Monday, August 16, 2010

DJ Kirkby: 'Without Alice'

I'm excited to have author DJ Kirkby here as part of her blog tour for her debut novel, Without Alice. It says a lot about this book that despite it being over 30 degrees on the Central Line, I couldn't stop turning the pages even as sweat dripped from my brow. The narrative sweeps you along through the lives of the characters, keeping you guessing and wondering how it all will resolve -- or indeed if it will -- in the end. With realistic, complex characters and an intriguing storyline, it's a great read.

In true celebratory style, we have a selection of wines and champagne to choose from: Pinot Grigio, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cava -- take a glass! Or if you prefer, have a fizzy drink or some lovely sparkling water. I've also baked some special cupcakes: Red Velvet; Double Chocolate or Lemon Delight, and DJ's brought some of her yummy blackberry jam. Now that our mouths are full, I'll hand it over to DJ!

You’re a mother and you work full-time. How do you find the time to write? Do you have a writing routine?

I mostly squeeze writing time into some of the time in which I should be sleeping. I think being autistic helps too as I don;t socialise that much which leaves more time for writing too! That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it...

You’ve done a fantastic job promoting Without Alice. Any tips?

I've got loads of shameless self promotion tips. A whole blog post in fact - follow this link to read them all.

What’s the first thing you did when you got your publishing deal?

I smiled serenely at my publisher, said yes please and thank you in a calm tone of voice while doing a quiet mental "squeeee!". As soon as I got on the train home I phoned my husband and told him the good news. I arrived home to find a bottle of champagne chilling in the fridge. My husband is magnificent. Fact.

What are you working on now?

I am currently writing two novels. The Plump WAG’s Club – A year in the life of four fat forty-something friends and A Dappled Life – A young man struggling to leave his past where it belongs.

What points or piece of advice would you give aspiring writers?

1. Write a novel.
2. Pay to have it professionally edited, no matter what your day job is.
3. Believe in yourself as an author!

Thanks, DJ, and congrats. Have some champagne and a cupcake!

And in other news, author Nicola Morgan is interviewing me today on blogging over at Help! I Need a Publisher. If you get a chance, swing by! :)

About DJ Kirkby:

Denyse developed a passion for reading aged just four years old, progressed to writing quirky stories at an early age and then produced volumes of dire poetry full of teenage angst at just about the age you would expect such behaviour. She now has a husband, son and 2 stepsons whom she loves with every beat of her heart. Her home is often filled with the sound of laughter as well as two crazy cats, a grumpy tortoise and loyal friends who stop by from time to time to make sure she isn’t writing anything about them.

You can find out more about Denyse at her blog and on Twitter. A video preview of Without Alice is available here. Without Alice's Facebook page is here.


  1. *puts down glass of sparkling water* Talli thanks so much for this great review and for hosting me on your lovely blog. I'm looking forward to chatting with your readers as soon as I get back from work today so save me some wine and a red velvet cupcake. *settles back against plump cushion for a little rest before leaving for work* *waits for the fun to begin*

  2. Fab interview and review of Denyse's book. Now that I've wangled it back off Squizzey, I'll be reading it this week. Can't wait!

    And... Pinot Grigio and Double Chocolate cupcake for brekkie - you lovely ladies, what a genius idea!

  3. Hi Kath, I'm really looking forward to hearing what you thought of Without Alice. As for your breakfast choices, well it isn't really breakfast time for you is it? Seeing as you've been up all night writing, I'd call that a bed time snack! Quite a nice one too :)

  4. Yum. You make great double choc cupcakes! I loved the interview. I especially liked the tips at the end for hopeful writers.

  5. Thanks for introducting Denyse, Talli.
    Congrats, Denyse, a very encouraging story and the 3 points about writing are all we need to know.
    I will keep that story about the champagne chilling in my head as an incentive.

  6. Hi JJ,
    Thanks for stopping by!

    Hi Lynda
    Thank you! Glad you found my tips of use.

    Hi Brigid,
    We all need a champagne incentive :)I look forward to being able to drink a toast in your honour.

    I'm off to work now everyone. See you all this evening. Don't have too much fun without me.

  7. What a fabulous post. Particularly enjoyed the thought of all that scrummy food. What a great way grip your audience, Talli! Great interview as well.

  8. I hope you all enjoy the wonderful breakfast fare on offer. I've added a steaming cup of coffee for those who can't stomach wine and champagne for brekkie (but come on, now...!).

    Thanks, DJ, for dropping by! See you after work.

  9. Mmmmm sparkly drinks and cupcakes. You do throw a good party! Many congratulations to the lovely DJ x

  10. Brilliant interview...but then I knew it would be! The lovely Talli interviewing the sparkling DJ...there was no way it was going to be anything other than great!!

    C x

  11. I am quite new to blogging and have only just started my blog last month. I came across your interview with Nicola Morgan and had to come and have a look at this blog. I think you have done brilliantly with it! And what a great interview with DJ Kirkby. Very inspiring to hear that other people manage to work and raise a family, as well as write! I also survive on less sleep and do a lot of writing in the very early hours of the morning...but this is when I feel most creative, unfortunately!

  12. Thank you lovely Talli and amazing DJ Kirby for this interview!!

    I love DJ Kirby's tips for aspiring authors -especially point 3!

    What an inspiration! GOOD LUCK with Without Alice!!! All the best with your writing.

    p.s Cheers!!
    pps. the jam's lovely!

    take care

  13. Thanks for all the advice, ladies. Um...all this talk about wine and champagne has made me thirsty. Hee...

    Great interview, and the book sounds wonderful. Congrats.

