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On The Table Read, “the best book magazine in the UK“, author Ali Fischer talks about her contemporary romance book, Imogen’s Story, and what inspired her to write it.

JJ Barnes editor of The Table Read online creativity, arts and entertainment magazine

Written by JJ Barnes

I interviewed author Ali Fischer about her life and career, what inspired her to start writing, and the story of her new contemporary romance novel, Imogen’s Story.

Tell me a bit about who you are.

By day I’m a Finance Manager working in the waste industry, a mother of two boys and a wife. By night I’ve either got my head in a book, an audiobook in my ears or I’m writing the next novel. I love how I can escape the world with literature and my favourite genres are romance and fantasy romance.

Ali Fischer on The Table Read
Ali Fischer

I love a good crime/thriller too, that’s why I combined the two in my novel, Imogen’s Story. A steamy read with a thriller edge!

When did you first WANT to write a book?

In 2015 I decided I really did want to write a book, but I have always toyed with the idea since I was at school. I’ve always been a bookworm.

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When did you take a step to start writing?

In 2015 I downloaded a book onto my Kindle called, How to Write your First Book. That’s a far I got for a few years though. During the pandemic, I formed a book club with two friends and during one of our online chats I mentioned I wanted to write a book. I told them all about my idea and they encouraged me to go for it. So that was it, I bought a laptop and started writing in 2019.

How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?

I started writing my first book during the first lockdown of the Covid-19 pandemic. It took me a year to finish the first draft and the edits, that I did myself. I released the book and published it myself but after it proved popular, I decided to invest and hired a professional editor, typesetter and cover designer. That took another three months, and my first novel was published as a 2nd edition. So, I’d say that it took about eighteen months from conception to release.

How long did it take you to complete your latest book from the first idea to release?

I’m currently writing the second book in the series that has taken five months so far, and I’d say I’m halfway through the process. My goal is to release it before Christmas. I’m hoping the process gets quicker with each book, but it’s a struggle now that I don’t have a lockdown to ensure I can’t be busy with what life throws my way!

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Focusing on your latest release. What made you want to write Imogen’s Story?

This book is very personal to me. I wanted to write this book, and the series that it’s in, to highlight strong female main characters that overcome issues that most of us will face on our path to womanhood and love. It sounds a bit cheesy, but the moral of the story is that there is hope and that you can find the strength you need to overcome anything. It handles the issue of escaping from a toxic relationship and gaslighting.

I’d been reading a lot of romance novels, one series in particular that had made steamy romance more mainstream, but I was concerned about the underlying message that it was sending out, and I felt the need to write the counter argument, you could say.

What were your biggest challenges with writing Imogen’s Story?

Knowing where to begin. The internet has so many resources for aspiring authors that I found everything I needed to get self-published but finding out which writing style suited me was so hard.

The first book was a massive learning curve and I’m still learning where my pitfalls are with the second. The other biggest challenge was getting over my fear of failure. Because of how important and personal this book was, it was almost like cutting myself open for all to see, and that is a very scary prospect. But, as Imogen discovered in this book, you can overcome anything with good friends and the right kind of love.

Who or what inspired you when creating your Protagonist?

Imogen's Story by Ali Fischer on The Table Read
Imogen’s Story

The initial concept of Imogen was based on what I experienced and witnessed growing up. She grew from that initial concept to something more, and hence why this ended up being a four-part series. After talking with friends, it turns out a lot of women silently suffer for fear of what will happen if they speak out, or how they will be judged. I want my novels to be a voice for those women.

Who or what inspired you when creating your Antagonist?

The gaslighters, controllers, the guys that are so perfect in the beginning but end up being something else entirely. The boyfriends that make you doubt yourself and your perception of how they are behaving.

What is the inciting incident of Imogen’s Story?

Imogen gets to the point in her life where she knows she has to do something drastic to leave Mark (her controlling boyfriend), so she secretly gets a new job in the countryside, rents a new place and one day, while he’s at work, packs what she can and leaves without a trace. But he has ways of finding her… She starts receiving text messages from him and he lets her know he’s coming for her.

What is the main conflict of Imogen’s Story?

Mark stalks Imogen and finds ways to infiltrate her life and potentially ruins her chances of finding love with Cameron Black. She has to find out if she is strong enough to fight back, and if her new love with Cameron is strong enough to survive.

Did you plot Imogen’s Story in advance, or fly by the seat of your pants and write freely?

I did a bit of both. I plotted the book in terms of beginning, middle and end but wrote freely in each of those sections. I like to get to know the characters and see how they interact with each other. They become real people in my head, and I envisage everything in my mind like it’s a movie.

Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Imogen’s Story need?

The first edition was entirely a one-women show. I edited myself with the use of apps and I had two friends read it for me and give me feedback. The biggest area that needed editing was my use of commas. Then when I hired an editor, they took out 10,000 words that weren’t necessary. I was guilty of overwriting, and I tended to use ‘I am’ instead of ‘I’m’ etc. Now I know my bad habits I can look out for them, so I’m hoping my second novel requires less editing.

I was pleasantly surprised at how well the editing process went; it was fairly painless and minimal, which was a nice surprise.

What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a story?

Do not let your mind talk you out of it. If you want to write a book, then just do it. If you don’t know where to start, just start writing and see what happens. What’s the worst that can happen?

Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?

Imogen’s Story is the first in a four-part series called the Book Club. So, there are three more to come, Lucy’s Story, Sarah’s Story and Jess’s Story. In The Book Club series, they read romance novels, and I intend to write the novels that they read. I also want to write novels that are more suitable for New Adult and Young Adult as I want the messages from the Book Club series to be accessible to younger woman too.

And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?

I am so proud of what I have achieved. This process wasn’t just about writing and publishing a novel, it was about overcoming the voices in my head telling me I would fail, no one would read it, it would be rubbish and that I had no right to try and write a book. I wrote it, I published it and I’m marketing it. And even more important than that, I’ve had women tell me that this book will stay with them for a long time because of the message it told. They thanked me for finding the courage to speak out and highlighting issues that aren’t overly spoken about. They thanked me for being their voice. I achieved what I set out to do. I’ll never take that for granted.

The whole process has been worth it. Every time I get a great review I get a little buzz and it spurs me on to get the second book finished; that and my readers are nagging me for it.

Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:

Link to Imogen’s Story on Amazon

Link to Imogen’s Story book trailer

Ali Fischer facebook page

Ali Fischer Instagram page

Ali Fischer TikTok

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