Jul 30th, 2017
This Sunday we have Rose Alexander, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.
Hi, I'm Rose, and I'm the author of two books - so far! - Garden of Stars and Under An Amber Sky. I'm yet to reach the point at which I can give up the day job, so for the last four years I've been teaching English full time at north London secondary schools. Before this, I worked in TV and digital media as a director/producer. Part of the motivation to retrain as a teacher was to have the holidays to write in. Like many good plans, this looked good on paper but the reality is that teaching is so grueling and exhausting, you need the breaks to recover! I really have to push myself to keep on writing. In addition to working and writing, I have three children who thrive on benign neglect; they know not to disturb mummy when she's bent over her computer. Every review on Amazon or contact from one of my readers via my website, RoseAlexander.co.uk, makes the hard work worthwhile though.
Did you read much as a child? Are you an avid reader now?
I probably spent 90% of my free time reading as a child. The other 10% was occupied by building jumps in the garden and running around pretending to be a horse. It was a country childhood, with not a lot of diversions, as you can tell! When I was a teenager, there weren't nearly as many YA titles around as there are now - perhaps the one that most sticks in my mind was Fly-by-Night by KM Peyton. This made such an impression on me at about age 14, combining horses and love in an utterly compelling mix. I still read lots but I do think that as an adult, you lose that ability to totally immerse yourself in a book that I remember from childhood. There are always things to do, distractions, other calls on your time.
Which genre do you write in and why?
I write commercial/contemporary fiction and that is the genre I mostly read. However, I also love a psychological thriller and I've got my own coming out in August this year. It's written under a pseudonym so as not to confuse readers - so look out for The Missing Twin by Alex Day if you're a fan of suspense and intrigue. I'm probably much too stuck in my ways because I don't really read outside these two genres. I can enjoy crime books if they are not too graphic, but sci-fi, fantasy and horror are all genres that leave me cold.
Do you have a favourite time of day to write?
Because of the demands of my job and family, my time to write is simply any five minutes I can grab - even standing at the bus stop or sitting in the bathroom supervising my youngest in her bath. If I get home by 6pm, I'll try and do two hours in the evening and then at least half a day at the weekend. I can't afford the luxury of waiting for the muse to visit me - I just have to get words on paper whenever I have the opportunity. But I've always been someone who works best to a deadline so if I had nothing to do but write, I'm not sure how much more I would produce.
What is the best thing about being an author? And the flipside - what is the worst?
The best thing is achieving a childhood dream, for certain. My children are also really proud of me and I hope that I'm a good role model for them, showing them that you can do anything if you really want to and that you're never too old to start something new. I've always told them that you get out what you put in and they see how hard I work at my books - they've also seen the disappointments and rejections that are part and parcel of getting published and perhaps seeing me weather those storms will give them resilience for their chosen paths in life.
Is social media an essential chore or something you enjoy? Which forum do you prefer?
I would so love to exist in my ivory tower and not have to do the social media. Not that I don't like the interaction, it's just that I don't feel that anything I've got to say - outside the words of my books - is that interesting. For that reason, perhaps, the social media platform I feel most comfortable on is Twitter - 140 characters seems manageable in terms of communication! I also built my website RoseAlexander.co.uk myself and I'm really proud of it. It gets lots of hits from all over the world - one month it'll be big in Russia, the next Vietnam - and I try to fill it with the sorts of things I'm interested in, such as pictures from the locations featured in my books. I do have a blog but my posts are sporadic at the moment - it seems to be the thing that I just don't have time for.
It's the last day and the earth is facing oblivion - what book would you read?
My favourite book is The Fountain Overflows by Rebecca West. I'd gain comfort from it as the comet heads for the planet to destroy as all.