Saturday, 31 January 2015

Welcome Accent Press author, Alison Rose...

 I am so happy to welcome Alison here today! Alison and I were introduced to one another through the Romantic Novelists Association over five years ago. We hit it off immediately and have been firm friends ever since. Alison has been writing and studying the art for many years and I am thrilled to introduce her debut novel, Off The Record - welcome, lovely lady!!

    1.)       What was your first job? Did you like or dislike it? Why?

My first ever job was in the early 1970s as a Saturday girl for a hairdresser.  I was thirteen, and had to shampoo, sweep up, make tea and take out rollers.  I earned the grand total of £1.25 for all day Saturday, and got an extra 50p for working on Fridays after school.  I loved meeting all the lovely ladies who came in, and the feeling of earning money for the first time.

My first ‘proper’ job was as a trainee Legal Executive, working mainly in conveyancing and probate.  I worked in the legal profession for 13 years, right through the property boom of the 1980s.  I loved examining old deeds, tracing the history of a property and the people who owned it.  But generally it was busy and stressful, and people became increasing greedy, looking to make money rather than find a home.  By the time I was made redundant after the property market crashed at the beginning of the 1990s, I was quite relieved!  
    2.)       Do you have a pet peeve? If so what is it?

I have lots!  But in this election year, I have to say that when someone declares ‘The fact of the matter is…’ I immediately stop listening because they’re probably going to twist the facts to suit their own agenda.  Politicians beware!
    3.)       Would you describe your style as shabby chic, timeless elegance, eclectic, country or ___­­­_?

Er… much as I’d like to say timeless elegance, I think it’s more ‘neglectful writer’!  I opt for comfort and so long as I’m clean and tidy, and the house isn’t drowning in dust, I’m content to ignore style in favour of writing time.  

4)       Tell me about your book Off the Record and where you got your inspiration for it?

I spent a year in the US on an exchange programme when I was 18, going to High School, and living with an American family.  I started wondering about the people I met there, and what it would be like for a couple to reunite after a gap of several thousand miles and nearly forty years.  American rock star Johnson and English parish priest Alexandra became the starting point for the story, which was helped along by Alexandra’s daughter Kate, a journalist, and Johnson’s record producing son Paul.


Journalist Kate Armstrong has always known that music icon Johnson Brand’s platinum-selling first album was written about his break-up with her mother, Alexandra. When Kate’s boss sends her out to interview the star himself, her life is turned upside down when her resemblance to Alexandra prompts Johnson to seek out her mother and renew their relationship. 

Kate suddenly has a lot on her plate - coming to terms with Alexandra and Johnson’s rekindling relationship, as well as keeping the two of them out of the public eye, all the while trying to resist the advances of Johnson’s playboy son, Paul. She thinks she has everything under control, until a threatening figure from the band’s past rears its ugly head. 

Will love tear them all apart … again?


    5.)       Who is your role model? Why?

Goodness, I have so many role models!  My mother taught me that you can achieve anything in life if you’re prepared to work for it.  My father taught me to love life and to find time to laugh.  I had a fantastic English teacher called Jane McIntosh who gave me the confidence to keep writing.  I have dear friends who have survived cancer or are living with life-threatening conditions who embrace life with both hands.  And I’m blessed by the friendship of so many wonderful writers, including you, Rachel Brimble!  You and all of my role models have helped me to become the person and the writer I am.  Thank you.    
   6.)       How much of your book is realistic?

The characters and events are purely fictional. I used my experience as an exchange student, but I didn’t have a big romance during my time in the US (I had a boyfriend back in the UK at the time).  However, I did celebrate my 18th birthday at Pizza Joe’s and had to endure the embarrassment of everyone in the place singing Happy Birthday to me.  

My son was a musician, and we’re all great music fans, so I hope that my depiction of a rock tour is fairly authentic. 

I based Alexandra’s parish loosely on Castle Combe in Wiltshire, where we worshipped as a family for many years.  I hasten to add that none of the horrible parishioners are taken from anyone living there!  They are purely made up for the sake of the story.  I got the idea for the fire from an actual fire that happened in the village many years ago.
On the whole, I hope that it is realistic, including Paul’s battle with post-traumatic stress disorder.
   7.)       What are your ambitions for your writing career?

To keep on writing!  I have a YA time-slip adventure coming out in April, followed by another contemporary romance in July.  I’m currently working on a novel based on my family in 1960s London, and also doing research for my next YA book.  It’s not easy, as I still work full-time for a charity as a legacy officer, but it hasn’t stopped me so far.  I’ll keep on writing until the words dry up, or my fingers fall off, whichever comes first!
   8.)       Share one fact about yourself that would surprise people.

Mmm, let’s see…

I once spent the night at Windsor Castle. I was invited to a party by a friend of a friend who lived and worked there.  We danced in a dungeon at the bottom of the Round Tower, drank from a huge silver punch bowl, slept in the servants’ quarters, and no, I didn’t meet the Queen! However, my son’s mother-in-law is now one of the Queen’s Chaplains.  These facts are all the more surprising when I tell you that my background is so humble that both of my grandmothers were born in workhouses. Sorry, that’s three facts, but I think they do fit together, don’t you?

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Alison is waiting for your questions and comments!!

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