Good morning, everyone! Today I’m happy to welcome Alix Rickloff, author of the newly released The Way to London, to NovelKnight!
All About Alix
You wrote a book! That’s pretty awesome. Why don’t you tell us a bit about what inspired The Way to London?
Thank you so much for inviting me here to chat with you about my new release.
The Way to London is the story of Lucy Stanhope who flees Singapore just before the Japanese invasion and ends up in war-torn England. There she befriends Bill, a young evacuee from the Blitz. Together the two of them decide to head to London in search of Bill’s mother who’s gone missing. Things get complicated when they meet up with a young soldier Lucy knew from her days in the Far East.
Lucy had been mentioned briefly in my previous book Secrets of Nanreath Hall, but as I dug deeper into her character I knew I wanted to make her a refugee from the chaos of the Japanese attack on Singapore that followed Pearl Harbor. The idea for Bill came to me after reading No Time To Say Goodbye by Ben Wicks which is about the evacuation of schoolchildren during WWII. The idea of the spoiled little rich girl from Singapore and the street-smart bad boy from London’s East End pairing up on a journey across country appealed to me. They are two disparate characters, both in search of a home and people who love them.
Introduce us to your main character!
Lucy Stanhope is a snarky, cynical young woman. Raised by a glamorous but indifferent mother and a string of wealthy stepfathers, she’s learned through years of benign neglect that when the chips are down, you can only count on yourself. Despite this, she remains a dreamer at heart. Her friendship with Bill who, in his own way, is as jaded as she is, starts to show her what life might be if she learns to trust and love again. The Way to London is a bit of a departure in tone from my last book. While I continue to explore themes of belonging and family, there’s a lighter touch and more humor as we experience the story through Lucy’s very sarcastic lens.
Walk us through a day in the life of Alix Rickloff.
A perfect writing day is sending my kids off to school, pouring an enormous cup of coffee, and sitting down at my desk to spend the morning on my current writing project and the afternoon on business. But perfect is rare and many times, my day quickly devolves into putting out fires, completing surprise tasks that have landed in my box, and chasing whatever shiny idea catches my eye, all while simultaneously trying not to get distracted or demoralized by social media. By evening, after various family obligations (for some crazy reason, husband and kids tend to like dinner EVERY night) I’m ready to veg out watching TV, usually something British and binge-worthy. My current favorites are Partners In Crime based on the Tommy and Tuppence Agatha Christie books and Vera, a mystery series based on the books by Ann Cleeve.
Lots of aspiring authors out there. Any advice for them?
There is so much great advice floating around from far more knowledgeable writers than myself, but one thing I’ve noticed over the years is that the biggest difference between a published writer and an aspiring writer is that one makes time to write and the other finds time to write. Carve out a part of every day that is for work only. Sit your backside in the chair, pick up the pen or the laptop, and put words on a page. A sentence, a paragraph, one whole scene. If you treat it as a regular part of your day, others will too.
I know asking someone’s all-time favorite book is a loaded question so what’s your current favorite read?
I am currently reading—and loving—Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold. She’s a sci-fi/fantasy author most famous for her Vorkosigan series and one of my all-time keeper authors. I’m also reading—because who reads one book at a time—Born A Crime, Trevor Noah’s memoir of growing up in South Africa which is funny and smart and incredibly revealing.
Now for the Fun…
Describe yourself in 3 words.
shy, sarcastic, slightly obsessive (does that count as four words?)
A famous movie producer wants to make your books into movies and they want you to cast your characters. Which actors/actresses make the cut?
With each book I write, I put together a Pinterest board. There I collect all the bits and pieces that go into the book, including my characters. If readers check it out, they’ll find I was originally going for James Norton as Michael but that all changed when I watched Jack Reynor in A Royal Night Out. Here was my perfect Michael McKeegan—solid, dependable, and full of fun. The character of Lucy was instant and unwavering—Lily James. She’s got that sassy spark in her eye that says “anything’s possible”. I’m not sure about casting Bill. I don’t know too many twelve year olds other than the one sleeping in my house. Any suggestions from the audience?
You just won America’s Got Talent. What’s your talent?
Take away putting words on a page, and I’m singularly uninteresting in the talent department. Perhaps Simon Cowell would be blown away by my sentence diagramming?
This morning you woke up with the ability to time travel to only one time period. Where (or more accurately “when”) would you go?
Once upon a time I might have said Regency England without batting an eyelash, but more recently I’ve decided the Roaring 20’s sound way more fun—and they had indoor plumbing. Always a plus.
Coffee or tea?
Coffee. Cream and one sugar. And lots of it.
Best ice cream flavor ever?
Rocky Road all the way!
I didn’t know I had a favorite quote until I polled my family who unanimously came up with this as Mom’s go-to in almost any situation. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” which might also serve as my one piece of advice that I would tell everyone. Just imagine this world if we all followed the golden rule.
The Way to London: A Novel of World War IIby Alix Rickloff
Published on September 19, 2017 by William Morrow Paperbacks
Genres: Adult, Historical
Book Depository / Amazon / Barnes & Noble
On the eve of Pearl Harbor, impetuous and overindulged, Lucy Stanhope, the granddaughter of an earl, is living a life of pampered luxury in Singapore until one reckless act will change her life forever.
Exiled to England to stay with an aunt she barely remembers, Lucy never dreamed that she would be one of the last people to escape Singapore before war engulfs the entire island, and that her parents would disappear in the devastating aftermath. Now grief stricken and all alone, she must cope with the realities of a grim, battle-weary England.
Then she meets Bill, a young evacuee sent to the country to escape the Blitz, and in a moment of weakness, Lucy agrees to help him find his mother in London. The unlikely runaways take off on a seemingly simple journey across the country, but her world becomes even more complicated when she is reunited with an invalided soldier she knew in Singapore.
Now Lucy will be forced to finally confront the choices she has made if she ever hopes to have the future she yearns for.