The heat is oppressive and storms are brewing in Brighton in the summer of 1982. Little Gold, a boyish girl on the brink of adolescence, is struggling with the reality of her broken family and a home descending into chaos. Her only refuge is the tree at the end of her garden.
Into her fractured life steps elderly neighbour, Peggy Baxter. The connection between the two is instant, but just when it seems that Little Gold has found solace, outsiders appear who seek to take advantage of her frail family in the worst way possible. In an era when so much is hard to speak aloud, can Little Gold share enough of her life to avert disaster? And can Peggy Baxter, a woman running out of time and with her own secrets to bear, recognise the danger before it’s too late?
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The Real You Q&A with Allie Rogers
Please tell my readers a little bit about yourself and your publishing journey.
I was born and raised in Brighton. My short fiction has been published in several magazines and anthologies including Bare Fiction, Queer in Brighton and The Salt Anthology of New Writing. I’ve performed at several live literature events, including the Charleston Small Wonder Flash Fiction Slam, which I won in 2014.
My first novel, Little Gold is published by Legend Press.
Describe yourself using three words. Inquisitive, bookish, focused.
What inspired you to write your first novel? Little Gold is a book that came tumbling out of me in 2014. The two main characters first appeared in a flash fiction I wrote and I found that they had a longer story to tell. That story turned out to be the novel, Little Gold. I drew a lot on my memories of growing up in Brighton in the 1980s but the events in the book are all pure fiction.
What time of day do you like to write? I fit my writing around my part-time job in a university library and so I can’t afford to be choosy. If I’m on a roll with something then I might fit in some writing at any time of the day or night. Sometimes I finish work at 8pm and then put in a few hours writing before I go home.
What is your favourite book and why? Hotel World by Ali Smith. It’s a sort of secular prayer to life. I love the way Smith uses different voices in the book and the central idea of a dead person fading slowly out of the world.
How did you pick the title of your book? Little Gold is the name of the central character of the book. She’s a twelve-year-old girl.
Are the characters in your book based on real people? Not directly. I think that most writers build characters by exploring aspects of themselves and combining those with the characteristics of people they have known. That said, Little Gold is a character very close to my heart who learns some emotional truths that I learned as an adolescent.
What’s your favourite word? Right at this moment? Murmuration. I think I’d probably give you a different word every day, if not every hour!
If you were a colour what would it be? Green/grey – the colour of a winter sea.
Do you plan your story beforehand or go with the flow? That varies depending on what I’m writing. Little Gold was not planned because the first draft came out very fast but that did mean considerable structural work later on. I think a basic plan is usually a good thing but I’d never let it stop me taking the story in a different direction if that seemed to be needed.
Who is your favourite Author? Ali Smith.
You are attending a dinner party with four fictitious book characters who would they be and why?
Harriet Vane from the books of Dorothy L. Sayers, Shug Avery from Alice Walker’s ‘The Colour Purple’, the nameless character in Ali Smith’s short’s story ‘May’ (this person falls in love with a tree) and Nan Astley from Sarah Waters’ ‘Tipping the Velvet.’
What book are you reading at the moment? ‘Mr Oliver’s Object of Desire’ by VG Lee.
Where in the world is your happy place? St Ives in Cornwall. I stay there in a tiny holiday flat in winter, drink lots of coffee, go for walks on the beaches and cliff-top paths and write late into the night.
If you had one superpower what would it be? To be invisible – think what you’d see and hear if people didn’t know you were there!
If you could give any literary villain a happy ending who would you chose? Hmmm… Well, I’m not sure I want to create a happy ending for an actual villain! I’d like a happy ending for the flawed character, Miss Amelia in Carson McCullers’ ‘Ballad of the Sad Café.’ I don’t like to think of her holed up in the derelict café. I’d like it opened up again and a new love in her life.
Are you working on a new project? I have recently finished a new novel told in the voice of a four-year-old boy. It’s been extremely absorbing.
Do you have any upcoming events our members can attend? I am reading from Little Gold at Polari Literary Salon, on the South Bank, on 6th June – tickets are available online.
If you would like to know more, you can contact Allie on
Huge thanks to Allie Rogers and Lucy Chamberlain @Legend_Press for giving me the honour of being on the tour.