I have loved the weird, flat marshy countryside around Faversham, Graveney and Oare Creek since I was a child. As a teen, I was forced to go cross country running around the same area, then as an adult, I was briefly and rather unhappily, landlady of The Anchor Inn, a spooky but beautiful old pub at the end of Abbey Street. I suppose I’ve always thought the countryside around there was haunting, it is well known how steeped in history it is.
So I had my eerie, haunted setting. Having worked with young people leaving the care system, I knew I wanted my main character to have experienced the same unsettled start in life. I’d worked, in particular with young pregnant girls, some as young as 16, already with a child. I knew I wanted to explore that scenario, to really show the vulnerability of a child who is carrying a child. I had my hero, the beautiful but damaged Annis (or Agnes as we later find out). I knew, from experience, that people set out to prey on young people like that, so I also needed a arch manipulator – my villainess, Lilith! What I didn’t have was how and why Lilith targets Annis. All I knew was that I wanted to make it REALLY DARK.
I’d been playing around with ideas for a couple of years, not really getting anywhere, when I was sitting outside school, waiting to pick my eldest up, listening to the BBC new on the radio. The most awful, shocking, disturbing story came on about a womb raid that had happened in the U.S. At that point, it had never happened in the U.K. and it got me thinking about Lilith – about what kind of state of mind a woman would have to be in to consider cutting a baby from another woman’s body.
The Canterbury Times did a feature on Hollowshore in 2013 which you can read here.
Comments from readers:
Hi Ali. Have just finished yr super book, absolutely loved it!! Will definitely recommend it to all my friends and have the paper version in mind for a few xmas presents!! Really hope ur planning more of the same for the near future. Thoroughly enjoyed it!! Good luck with it going forward x
Congratulations on getting through to second round of Amazon breakthrough – saw the piece in the paper, and I am a novelist living in Faversham, too, so I thought I’d say ‘hi’. Hope the next round goes well. Are you on Twitter? It’s a good way of promoting books. I’m @ninabellbooks (Nina Bell, writing name)
wow! Ive just finished reading this book and gosh it was amazing! 😀 I loved all the characters! and I love the way Lilith changes I adore evil characters 😀 ending got me I wasnt expecting it to end like that! defiantly worth the read :3 keep up the good work Alison!
This book was my chosen holiday read and I am so glad that I chose that time to read it as I could not put it down! I live in the area where this story unfolds and really enjoyed the local references which were completely accurate. The characters were well drawn and totally believable, my “favourite” being the baddy! Each of the main characters had a gripping story line of their own but that also cleverly entwined with each of the others. Fantastic read!!
A very tense and gripping novel with wonderfully evocative scenery descriptions. All of the characters in the novel are very credible and one of them is truly terrifying!
I can highly recommend reading this and look forward to reading more by this author.
Alison’s debut novel is a compelling read from start to finish. Try as I may I could not put this book down. I really enjoyed the feel of impending doom throughout the novel and I was kept on the edge of my seat as the diverse range of characters evolved and matured throughout the novel. I particularly enjoyed Lilith’s development as a character. From early on it is clear that she is cold, calculating and capable of anything but to what extent!!! Just when you think you have second guessed the conclusion of the novel, Alison throws in a dramatic twist which in turn makes the reader think again! There are plots and sub plots which entwine to produce a dramatic and thrilling crescendo which lends itself (hopefully) to a sequel. All in all a very enjoyable read. Would highly recommend.