A Quickie with KA Hitchins

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

My latest book is called ‘The Key of All Unknown’. It tells the story of brilliant scientific researcher Tilda Moss, who wakes up in hospital unable to speak or move and with no recollection of what happened to her. Determined to find answers and prove she is not in a persistent vegetative state, she travels back through her fractured memories looking for clues. Could someone really have tried to kill her? Everyone, it seems, has a motive. On the edge of death, and questioning everything she believes,Tilda’s only hope of survival is to unlock the key of all unknown.

I hope the book leaves the reader thinking about life in a slightly different way and with a slightly damp tissue. I’m delighted it has been shortlisted for the 2017 Woman Alive Magazine Readers’ Choice Award. The winner will be announced in September.

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

Not Bring Up the Bodies (Hilary Mantel) but Bring up the Biscuits, because I do. Literally. I’m a coeliac and gut-wrenchingly allergic to wheat and gluten.

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

A comment sent to my website recently: “I hope to get a dog for the first time when I retire in two years. What sort to get is a big issue. I didn’t know you could get non-moulting ones! Can you get non-pooing ones?”

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

I would love to co-write a book with Ben Elton. I’m a massive fan of his writing, and generally of his enormous brain. I love the way he tackles serious issues (the environment, screen violence, infertility, drugs, traffic congestion) in the most hilarious ways. He always delivers a high concept with gripping plot, unique characters and large dollops of biting humour. Plus he lives in Australia so perhaps I could have a holiday out there while we have lively debates about politics and religion and watch replays of Blackadder.

Tell me something nobody else knows about you (yet!)

In answer to your second question, “If someone were to write your life story, what would the title be?” I was tempted to reply “Get Off Your Backside and Write!” . . . but then I would have to follow my own advice.

Finally please recommend 3 books that you have recently read and tell me why you’ve chosen these.

‘He Said/She Said’ by Erin Kelly is a character led crime novel about a girl who witnesses the rape of a young festival goer. The use of the solar eclipse as a metaphor for sudden darkening and gradual enlightenment is a brilliant device. The twists are unexpected and shocking.

In ‘Two and a Half Pillars of Wisdom: The Von Igelfeld Trilogy’ Alexander McCall Smith weaves together a plot so subtly, with such unstated humour, that it’s rather like boiling a lobster – you don’t realise you’re reading a killer of a book until it is too late. You’re done for. Completely hooked, scarlet with laughter and left wanting more. Who knew Portuguese Irregular Verbs could be so intriguing?

‘Elizabeth is Missing’ by Emma Healey takes the point of view of an elderly lady suffering from dementia. Two women are missing and with seventy years between the disappearances, it’s a race against memory loss to uncover the perpetrators.

Who is KA Hitchins: K A Hitchins studied English, Religious Studies and Philosophy at Lancaster University, graduating with a BA (Hons) First Class in English, later obtaining a Masters in Postmodern Literatures in English from Birkbeck College, London. She published two novels with Instant Apostle in 2016, ‘The Girl at the End of the Road’ and ‘The Key of All Unknown’, has two further manuscripts searching for a publisher and has just started her fifth novel. She is married with two children and lives in St Albans, Hertfordshire.

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