Author Spotlight and Giveaway: Alison Stuart

Secrets in Time

 Welcome to the Author Spotlight, Alison.  Can you tell us about your new release, ‘Secrets in Time’?

SECRETS IN TIME is a little different from my previous books. To begin with it is considerably shorter – just a bit over novella length. I had always wanted to write a time travel story and it fits perfectly into the shorter length and secondly I am back in my favourite period of history, the English Civil War with a gorgeous cavalier hero, Nathaniel who comes forward in time to meet up with Jess, a thoroughly modern (and sceptical) twentieth century doctor. The question is…why has he sought her out? (and he has a very good reason!)

 How do you keep coming up with new ideas and storylines?

I travel quite extensively and I can find stories and characters in every corner if I look hard enough. Sometimes potential characters are like a class of unruly children, all clamouring for attention at the same time so it becomes a matter of sorting them out and letting them tell their stories in their own time. Sometimes story ideas just pop out of advertisements in old newspapers or, as happened with my book, THE KING’S MAN…from a single throwaway line in a reference book.

 We all know how important the first sentence of a book is to draw a reader in. Out of all your books, do you have a favourite first line?

I struggle with first lines! However I do like the first line from SECRETS IN TIME…

“I will not die. Not today, not like this.”

 Can you name three essential ingredients you believe every book in your genre should have?

The romance trope demands – hero, heroine and HEA but it’s how you put those ingredients together that will differ for every writer. For me it is a strong external conflict (my stories tend to be plot driven, rather than character driven), a wounded hero (either literally or figuratively) and a heroine with her own issues.

Your work spans the period of time from Cromwell to post World War One – which is your favourite era to write about?

Without a doubt, it is the seventeenth century – the English Civil War in particular. I have had a passion for this period of history since I was in single digits and it is intrinsically part of my make up. That said I  did enjoy writing in a more modern period (particularly as I could introduce an Australian heroine) but my heart belongs to the seventeenth century.Gather the Bones

Of all things you have accomplished, is there one accomplishment you are most proud of?

I don’t think at any time in my life have I ever set out to accomplish anything. Things have just happened to me along life’s journey. I strongly believe in walking through the doors that open to you and sometimes it’s not always worked out but I don’t regret any decision I have made. Probably one of the things I am most proud of, from a deeply personal point of view, is being part of the team that saved RWA when it nearly folded at the end of 2002. We took over an organisation that only had enough money in the bank to pay for the next issue of Hearts Talk…and look at it now. In the big picture we didn’t stop world hunger but it is a wonderful organisation and I am so proud of it where it is going and the wonderful writers who are coming through its ranks.

 Of all the individuals you have created, do you have a particular favourite? What appeals to you the most about this character?

That is such a hard question.  I passionately adore all my heroes – they are honourable but damaged men who just need a good woman to sort them out.  Nathaniel, the hero of SECRETS IN TIME, is probably the most centred of all my heroes and I love his curiosity about matters scientific.

But my first love, Jonathan Thornton from BY THE SWORD, holds my heart as he lived with me the longest. Over the course of the book, he grew from being a man, mired down with guilt for his past and the tragic consequences of his own irresponsible actions, to acceptance and the taking of responsibility.


 What is the best bit of advice you’ve received about writing?

I am blessed with so many wonderful mentors along the journey but probably the single best piece of advice is that no writing is ever wasted. I have whole unpublished manuscripts in my cyber sock drawer that may never see the light of day but firstly simply by writing those manuscripts I honed my craft and secondly there may well be bits or characters that can be recycled from those early stories. Even when it all seems bleak, just keep writing…

You can read more or contact Alison on:






To be in the runnng to win an ecopy of SECRETS IN TIME, leave a comment for Alison below…

Open worldwide and will be drawn on April 17th, 2013.

Leave a comment


  1. I love the first line of your book, Alison! Very intriguing. I AM going to read this book, and soon. I adore English Civil War set stories – such a wonderful sense of tragedy about them!

  2. Louise Reynolds

     /  April 10, 2013

    Hi Alison. Well, you know I adored The King’s Man and By The Sword. You really ‘own’ the 17th C 🙂 I also love your comment about your novels being plot driven. A strong plot with believable, rounded characters will keep me rivetted. All the best with Secrets In Time.

  3. Peta Crake

     /  April 10, 2013

    Secrets in Time sounds fantastic Alison.
    You should definitely be proud of being part of the team that saved the RWA. I have only been a member for a couple of years but am sure I would not be published now if I had not become a member when I did.

  4. Cath Evans

     /  April 11, 2013

    Hi Alison,
    Secrets in Time sounds wonderful. I’m looking forward to reading it.

    I’m very glad you were in the team to save RWA. It’s an achievement worthy of your pride. It must be amazing to see how far it’s grown in the last 11 years. Thank you for what you did – I’m like Peta, haven’t been around long but wouldn’t be published without it. And without RWA my life would be far less colourful, exciting and hectic!!

    Good luck with your stories.

    Cath xox

  5. Venetia…it is such an underestimated period as a source of good fiction. I just love the drama of the time…personal and policitical. It’s in my DNA!

  6. Thank you, Louise 🙂 When the 17th century becomes the “new regency”…I’ll be there…

  7. Hi Peta…RWA is an amazing organisation. There is no other quite like it. We are blessed with fabulous members published and unpublished, generous to a fault with their time and talents. I look at it now and can’t believe how it has flourished in the last 10 years.

  8. Thanks, Cath… I have made some of my dearest friends through my time in RWA and heartily encourage others to volunteer (and also to nominate the quiet, behind the scene workers for the Lynne Wilding Award!).

  9. With a first line like that, “I will not die today” you have me hooked! 🙂 I love historical set novels and have this, along with another of yours in my TBR pile.

    Well done on your input to RWA; building it into the strong organisation it is today must give you a good feeling and I agree. Like you, I know I wouldn’t have been published if not for that first contact with Anna and Christina at BWF and the discovery of this supportive and knowledgable group.

    • LOL…I hate first lines, Suzanne – almost as much as synopses!
      Thank you for your kind words about RWA…I love the organisation to bits.

  10. And the winner of Alison’s new book, ‘Secrets in Time’, is Peta Crake. A huge congratulations to you Peta!

  11. I enjoyed this book.


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