I met Alex on Goodreads and we found we had a lot in common, besides being authors and having the same surname! We both have a love of France, which Alex uses as the backdrop for her novel ‘The Twisted Vine’. This interview will help you get to know her better, plus her thoughts on writing. Enjoy!
When is your favourite time of day to write?
I love waking up very early and writing through the break of day. I don’t always manage it, but I know the writing is flowing when I consistently wake just before dawn, feeling bright and perky and don’t need caffeine to fire my brain up! This is an erratic and longed-for event. There is something about the quiet potential of that time of morning that I find very conducive. I huddle over my laptop, swathed in blankets, either in my shed or conservatory, so I can watch the sun come up before it steals the moment, and the busy day snatches my muse away.
How do you combat writer’s block?
Just wait. Or talk about the work in progress to someone remotely interested. Sometimes in persuading them of its dubious merits, I know what to do.
What piece of advice would you give to debut authors?
Being a debut author myself, I wouldn’t dare.
In 3 sentences, describe ‘The Twisted Vine’
This is a novel about running away. As usual, this doesn’t work, and Roxanne runs into more trouble before meeting true friends and finding her courage. The backdrop is the vendange (grape harvest) in France in the 1980’s, based on my first-hand experiences, and it provides a colourful, weather-filled canvas full of sensuous pleasures for the twisty-turny plot.
Are you currently writing another book?
Yes, it’s called Daffodils, and is based around the First World War. I’ve always been drawn to the Edwardian era that preceded it, with its fashion, level of technology (my level!) and the illusion of a halcyon time. The ‘war to end all wars’ shook up the social order as well as individual lives. The story is based in a small Wiltshire village, similar to one I lived in when my children were born. We had a wonderful old neighbour, with a wooden leg, who told me about how the village had changed in the 94 years he had lived there and the book began as a homage to him. I wrote it before The Twisted Vine, before I understood that I needed just to let the characters dictate to me. So now I am listening to them, as I radically rewrite their story, and try and do them justice.
What 3 words would you use to describe yourself?
More ambitious than talented, probably delusional about writing abilities. Older than I care to admit or feel. A wild rebellious spirit who constantly says the wrong thing at the right time.
How did you feel the first time you saw your novel for sale?
What an interesting question! Scared, thrilled, satisfied, worried. Convinced it wasn’t good enough, especially the front cover and the first section of the story. Pleased I’d persevered in my life-long dream of creating a book.
If you didn’t live in Britain, where would you live, and why?
France, without question. Preferably Poitou-Charentes in a Charantaise longhouse, with a couple of acres, orchard, pool, local markets and community – a completely indulgent dream! Why? For warmth, beautiful scenery, a house I could both love and afford, but mostly because France is the only country in which I feel I belong. On a cellular level whenever I go there, I feel my body go, aah, that’s better, we’re home. Of course I could just be allowing myself off the hook with a mental escape to paradise and like Roxanne, in the Twisted Vine, be glad to return home if it ever really happened!
Where can your novel be purchased?
You can buy The Twisted Vine at www.amazon.co.uk and www.amazon.com plus www.waterstones.com, www.barnesandnoble.com and www.feedaread.co.uk
Thank you, Alex, for your fun and interesting answers. Good luck with ‘The Twisted Vine’ and your up and coming novel ‘Daffodils’.
Happy Word Flow One & All.