The Mistress of Pennington's Tour

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Please welcome my good friend & fellow RNA member, Alison Knight...

I am thrilled to be hosting my good friend and all-round fabulous lady, Alison Knight on my blog today! Alison and I met through the Romantic Novelist Association around seven years ago and have spent a lot of time together at writerly and non-writerly events ever since. Her career is going from strength to strength and I am so damn proud of her. Let's kick off with my questions. Welcome, lovely lady!

1. What did you want to be when you grew up?

First, I wanted to be a teacher.  But then ‘O’ levels arrived and I went right off school!  I was also keen to become an actress – in my teens I was involved in a couple of drama groups and even a light operatic society!  My biggest roles included Alice in Wonderland, a caveman called Yog (it was an all-girls school), and the Wife of Bath from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.  I was never star material though, so I left school at 16 and did a business course at college, and ended up training to be a Legal Executive.  Decades later, I’m finally a teacher.  I run courses in Creative Writing at Wiltshire College, and love every minute of it.

2. Tea, coffee or hot chocolate?
I’m unable to drink coffee without being ill – which was rather awkward a few years ago, when I had to go on a trip to Honduras to meet coffee farmers.  They were very sweet about it, but I felt really bad, having to refuse their homegrown brews. I enjoy the occasional cup of builder’s tea, but usually stick to mint or rooibos teas.  For a treat, it’s a soya hot chocolate every time!  Goodness, that makes me sound really fussy, but I’m not – honest!

3. What genre do you typically read? Why?
I used to read only romantic fiction, but in recent years I’ve broadened my horizons and read all sorts of fiction.  For example, on holiday recently I read thrillers, contemporary romances, crime, YA and historicals, as well as some non-fiction as research for books I plan to write.  I look for interesting stories that engage me, whatever the genre.  That’s one of the best things that came out of studying creative writing at university – I was encouraged to read lots of genres, and found that I like a wide range of fiction.  It’s also helped me to write in more than genre – I write romance as Alison Rose, and YA time-slip adventures as Alison Knight.

4. Share a favourite childhood memory.
I grew up in South-east London, on the edge of Blackheath.  I have wonderful memories of sunny days on the common – sailing a toy boat on one of the ponds; flying a kite with my Dad; and having a ride on one of the donkeys that could be found by the entrance to Greenwich Park.  Happy, carefree days!

5. Do you have any shameless addictions?
Several!  The strongest are books and chocolate.  Nuff said.

6. What do you think is the biggest challenge of writing a new book?
Getting the first chapter right.  Until I’m happy with the beginning of the book, I can’t go further.  Once I’m satisfied that the start is right, I’m off and running.

7.  Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages a day?
I would love to, but I have a day-job that involves irregular hours and quite a bit of travel; plus I teaching evening classes; and I also have a husband who likes to have some of my attention occasionally.  I write when I can, for as long as I can.  Some days that produces several thousand words, but on other days I write nothing.  It’s not ideal, and I dream of the time when I can focus on writing full-time.

8. What are your thoughts on writing a book series?
I love the idea!  In fact, I have created plots for at least two books following the stories of characters from my second novel, Rescue Me, and intend to write those soon.  I’m also in the middle of writing the next book in the series of my YA time-slip adventures (the first being Rosie Goes to War) featuring Rosie and her eccentric family.  I’m planning several more books in that series. 


Born in London in 1959, Alison lives in Wiltshire with her husband. She has two grown up children and two grandchildren.  She has worked as a legal executive, a registered child-minder and a fundraiser, and is currently a regional legacy officer for an overseas development charity.  She also teaches Creative Writing at Wiltshire College.
In 2011 she was awarded a first class honours degree in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University, and followed this with a master’s degree at Oxford Brookes University in 2014.  She has travelled extensively, including treks in China, Spain, Egypt, and Israel; and charity work in Thailand and Honduras.  She writes romance novels as Alison Rose, and YA time-slip adventures as Alison Knight.

Stuck at her gran's house all summer with nothing to do, fifteen-year-old Rosie goes searching through some old junk and comes across a mysterious suitcase. It's full of vintage-style clothes, but when Rosie tries them on she finds herself suddenly flung back into the same house in war-torn London. With no idea of how she got there or how she can get back, she is soon caught up in a whirl of rationing, factory work, and dances, but comes crashing back to reality when she realises that if she can't find her way home, she may never be born at all ...

Saving a life can break your heart...

Being found under a laurel bush in the local park isn’t the best start in life. Neither is being given the name ‘Laurel Parks’ as a memento, but the girl who began like that is determined not to let it hold her back.

When a runaway lorry crashes into the restaurant where she works, Laurel is the heroine of the hour, saving the life of her favourite elderly customer. It just so happens that her favourite customer’s godson is the gorgeous and rich Daniel French.

Injured and unable to work, Daniel offers her a place to stay. Used to women throwing themselves at him, he expects Laurel to make the most of the opportunity. But Laurel remains cool and calm, resisting their growing attraction, until Daniel asks her to pose as his fiancĂ©e. It’s all just pretend, right?


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