#redeyereadalong | Q&A with Alex Bell!


Welcome everyone to the first Q&A session for the #redeyereadalong that myself and Michelle from Tales of Yesterday are hosting over on Twitter! Feel free to join along with us. We’re currently reading Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell this week. If you check out our Goodreads group you’ll find all the information on upcoming events.

Q&A Time!

Today’s Q&A is with the lovely Alex Bell, who I’m sure is revelling in all the Twitter/Goodreads comments about how terrified we all are right now, just two days into the reading week!

1. Let’s start with something easy. What was your biggest fear growing up?

When I was very little I thought that Maleficent (from Sleeping Beauty) lived in the airing cupboard in my bedroom. I have no idea why I thought this. The sounds the boiler made always scared me at night – but they sounded nothing like Maleficent. I was convinced she was in there, though, and that she’d get me if I ever opened the door.

2. What inspired you to write Frozen Charlotte?
I came across the Fair Charlotte ballad, and the porcelain dolls that inspired the poem, whilst online one day – and this was my main inspiration for Frozen Charlotte. I loved the idea of these creepy Edwardian corpse dolls that little girls from long ago once played with. I think dolls in general are quite creepy but when they’re old, broken and meant to be dead, that ramps up the creep factor even more.
3. What is the best thing about writing in the horror genre?
Getting to dream up terrifying things to have happen to your characters! Reading, or writing, horror is a great way to scare yourself without ever being in any real danger. It provides a way to experience something that you would never (hopefully!) come close to actually experiencing in real life. That’s what makes the horror genre such a thrill.
4. What is (in your opinion) the scariest book available (not including your own!)?
I’d have to say The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. There’s all this suspense and uncertainty throughout the entire story where you’re never quite sure whether the governess is mad/evil or whether it’s the children she looks after who are the deranged ones. That uncertainty is pretty terrifying and it’s all intensely spooky without the need for any gory slasher-type sequences. I love the gothic atmosphere too. Florence and Giles, by John Harding – a retelling of Turn of the Screw – is also pretty terrifying.
5. What is your favourite urban legend?
It’s got to be the Vanishing Hitchhiker. The general theme is that someone stops on a lonely road to pick up a hitchhiker who then vanishes from the car. Normally the reason given is that they’re the ghost of someone who was killed on the road. The Twilight Zone (one of my favourite TV shows ever) did an episode on this theme in the 60s where a woman is driving along and notices a hitchhiker but keeps on driving only to keep seeing him ahead of her by the side of the road. She becomes convinced that he means her harm but she can’t outrun him and, eventually, she looks in her rear view mirror and sees that he’s sitting in the back seat of the car. For a while I worked as a waitress for the breakfast shift at this old hotel in the New Forest and had to drive there in the dark really early in the morning. I was always freaking myself out with the thought that I might look in the rear view mirror and see a man sat in the back of my car – or that there’d be a hitchhiker at the side of the road who’d keep on appearing up ahead of me.
6. What is the creepiest/scariest line from your Red Eye book?
That’s a tough one! Perhaps this:

The brightness of the flash lit up the room for a brief second and in that awful moment I clearly saw a girl in a plain white nightdress, long dark hair trailing over her shoulders and hiding her face from view, seated at a piano that didn’t exist any more, her hands slipping and sliding over the keys because they were so smeared and sticky with blood.

About the Author

(picture courtesy of Goodreads)

Alex Bell was born in 1986. She always wanted to be a writer but had several different back-up plans to ensure she didn’t end up in the poor house first. For some years these ranged from dolphin trainer to animal shelter vet but then, at fifteen, she had an epiphany involving John and Robert Kennedy and decided to become a lawyer instead.

To that end she eagerly started a Law Degree only to find it so boring that she was at a very real risk of going completely insane. To mitigate this she started writing again. The second book got her an agent with Carolyn Whitaker of London Independent Books but, unfortunately, not a publisher. The third book, written during her first summer holidays off from university, found a home with Gollancz. The Ninth Circle came out in April 2008 with possibly the most beautiful cover ever created (matched only by her second book, Jasmyn).

Not one to learn from past experience, Alex started the Legal Practice Course in London. There she met some great people and had a lot of fun messing about during lessons that were clearly meant to be extremely solemn affairs. Thankfully, she dropped out just before the point where all students must submit to the personality-removing process that is a compulsory part of being an esteemed member of the legal profession.

Now she happily dwells in an entirely make-believe world of blood, death, madness, murder and mayhem. The doctors have advised that it is best not to disturb her, for she appears to be happy there.

The only other thing to add is that Alex Bell is an immensely – immensely – talented young writer, blah, blah, blah. The books are great, blah, blah. Everyone should totally go out and buy them and stuff.

Website | Twitter

Well, I’ve certainly got shivers running down my spine! Thank you, Alex, for taking the time to talk to us about your book!

Are you joining us for the #redeyereadalong? If you are, what do you think of Frozen Charlotte so far?

9 thoughts on “#redeyereadalong | Q&A with Alex Bell!

  1. Pingback: #Read Eye Readalong: Frozen Charlotte | kyrosmagica

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  3. Pingback: #RedEye Readalong: Flesh and Blood, by Simon Cheshire | kyrosmagica

  4. Pingback: Tales Post – Red Eye Read Along October 2015 | Tales of Yesterday

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