A Quickie with Alison Baillie

Tell me about your latest book and why we should read it.

A Fractured Winter describes how the seemingly idyllic life of a young Scottish mother living in Switzerland begins to fall apart one snowy winter. Her daughter’s best friend goes missing and she receives an anonymous note, suggesting that someone knows the reason she had to leave Edinburgh. In the search for the missing girl she meets some strange characters, her past in Yorkshire and Scotland comes back to haunt her and nothing and nobody is as they seem.
You should read it because it “raises the stakes on page one and masterfully sustains the suspense through to the very end. A must-read”. It’s not me that said that, but Jill Alexander Essbaum.

If someone was to write your life story what would the title be?


What was the strangest fan question or request you’ve received?

One wasn’t really strange, but it certainly made me think. I got a message over Facebook from someone who’d enjoyed Sewing the Shadows Together, my first book, and asked if I’d been his English teacher at school. I looked at his profile and it showed a young boy in school uniform. The name and the face did seem familiar so we started to chat. It was only when I saw his completely bald modern-day photo and he described how he’d just retired that I realised how long ago it was that I taught him – in the seventies when I was a very young teacher, only a few years older than many of my students.

If you could co-write with anyone in the world (alive or dead) who would that be?

Definitely Ian Rankin. I love his writing style and he also seems a really nice person. I met him once but was so overcome by fangirl awe that I just gibbered to him. Writing with him would be a wonderful experience.

Tell me something nobody else knows about you (yet)

When I was a student I spent some time in Florence, wearing a boater and a striped waistcoat, and handing out flyers for a club called The Red Garter. An American professional photographer used to follow me around, taking photos and displaying them – he even had one on his car. Afterwards I heard he’d published a book in America featuring my picture called The Red Garter Girl, but I’ve never seen it (and I didn’t even realise that I was being stalked, which I suppose I was!)

Finally recommend three books you have read recently and tell me why you’ve chosen these.

Valentina by SE Lynes I love all three of Susie Lynes’ books, but Valentina is still my favourite. The characterisation, the fantastic ear for dialogue and the Aberdeen setting all make this one of my all-time favourites.

How to be Brave by Louise Beech. Louise is another writer where I love all the books, but the first remains my favourite. The writing is so beautiful in this book, with the poignant interweaving of the past and present.

The Damselfly by SJI Holliday Susi Holliday’s Banktoun trilogy are all great books, but this, the third, is my favourite. I love the small town East Lothian setting, the characterisation and the skilful plotting.

Who is Alison Baillie:  ALISON BAILLIE was brought up in Ilkley, Yorkshire by Scottish parents. She studied English at the University of St Andrews, before teaching English in Edinburgh secondary schools and EFL in Finland and Switzerland. Now she spends her time reading, writing, travelling, spending time with her grandchildren and attending crime writing festivals.


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