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.
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 …