1) Name: Ali Williams
2) Place and date of birth: Carshalton, London, on 8th March 1988, Inexplicably, born to Can I Play with Madness by Iron Maiden; my mum still hasn’t forgiven my dad for that.
3) Tell us about yourself in 100 words or less: I grew up in Croydon, and spent my teenage years in a convent girls’ school, and postscripted this by fleeing to university where I discovered champagne cocktails, a capella singing and erotica. After leaving uni, I joined teaching (massive mistake) and then made the best decision of my life when I quit and started blogging. These days I live in the wilds of West Sussex, and spend whatever time I have outside of work writing, reading and forcing my ever-suffering fiancé to watch Grand Designs.
4) Twitter address: @CLAficionado
5) What was your first ever job? I was hired by my university, along with nine other students, to recatalogue the entirety of its collections. We spent our time discovering long forgotten tomes and playing frisbee on the lawns: Best. Summer. Ever.
6) Have you always wanted to be in publishing? Strangely, despite a degree in English Literature and a Masters in Shakespeare, I’m not in a lit-based career – I’m a data analyst and team leader for exams and admissions in a school in North London.
7) Aside from reading, what is your favourite thing to do? We’ve just bought a digital piano for our flat (complete with headphones, so I don’t annoy the neighbours), so I play an awful lot. I’ve also recently become rather addicted to the scandal and soap-operainess of professional wrestling, so we tend to watch that a fair bit. And of course writing. I love to write.
8) What are your top ten favourite books? Ten are almost impossible to choose, but here goes:
1 – The Complete Works of William Shakespeare: self explanatory, the man was a genius
2 – Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackery: scandal, romance and a bad girl for a heroine? What’s not to love?
3 – Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope genuinely one of the most laugh out loud books I’ve ever come across, which intertwines biting satire with gentle romance
4 – Persuasion by Jane Austen: for the perfect quote – “All the privilege I claim for my own sex (it is not a very enviable one: you need not covet it), is that of loving longest, when existence or when hope is gone”
5 – American Gods by Neil Gaiman: the best book I’ve read in the last ten years.
6 – Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch: a love letter to London, and the perfect marriage of crime and fantasy.
7 – His Until Midnight by Nikki Logan: because it does everything a category romance novel should – breaks your heart and mends it all in one
8 – You Had Me At Hello by Mhairi McFarlane: an absolute gem of a book, which (again) happens to break my heart and mend it!
9 – The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes: she manages to talk about depression in a way that is both witty and refreshingly frank, and that is beyond admirable.
10 – Anything in the Tortall Universe by Tamora Pierce: intersectional, romantic and fantastical, she’s my ultimate comfort read.
9) What are your top three romantic books and why? I find these questions so difficult to answer, because I love so many! I suppose it’s easier if I cover some of my authors instead: old school romance (post-Austen and the Brontes), I’d say Geogrette Heyer, Mary Stewart and L. M. Montgomery, that ilk. But I also think that Carmel Harrington’s an incredible talent and I’m loving discovering more and more HarperImpulse authors!
10) What are your top three romantic movie/TV kisses and why? I’ve actually written a piece on the best film kisses, but more recently I’d like to add Wade and Zoe’s kiss in the rain, from Hart of Dixie, and also any kiss that involves actor Ben McKenzie!
Ali Williams grew up in Croydon and spent her teenage years in a convent girls’ school. She then fled to university where she discovered champagne cocktails, a capella singing and erotica.
These days she blogs about perceptions of romance, chick lit and women in society and spends the rest of her time promoting #StrongRomanceHeroines on Twitter, and cracking on with her first novel, Breakfast in Tunford.