Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Sitting Round My Pool - Ali Bacon

It's another sunny day here and I am delighted to share a sunbed with the wonderful Ali Bacon. So please join us, there is plenty of bubbly and tapas.

Thanks Ali for taking time out of your manic schedule to sit round my pool to have a drink and chat, I know you live in Bristol, but you are from much further fields away, Dunfermline in Scotland, why the move?

Well after uni in St. Andrews, which wasn’t too far from home, I think I always expected to go elsewhere to work. In fact I went straight to Oxford as a library trainee in the amazing Bodleian Library (hot summer of 75, much dreaming in spires and a bit of punting too!) then my library PG Cert in London. But by then I was engaged to Mr B whose job was in Bristol.  You can guess the rest!

Mmm yes I can! You studied classics at St Andrews University, tell us a little about your student days and your love of the classics

St Andrews is in some ways quite remote and a quiet spot for student life, but as in many close-knit communities the social life is really great – loads of student balls, informal get-togethers and wacky traditions that bring people together. It would be very hard to be there and feel left out. It’s also the university with the highest rate of undergrads who go on to marry, so I was following a trend there! 
Looking back I sometimes wonder why I opted for classics as it might have been nice to spend more time reading books in English (!) and some of it was hard-going (if you have never heard of Thucydides you are probably lucky) but I do think Latin and Greek are a fantastic resource for all kinds of things, especially widening your vocabulary and improving your spelling! I’m also told  classicists make very good computer programmers, so I might have had a different career altogether. I think it was a privilege to read Homer in the original and have some insight into these incredible civilisations. If you don’t know much about them I recommend Madeline Miller’s  Song of Achilles (quite racy!) or Robert Harris Pompeii as a starting point. I’m really pleased to notice that there’s a bit of a revival of classics going on in schools right now.

All ready added to my reading list! Last year your novel A Kettle of Fish was published, tell us about the story and what inspired you to write this

My first (unpublished) novel was set in Oxford (see above!) and France but after that I went on holiday to Scotland and thought it would be good to get back to my roots. Not having lived there for over 30 years it was quite a challenge, especially as I wanted  to write a contemporary rather than a ‘period’ novel, but I did enjoy it especially once I had given my heroine Ailsa her head. It’s the story of how she persists in looking for a boyfriend when what she really needs to do is find out what happened to her dad. Needless to say she gets into some tricky situations as a result., most of which are her own doing.

You are published with Thornberry Publishing, how did this come about?
I had been around lots of agents and publishers without success  (a familiar story!) and was thinking of self-publishing the book when a friend told me about Thornberry. They accepted the book straight away and made a great job of getting it out as an e-book and also helped when I published it as a paperback.

Have you plans for a new novel if so can we know a little about the plot and when we can expect to see it out?

I’m working on an idea that’s been with me for a few years but as it’s a historical novel I’ve had to do lots of research and also get my head around the whole idea of combining fact and fiction. After one or two false starts I think it’s now properly under way, but it will be a few more months before the first draft is done. Then the fun of editing and polishing will really begin, not to mention checking out more research to make sure everything is right. It’s based on the life of an artist who was involved in the development of photography. I’ve always been fascinated by photography but in this case I’m focussing on the human drama, the story of someone who was a successful public figure but who suffered tragedy in his private life until … Is it a love story? Yes, but not a conventional romance.  That’s all I’m saying right now!

Since Kettle I’ve also contributed to an anthology called Unchained published by my writing group and sold in aid of the National Literacy Trust, so that has also kept me busy.

Your new novel sounds fascinating, please keep us updated. Now for some quick fire questions so we can get to know a little better….

Prefer formal or casual dress?
Casual but not scruffy (and I like the occasional chance to dress up!)

Heals or flats?
Have always been a ‘flattie’ – then I took up ballroom dancing. It’s never too late to wear heels!

Favourite food?
Crème brulee (or even custard will do!)

Dream car?
Don’t really do dream cars, just like to get from A to B

Do you ever eat Macdonald's food?
Not now the kids have grown up!

Who most inspires you?
Right now? Andy Murray of course! – I blogged about him here.

Thanks so much Pauline for inviting me back to the pool and for all you do to support indie authors. It has been a lovely change of company – and climate!

Ali's Links

Find Ali at
Twitter @AliBacon

Ali’s Novel A Kettle of Fish is available on Kindle from Amazon UK
 and Amazon US
Paperback ISBN 9781781768624

Unchained is from Tangent Books of Bristol
and Amazon

Thanks a  million to Ali for being here and thanks to you all for stopping by, such fabby peeps!


AliB said...

Hi Pauline. thanks so much for rescuing me for the disgusting weather in UK today and for putting the post together so beautifully.
Ali B

Kit Domino said...

Great post and keep up the good work, both of you. You bring sunshine into a chilly day! :)

Pauline Barclay said...

Hello Ali, it's been a pleasure having you here. x

Pauline Barclay said...

Hi Kit, glad it made the sunshine, if only a little. Thanks for stopping by.