A Chat with Alison Knight on Writing, Swimming & Jellied Eels
Today I am pleased to share an interview with the talented author, Alison Knight. Her novel, Mine, will be released on November 25, 2020. Alison, welcome!!
Hello Sarah, thanks for inviting me to feature on your blog.
So, Alison, what was the first story you remember telling?
I can’t remember an actual book story, but I do remember being in the back of our family car with my older sister, and we were fighting. I said, “Stop hitting me or I’ll tell Mum you smoke,” in a very loud voice. Needless to say, my sister never forgave me. She never gave up smoking either.
Who inspired you to write your debut novel?
The first book I got a publishing deal for was a time-travel adventure inspired by my daughter. When she was a teenager, she didn’t enjoy history at school and one day complained that her grandmother was always going on about the war. It struck me that my mother, father and in-laws were all teenagers in London during the war. I started to imagine how my daughter would cope with the constant bombing raids, the rationing, and even going to work in a factory at the age of fourteen - as my mum and mother-in-law had to – and the story grew from there. In it, a girl from the 21st Century is thrown back through time to meet her teenaged grandparents.
Wow, that story sounds fascinating!
Star Wars or Star Trek?
It has to be Star Wars as I was taken to see it at a drive-in movie theatre in Indiana, USA, the night before my eighteenth birthday, way, way back in 1977. I was an exchange student, just arrived from the UK. The exchange experience inspired another of my books, which imagines a rekindled romance between an American rock star and an English lady vicar who was his high school sweetheart when she was an exchange student.
Another exciting story!! It's amazing where we writers find inspiration.
What are your hobbies besides reading and writing?
I love to swim. I’ve always been a water baby and swum my first mile when I was nine years old. That event is actually featured in my new book, Mine, which is based on real events that happened with my family in the late 1960s. These days I still swim as often as I can.
Personally, I'm not too fond of water. I should clarify, I don't care much for swimming. In a boat, I'm fine. Swimming - nope. I wear contacts and without them cannot see anything beyond 1-inch in front of my face. The thought of losing my contacts and the closeness of the water brings out major anxiety.
What is one food you can never bring yourself to eat and why?
Jellied Eels! I come from a huge Cockney family, many of whom love this dish. When I was a kid, we used to go to a Pie & Eel Shop on Saturdays where we’d have the traditional pie and mash for lunch. On the counter were trays of live eels, wriggling and trying to escape. People would come in and ask for a portion of eels and the shop-keeper would pick one or two out of the tray and chop them up with a cleaver, starting with their heads. It was barbaric. No, I’ll never eat eels, thank you very much!
It's really shocking what some will eat. Say, that reminds me of a dad joke.
Why can't you breed an eel with an eagle?
Because it's eeleagle.
Oh wait, you said you liked Star Wars...
What do you call an Eel that loves the new Star Wars trilogy?
A More-Rey Eel
Cake or pie?
I’d have to say pie as my husband is an ace pie-maker. His specialities include Chicken and Butternut Squash Pie, and a divine Beetroot and Goat Cheese Pie.
So, when are you all having the Chicken and Butternut Squash pie?
Tell us about your latest book.
It has taken most of my life to write this book. I actually appear in the story, as a small child and later as an adult.
If you buy it, will it change your life? Possibly. I certainly hope so. Mine examines how ordinary people make decisions that lead them into extraordinary situations. If it could happen to them, it could happen to anyone. Writing it certainly changed me. It’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it’s also given me the reward of closure and peace of mind, so it has definitely changed my life!
It certainly sounds like a great addition to my To Be Read pile. I wish you the very best
in life and with your writing!!
Thanks again for inviting me to your blog. I’m off to see whether my husband has finished baking his latest pie, then I’ll need a good, long swim to burn up all the calories!
Have fun with the swim!
“What’s mine, I keep.” London, 1968. Lily’s dreams of a better life for her family are shattered when her teenage daughter refuses to give up her illegitimate child. It doesn’t help that Lily’s husband, Jack, takes their daughter’s side. Taking refuge in her work at a law firm in the City, Lily’s growing feelings for her married boss soon provides a dangerous distraction. Will Lily be able to resist temptation? Or will the decisions made by these ordinary people lead them down an extraordinary path that could destroy them all? Mine – a powerful story of class, ambition and sexual politics.
Kit de Waal, award-winning author of My Name is Leon said this about Mine:
“A heartbreaking account of love and loss told by a great storyteller. Alison takes you into the heart of the tragedy with compassion, wit and even humour. A beautiful story."
Pre-Order Now at – mybook.to/mineknight
And.... *drumroll, please*
YOU ARE INVITED TO AN ONLINE BOOK LAUNCH: On Saturday 28th November 2020, Alison will be joining four other authors for a joint event via Zoom called Darkstroke Defined: The five writers will talk about their new books, read extracts and answer questions. For your free ticket, go to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/darkstroke-defined-tickets-125793372363