1. Who are you and what’s your book about?
My name is Eli Allison and my book is Sour Fruit, a dark dystopian. Set in a fictional part of Hull sometime in the future, in a rotting scrap yard of misery called Kingston. Onion has been kidnapped and wakes up earmarked for a skin-trader called The Toymaker. Surrounded by a creeping rot she has just three days to escape before the sold sticker becomes a brand.
2. Why should folk read your book?
Because if I don’t sell some books soon, I’m going to have to sell my other kidney, I sold the last one to fund my kid’s Unicorn habit, but the pot's running low.
Kidneys grow back right?
3. What’s the appeal of your book?
It’s not for the faint-hearted, it has spanking swears, riddled with dark themes and has a main character, Onion, that has all the subtlety of a hand-grenade and the charm of diarrhoea. She is my spirit animal.
4. Sounds great! Where/when can I get hold of a copy?
Mid-July is my baby's birthday, but books can sometimes be overdue, suborn little things. You can pre-order now from Unbound.
5. Describe a typical writing day, or at least a typical day with some writing in it:
I hit the cheese and crackers hard, coffee harder, and by the end of hour six have stripped off to my underwear in some sort of feral madness, think Martin Sheen in that hotel room, in Apocalypse Now.
6. Pick one book about writing. What it is and why have you chosen it?
Novel in a Year: A Novelist's Guide to Being a Novelist by Louise Doughty.
It’s a sweet-tempered guide-dog that eases you around the world of writing. The title is also hilarious. I purchased the book back in 2012; my debut novel comes out this year.
7. Pick three books that have influenced or inspired you as a writer:
Fight Club, the sucker-punch prose of Chuck Palahniuk made me realise I'd didn't need a doctorate in linguistics to write novels. Just a drive to understand storytelling as an art form and a wheelbarrow of imagination.
The Thousand and One Nights also called The Arabian Nights.
I loved the wrapping of stories in other stories. The young wife who tells tales to avoid being killed is herself a story being told. It's a crazy head melt which I've replicated with Sour Fruit. Onion is telling her story to the interviewer but also telling the stories of the city that someone once told her.
The Handmaiden's Tale, the first speculative fiction novel I ever read and since that's the genre I write you can guess how it affected me.
8. Pick three desert island books - works you couldn’t live without:
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: the Trilogy of Four, as a brilliant read, but also as a heavy-duty weapon to pulverise nature with; I don't 'do' outside.
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, an intelligent and visceral book, that makes me wish I could write better.
The last book I'd take on a desert island? How To Make Wines at Home: Using Wild and Cultivated Fruit, Flowers and Vegetables. (I don't need your judgment I just need wine.)
9. Any words of writing wisdom?
10. Let’s make a movie of your book. Give me the high-concept pitch:
Think Mad Max but instead of the Australian outback it's set in a damp Hull and with an angry 15-year girl, instead of an angry Mel Gibson.
Social media contacts:
If you have room, my blog is an OK read: https://www.eli-allison.com/blog-1
Unbound URL: https://unbound.com/books/sour-fruit/
Huge thanks to Eli for answering my daft run of questions (and for the artwork!). Hopefully, like me you'll find Sour Fruit intriguing and you'll want to read it!