Author Alyson Faye is already part of the DEMAIN family because of her Short Sharp Shocks! Night Of The Rider. Maggie Of My Heart is book two in the Murder! Mystery! Mayhem! Series (yes we love our exclamation marks here at DEMAIN). The novella is currently available for pre-sales and is published on the 7th November. Recently Dean and Aly sat down to talk about it...
DEMAIN PUBLISHING: Hello again Aly. Been a little while since we last spoke to you. Congrats with all the great reviews Night Of The Rider has been picking up. Well deserved. Your new book, Maggie Of My Heart is Book 2 of our new series, is soon to be published but for those that don’t know you: who are you and why did you become a writer?
ALYSON FAYE: Hello! And thanks. I love stories, was a bookworm as a kid, and English was my best subject. As a teacher, years ago, working with children, I began writing stories to tell to them and then got published. I have branched out into writing crime, horror and thrillers now, but it’s all about love of words and escaping into new worlds.
DP: I want to say it’s strange (but perhaps strange isn’t the right word) but I know a lot of horror authors who are now writing crime and I’m one of them as recently I wrote a spec tv pilot script which though extremely dark is actually a crime / thriller...anyway, anyway, Maggie what’s it about?
AF: It’s set in post-war Britain, in Soho and Birmingham, in the underbelly world of nightclubs and bedsits. Maggie, an escort girl, in a dangerous relationship with her lover, a spiv, Johnny. Their blackmail scams lead to murder and Maggie escapes into marriage with an older, wealthy man until a chance meeting tosses her back into dangerous terrain.
DP: And Maggie herself (I got the feeling you really liked this character by the way)?
AF: Maggie, is a gorgeous girl, a ringer for the 1940’s film noir femme fatale, Joan Bennett, who is escaping an abusive family background, and fleeing to London, falls for Johnny, a spiv, a blackmailer and a fast-talking con man. He too has secrets in his past; one of which proves his undoing.
DP: I guess, as the story is period, that you had to do a lot of research before (or even while) writing it?
AF: I did some research into life in Britain around 1947, the rationing, the clothes, the films and the music. I am a lifelong Golden Hollywood film fan, so I drew on my knowledge of the film noirs of the 1940s and the actresses who starred in them e.g. Lauren Bacall, Lizabeth Scott and Joan Bennett, who inspired my protagonist, Maggie.
DP: With that in mind did you find any of the scenes hard to write?
AF: Yes, the sex scenes and the scenes with violence in them. I didn’t want to overdo it but I wanted them to read as convincingly as possible.
DP: They were convincing, don’t worry...creatively to date, Alyson, what would you say is your biggest success?
AF: Probably my breakthrough children’s novel, 1997, Soldiers in the Mist; and this novella, for its gestation, and length. The 1940s are one of my favourite periods to write about and I came to care a lot for my heroine, Maggie.
DP: What books / authors do you read and have they influenced you?
AF: I read all the time, film biographies and fiction mainly. Writers are the sum of what they read I think. Books I’ve really enjoyed lately: Sophie Draper’s début thriller, Cuckoo; Anita Frank’s début ghost tale, The Lost Ones; Tracy Chevalier’s 1920’s set A Single Thread; Laura Purcell’s Gothic Bone China.
DP: Some great titles. In terms of films anything you’re looking forward to seeing?
AF: I love the cinema, and go as often as I can. So the next one I’m going to is my favourite I guess.
DP: Nice answer. What is Alyson Faye frightened of and has it ever made its way into your work?
AF: Snakes, spiders, dolls, graveyards at night, dark woods -the list is long. Yes, I revisit my fears in most of my writing. It’s one way to exorcise those demons!
DP: Oh, it is, it is. Creatively is there anything you’d like to do that you haven’t done yet? If so – what is it?
AF: I would like to keep writing, getting published, put together a collection of my own short stories, work with other writers in partnership, maybe write a Gothic horror novel one day.
DP: Ah, we’d love to read that for sure. So, last question: What is something your readers might be surprised to find out about you?
AF: My first crush was Cary Grant, I love peanut butter and dairylea on toast, I have been micro lighting, I used to do four by four driving regularly, I did caving once! (never again), I did Latin for ‘A’ Level – that’s usually a conversation stopper. Is that enough things??
Thank you Aly for your time and best of luck with Maggie Of My Heart.
If you would like to connect directly with Aly:
Facebook as Aly Rhodes