Friday, 7 February 2014
Brook Cottage Books is thrilled to welcome Alison Jack to the blog as part of the Dory's Avengers Book Tour! Lets find out about Alison and her writing process. There's also a giveaway at the end of the page!
The overall giveaway on this tour is 2 x signed hardback copies of Dory’s Avengers. UK and IRE only.
JB: Where did the idea for the book come from?
Alison: The idea first took hold while I was watching a televised football match. Everything from the spectator stands to the players’ socks seemed to have its own sponsor, which set me wondering whether sponsorship was taking over the world. From that throwaway thought came the inspiration for a story set in an alternative Britain, where a brutal and oppressive sponsorship scheme does indeed reign supreme. For decades the population of this alternative Britain has been denied basic freedoms, such as being allowed to choose where they live, work, exercise or socialise, and many people have become docile and subservient as a result. The dictatorial sponsors complacently believe that there is no one left in the country who will dare to challenge their authority - but happily, they are wrong.
JB: How long did it take you to write the book?
Alison: Not very long at all, as the rough storyline and the characters had already taken shape in my mind by the time I started. I’d known for months beforehand that my full time employment was coming to an end, and had used those months wisely doing what I do best - daydreaming! As a result, when I sat down at my computer to write Dory’s Avengers I had so many ideas buzzing around my head that my poor fingers couldn’t type the words quickly enough.
JB: Did your characters develop as you expected or did any of them change dramatically?
Alison: A lot of them changed dramatically. They told their own story, and from time to time took me completely by surprise. A couple of characters were only intended to be peripheral, but ended up being essential to the story. One such character ends a relationship about two thirds of the way through the book, which left me scratching my head and wondering from where that idea had suddenly sprung. As the book progressed, though, both this ‘peripheral’ character and the fact he’d finished with his girlfriend played a major part in taking the story to its conclusion.
JB: You work within the book industry? What made you decide to write this book?
Alison: I worked in a book distribution warehouse for most of my adult life, which was a great job with the best workmates but not particularly rewarding mentally, and I would still work there had I not been made redundant. A healthy pay-out and hours of new-found free time gave me the opportunity to fulfil my lifelong ambition and become a published author, so I grabbed that opportunity with both hands.
JB: How long did it take to write?
Alison: Dory’s Avengers took three months to write, then another month of self editing before I was happy enough with the manuscript to send it out to prospective publishers. Many authors joke about the amount of rejection letters they receive, but most publishers I approached with the Dory’s Avengers manuscript didn’t even bother to reply. Happily Book Guild Publishing’s reply was the one I wanted, and twelve months later my beautiful book hit the shops. My second novel, a paranormal mystery entitled Shattered Belief, is taking a lot longer to write (over a year to date) as much of the time I used to dedicate to writing fiction is now taken up by blogging, marketing Dory’s Avengers and launching my brand new editing business.
JB: Are you the type of writer who plans the story stage by stage or are you just lead by how the story unfolds?
Alison: Somewhere in the depths of my computer are biogs for the Dory’s Avengers characters, but once I started writing I never once referred to them. I’ve recently edited a manuscript for an author who had planned each stage of his book in meticulous detail, and the result for him was a very good story, but it’s not a method that works for me. I’ll write and re-write over and over again until I feel completely happy with the story, and only then will I move on to the next part.
JB: Do you have any advice for any budding authors?
Alison: Find your own style. There is no right or wrong way to write a novel – it’s your story, so write the way that works for you. Also, once you’ve finished your manuscript, be sure to get it properly edited and proof read. I know I have a vested interest in the editing side of the writing business, but the fact remains an editor will spot mistakes an author will never see. It doesn’t mean the author is a bad writer. ALL authors make mistakes, but will tend to see what they’d intended to write rather than what is actually written on the page if they attempt to self edit.
JB: Do you have any writing rituals?
Alison: Lots of coffee (way too much if I’m honest), a quiet room, and my cat asleep on my feet.
JB: What’s next for you?
Alison: A very exciting future. I’ll continue blogging, guesting and networking to gain recognition for my writing. It’s a slow process, and I won’t deny I have the odd snarl when yet another ‘celebrity’ releases a ghost-written autobiography and shoots straight to the top of the bestseller’s chart, but it’s also very satisfying. Every time someone purchases a copy of Dory’s Avengers, or tweets to say they enjoyed it, or gives it a good review, or even just likes a blog post I’ve written it gives me a massive confidence boost, and it’s all the more rewarding as I know each boost is a result of my own hard work. I’ll probably self-publish Shattered Belief as I do like the idea of being completely in control, and in the meantime I’ll concentrate on building up Alison’s Editing Service http://alisonjack-editor.co.uk/ . This year has started very well for me: I made my radio debut on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire a couple of weeks ago; word’s getting round about my editing business and I’ve already confirmed some bookings; I’ve got exciting guests lined up for my blog; and I’m loving this wonderful Fiction Addiction tour – many thanks to all you lovely bloggers for hosting. All in all I’m very upbeat at the moment.
Publisher: Book Guild Publishing
A brutal regime. A docile population. A glimmer of hope.
In a stifled and oppressed United Kingdom, nothing can be achieved without the approval of the dictatorial Sponsors, at whose head is the malevolent and cruel Lord William St Benedict. In Britain’s cities the Sponsored live narrow, if privileged, lives, while the Unsponsored are confined to menial roles and to ‘less desirable’ districts. Among the Sponsors’ many victims is Lord William’s own son, the forthright and charismatic Theodore – ‘Dory’ – held captive by his father since he was a boy.
In the unassuming town of Applethwaite, in the shadow of the Cumbrian fells, an unlikely revolution is brewing. Albino gymnast Louis Trevelyan and his motley group of friends are fiercely proud of their Unsponsored status and gradually forge a plan not only to liberate the beleaguered Theodore but the whole of the United Kingdom.
‘Dory’s Avengers’ are coming…!
About the Author
Alison Jack has spent much of her adult life working in book distribution – Dory’s Avengers, however, is her first foray into the world of books as an author. She is a keen walker and has a particular love for the Lake District fells – the atmospheric setting for much of her novel.
Aside from writing her own novels and blogging, Alison spends a lot of time editing the work of other authors. When not writing, Alison enjoys reading, playing guitar – with more enthusiasm than skill – and wakeboarding. She lives near Cambridge with her partner and three cats.
Alison’s Website - http://alisonjack-blog.com/
Alison’s Blog - http://alicufc66.wordpress.com/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/AlisonJackAuthor
Twitter - https://twitter.com/AlisonJack66
Amazon purchase links – UK Link