Flying high in the charts this week, it’s the fabulous Alice Hunter! After completing a psychology degree, Alice Hunter became an interventions facilitator in a prison. There, she was part of a team offering rehabilitation programmes to men serving sentences for a wide range of offences, often working with prisoners who’d committed serious violent crimes. Previously, Alice had been a nurse, working in the NHS. She now puts her experiences to good use in fiction.
Take it away, Alice…
What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened to you?
You’d think having worked in a prison, it would be related to that, wouldn’t you? And there WERE some hairy moments. But I have to go with the time I was thirteen and staying with a friend at her auntie’s house in Cornwall. I’ll try and keep it brief, which means leaving out some detail, but it went something like this: We’d gone off for the day by ourselves to Truro and were followed off the bus by a strange man in a Parka coat. I mean, a Parka – that’s bad enough, right? But he also kept one hand in his pocket, and we decided it was because that’s where he was concealing his knife. (My imagination was wild even then). Anyway, he stalked us for hours and we called Auntie on a pay phone (those were the days) asking her to meet us off the bus near her house as it was dark and we were scared. At one point we thought we might be imagining we were being stalked, and maybe this bloke was merely going to the same places as us – so we tested it out by sporadically walking to various different spots – and he still kept with us. Later, we managed to out-run him and double-back to the bus station, jumping onto our bus and hoping he didn’t find us and get on it too. Then we spotted him. We ducked down so he wouldn’t see us. We could just see him, though, as he walked up to each bus, looking in through every window. I kept trying to reassure my friend he wouldn’t see us, he wouldn’t get on our bus, all the while panicking. Luckily the bus pulled off without him getting on. I’m assuming had he boarded, we’d have alerted the bus driver like any sensible person – but who knows? Anyway, on the journey back, every time the bus stopped, I was scared we’d see the Parka man get on. It was a tense ride! And when we got off at our stop, Auntie was nowhere to be seen. We had to walk through a dark lane to get home and all I could think (then and still to this day) was: ‘What if?’ What if he had got on the bus and we thought we were safe because Autie would be there to meet us. I was horrified when I realised she wasn’t waiting. I never went to stay with my friend’s auntie again. But I often think of Parka man. (That story wasn’t as brief as I planned. You can see why I love my editor).
Who would you rather play golf with? Michael McKintyre, Take That, or The Queen?
Definitely Michael McKintyre – he’d need a sense of humour to play with me. I’ve never played real golf – my skill at hitting a ball with a stick begins and ends with crazy golf.
Would you rather have four arms or four legs?
Four arms! So many uses… Although, I’m useless at multitasking so they may well be wasted on me
Which actor do you fancy the most?
Depends on the day; I’m very fickle. Today it happens to be Robert Sheehan. *Those eyes*
What are you having for lunch tomorrow?
I plan my books, but I’m a pantster when it comes to meals. As my mum would say ‘It’s iffits for lunch”. If it’s there, I’ll have it, if it’s not, I won’t.
Do you have any weird habits?
Many. And I’m not sharing them with you because that would be weirder.
Have you ever been punched in the face?
I’m guessing no – as I’m having to think too long about that question. I feel that if I had, it would be a more memorable experience. I have, however, received body blows – a boyfriend’s ex took a dislike to me and she and a group of her friends surrounded me when I was leaving his one night. I managed to get to my car without being hurt too badly (although she’d scratched ‘slag’ into the paintwork of my car!) This took place without any intervention from my boyfriend, who watched from the safety of his doorstep. The relationship didn’t last long – and they WILL make an appearance in a future novel!
Who do you love?
Well, you have to say ‘family and friends’ to this question, don’t you? But assuming they’re not reading this… my dogs. Oh, wait… no, my husband.
Who was your first crush?
How young is too young to have a crush? I reckon I was about six. I went on a date with a boy from my class. He took me to the bus stop and we had a picnic on the grass bank. My dates didn’t ever really get better than that… (the answer to Q7 proves this point!)
How many times have you seen Top Gun?
Lost count. If I love a film I will watch it over and over until I know most of the script. One of my favourite lines from Top Gun: “If you screw up just this much, you’ll be flying a cargo plane full of rubber dog shit out of Hong Kong!” Iconic stuff.
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