CentreStage with Ali Bacon: How The Treatment Room was really A Kettle of Fish

Welcome to CentreStage!

CentreStage showcases fantastic authors from around the world. These authors might write for you about their lives, their books, their inspiration or… their book titles. Or even beauty treatments! Today, it is my great pleasure to welcome my fabulous friend and fellow loveahappyending.com author Ali Bacon.

Ali talks about her novel and how it changed from bearing a descriptive title to something quite lyrical and evocative. Well, I think it’s lyrical and evocative at any rate. But let’s hear it from Ali herself:

The Treatment Room: beauty, truth and depilation!

Hello Nicky, how amazing to be alongside the great writers who’ve been here recently. I’m kind of sidling out on to the stage and taking a nervous bow as that spotlight is leaving me a bit dazzled. In fact I’ve just been reading the fabulous Sue Moorcroft’s article about feet, and it made me think about how a rather strange topic got into my coming-of-age-novel, which is now called A Kettle of Fish  but started life as The Treatment Room .

Nicky *waves* Hi Ali, don’t sidle on the stage ~ walk out with confidence! It’s lovely to have you here and I am intrigued already… from The Treatment Room  to A Kettle of Fish, wow. Tell us more!

Depilation, unwanted hair and the removal of such – something all of us as members of the fairer sex we have all had to consider. At various times I’ve been down all the avenues, from the dreaded creams (back in the day they smelled of perming lotion – yeuch!), DIY wax strips (it’s not that easy to get rid of all the wax but be sure to steer clear of family pets until you do!) until the need to maintain my dignity without splashing too much cash led me to patronise various local ladies who provided this service from their own homes.

Smooth legs required!

As someone who was self-employed at the time, it struck me that this was a nice little trade, but on the other hand would I have wanted to do it myself? Isn’t there a touch of the macabre in ripping off leg hair as an occupation? And how would the rest of the family feel about giving houseroom to a messy and slightly unsavoury occupation?

Nicky: LOL, I know what my lot would say!

All of that was ages ago (Veet is so much improved, don’t you think?!)…

(Nicky *interrupts rudely, clears throat* Actually… no! I had the most awful experience with Veet just before my wedding.  I spent nearly an hour lying in a vinegary bath to get rid of the worst side-effects. I won’t go into any more details but I haven’t used it since. Your home-based ladies sound MUCH safer!)

…but it obviously stuck in my mind and when I found myself dealing with my heroine’s mother, it all came flooding back. Lorraine is the most complex character in the novel. She needs to invoke our sympathy, but not our out-and-out support. Is she hard done by or just needy? Is she on Ailsa, our heroine’s, side, or her own? On the practical side, she’s plagued by ill-health and can’t go out much. And without a husband or partner on the scene, she must need some kind of an income. It was a no-brainer, I gave Lorrraine a white coat and an aura of sugar paste. The Treatment Room was born!

Nicky: Cool. An aura of sugar paste… hmmm, I like the image!

You’ll guess by now that my novel is not a love story (although romance does play a part) but nor is it (I’m glad to say!) horror, and so the first title was dropped. It has been described as ‘a roller coaster family drama’ and I hope the new title reflects its feisty heroine and twisty plot. And there are a few fish in there, but definitely no pedicures!

Nicky: Feisty heroine and twisty plot and fish… who needs pedicures with all this thrown in the mix already? I have A Kettle of Fish on my Kindle and now I really can’t wait to get started! Now that we know about your book, tell us about you!

 A bit about Ali

I was brought up in Scotland and will always be a Scot at heart but I’ve lived in the West Country for so long that I do think of Bristol as home. I started writing quite late (I hope not too late!) in life but I have now given up doing anything else apart that is from golf (glory, despondency, mud!) ballroom dancing (where instead of sweet nothings my partner whispers in my ear slow, quick-quick, slow) and singing in a choir, although so far the lovely Gareth Malone has failed to appear and transform me into a diva. So that leaves the rest of the time for staring at a computer screen and trying not to check my Twitter and FB feeds. Yes, the life of a writer!

Nicky: Ah, I miss Bristol. Can’t believe we didn’t meet up while I was still down there. And really can’t believe you missed the lovely Gareth when he was down there!!! Thank you for visiting today and making such a dashing entrance. Now all that remains is to let us know where we can find you and your books.

A Kettle of Fish is available from Thornberry Publishing in Kindle edition and from Ali in print edition.

You can visit Ali on her blog and website and follow her on Twitter.

Awesome! Do you frequent Treatment Rooms or are you a home-based beautifier? And what do you make of A Kettle of Fish?

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16 responses to “CentreStage with Ali Bacon: How The Treatment Room was really A Kettle of Fish

  1. Good morning Nicly – first of all apologies for bringing back painful memories (!) and thanks for adding them to this post. I think we have all been there one way or another!
    And just a weeny update – from today the paperback is also availabe from Amazon
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kettle-Fish-Ali-Bacon/dp/1781768625/ref=sr_1_1_title_1_pap?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1353402657&sr=1-1
    Thanks Nicky – have a great day!

    • No worries ~ the healing powers of time have turned the miserable memory into a cheerful pre-wedding anecdote, LOL. I greatly enjoyed your post and thank you so much for visiting CentreStage!! Have a great day, Ali 🙂

  2. Great interview. Veet and wax – ouch – painful memories. I’ll stick to the razor.

  3. My experience with creams has been… well, messy, to say the least. Bic lady disposable razors every time for me. But then, I am pale and fabulously interesting ;), and definitely fair. Not too much scraping and razoring of soft skin therefore required. FAB post, girls! Love the legs, Ali.

  4. Hi Kit and Sheryl – thanks for coming along to a slightly off-beat celebration!

  5. I love the cover of this novel and I loved the story even more. I didn’t like Lorraine much but you portrayed her character brilliantly, Ali.

    For those who haven’t read A Kettle of Fish yet – you must – it’s fabulously unputdownable and it’s set in Scotland!

    Oh yes, the beauty treatments question – well, I go to a wonderful lady in the village who has a treatment room over one of the shops. She does a great job – but that doesn’t stop my eyes watering unfortunately!

    Janice xx

    • Ouch. Why do us ladies put ourselves through all this? There’s a saying in German that, roughly says, ‘she who wants to be beautiful must suffer.’ Too right! Thanks for visiting and commenting and for your glowing endorsement of Ali’s book. You rock, Janice!

  6. Enjoying your book very much, Ali.

  7. thanks Anneli – and yes, Janice, no gain withour pain in the world of beauty! AliB

  8. Great interview… I’m with Kit. Stick with the razor. Burnt myself in a rather uncomfortable position using Neet or Veet or one of those concoctions.

    I read A Kettle of Fish and loved it.

  9. Did you know if you have enough waxes – which I did way back longer than I like to remember when it was relatively cheap…. it weakens the hair. Like Kit and various others… I stick to a razor these days. What a brilliant profession for Lorraine! Great post.

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