  14. Saw your interview over at Nicola's. It was great! Thanks for hosting DJ, I want to read her book about the WAG's.

  15. Lovely interview and I am a fan of cupcakes for brekkie!
    Congratulations and best of luck for your book, DJ!

  16. Great interview! I love a book that leaves you wondering how on Earth the author will work it all out - that's what keeps me turning the pages. I'm off to read your interview now...

  17. Wonderful interview. DJ, all the hard work is paying off. Best of luck with your new book and your writing.

    BTW Talli, the Cabernet Sauvignon was delicious and the cupcakes yummy.

    Thoughts in Progress

  18. Thank, everyone, for stopping by and partaking in the yumminess today! *munches tenth cupcake*

  19. What a great interview. Wow, she sounds like an amazing author who has had to go through a lot to make it. What great advice she gives. I have to do that myself. I like #3. It's important to believe in yourself and just get the book done!


  20. These cupcakes are GOOD!

    Great interview - it's funny how sleep always seems to fall by the wayside. I wonder if there are actually writers out there who aren't sleep deprived :)

  21. Interesting! I'm always looking for new books to add to my list.

  22. Champagne in the fridge? That's a nice congratulations!

    I'll check out DJ Kirby's blog.

  23. This was such a lovely interview - thank you, both of you! Great questions and love the answers, I'm checking out the shameless self-promotion link now :-)

  24. Thank you, I'll have a Pinot with my red velvet cake!

    Great interview and off to click on her links now!

  25. I don't know him but looks like the interview was great and you had a lot achieved so am happy for you my dear xx

  26. Hi Rebecca, Helen and Carol
    Thank you very much :)

    Hi Lucie
    I think it is a writers curse. I know someone who sometimes stays up all night to write! Welcome to blogging.

    Hi Old Kitty
    Thank you! Glad you like my tips for writers and my jam.

    Hi Salarsen
    Thank you. The wine IS lovely isn't it? *slurp*

    Hi Piedmont Writer
    I'm so glad to hear that you are interested in The Plump WAG's Club. That may (or may not be) my next novel published :)

    Hi Pen and Paints
    Thank you. Cupcakes is the breakfast of champions ;)

    Hi Susan
    Thank you. I hope you enjoy Without Alice. I'd love to hear if it met your expectations afterwards.

    Hi Mason
    Thank you so much.

    Hi Clarissa
    Thank you for your kind words. I had to have self belief drummed into me by an author whom I admire greatly but it does take maintenance. It's much easier to believe you'll fail for soem reason or that's what I find anyway.

    Hi Jemi
    I'm sure a well rested author doesn't exist. Our brains just don't work like that do they?

    Hi NW
    Do you have time to read? So glad to hear that Without Alice may get added to your to be read list.

    Hi Theresa,
    My husband is magnificent. A man that knows when to chill the champagne has the secret to a happy marriage :)

    Hi Sangu
    I'm sorry that the self promotion link doesn't work. I've emailed Talli with the right url so hopefully it will be up before long.

    Hi Christina,
    Thank you. The links should be working properly soon so please try again in a bit.

  27. Hi Wild Rose
    I'm a 'her'. I chose DJ Kirkby because I used to write anonymously. When I 'came out' as autistic I already ahd a readership so I kept my pen name. Sorry for the confusion.

  28. Nice to know that even with kids underfoot, it's possible to get the writing done.

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to fix a mimosa and pretend that there are no paper airplanes flying over head and no cars driving over my toes, I am going to write in all this blissful chaos.

  29. Mmmm... reading the comments and a red velvet cupcake sounds oh so decadent and delicious. Great interview!

  30. DJ sounds so completely awesome!!! What a living inspiration working and writing full-time! I love it and I'm sitting here in awe... was a fantastic blog interview!

    Thanks for sharing you two! Now I'm hoping over to the wonderful interview you're a part of and then onto DJ's blog!

  31. Thanks for the lovely interview.

    I loved Without Alice and I'm not surprised you did too.

  32. Hi Diane
    Your comment really made me laugh! Enjoy writing in the midst of your chaos.

    Hi Samantha
    Thanks. These comfy cushions are pretty indulgent too. *reclines luxuriantly*

    Hi Jen
    Wow, thanks so much for that compliment. I love it that you find me an inspiration, that makes me feel I've acheived something significant.

    Hi Debs,
    Thanks for stopping by and for loving Without Alice :)

  33. I'm new to your blog, but love your devotion and writing style. Keep up the great work!

  34. Useful, useful and fun interview!

  35. Thanks for the Red Velvet cupcake, Talli!

    I really enjoyed reading this & how her wonderful hubby had a bottle of champagne waiting for her! I also appreciate the tips, I've bookmarked that blog!

  36. Ooh, thanks for the sweets!

    I have such a long reading list and all the interviews I've been reading aren't making it any shorter... :]

    I haven't exactly sacrificed sleep for my writing, but I do stay up later because of it, because that's when I can concentrate the most.

  37. Hi Conda
    Glad you found the interview useful :)

    Hi Notes from Nadir
    Thank you for bookmarking my blog. i hope to see you on there soon. I'm coming over to visit yours today.

    Hi Amanda
    I'm the opposite of you in that case. can't stay awake to write at night, I concentrate better in the very early morning.

  38. I usually hate books that make me "think" about them. I want entertainment to rest my weary brain. "Without Alice" was a rare book that did both. I couldn't stop reading it because the story was great but then had to think about my feelings about it. Not something I had to do with Harry Potter or the sparkly vampires.

    I'm just impressed as all get out that DJ made me think and I love her for it!

  39. Hi Gail, I'm so glad you enjoyed reading Without Alive despite the fact that it ran you through a whole gamult of emotions. (That was the whole idea btw. Don't hit me!)


Coffee and wine for all!