Consultant in the Hot Seat – Alison Redfearn

Alison Hotseat

What book are you reading at the moment and what do you think of it?
At the moment I am reading The Painted Veil by Somerset Maugham. Set in the time of British Colonial rule, this follows the story of Kitty. When her husband a government bacteriologist finds out she is having an affair he forces her to move to a remote cholera ridden part of China. I am really invested in Kitty’s fate, although I first thought she was self-absorbed and spoilt, I have grown to like and sympathise with her character as she grows and develops. This is a real story of spiritual awakening. I love the way Maugham builds up the atmosphere and the reader is really kept wondering whether or not she will meet her demise.

If you could have written any book that exists now, which would it be?
I would love to have written Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith. I am a massive fan of this author and would have loved to have the accolade of one of the best crime writers of the 20th Century. She is such a clever writer and this is a true crime classic. I admire the author’s ability to build up tension and get deep under the skin of the two characters. Even though you know who the killer is at the start she still manages to build up the tension.

If you were given the chance to have one superpower from any book/comic character, what would you have?
It would have to be time travel. I am quite a nostalgic person and always find myself imagining what it would be like to be alive in certain eras. If I could go back to any era now it would be to the Roaring Twenties, not only for the fashion, glamour and the parties but to be among literati such as Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Hemingway.

Which literary figure would you be?
I would love to be like Roald Dahl’s character Matilda because despite her circumstances she never gives up hope and she tunes her abilities to help herself and others. I love her motto “never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog. Make sure everything you do is so completely crazy it’s unbelievable…”

Interesting fact
I am originally from Berwick upon Tweed, the northern most town in England which according to popular myth is still at war with Russia!

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