Bacon. I live in Bristol, England and I had my debut novel A Kettle of Fish released just before Christmas last year. I’ve been writing for around ten years and have several short stories and feature articles published. In spare daylight hours you can find me on the golf course or if it’s after dark on the dance floor, where Mr. B. and I are trying to master the quickstep, waltz and foxtrot!

TBR: Tell us about A Kettle of Fish.
 Ali: A Kettle of Fish is a roller-coaster family drama set in Scotland published by Thornberry (http://www.thornberrypublishing.com) . It’s available for Kindle and in paperback from

TBR: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Ali: Ailsa has just left school and is ready for everything life has to offer, but her plans for a summer trip are thwarted by her needy and secretive mother Lorraine. Stuck at home, Ailsa takes up with local fishmonger Ian, who's good for her soul and her sex-life and takes her on trips to the coast where she spent a happy childhood holiday. But however hard she tries to conform to the role mapped out for her, Ailsa knows there are questions about life and love that Ian can never answer. Some of those questions relate to her father Tom, an art teacher who walked out on his family years ago. Frustrated at Lorraine’s refusal to talk about Tom, Ailsa walks out and heads for Edinburgh where she lies low with art dealer Shane. He’s hardly the answer to her prayers, but through his contacts in the art world, she begins to piece together the truth about her father and Nancy, the girl he met on the beach.   

TBR: What inspired you to write about the theme?
Ali: The book is set in Fife, Scotland where I grew up. After a recent holiday there it felt like time to rediscover my roots. The book isn’t about me or my childhood, but in many ways it does represent a sentimental journey.

TBR: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Ali: That’s a good question! My first attempts at novel-writing were definitely of the seat-of-pants variety, and I still have to kick things off by getting some words down on the page. But as time goes on, I feel more of a need to know where I’m going as I write. I think my current method is something like ‘write a bit, think a bit’ or maybe, pushing and panting?

TBR: How do you develop your characters?
Ali: I don’t really do it in a conscious way, I just try to put myself inside the character’s head and see what happens. I do sometimes think that writing is a bit like acting in this respect; you have to just pretend to be someone else.

TBR: Do you have a favorite quote you’d like to share?
Ali: I think that one about not failing until you have stopped trying is pretty crucial for any writer who is trying to get published.

TBR: While creating your books, what was one of the most surprising things you learned?
Ali: It was important that Lorraine, Ailsa’s mother, suffered from some ailment that would be difficult to diagnose. I was aware of the condition lupus and did some research to incorporate it into the story. It’s a complex condition that’s still not completely understood. By chance one of my first readers (and a personal friend) turned out to be a sufferer, something I had been completely unaware of until then. Luckily she thought I had described the illness convincingly.

TBR: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Ali: People have frequently commented that they like how I write sex scenes. I’m rather proud of the fact that Kettle has been recommended by a teacher on a creative writing course for just this reason!

TBR: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Ali: My next writing project is a historical novel and so my reading is following suit. Favourites are Tracey Chevalier and Rose Tremain. I’ve also found two new Scottish historical writers, Margaret Skea and Shirley McKay, who combine detailed research with great story-telling. Right now I’m reading My Dear I wanted to Tell You a gripping novel of WW1 by Louisa Young.
TBR: Where can readers find you on the web?
Ali:  my website and blog are at http://alibacon.com, or follow me on Twitter @AliBacon

TBR: Readers, Ali Bacon will give away an e-copy of A Kettle of Fish in Kindle format  to one lucky commenter. She'll pick a winner on Sunday, 10th March and announce the winner here. Be sure to leave your email address so s/he can contact you.

Thanks for visiting TBR, Ali. All the best to you.

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