Alison was at Mostly Books on Thursday to celebrate its launch. Friends, family, fans and colleagues listened as she explained the genesis of the book, how it been in her mind as an idea for years.
But the story of Anna and how she comes to terms with bruising realities in her past, was the one her editor most wanted to see after a meeting to discuss publication of Alison's first novel 'Stop the Clock', in what Alison described as being 'like the most scary job interview ever'.
Alison thanked her husband, Ian, for his support in giving her time to write, to her supportive team at Transworld and also the support of her work colleagues and other writing friends. There were at least two extremely well-known authors in the audience, as well as editors, agents, bloggers - including the Abingdon Blogger.
She read from the opening scene, one in which Anna bumps into an old flame. Her attire, the bridesmaid dress in her hands, makes this excruciating, a bad-dream sequence that she would never have wanted to happen.
In a similar way to 'Stop the Clock' the action catches up with university friends after time has passed and analyses how their lives have fared - who made good on early promise, whose marriages are on the rocks, who is no longer even around. The Oxford setting ensures plenty of local appeal, but the themes - and the writing - ensure that appeal is universal. But the style has a definite darker side - and a creeping sense of unease builds imperceptibly as past history slowly bubbles to the surface.
'After I Left You' features a compelling mix of characters, back stories seamlessly woven in and will appeal to anyone who ever attended a reunion and couldn't help but measure up against all their old protagonists.
For Anna, life started off well, heading to Oxford from an ordinary background and falling in with a glittering group of privileged friends. Bumping into old-flame, Victor, seventeen years after she last saw him is painful enough. But Anna must brave seeing all her old group again as she tries to lay to rest the time she has not ever really moved on from - the time when she realised her friends were not all they had seemed...
Once again the weather played ball allowing us to hold another magical evening in the garden. Following the launch of her debut in 2012, we were honoured to host the launch of 'After I Left You', to welcome so many great supporters of Alison to the shop - and a huge thank you to Transworld for supporting their author and the event so strongly.
(Find out much more about Alison and her writing here)
Alison is - as the publishing world demands - already writing her next book. So we are definitely looking forward to another launch event. As Dorothy Parker said "I hate writing, but I love having written". And we love having launched a new book!