The Nursery by Asia Mackay @abmackster @midaspr @ZaffreBooks

Lex Tyler is trying to have it all, but being a working mother is so much more difficult when you’re a secret agent for an underground branch of the security services.

Platform Eight have been tasked with tracking down and eliminating the traitor in MI6 who has been selling information to the highest bidder through a headhunting website for the criminal underworld that connects intelligence operatives with all manner of bad people with a simple right swipe.

Deals get made. Secrets get sold. Missions fail. Agents die.

It’s down to Lex and her team to identify and eliminate the traitor before they assassinate China’s Minister of Commerce and ruin relations between the UK and China forever. But when your husband doesn’t know exactly what your job entails and the future of the intelligence services rests on your shoulders, can one working mother save the day?

This is one mission that Lex cannot afford to fail.

Interview with Asia Mackay

Asia does not enjoy talking about herself in the third person but she understands it’s expected for author bios. Asia studied Anthropology at Durham University, and despite people fearmongering that a random degree would mean she’d never get a job, she managed to start a career in television. But had to move to China to do it. She presented and produced lifestyle programmes in Shanghai, went out a lot and failed to improve her Mandarin. Returning to London she worked for (name drop) Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman as Project Manager on their round the world motorbike documentaries – her fleeting appearances on screen wearing headbands and earnestly discussing visas continue to be a source of great enjoyment for her friends. Asia started writing ‘Killing It’ on maternity leave and undertook a Faber Academy course to help her finish it.

‘Killing It’ was the Runner Up in Richard and Judy’s Search for a Bestseller competition and Runner Up/ Exceptionally Recognised for the Comedy Women In Print prize. Her second book ‘The Nursery’ is out September 2019. Asia lives in London with her husband, four young children and two dogs – she never succeeds in calling any of them by the right name. She is always very very tired.

Asia is rubbish on Twitter and Instagram as mostly lurks and rarely posts but please do follow her to help get her follower count to double figures
Twitter: abmackster Instagram: asia.mackay

Can you tell us a little bit about your book?

Lex Tyler is an elite secret agent for Platform Eight, an underground branch of the security services. In The Nursery the latest threat to Eight, and all the intelligence services, is a headhunting website on the dark web – it connects criminals with traitorous security operatives all with a simple right swipe. Secrets are being leaked. Missions are failing. Agents are dying. Lex and her team need to identify and eliminate the traitor in their midst before they assassinate China’s Minister of Commerce and ruin relations between the UK and China forever. At home Lex has her own problems – a husband who doesn’t know exactly what her job entails, and a two-year-old daughter who’s developed a worrying love of biting. Can Lex have it all, keep it all and, more importantly, survive it all?

Who would your book be perfect for?

I’d like to think anyone who enjoys a good fast-paced thriller with a dash of humour. I think parents would particularly relate to Lex’s struggles to juggle her two lives.

Did you have a favourite character to write?

Definitely my protagonist Lex – secret job aside she’s just like me… except taller, cooler and funnier.

Do you have any questions for your readers?

Do you know how important Amazon reviews are for authors? Please always leave ones for books you’ve loved (no need for books you haven’t!!)

What are you working on now?

My current work in progress opens with a man, woman and two young children having breakfast. The mother goes up to have a quick shower and when she comes back they’re all gone. How could they just disappear? Who did this and why? It’s been a lot of fun writing this – getting to grips with brand new characters has felt quite liberating.

How does it feel to know your characters are out and about in reader’s imaginations?

I love it when I get messages from readers saying how they fancy Jake or are inspired by Lex – it’s a pretty amazing feeling hearing people give you their opinions on characters you’ve created.

Do you miss writing about them?

They’re never far from my thoughts – last month I burnt myself making cupcakes for my daughter’s birthday and my first thought at looking at the scar was thinking how it sounded like an excuse Lex would use when the reality was she’d hurt it in the line of duty

What was your publishing journey highlight?

Being first runner up for the Comedy Women In Print Prize was a huge highlight – mostly because I can now annoy my children by telling them I am officially funny and that they have to laugh at my jokes.

What was the last book that made you laugh out loud?

The Break by Marian Keyes

What was the last book that made you cry?

The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller

If you were on an island for a year what two books would you bring?

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy and Rivals by Jilly Cooper. I think I know which one I’d read more often.

Lastly, what is your favourite book quote?

“There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy and the tired.” 
― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

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