Interview with Alex Pearl

What are your two favourite books, and why?
Ooh, good question.
In no particular order, I'd choose 'To Kill a Mockingbird' by Harper Lee because it is so beautifully written from a child's perspective. The characters are wonderfully drawn, and you really do care about them. And Lee's ear for language and dialogue is second to none. It's a touching and deeply moving book that will stay with you for a long time. I read it years ago, and I'm writing about it now. So there you are.
Second up, I'd pick 'The Book Thief' by Marcus Zusak. Set during the second world war, this tale revolves around ordinary German people living through extraordinary times. Written in a fairly unconventional style, this book soon envelops you like a warm blanket. It's populated by a lovable cast of characters, and yet you know throughout that death is hanging in the air.
Do you remember the first book you ever read?
I think the first book I ever read was 'Stig of the Dump' by Clive King, and I remember really enjoying it. In fact, I read it again recently, and I could see why I enjoyed it all those years ago. It's beautifully written, and is an engaging tale about a little boy who discovers a caveman living in a chalk pit close to his grandparents' house.
Who are your favorite authors?
My goodness, there are so many.
Well, here goes. In no particular order:
George Orwell, Ian McEwan, P G Woodhouse, Sebastian Faulks, Thomas Keneally, Jerome K Jerome, Mario Puzo, Frederick Forsyth, Marina Lewycka, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, John Irving, Charles Dickens, Natasha Solomons, Bill Bryson, Sue Townsend, Beryl Bainbridge, Alan Bennett and Kurt Vonnegut. Phew!
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The sound of my kids having breakfast; the play of light on the oak tree overlooking our garden, Radio 4 and the Today Programme, boiled egg and soldiers, and the prospect of putting pen to paper.
Describe your desk
It's not the tidiest. It was purchased at Ikea and sits in the attic with a small skylight window above it. Its drawers are filled with detritus: notepads, pens, old photos, boxes of colour slides that haven't been viewed for years, CDs, cassettes and a couple of glass paperweights. And on top is my computer, monitor and keyboard that were assembled by my son who is the scientist in the family. Scattered around the computer are scraps of paper that occasionally fall to the carpet like autumn leaves, more pens, an old advertising award in the form of an acrylic brick with the date 1987 etched into it, and a couple of marble figures that my cousin brought back from one of his many jaunts to some far flung corner of this wonderful planet.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I'm currently writing a thriller set in 2005. The protagonist is a survivor of the 7/7 terrorist attacks on London. That's all I can tell you at the moment. I'm hoping to finish it some time next year. So watch this space.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I'm not writing, I'm usually reading, browsing online, walking on Hampstead Heath, going to the cinema (I'm a movie addict), spending time with my wife and kids, cooking or listening to the radio (Radio 4, or Fuddy Duddy Radio, as my kids used to call it).
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Ilford, Essex. It's a fairly nondescript urban sprawl sitting on the eastern side of Greater London. Its one redeeming feature is an attractive park and cricket ground, which used to be part of a private estate. To be honest, I don't think the area played any part in influencing my writing. The chief influence would have been through books and one particularly good English teacher where I went to school in Camden Town, which is quite a distance from Ilford.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I've been an advertising copywriter for more years than I'd comfortably own up to, but writing fiction came late in life. My first book, 'Sleeping with the Blackbirds' was initially written for my kids. My second novel, a thriller, will hopefully be out in print next year. The motivation to write fiction is the notion that a complete stranger might actually pick up a book I've written, read it and enjoy it. That in itself is motivation enough, surely.
What advice would you give anyone new to the world of writing?
Don't let agents' rejection letters get you down. W'e've all received sackfuls of them. Even J K Rowling has. Instead, make use of constructive criticism when it rings true. And above all, enjoy your writing, because if you don't nobody else will.
Published 2016-11-24.
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Books by This Author

Sleeping with the Blackbirds
Price: Free! Words: 37,870. Language: English. Published: October 27, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy, Fiction » Adventure » General
Hideous parents and school bullies are making Roy Nuttersley's life a misery. So for comfort Roy looks after the birds in his garden, and in return the birds hatch a series of ambitious plans to protect their new friend. But like so many things in life, these go hideously wrong and the lives of both Roy and his arch tormentor, Harry Hodges, are turned upside down - but in a surprisingly good way.