BOKAYASHA! Dis is Dave from da Staines Massive innit, and today me is gonna welcome me mate Ali … Oh hang on a minute, I got dis wrong innit, me thought it was me mate Ali G, but never mind…please big it up for me other mate Ali B…
Yo!!! Ali B is in da house…
A Kettle of Fish by Ali Bacon – or will she won’t she?
Ali Bacon was brought up in Fife (that’s the bit of Scotland that sticks out above Edinburgh) and went to St. Andrews University but somehow ended up 400 miles south in Bristol (marriage may have had something to do with it!) There she worked in libraries of all shapes and sizes until she fell victim to the writing bug which has proved harder to shift than the Noro-Virus but also a lot more fun. She now devotes herself to reading, writing and reviewing at http://alibacon.com although she is known to stray from her desk, ahem, occasionally, for a round of golf or a little bit of singing and dancing.
In the last few years her stories and articles started to get some attention and now she has achieved her ambition of having a novel published. A Kettle of Fish is a coming-of-age story set in Scotland. Described as ‘harsh, gritty, yet lyrical’ it was published on Kindle by Thornberry Publishing in October. It’s accumulating some rather good reviews, and now, by popular demand, there’s a paperback edition too.
The novel is about Ailsa, a girl whose life plan suffers an annoying interruption and as a result she finds herself on a date with the local fishmonger, a date that starts at 5 am! After such an early start, will Ailsa see Ian again? Here’s an excerpt that might give you some (but not too many!) clues.
Chapter 4 – Pittenweem
I set off back down the hill, and as I lurched into a half-run down the cobbles, the mist dissolved and the scene moved from insipid greyscale to a full colour display. I was like Dorothy waking up in the land of Oz. Sun bounced off the crowded quay and made rainbows in puddles of water and petrol. Everywhere was frantic with the call of birds and the shouts of stallholders. Everywhere slippery with fish.
I was relieved to find Ian in the crowd and he seemed pleased enough to see me. He took me round the stalls without embarrassment, showing me the catch: haddock, cod, whiting. The prices were falling, the best stuff had already gone. Incredibly, I’d got used to the smell.
“Come on then,” he said. “I’m clamouring for a cup.”
We walked along the harbour and passed two cafés before he stopped at a third. It was busy, and someone nodded to him, but I guessed this wasn’t his usual haunt. He wouldn’t go there with a girl. At the counter he ordered bacon and eggs and a bacon roll for me. In the melamine cubicle that smelled of floor-polish and stewed tea, I was struck by his bright-eyed cleanliness. His hair was soft and floppy. He must have showered before he left.
“What do you think then?” he asked, mopping up egg yolk with a crust of toast. I probably looked blank and so he carried on. “Better than sitting in an office all day, if you ask me.”
I was impressed by his energy. Anyone I knew who wasn’t going to uni was looking for a cushy billet in a bank or a call-centre and enough money to get rat-arsed at weekends.
“You wouldn’t have to get up so early,” I said.
“It’s not every day. Dad and me take it in turns.”
A shop’s less boring if it’s your own, and Ian and his dad were their own supply-chain, in thrall to the weather, the sea, and maybe the EU, but still knowing where the fish came from, making their own deliveries.
I looked at my watch, feeling Ian’s eyes on me.
“How’s your mother?” he asked.
This was what people asked me. Not “What music do you like?” or “Do you fancy a shag?” but “How’s your mother?” I imagined the scene in the front room chez Mackay: “You know her mother’s not well. Never has been, since her man left.” The not well would have been said with a look, implying possible mental problems, but that’s as far as it would have gone. His question to me was genuine enough.
“Not too bad,” I replied. “She’s up and down.”
“Do you have to look after her?”
“Sometimes. Usually she’s okay.”
“But you’re going to uni.”
“Yeah, can’t wait.”
Ian took this in. He was looking at me pretty full on and I was struck again by his mouth. The word “sensuous” crossed my mind but was quickly followed by “lascivious”, and lascivious for some reason the one that stayed.
“So,” he said, “what pictures do you like?”
At least we’d got past the mother question. I shrugged. “I don’t go much.”
“Come on, what did you see last?”
I mentioned a chick flick I saw with Faye, probably what he expected. “What about you?”
He named a sci-fi sequel. “We could go to something, if you like. You could choose.”
Before I could answer, he went to the counter and paid the bill.
A Kettle of Fish is a rollercoaster family drama set in Scotland and published by Thornberry Publishing
Buy it from
Amazon UK (Kindle and paperback) http://www.amazon.co.uk/A-Kettle-of-Fish-ebook/dp/B009M7FWKK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1353415828&sr=1-1
Amazon USA (Kindle only) http://www.amazon.com/A-Kettle-of-Fish-ebook/dp/B009M7FWKK/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1350203703&sr=1-1&keywords=kettle+of+fish
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/AKettleOfFish
Website and blog: http://alibacon.com
Featured author page http://loveahappyending.com/ali-bacon/
Great book, Ali. I enjoyed reading it and would recommend it to anyone.
thank Anneli – that’s fantastic – always good to hear when someone enjoys it!
One of my favourite books of the year, innit!
Whoop! Great post and love the excerpt. I’ve got Kettle of Fish on my Kindle and hope to read the whole story really soon. Thanks to Rich for showcasing Ali here today! XX
Hi Richard – well done for spotting my Ali G heritage – was orignally named Ali B as a joke back in his day – I was ‘black affronted’ at the time but somehow it stuck!
I clicked ‘excellent’ on the rating. The excerpt is, Ali! Love it! (No Ali G jokes. ;)) xx
ooh – thanks sharon – always hard knowing which bit to pick!
Brilliant excerpt Ali B – not to be confused with Ali G, although I love the intro Richard!