Today I have a very special feature to my blog. I have for am interview Alison Baillie the author of Sewing the Shadows Together.
Thank you Alison for taking part in the interview
. Your debut novel Sewing the Shadows Together what was your inspiration for this book? This novel has been in my head for more than thirty years. I was a teacher in Portobello, the seaside suburb of Edinburgh in Scotland, when there were several murders involving young girls, victims of what turned out to be two serial killers. I couldn’t stop thinking about the effect of these tragedies on the families and friends of the victims and so the seeds of my novel were sown. Sewing the Shadows Together shows how the lives of the brother and best friend of a teenage girl murdered nearly forty years ago have been blighted by the tragedy and how they are drawn together when the supposed perpetrator is proved innocent.
What attracted you to write novels? I love reading and used to enjoy writing articles for teachers’ journals etc. When I stopped working full-time I began to write the novel that had been in my mind for so long, and loved the process of writing. I was never bored or lonely because I had my characters and plots as company. As soon as I’d finished my first book I had to begin writing another as I missed writing so much.
If you could write with one author living or dead who would it be and why? Ian Rankin is my absolute writing hero and I would love to write with him (although I think he is managing very well without me!)
Do you have a specific place you like to write at?At home I write at my living room table, but I always find I’m inspired by the sea (ironical as I live in Switzerland and could hardly be further from the ocean). I wrote quite a lot of Sewing the Shadows Together in South Africa at a friend’s house near a wonderful long beach and found this environment very stimulating
Recent discussions i have seen bring up about negative reviews and how it impacts sales for the authors. How do you handle a negative review on your work? As a reader I’m not influenced by negative reviews because readers have different tastes and the bad reviews usually say more about the reader than the book. As a writer it is hurtful at first when somebody doesn’t like or understand your book, but you just have to think that nobody can please all of the people all of the time.
As a writer what is your most memorable review good or bad? I’ve had some wonderful reviews and it’s difficult to choose one. But one I really loved is by the great blogger Joanne Robertson of the Chestnut Reading Tree Book Blog. I love her enthusiasm and the fact that she really ‘gets’ the book
Wow-I feel like I have been on the proverbial emotional rollercoaster! This is probably one of the best books I have read this year so far and is looking likely to be in my top 10 reads of 2016. I downloaded a sample of this yesterday and after 6 pages bought it straight away and just continued to read-yes it was that engaging that I couldn’t put it down and totally ignored the other two books I had on the go….I NEVER do that!
Sarah is very typical of women her (my!) age. She is married to Rory, a famous tv journalist and they have twins who are now making lives of their own with their partners. Sarah also keeps an eye on her widowed mother Flora and every Sunday, Sarah cooks dinner for all the family. But Sarah is haunted by the murder of Shona, her best friend, when they were 13. Shona had an elder brother Tom who emigrated to South Africa after her death but he is back in Portobello to spread his mother’s ashes. His return also coincides with a school reunion and the release of Logan Baird, who has served time for Shona’s murder but it looks like he was innocent all along.
As I’ve said before, I adored this book from word one! It’s rare to find that book that really speaks to you and I am very lucky to have found one here. I empathise totally with Sarah and loved her. I especially liked the way each part of the story started with Sarah’s dreams entwined with her flashbacks. It set the tone and provided clues of what was to come. Her relationship with Tom developed slowly but deeply and I found it very believable. The setting of Edinburgh and its surroundings is one that I know quite well and that certainly added to my enjoyment as I felt I was back there, it was so vividly described! The mystery of Shona’s murder was only part of this book as it covered friendship, loss and how well do we really know those closest to us.
This is a wonderful debut from Alison Baillie and I can’t wait to read more from her. I just loved this book so much I didn’t want it to end!’
What is your favourite novel you have read? It’s difficult to say as I’ve read so many different novels, but one that has always stayed in my mind, and which I’ve reread several times is Diary of a Mad Housewife by Sue Kaufman. It is a beautifully-written description of a woman trapped in a claustrophobic marriage, and although h I’ve never been to New York I felt I knew the people and life there from this novel.
Have you ever used someone you know as a character in a book? Not directly, but nearly all my characters have traces of people I know in them and several are an amalgam of different people.
Alison has been a great guest and I really thank her for taking part in this feature. I highly recommend her book Sewing the Shadows Together. It is definitely one of my top reads.
Check out her latest news at