Monday, January 25, 2010

Ali Shaw

Ali Shaw graduated from Lancaster University with a degree in English literature and has since worked as a bookseller and at Oxford’s Bodleian Library.

The Girl with Glass Feet is his first novel.

From a Q & A at his publisher's website:

The Girl with Glass Feet is a wonderfully inventive, magical novel. What was the inspiration behind it?

My writing almost always begins with an image, which normally just arrives in my head unprompted. I remember being on an escalator in a railway station when I suddenly saw in my mind a girl with feet made of glass. I couldn’t tell you whether something prompted it – the image is the most vivid thing I can remember about that railway station. I got home and started exploring it, asking what kind of person had feet made of glass, and how on earth would she cope? And I loved the idea that she hadn’t always had feet of glass, but that slowly they had transformed into it. Which of course meant the rest of her body was in danger of turning into glass as well. Coupled with this, I had the idea for another character I wanted to write about. Midas Crook, a man so over-sensitive and unsure of himself that he needed to filter the experiences of his life through a camera. Photography would be his way of putting distance between himself and the rest of the world. He would take more pleasure in reflecting on photographs than he would in actually living day-by-day.

You worked as a bookseller in Oxford for several years. What was that experience like?

I worked as a bookseller at Blackwell Broad Street, a bookshop in Oxford that’s been running since 1879. I was writing the novel during that time, and when the UK edition of The Girl with Glass Feet was released, in May of this year, I went into the shop and had the privilege of seeing the finished novel on sale. It was amazing to think that inside that book were words I had written on my lunch break in that very shop.

One of the...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Ali Shaw's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Girl with Glass Feet.

--Marshal Zeringue