Guest Posts

Mine – Alison Knight

I would like to welcome Alison Knight to my blog today, with a guest post entitled, “Who’s Truth Is It Anyway?” Many thanks Alison for taking the time to write this post as part of the blog tour for Mine, and thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of the tour.

BLURB:

“What’s mine, I keep.”

London, 1968.

Lily’s dreams of a better life for her family are shattered when her teenage daughter refuses to give up her illegitimate child. It doesn’t help that Lily’s husband, Jack, takes their daughter’s side.

Taking refuge in her work at a law firm in the City, Lily’s growing feelings for her married boss soon provides a dangerous distraction.

Will Lily be able to resist temptation? Or will the decisions made by these ordinary people lead them down an extraordinary path that could destroy them all?

Mine – a powerful story of class, ambition and sexual politics.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Mine Cover by Alison Knight with endorsement

GUEST POST:

Hello, I’m Alison Knight, author of Mine, a novel based on real events in London in the 1960s. The story charts my family over a year, showing how ordinary people made decisions that lead them into an extraordinary situation that changed our lives forever.

Writing Mine has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, not least because I soon realised that what I saw as the truth didn’t necessarily match with other people’s truths.

Different perspectives

I remember having a conversation with my sister about our late mother. It soon became clear that we each had completely different views of her. I got to a point in the conversation where I had to say: “I don’t recognize the woman you’re talking about. Mum wasn’t like that at all.”

My sister then said she thought the same when I’d been speaking! We argued back and forth for a bit but in the end had to accept that we each had very different experiences of our mother.

Reliable witnesses

As part of my research for Mine, I had to go to the City of London Coroner’s office to read some inquest files. This isn’t something anyone can do. You need special permission because the records are all kept locked until seventy-five years after a death. I wasn’t allowed to take copies of anything in the files, but I was allowed to make notes for my personal use. I therefore wrote down what the various witnesses said in their statements.

I was shocked when I saw one statement of an incident I witnessed. I don’t remember it happening like that at all! I started to wonder whether I had got it wrong, but the images in my head of those moments was crystal clear. I spoke to my university tutor, Dr Jonathan Neale, about this. He writes non-fiction and has decades of experience in interviewing witnesses. He assured me that children often had the clearest memories, especially of a traumatic event, while adults were prone to miss details because their minds are elsewhere and they can often change their memories to explain or justify why things happened as they did.

I also found the statements of two witnesses who had been standing side by side as they saw another incident. One reported shouting and screaming had attracted their attention and that a lot of other people were around them as well. The other said he heard banging as though furniture had fallen over – but no screams or shouts – and that there was no one else in the hallway where he and the other witness stood.

Talking to the Coroner’s Officer about these conflicting statements, he said that it was quite normal for several witnesses of the same event to give completely different accounts of what happened.

Car Crash

Think about it. Imagine a group of people are walking down a street and suddenly there’s a squeal of brakes and a crash. They all look in the direction of the noise. One might be worrying that he’s late for work; another might be distracted by their child; maybe someone has toothache and is distracted by the pain; another is checking their phone. These people all witness the same thing, but because of their distractions they register different images in their minds. Some might notice colours, others smells, some might be frightened, others rush to help. It might trigger memories of a similar incident for someone. All of these things will have an effect on what and how they remember what happened.

It’s then the job of the accident investigation team to go through their statements and try to piece together what really happened.

My Dilemma

In the light of these conflicting statements and my sister’s different opinion of our mother, I had to wonder whether I could actually write about what happened with any kind of authority. My impressions of what happened might well be very different from those of the rest of my extended family. But the people who were there are now all gone. I’m the only person left to tell this story. If I didn’t write it down, it would be lost forever.

I really wanted to write it. It was important to me that my children and grandchildren had the opportunity to get to know their relatives who are no longer here, to understand what motivated them, to see that extraordinary things happen to ordinary people.

My Truth

In the end, I decided to write the story as fiction. I knew a lot of what happened – as I mentioned earlier, I witnessed some of it. But there were huge gaps, questions I couldn’t get the answers to because the people who knew the truth are no longer around to tell it. So, although the story is based on real events, I can’t claim to know the absolute truth of it. I can tell you my truth – what I saw and heard and felt – but I can only speculate on everything else.

The aim of Mine isn’t to tell you exactly what happened to my family in the late 1960s. Rather, it is to show you the people that I knew, their lives, their dreams, their problems. It is my imagining of what might have happened, mixed in with what I know definitely did happen. It’s written with a great deal of love. I hope I’ve done them justice.

Mine

Kit de Waal, the award-winning author of My Name is Leon, says the following about Mine

“A heart breaking tale of love and loss told by a great story-teller. Alison takes you into the heart of the tragedy with compassion, wit and even humour. A beautiful story.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mine - Alison Knight head shot

Alison has been a legal executive, a registered childminder, a professional fund-raiser and a teacher. She has travelled the world – from spending a year as an exchange student in the US in the 1970s and trekking the Great Wall of China to celebrate her fortieth year and lots of other interesting places in between.

In her mid-forties Alison went to university part-time and gained a first-class degree in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and an MA in the same subject from Oxford Brookes University, both while still working full-time. Her first book was published a year after she completed her master’s degree.

Mine is a domestic drama set in 1960s London based on real events in her family. She is the only person who can tell this particular story. Exploring themes of class, ambition and sexual politics, Mine shows how ordinary people can make choices that lead them into extraordinary situations.

Alison teaches creative and life-writing, runs workshops and retreats with Imagine Creative Writing Workshops(www.imaginecreativewriting.co.uk) as well as working as a freelance editor. She is a member of the Society of Authors and the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

She lives in Somerset, within sight of Glastonbury Tor.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Website

Darkstroke Website

Facebook

Twitter

Visit the other blogs taking part in this tour for more about “Mine.”

Mine Full Tour Banner

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