Alison McQueen


The Heebie-Jeebies

Posted: September 10th, 2012

The manuscript for the new novel has been in the hands of my lovely publishers for about three weeks, and the heebie-jeebies are beginning to creep in. It takes a while for a manuscript to be read, thought about, commented upon. Details aside, the most I hope for, the one thing I hope for more than any other, is that the reading has been enjoyed. The story is complex, as relationships so often are, and such things have to be handled sensitively, with subtlety. Yet knowing what I know in my head is no guarantee that it will actually end up on the page. In the name of subtlety, there is always the danger of skating too carefully across the thin ice and leaving the reader wondering what on earth’s going on.  Continue Reading »

Interview From The Welcome Archive

Posted: August 29th, 2012

Back in 2009, I was one of the “plinthers” who appeared in Trafalgar Square as part of Anthony Gormley’s wonderful One&Other installation, where 2000 people, randomly selected from the thousands of applications, occupied the fourth plinth in 1 hour slots for 3 months, around the clock. I am a huge fan of Anthony Gormley, so was utterly thrilled when my name came out of the hat, even though I am something of a recluse.  Continue Reading »

Indian Village Bans ‘Love Marriages’

Posted: July 13th, 2012

It is with heavy heart that I read the BBC’s report this morning that a village in India’s Uttar Pradesh has banned ‘love marriages’ and imposed draconian restrictions upon its women. What hope is there when women continue to be viewed as ‘property’. It grieves me so deeply that it turns me inside out.  Continue Reading »

The Appliance of Science

Posted: July 4th, 2012

I am fascinated by science. I don’t understand most of it, but I find it fascinating nevertheless. I try to understand it, really I do. I watch lectures on TED, I read books that I can barely follow (try getting through Chaos and making it to the end without a headache). At the time that I’m reading or watching or listening, I fancy that I am keeping up, that I can follow the thread and, for a glimpse at least, can understand what’s going on. Dark matter is one of my pet subjects, and I’m finally getting the hang of it. String theory is quite fun too, but I wouldn’t attempt it after a couple of glasses of wine. Continue Reading »

Crazy About Stationery

Posted: June 8th, 2012

Wherever I go in the world, I cannot help but go searching for stationery shops. Bookshops too, naturally, but stationery is the big draw. I also help myself to every scrap of hotel stationery I can lay my hands on. It’s an addiction that has gone on for as long as I can remember, and I have absolutely no intention of changing my ways. Letters are a dying form and we are all much the poorer for it. I write letters every week, even if it’s just a brief note to someone I am thinking of. I use a proper pen that leaks ink all over the place but I don’t care. I like ink. Ink changed the world. Continue Reading »

The Kindness of Strangers

Posted: June 8th, 2012

It seems that The Secret Children has resonated with readers in a way that I had dared not hope. To tell such a difficult story is always a delicate business, particularly one that involves the innocence of children caught in a web of deceit. I was particularly moved by the woman who took me aside at one of the literary festivals and told me that she had suffered a similar fate. These things were never talked about. She was an old lady, and she spoke to me in whispers and squeezed my hand. Continue Reading »

Three Years Later…

Posted: June 7th, 2012

I have no idea what happened to the last three years. They seemed to have slipped by in a blur. That’s one of the things about writing, for me anyway. It sucks me into a vacuum where nothing else exists and the next thing I know I’m several years older and none the wiser. My husband once said to me that he might as well live on his own for all the company I give him. He also said that I am the most tortured person he has ever met. Amazingly, we have been married for a very long time and neither of us has any plans to change that.

Morons In Our Midst

Posted: April 24th, 2012

It is most unusual for me to comment about anything to do with local government, most of which bring a new dimension to the meaning of incompetence. Yet that is the way it has been since before I was born, and I have come to the sad conclusion that you can’t fight City Hall. You can, however, throw your hands up in despair when they go and do something like this. Continue Reading »

So Close And Yet So Far

Posted: April 20th, 2012

I have ground to an eerie halt, which usually means that the first draft is down. This one (my seventh novel) has been particularly complicated, and has felt like wrestling an elephant to the ground. It’s all very well to have it pinned down, but at some point I’m going to have to decide what to do with it next. Continue Reading »

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