Friday, 1 February 2008

February's Publication...

"Welcome to Britain’s most sinister seaside resort . . .

Prudence Green is a troubled woman. Stifled by her existence as an RAF wife, she’s dying for a bit of excitement. When one of the other women on the base commits suicide (having discovered that her husband is having an affair with a male comrade in Iraq), Pru and her best friend Lena are prompted to set off on a memorably surreal journey – a criminal investigation, a search for love and an exploration of Pru’s own dark past. The discontented pair escape the base and arrive in a blighted seaside town, Allcombe, determined to find out the truth behind the supposed suicide of one-time TV star Crystal Tynee. But as they explore the lawless town, Pru and Lena find that Allcombe hides more than one hideous secret. Light Reading is a wickedly clever detective story and a pitch-black mystery, seething with grotesque and unforgettable characters, and concluding with a twist that will leave you breathless."

About the author:

Aliya Whiteley was born in Ilfracombe, North Devon in 1974. She currently lives in Cambridgeshire.

Hi, Aliya. Tell us a little about your novel, Light Reading:
Light Reading is, ironically, a very dark book. The main character, Pru, started out as a nameless narrator in a short story I wrote called Spitting Wasps (it's on my website) and I loved that wilful, proud, but utterly misguided example of womanhood. She needed a foil, so the other end of the spectrum, Lena (the second narrator) came along - romantic, idealistic, and just as convinced that the way she sees the world is the only way to see it. Together they pretend to be Holmes and Watson in order to avoid hard facts about their lives, but let's just say detecting is not their forte.
The plot evolved from my previous novel, and most of the book takes place in the strange seaside town of Allcombe once more. Mainly it's about sex and death. Actually, it's completely about sex and death.

Light Reading is your second book published by Macmillan New Writing. How has your life changed since they published Three Things About Me in 2006?
A lot has changed since then. I moved from Germany to Cambridge, got on to the Arts Council's Escalator scheme, got mentored by the crime novelist Michelle Spring, got some funding, got an agent and got taken seriously as a writer. In that order. It's been a strange couple of years.

What is your typical writing day?
I write on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9.25 to 11.50. That's when my daughter is at creche and I am at the local coffee shop. I write longhand for the first draft, then type it up on to my laptop, then fiddle with it a bit until it seems as right as its going to get (which is never very right, to be honest). Of course, I'm thinking about whatever I'm working on all the time so when it comes to writing it down, it's pretty much like taking dictation. I'll do between 3,000 and 5,000 words on one of those mornings.

Four random facts:

Worst thing about writing:
When it all goes wrong and you have to bin thousands of words.

Best thing about writing:
The act of writing in longhand. Holding my special lucky pen and getting it on the paper.

Writers I admire:
Pretty much everybody really. I was telling Alis and Faye the other day how much I admire their ability to write historical stuff. I can only do the here and now. Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca turned me into a reader. Martis Amis' London Fields is the reason I wanted to become a writer.

Most ludicrous moment in my life:
My life is actually quite ludicrous throughout, so it's difficult to choose a particular moment. Most of these moments get documented in the column I write for Whispers of Wickedness as the Blue Pootle, or on my blog. I suppose recently the moment at the Good Food Exhibition where Gordon Ramsay appeared from nowhere and stood in front of me at the moment I happened to be halfway through an enormous sausage-in-a-bun was quite bad. Someone called 'get your kit off, Gordon!' and he thought it was me. He gave me the most scathing look and I was unable to respond, being caught with aforementioned sausage-in-a-bun. It was quite uncomfortable.

Thanks. Aliya, and congratulations on the new book.

By the way, Aliya's book launch for Light Reading will be held at Goldsboro Books, London, on 28th Feb. But if you can't wait to bag a signed copy, you can get an unsigned one at the following sites:

Macmillan New Writing

You can read an extract of Light Reading by clicking here . Or visit Aliya's website for more information.


Anonymous said...

It looks fantastic!

Tim Stretton said...

This looks fun, Aliya! I saw Will on Wednesday and he said if I liked The Herring Seller's Apprentice--which I loved--I'll like this too.

Am hoping to get up to London for your launch--it will be good to meet you!

Faye L. Booth said...

Congrats Aliya! I'm planning to order copies of Light Reading and Testament in the next week (didn't fancy lugging two hardback books back up the country on Friday, which is just as well given the unscheduled Planes, Trains and Automobiles experience I ended up having), so looking forward to reading it.

Personally, I admire anyone who can write a good detective story, because I stink at them, so we're even!

Have a great launch do.

David Isaak said...

Happy launch!

(And don't drink paint!)

Unknown said...

Thanks everyone! No plans to drink paint at the launch. Wine, yes...

Alis said...

Looks fab, Aliya. I'm going to make sure my local Waterstones get it for me!

Unknown said...

Thanks Alis!

Anonymous said...

Congrats, Aliya. If all goes according to schedule, my novel, THIN BLUE SMOKE, will be next February's publication. Seems like a long way off.

Doug Worgul
Kansas City

Unknown said...

Hi Doug - thanks, and how brilliant! Congrats! Welcome to MNW.

Len Tyler said...

Congratulations on the new book! I very much hope to get to the launch (we crime writers must stick together).

Unknown said...

Yay, Len! That's great - hope to see you there. Web Admin said...

Hi Aliya

Congrats again, and apologies for hijacking this blog entry but...

FAO Doug Worgul: if you want to sign up for writing access on the blog, can you e-mail me at and I'll get you on the permissions list?

Congratulations on being scheduled for Feb 2009 by the way (it might seem like a long way off, but trust me, it isn't it - just ask the gang on here!)