I am delighted to be joining in with Allie Rogers’ #LITTLEGOLD blog tour! 🙂
Many thanks to Lucy, at Legend Press, for the opportunity to take part.
Q&A with Allie Rogers…..
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
I’m a Brighton-based writer of fiction. I work part-time as a librarian at Brighton University and write with the rest of my time. My flash fiction and short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies.
My first novel, Little Gold, is published by Legend Press. It’s a coming-of-age story set in Brighton in the summer of 1982. The novel’s main protagonist, Little Gold, is a boyish girl of twelve. At the heart of the book is a friendship she has that summer with an elderly neighbour called Peggy Baxter. The book is about how we learn to survive in difficult times and the power of love, in all its forms, in enabling that survival.
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
The process usually starts with a single image – almost like a memory. That will be followed by a character and the character brings me the story. It feels like something arriving rather than an act of conscious creation at that point. There’s plenty of conscious creation later on though!
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
I think characters are always an amalgam of people we have encountered in life and aspects of ourselves. If I am aware of straying too close to a single real person then I will address that. I think it’s vital to connect well with your characters, to try to engage some level of empathy, no matter how unpleasant their behaviour may be. If you don’t understand your character’s motivations then they won’t have depth.
How do you pick your characters names?
Sometimes they just pop into my head – Little Gold is an example of one of those. At other times I have to pick names that fit with a specific era, age or background.
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
Ah, well, that’s an evolving thing! When writing short fiction I often just wing it for the first draft. When writing longer pieces I have tried a number of approaches. At the moment I favour a rough plan – chapter by chapter – but I would never let the plan stop me from going with an idea that feels powerful as the work is evolving. I write a complete first draft and then (after a deep breath or two) start again from the beginning to get a second draft. I have always been someone whose first drafts are too thin and I usually find that the second draft is a process of adding meat to bones. I write whenever I can – sometimes late into the night.
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
That’s really hard! Ali Smith, Carson McCullers, Patrick Gale, Catherine Hall and Barbara Vine (Ruth Rendell) are current favourites. It does change over time though. I read widely and include fiction of all sorts and poetry too.
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
That would be Carson McCullers. She died in 1967 at the age of just fifty. I’d ask her if she was writing in the afterlife and had anything I could read!
Were you a big reader as a child?
I went through intense phases – often when I discovered an author I loved. Reading in the tree in my garden (something the character Little Gold does) are some of my happiest childhood memories.
When did you start to write?
I have a school report from when I was eight years old that says I wrote interesting stories. I didn’t like school much and it was a wonderful escape when they let me write my way out of the classroom. I’ve written, off and on, all my life.
If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
I don’t think I would do that. I think there’s something to learn from every book as it is.
Is there a book you wish you had written?
No. I can’t really identify with that idea at all! Books are born from particular brains. I’m just glad that the books I love got written by someone.
If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?
Hmmm. Well, I think I’d ask Miss Celie from The Colour Purple down to Brighton beach for a coffee and to watch the people go by. It’s a world away from her world but I think she might like the diversity and be interested in what everyone wears these days.
What are you working on right now?
I’ve just finished a book told in the voice of a four year old, imaginative, super-clever, dinosaur-obsessed little boy called Danny. So it’s another adult novel with a child protagonist.
Do you have a new release due?
Watch this space!
What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?
Publication day for Little Gold falls when my writing group happens to be meeting. I shall be drinking a bit too much with my pals!
How can readers keep in touch with you?
I have a website http://allierogers.com and a Facebook author page. You can find me on Twitter as @alliewhowrites.
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
I don’t think so!
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Allie 🙂
Publisher: Legend Press (2nd May 2017)
‘Life affirming and triumphant’ Mark A. Radcliffe
‘Wonderfully moving and atmospheric’ Catherine Hall
‘Vivid and touching… this book left me haunted long after I put it down’ Umi Sinha
‘Brilliantly handled… a great first novel’ Bethan Roberts
‘I found myself engrossed… a vibrant, moving tale’ Alison Smith
The heat is oppressive and storms are brewing in Brighton in the summer of 1982. Little Gold, a boyish girl on the brink of adolescence, is struggling with the reality of her broken family and a home descending into chaos. Her only refuge is the tree at the end of her garden.
Into her fractured life steps elderly neighbour, Peggy Baxter. The connection between the two is instant, but just when it seems that Little Gold has found solace, outsiders appear who seek to take advantage of her frail family in the worst way possible. In an era when so much is hard to speak aloud, can Little Gold share enough of her life to avert disaster? And can Peggy Baxter, a woman running out of time and with her own secrets to bear, recognise the danger before it’s too late?