Alex Answers Questions!

I got a nice email from Coffee Time Romance this morning inviting me to submit the answer to a question, which they would then promote in their newsletter. This seemed like a great thing to me, and I wrote out a long answer for them and hit the submit button. Then everything froze and I don’t know whether it went through or not. If it did, I’m sorry for repeating it here. If it didn’t, at least I had copied what I wrote before I lost it 🙂


*QUESTION: How much of your real life bleeds over into your books? And do you worry that someone will be able to tell the fact from the fiction?*

I used to write specifically to get away from my real life. In those early days you would find me imaginatively on the decks of tall ships or the bridges of starships, a very long way away from everything of my current reality. I’d used reading as an escape since I could follow the words of The Hobbit, and writing was a natural escalation from that. I liked the fact that I could control these worlds and they would contain nothing that really hurt me.

But as I’ve grown into myself and begun to accept that I will never be a swashbuckling hero with the world’s fate in my hands, I’ve learned to love the life I’m actually living. When I moved into the English fenlands, I found a place where I could put down roots. I spent my first five years feeling blessed every time I came out of my house and saw the view – I’m surrounded by flowering countryside. And that began to work its way into my books before I was even aware of it. The first sign was the frequency with which my heroes took up morris dancing – first in Under the Hill and then also in Blue Eyed Stranger.

Then it really kicked in, and The Reluctant Berserker was knitted together out of one thread of my lifetime of Anglo-Saxon re-enactment and study and another of love for the fenland landscape. There is a strong element of me trying to give you the glory of this place – the fact that it’s a balm to the soul to live in this much beauty.

I don’t worry that people may be able to tell the fact from the fiction because I’m not hiding any of this. If you’ve ever tried, you’ll know that in fact it’s much harder to bring a real place to recognizable life in fiction than it is to simply make one up. If I describe a flowering hedgerow in a way that makes a reader picture it intensely enough to almost be there, does it really matter if I drew it from reality or not?

I have only this life, and in this life I have been fortunate enough to receive some beautiful things. I’d like to share them because I hope you enjoy them too.


Hey! Answering questions is fun If you would like to ask me anything (within reason, of course) go ahead and either ask here or through my contact form or email. I’ll do my best to give you as comprehensive answer as I can and be grateful for the prompt.

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