An unexpected inheritance. A web of deceit. A desperate escape.
James has his dreams of an easy life shattered when his aunt disinherits him, leaving her fortune to her god-daughter, Charlotte. He turns to his friend, Percy, to help him reclaim his inheritance – and to pay off his creditors. But when their plans backfire, James becomes the pawn of Percy and his criminal associates.
Charlotte is stunned when she is told of her windfall. After an attempt at cheating her out of her inheritance fails, James tries to intimidate her. But she is stronger than he thinks, having secrets of her own to guard, and sends him away with a bloody nose and no choice but to retreat for now.
Resigned, James and his spoilt, pampered girlfriend, Fliss, Percy’s sister, travel across France on a mission that promises to free James from the criminals for good. But James isn’t convinced he can trust Fliss, so he makes his own plans to start a new life.
Will James be able to get away, or will his past catch up with him? Will Charlotte’s secrets turn the legacy into a curse?
Did or do you like to read comic books/grapic novels? Which ones?
I haven’t read a comic book for a long time – I don’t think they’re aimed at my generation. The last one I remember reading was a Tintin story, probably in the 1960s. However, one of my writer friends has had one of her romance novels turned into a Manga-style graphic novel, so maybe I should check it out.
Whom did you inherit your love for books/reading from?
My mother encouraged me and taught me to read before I even went to school. As a result, I won a prize for reading in my first year of infants’ school. In the 1960s I belonged to the Puffin Club – a book club run by the Penguin publishing empire – and received regular book parcels. I also spent my pocket money on buying Ladybird books and built up quite a collection. As my only sister was quite a few years older than me, I didn’t have a playmate at home, so I spent a lot of time reading, losing myself in different worlds and embarking on amazing adventures with fictional friends.
When you need a murder victim or someone you can diagnose with a serious disease or someone who is involved in a fatal accident do you sometimes picture someone nasty you have met in real life and think ‘got you’ LOL?
I don’t think I’ve ever thought of my dying characters as representing a particular person, but I do find it satisfying to make sure someone gets what they deserve. I think my nasty characters represent a collection of selfish, narcissistic people I’ve encountered over the years and I do like to make them suffer. Thankfully, I have met more good than bad people, many of whom inspire some interesting characters in my stories.
How do you come up with the names for your characters?
For my latest book, The Legacy, it was easy because I was using some secondary characters from my previous book, Mine. Sometimes there’s something about a character that points to a particular name. For example, a male character who is a bit of a lad and a joker would be Jack.
But generally, I work out when my character was born and look up the most popular names for babies at that time. I also take into account whether they are working-class or middle class and whether their name is likely to be shortened by their peers. Sometimes, a character’s name can be a hint of something that will eventually be revealed. I can’t say any more than that, because I did that in The Legacy with the main female character and I don’t want to give anything away!
Do write other things beside books (and shopping lists 😉 )?
I have written some shorter autobiographical pieces, one of which was published in an anthology called Body Gossip in 2012. It was called A Flawed Reflection and was about how I feel about my body and why. Another thing I write regularly is a few words in my One Line a Day – a five year memory book, which sits on my desk. It helps me think about what has been the most important thing in my day. I’ve been doing this for years now and it’s interesting to compare the same day in different years. I am also writing press releases to promote the launch of The Legacy, hoping to encourage new readers to pick it up.
But I suppose the most unusual writing I’ve done was during my time as a professional fundraiser for a Christian charity – sermons! I was often asked to take the sermon slot at church services and would link my message with the day’s Bible readings. The most unusual sermon I wrote and delivered was at a church in Wimbledon, where my daughter-in-law’s mother was the vicar. After she invited me to speak there, my son and his wife decided it would be a good day to have their son christened. So, one grandma performed the christening and the other – me – gave the sermon! It was actually wonderful to be able to talk about the kind of world I wanted to see my grandson grow up in.
If your movie or series would be made from your books, would you be happy with the ‘based on’ version or would you rather like they showed it exactly the way you created it?
Ooh, that’s a hard one. If someone wanted to turn The Legacy into a movie or series, I think I’d be happy to let them adapt it as necessary. However, as my last book, Mine, was already based on real events, I would be a lot more sensitive to any changes they made to the narrative. I think it depends on who is creating the movie or series – I’ve been following the progress of a good friend’s book as it is being adapted for the big screen. She’s having a very good experience with it and even managed to appear as an extra in the film!
Who would you like/have liked to interview?
This probably sounds weird, but I would have loved the chance to interview some of the people on whom I based my characters in Mine (some of whom also make cameo appearances in The Legacy). Unfortunately, they are no longer here so I had to rely on research, previous statements and my memories to fit all the pieces of the story together. I’d like to ask them whether they approve of my version of their story.
Do you have certain people you contact while doing research to pick their brains? What are they specialized in?
I have found that special interest groups on Facebook are really helpful. For example, when I wanted some photographs of a particular building in the East End of London which has now been demolished, I got a lot of help from a group called, We Love Poplar & All the East End. I’ve also joined a group for people who have unexpected results when they take a DNA test as I’m thinking of incorporating a DNA surprise into a future book. I have writer friends who are experts on particular periods in history, others who will guide me when research becomes tricky. I find the writing community is very generous in that respect. I’m also very fortunate to have a cousin who worked as a forensics officer with the Metropolitan Police for over thirty years. He is involved with various groups of forensic scientists and can usually find an answer for me or my writer friends.
Is there someone you sometimes discuss a dilemma with?
Yes, a writer friend called Jenny Kane, who also writes as Jennifer Ash. We run Imagine Creative Writing (www.imaginecreativewriting.co.uk) together to produce courses and workshops for writers and also run writing retreats together on a regular basis. She’s the person I bounce my ideas off and vent my frustrations to and she is endlessly patient and wise.
What is more important to you : a rating in stars with no comments or a reviewer who explains what the comments they give are based on (without spoilers of course).
I don’t know a single author who doesn’t love 5 star ratings! However, I do like to read the comments of my readers. I am thrilled when they love my book, but am also tough enough to take criticism if it’s given in the spirit of helping me become a better writer. I accept that what might appeal to one reader might turn another reader off, so I try not to get upset when someone really doesn’t like what I’ve written. I just hope that they will be kind about it as such a lot of work goes into every story.
Thank you, Alison Knight and Rachel’s Random Resources
About the author
Alison has been a legal executive, a registered childminder, a professional fund-raiser and a teacher. She has travelled the world – from spending a year as an exchange student in the US in the 1970s and trekking the Great Wall of China to celebrate her fortieth year and lots of other interesting places in between.
In her mid-forties Alison went to university part-time and gained a first-class degree in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and an MA in the same subject from Oxford Brookes University, both while still working full-time. Her first book was published a year after she completed her master’s degree.
The Legacy is a drama set in 1960s London. Like her previous book, Mine, it explores themes of class, ambition and sexual politics, showing how ordinary people can make choices that lead them into extraordinary situations.
Alison teaches creative and life-writing, runs workshops and retreats with Imagine Creative Writing Workshops(www.imaginecreativewriting.co.uk) as well as working as a freelance editor. She is a member of the Society of Authors and the Romantic Novelists’ Association.
She lives in Somerset, within sight of Glastonbury Tor.