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Monday 7 May 2018

THE RED DIE - an interview with Alex Macbeth

Today I have a very special guest - the fabulous Alex Macbeth, whose new novel THE RED DIE was published by Crooked Cat Books last month.  

Welcome, Alex! What prompted you to first start writing? What was the first thing you wrote?

I have to acknowledge the influence of my parents, both of whom were writers. When I was younger I hated books precisely because of that, but slowly reading, and then writing, grew on me.

Can you summarise the book in just a few words?

A dead journalist and a corporate scam threaten the integrity of an African nation. Can a disgraced policeman solve the case and survive?

That sounds fascinating, and it's at the top of my TBR pile. What was the inspiration for it?

The humility of some of the officers I met traveling in East Africa, especially in rural areas where the job is really tough. And Mozambique, where my family have lived for the last 15 years. While the book is completely fictional, many of the hurdles that the characters go through are based on everyday reality.

Did you do any research for the book?


What does a typical writing day involve for you?

Finding inspiration for a scene and an image and developing it as best I can within my narrative.

How do you decide on the names for your characters?

Most of my characters are based on real people but adapted.

Do you plot your novels in advance, or allow them to develop as you write?

Good question. I like to plan but a novel seems to be what happens while you are busy making plans as an author!

Which writers have influenced your own writing?

McCall Smith, Mankell, Sjowall & Wahloo, Wa Thiong’o, Saramago, Chekhov,  Marechera, Gogol, Okri… almost every book I read influences me in some way, for the better or for the worse.

What has been the best part of the writing process…and the worst?

The best part is finishing a late draft of your novel and feeling satisfied with it. The worst feeling is the opposite.

Now the book is published and ‘out there’ how do you feel?

Under pressure to write a sequel/prequel.

Is there a message for the reader?

I hope so, I like to think the book challenges some of the stereotypes that people might have.

Do you have any advice for new writers?

Samuel Beckett’s words: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

Wise words indeed.  What can we expect from you in the future?

A sequel to The Red Die is in the works. I also own a publishing house in Mozambique, Ethale Publishing, and I have several titles lined up there. Hopefully you’ll hear more from me!  

I hope so too, Alex! Thank you for visiting my blog today. Please come again!  


Buy the book here
Alex's website 
Alex's Twitter 
THE RED DIE on Facebook

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