Friday Favourites # 7: Alexis Hall00:00
Friday Favourites is the latest feature on my blog, an Author spotlight where you have a chance to learn more about my favoruite authors in a blitz interview and see what their favourite books are. Today I'm more than a little excited and happy to have as my guest, an absolutely fabulous and truly exceptional English gentelman, Mr. Alexis Hall!
1. Favourite place
Gosh, this is really difficult. In England, my favourite cities are Brighton and Oxford, because they’re both places I’ve felt really at home. I love the tawdry glamour of seaside towns and Brighton is/was the UK’s queer capital. And Oxford is where I learned who I was. It’s where I first found friends, first fell in love, first did most of the things that really matter. It’s also a ridiculously beautiful city, all gold and green and grey, dusty sunlight breaking against ancient stone.
2. Favourite food and drink
Being English, my favourite non-alcoholic drink is probably tea. And my favourite tea is lapsang. It’s kind of an acquired taste but I love its rich smokiness, that oddly ashy smell it has. My favourite alcoholic drink is champagne, preferably pink champagne, because … why the heck not? All things being equal, I genuinely can’t see why you wouldn’t want to drink anything else.
Foodwise, it’s hard to choose because I … well … I like eating and I like being indulged with posh-type delicacies. I think it’s a working class thing. I find food in general very romantic and very sensual—although once in my quest to try new things, I did eat testicle, which was neither. Not completely awful but it’s not like sit around of a quiet evening thinking “gosh, I really fancy some testicle right now.”
I guess my comfort food of choice would be hot buttered crumpets. Or, failing crumpets, just hot buttered toast. It’s very simple but there’s a deep pleasure to it, especially that glisten of too-much butter. Nom.
Ah! This is impossible, Ellie.
I guess I have to choose John Grant because he sort of … helped me be okay with feeling things. I’d always been quite into The Czars but his solo album QUEEN OF DENMARK was a complete revelation to me. I still listen to it all the time but I can remember the first time I heard it … like, literally stopping everything I was doing, and just lying down on the floor to properly listen to thing. I mean, how often does that happen? A piece of music just stilling the whole world for you for the forty-minute stretch of an album. I actually cried—just these sort of deep, relieved tears because that album articulated things for me I didn’t even realise I needed articulating. I’m a lot more emotionally comfortable now than I used to be but at the time it felt like some dislocated part of me finally settling into its proper face.
I’m starting to get increasingly nervous about this concept of ‘favourite’ – I mean, obviously there’s … the idea The Best Thing Ever That Blows My Tiny Mind and Reduces Me to A Damp Pile of Feelz … but I guess the things I tend to consider as ‘favourites’ are the things I come back to like coming home.
It’s probably showing my age, but I do come back to Buffy the Vampire a Slayer a lot. I know Joss Whedon is kind of Problematic these days … but Buffy was just sort of there with me throughout my teenage and university years, and kind of captured something or articulated something for me at that time. So it’s comforting to come back to it, although Season 6 is ropey and Season 7 is awful. And there are some plot developments it is best Not To Speak Of. It’s also weird how you relationship the show changes over time. I remember being completely blown away by Series 3 and 5 at the time, but arc-based stories are really common on TV now and, actually, shows that are all about the arc and less about the individual episode, aren’t so good for re-watching. So I’m all about Season 2: it’s this perfect balance between individual episodes, while also carrying a broader narrative. Also it has my favourite episode in it, which is I Only Have Eyes For You.
5. Favourite hobby besides writing, if you consider writing a hobby
I do consider writing a hobby :)
So probably gaming? My partner and I are hideous, hideous nerds and so are most of our friends so we play a lot of board games. It’s just a really sociable, entertaining way to spend an evening. I used to play a lot of computer games, especially RPGs, but I don’t really have enough time any more. Also I might have sort of out grown them just a little bit. I’m not sure.
Omg. Okay, so treating ‘favourite’ in the sense of … books I return to like old friends, for solace and warm feelings.
1. Georgette Heyer. Again, Georgette Heyer novels remind me of the good parts of my adolescence, so I always end up coming back to them. I’d be hard pushed to pick a favourite, but some of my favourites (hah, I’m cheating) are Cotillion, Sylvester, Venetia and These Old Shades. Now I’m older and my sense of romance has changed, I’m also very fond of The Civil Contract.
2. Skin Lane by Neil Bartlett. This book is just perfect to me. I don’t want to say anything about it for fear of spoiling it. It’s so many things, none of which are necessarily the things you expect. What is, though, is extraordinarily beautiful.
3. Crush by Richard Siken. This is actually a volume of poetry, not a novel, but I love it. Again, it’s really hard to describe but I guess it’s … about obsession. The language is just stunning, the way the words build up and overwhelm you.
4. Laura Kinsale. A slightly newer discovery but I love her. Again, having trouble picking a single favourite. I guess For My Lady’s Heart will always be special to me, because it’s the first I read. I love the Middle English, and the way the story intersects with and dismantles the Gawain myth. Also Melanthe is amazing and awful and the best heroine ever.
5. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. I know this is a slightly odd choice but I just completely love it. It’s like the first post-modern Victorian novel I suppose, told through these unreliable, narrative fragments (a bit like Dracula but a gazillion times better). Also Marion is another amazing heroine. And her foeyay with Count Foscoe is kinky as hell. - Free edition available on Amazon
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Author Bio and Links
Alexis Hall was born in the early 1980s and still thinks the 21st century is the future. To this day, he feels cheated that he lived through a fin de siècle but inexplicably failed to drink a single glass of absinthe, dance with a single courtesan, or stay in a single garret.
He did the Oxbridge thing sometime in the 2000s and failed to learn anything of substance. He has had many jobs, including ice cream maker, fortune teller, lab technician, and professional gambler. He was fired from most of them.
He can neither cook nor sing, but he can handle a 17th century smallsword, punts from the proper end, and knows how to hotwire a car.
He lives in southeast England, with no cats and no children, and fully intends to keep it that way.
Alexis' Hall latest novel, For Real, a BDSM May-December romance, which is part of the Spires series, realeased on 1 June. I will be reviewing it next week but my one-word description is Intense!
Laurence Dalziel is worn down and washed up, and for him, the BDSM scene is all played out. Six years on from his last relationship, he’s pushing forty and tired of going through the motions of submission.
Then he meets Toby Finch. Nineteen years old. Fearless, fierce, and vulnerable. Everything Laurie can’t remember being.
Toby doesn’t know who he wants to be or what he wants to do. But he knows, with all the certainty of youth, that he wants Laurie. He wants him on his knees. He wants to make him hurt, he wants to make him beg, he wants to make him fall in love.
The problem is, while Laurie will surrender his body, he won’t surrender his heart. Because Toby is too young, too intense, too easy to hurt. And what they have—no matter how right it feels—can’t last. It can’t mean anything.
It can’t be real.
Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / Kobo / Riptide
Don't forget the check my Friday Favourites post next week when I'm having Amy Jo Cousins sharing her favourites and I will spotlight her upcoming diverse book, The Girl Next Door!