Alex Pickett was born in South Wales and moved to Dorset during his childhood. He has a lifelong passion for all things creative, including writing, painting and illustration. Alex holds a degree in psychology, specialising in the science of reading, and works as a primary school teacher – a job he adores. His style of adult fiction is contemporary, often focusing on identity, relationships and memories. He has also self-published two collections of stories for younger readers, inspired by nature. Alex lives on a quayside, and the sea is often present in his writing.
Q: Do you have a lucky writing talisman? If so, what is it?
A: An unusual one. Where I live on the coast, I have collected several gorgeous pieces of colourful sea glass, and they reside on my writing desk. Something once so functional has been transformed by the sea. I look at them often while writing and, whether they bring me luck or not, they certainly make me feel happy and creative.
Q: Do you have a favourite quote? (From a book, film, song, speech…)
A: There is a beautiful moment at the end of Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman, in which Elio’s father says: ‘You two had a beautiful friendship.’ It always touches me at a sad and raw moment in the novel and says so much that is true about the story.
Q: Is there a book that you keep going back to, and if so, how many times have you read it?
A: I always go back to Notes on a Scandal by Zoë Heller. I think it is one of the most skilfully crafted pieces of modern fiction. In my own writing, I touch upon themes of family, identity and complex relationships, and I think Heller takes a controversial subject but looks at it from a completely different perspective in a remarkable way.
Q: What is the least interesting part of writing for you?
A: My least favourite part of writing is forming a bridge between concrete, thought-out planning and the actual written story on the page. Often, a sense of panic can overtake you and you think you will never craft the story you want. But it always happens – perhaps not in the way you expected, but that’s all part of the journey.
The old car door closed with its usual bang and she looked along the road. Charlotte was surprised, briefly, by the sight of only two cars along the seafront. She got out the notebook, already bent at the edges and slightly damp from being in the door of the car. She hadn’t planned to use …
I hear the call. It breaks my focus. I almost had it, I feel sure: the correct proportions were there. I consider the small models lined along the empty bookcase. When I brought this clay with me, I expected shells, and leaves, and flowers, and so they are, content and complete, and I’ve lost interest …