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18 Sep 2012

Indie author interview - Alana Woods

Well hello again.
The sun is finally out in Durban, so I can't think of a better day to tell you about Alana Woods and her new book Imbroglio.
Let's start with an interview.
  1. You are from Australia. I am from South Africa. So I could ask what you think about South Africans, but I'm looking at the Tri Nations results, and it seems that both our countries have only won three times. New Zealand has won all the rest. If you had a New Zealander tied up in your basement, what would you do?

    Well, I'm rather fond of Nzers - my niece is married to one - and given that I'm not really fussed who wins the rugby - although my UK son-in-law loves to rub it in when Australia doesn't win because he's a rugby nut - I wouldn't be too hard on whoever it was I had in the basement. I'd rather like it to be a big burly Maori because the one thing I do like about the rugby is watching the NZ team doing the Hakka. So I could have him perform that for me. Plus us Aussies generally get a bit of enjoyment listening to them talk. Being the simple pleasures kind of folk that we are it usually raises a smile to hear such things as 'fush and chups' for 'fish and chips' and 'sux' for 'six'. That one actually sounds a lot like 'sex' and that makes us smile every time.

  2. What do you think of the South African accent? I ask because I am not a fan of the auzzie accent.

    I tend to like accents generally. I find the South African accent very pleasant. I have some friends who migrated to Australia from there about 10 years ago. She's a trained actor and has more of a cosmopolitan accent but her husband is pure South African and I like to listen to him. I have to say that I'm not a fan of some Aussie accents either - because there are regional differences. But I think that's true of all countries and languages.

  3. You write a lot of ‘literary suspense’. Why have you chosen that genre?

    I tried several genres before feeling as though I'd 'come home' with literary suspense. I wrote young adult, romance and historical but it's when I started writing contemporary stories triggered by experience, based on jobs that I've had, that I knew literary fiction was what I should be writing. That they happen to be suspense is a reflection of the subject matters I choose.

  4. What is the silliest celebrity baby name you have ever heard?

    Epponnee-Rae. Those who remember the Kath and Kim cult Australian TV show that ran for, I think, four series some years back will also remember the debate that ensued about names when Kim became pregnant and had a daughter. It was tortured and hilarious but they finally decided on Epponnee. It was a tremendous send up of people who give their kids ridiculous names. My name is nothing unusual, except that it's pronounced Alaina, but you wouldn't believe the variety of pronunciations I've had in my life. My mother once said she'd understand if I had the spelling changed by deed poll to make it obvious. So I have a lot of sympathy for kids saddled with stupid names that they're doomed to explain and spell for the rest of their lives. Not that I think mine's stupid, it's rather common nowadays and I actually like it very much.

  5. How does it make you feel when your readers comment on your style and call it 'literary suspense'?

    Great. I love it. Who wouldn't? Let me give you a few examples of what people have said.
    'Beautifully written and well crafted.'
    'The characters were so well depicted ... and had a classiness about them that lifted them above the usual riff-raff.'
    'Elegant writing.'
    ' ... if you're looking for an intelligently-written, maturely-crafted conspiracy-mystery (and one also wonderfully set against the sumptuous scenery of rarely seen cities) Imbroglio is a satisfying, high-quality novel well-worth losing yourself in.'
    'It's quite literary, isn't it.'
    'A deep, intricate, intelligently written tale.'
    As I say, who wouldn't like that kind of feedback.

  6. One of your characters is David Cameron. Is there any link to him and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom?

    Daniel, believe it or not and call me thick, but until you asked the question it had not occurred to me! So you may guess from that that, no, there isn't any link. I wrote the first draft of Imbroglio before the UK PM appeared on the scene. But now that you mention it there was recent review by a British blogger in which he made what I felt was a cryptic comment about the name but I now realise was a reference to the PM! Duh!

  7. You worked in a weapon's research facility for several years and were inspired to write Imbroglio. What specifically happened in the weapons factory to inspire such a story?

    Sorry to say there was nothing specific. But when you're surrounded by a security culture and a weapons mentality day after day it has to have an effect. Imbroglio is how it affected me.

  8. If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

    Being able to fly. Just imagine!

  9. In another life, would you have liked to have been a Bond girl?

    Daniel, you ask the most interesting questions but I have to say no. The fact that they don't always live happily ever after puts me off :)

Alana is a 64 year old woman living in in Australia's capital, Canberra. She is an editor by profession (so you have permission, from me, to start a mob with pitch forks and torches if there are any errors in her book). Previously, Alana was a court reporters, and her experiences there inspires her work now. Alana has written two fiction novels: Automation and Imbroglio.

Here is a brief synopsis
Automaton: literary suspense with a legal theme. Told in 3rd person POV of the two main characters. They are Elisabeth Sharman, the prickly and uncommunicative barrister representing a young client charged with murder who supposedly has amnesia - hence the title. And Robert Murphy, her instructing solicitor, who has fallen for her hook, line and sinker but who believes she's stringing him along. This was my debut novel and won the Fast Books Prize for best self published Australian fiction in 2003. Went on to become an Australian best seller (the criteria being it sold 3000 copies).

Imbroglio: literary suspense with an espionage theme. Again told in 3rd person POV of the two main characters. They are Noel Valentine, a PR professional who gets involved way over her head in shady dealings after pulling a stranger out of a burning car. And David Cameron, the stranger she saved, who may just be an assassin hired to kill the second person in the car, who didn't make it out.

Go check her out at http://www.alanawoods.com.
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  1. Hi Daniel, thank you so much for the opportunity of the interview. I had fun answering some of those questions!

    But everyone, please, no pitchforks and torches. The editors' mantra is 'Never, ever, edit your own work'. So if there are mistakes -- which I sincerely hope there aren't -- be polite when you let me know and I'll be polite when I let my editor know :)

  2. Pleasure Alana.
    Hehe; yes indeed, never edit your own work.
    Even after a few drafts back and fourth from my editor, I still didn't pick up a few mistakes.
    Always have others check your work :)