It’s lovely having guests on my blog, and even better when I know them in person as well as on social media. Alison Baillie lives a short train journey away from me, so she’s a ‘close’ friend in more ways than one, and here she is to tell us about her new book.
Thank you, Linda, for this chance to come onto your lovely blog and talk about the scenes in my second book, A Fractured Winter, newly published by Williams and Whiting. The book is mainly set in Switzerland, with sections in Yorkshire and Scotland. Although it is definitely not autobiographical, it is based on places and experiences from my life and I’ve looked out a few photos to illustrate some scenes in it.
The book is the story of one winter when the life of Olivia, a young Scottish mother living in Switzerland, changes forever. She lives in a small mountain village, Wildenwil, with her Swiss husband and her three school-age children. The village is imaginary, but is typical of small Swiss villages I’ve known.
The opening of the book takes place on a bright November day, when Olivia and her family seem to be living an idyllic life in their renovated farmhouse just outside the village. Her younger children go to school there and I’ve included a picture of the primary school nearest to where I live, which is how I imagine the Wildenwil village school.
Wildenwil is situated in the mountains above the lakeside town of Zug, a town in central Switzerland famous for its beautiful old town and low taxes. To show some of the lovely buildings there, I’ve added a photo of me and another Swiss writer friend, Louise Mangos (author of Strangers on a Bridge), when we met up in Zug.
The scenery around Wildenwil is also imaginary, but in my head it’s similar to the beautiful mountains of the Bernese Oberland. I’ve spent many holidays there, often in a wonderful old hotel which dates from the 18th century and has been preserved in its original state. Although the architecture is different, the atmosphere and amazing history of the building inspired the Grand Wildenbach Hotel in the book.
As the winter snow arrives, Olivia’s happiness is threatened by a series of events. Her daughter’s best friend goes missing, Olivia comes into contact with sinister strangers and the past, which she thought she’d managed to escape, begins to catch up with her. Against a backdrop of beautiful snow-covered scenery, Olivia is caught up in a dangerous mystery as she searches for the missing girl and her own identity. To give an idea of this snowy scene I’ve included a picture of Stoos, a ski resort mentioned in the book.
I’ve also added a picture of Olivia’s dog, Bella, just because she’s adorable!
You can view A Fractured Winter in your local Amazon Store by clicking the title there, and Alison’s first book Sewing the Shadows Together, a psychological suspense novel set in Edinburgh, the Outer Hebrides and South Africa, by doing the same.
Alison Baillie was brought up in the Yorkshire Dales by Scottish parents. She studied English at the University of St Andrews, before teaching English in Edinburgh secondary schools and EFL in Finland and Switzerland, where she now lives. She spends her time reading, writing, travelling, playing with her grandchildren and attending crime writing festivals.