Monday, 30 October 2017

The Hippo Hands Over . . . . to Alison Brodie

I'm absolutely thrilled to be handing over to author Alison Brodie today. I've been chatting to Alison on email on and off over the last few weeks and she is so funny. . .  and that's funny ha ha, not funny peculiar!

Alison has had several books published including Face To Face, which became Good Housekeeping's Pick of the Paperbacks and she's now gone Indie. Her upcoming novel, Zenka, is released on November 6th and is available for pre-order now.

I had a rather interesting, if somewhat surreal, chat with Alison and Zenka a few days ago so I think it's only right that I should tell you about the novel first. That way you can get a bit of a feel for Zenka before you meet her.


Devious, ruthless, and loyal.

Zenka is a capricious Hungarian with a dark past.

When cranky London mob boss, Jack Murray, saves her life she vows to become his guardian angel – whether he likes it or not. Happily, she now has easy access to pistols, knives and shotguns.

Jack discovers he has a son, Nicholas, a male nurse with a heart of gold. Problem is, Nicholas is a wimp.

Zenka takes charges. Using her feminine wiles and gangland contacts, she will make Nicholas into the sort of son any self-respecting crime boss would be proud of. And she succeeds!

Nicholas transforms from pussycat to mad dog, falls in love with Zenka, and finds out where the bodies are buried – because he buries them. He’s learning fast that sometimes you have to kill, or be killed.

As his life becomes more terrifying, questions have to be asked:

How do you tell a mob boss you don’t want to be his son?

And is Zenka really who she says she is?

                                                          *    *    *    *

                Transcript of interview with Alison Brodie and her character, Zenka.

Neats:  I am here today with Alison Brodie and Zenka Valentina Vargas.  First off, Alison, can I say that I love your cashmere jumper.  What colour is it?

Alison:  Buttercup

Zenka:  Sick

Alison:  Pardon?

Zenka:  It is sick colour. 

Alison:  (snort)  At least I don’t wear orange wigs and-

Neats:  OK, ladies, let’s push on.  Alison you mentioned that Zenka was initially a minor character.

Alison:  That’s right.  But from the beginning I felt she was harassing me for a bigger part-

Zenka:  Listen, Neats.  Ven you have Ferrari, you do not keep it in garage.

Neats:  (laughing)  That’s true.  Tell me, Zenka, are you happy with Alison's book?

Zenka:  Yes and No…

Neats:  Sorry, Zenka, you can’t smoke in here.

Zenka:  (sighs).  You English.  Don’t do this.  Don’t do that.  So … vat am I saying?  Yes!  I am happy that the vorld sees me as beautiful voman.  But I don’t understand Jack at the end.  Like he is not happy vith me.  Vat did I do wrong?  Also, I tell Alison to do sequel but she says no.

Neats:  Why don’t you want to do a sequel, Alison?

Alison:  I have other stories to write, other characters waiting to come alive.

Zenka:  But I am most important character!  I am star.

Alison:  You're a headache

Zenka:  Vat?

Alison:  This book was finished a year ago.  I was happy with it.  Happy with the title, Flesh and Blood.  Then you started pecking inside my head, saying, “Me!  Me!  More!  More!”

Zenka:  That is right.  And because of my pecking, book is better.  Listen, I like Trevor but he is boring.  And Nicholas vas boring until I made him into vicious thug.  But I still think book can be improved.  Ver is the erotica?  Huh?  Vomen vant sex.  They want hot, sweaty, pulsing-

Neats:  Tell me, Zenka, how do you imagine the sequel?

Zenka:  I will be secret agent.  With fur coat and sunglasses and French perfume.  No children.  I do not want to be a mother.  I want a hot Russian colonel to whisper in my ear.  I do not want babies screaming, “Mammy!   Mammy!”

Neats:  And do you have an idea for the ending?

Zenka:  I vill save the life of the President of America.  My lover, the Russian colonel, vill be shot dead but I cannot cry because I have to fly to ... fly to ... Mozambique to ... to ...

Alison:  Don't look at me, Tolstoy.

Zenka:  ... to save the vorld from an atomic bomb.

Neats:  That sounds exciting.  What do you think Alison?  What idea do you have for your next book?

Alison:  It will be a book of short stories about kitchen appliances-

Zenka:  Boring.

Alison:  Oh, for God’s sake!  I've had it up to here-

Neats:  Shall we leave it there, ladies.  It was lovely speaking to you both.  Zenka, I would rather you didn’t hit Alison with that cushion.  Alison!  That’s fragile!  Ladies!  PLEASE!

                                         *    *    *    *

Wow, that Zenka is one feisty woman! We had to leave it there as it was starting to turn into a bit of a bun fight and the neighbours were threatening to call the police! That said, I can't wait to meet her properly when I read the book as it's already getting great reviews!

So what about the lady behind the words? 

Photo courtesy of Alison Brodie

Alison Brodie is a Scot, with French Huguenot ancestors on her mother’s side.  She is a writer and animal rights activist.

Her books have been published in hardback and paperback by Hodder & Stoughton (UK), Heyne (Germany) and Unieboek (Holland).

Alison is now a self-publisher.  Here are some editorial reviews for her recent books: 

BRAKE FAILURE:  “Masterpiece of humor” –Midwest Book Review

THE DOUBLE:   “Proof of her genius in writing fiction”  -San Francisco Book Review.

ZENKA:  “Riveting” –Midwest Book Review.  ZENKA will be releasing 6 Nov, 2017. 

You can find out more about Alison and connect with her using the links below:

I'd like to say a huge thank you to Alison and Zenka for stopping by, it was an experiencce that I won't forget in a hurry! 😉


  1. Thank you, Neats for this fabulous post! And your guidance!

    I apologise for smashing your shepherdess (I hope it wasn't an heirloom). I tried to get Zenka to apologise for filling your room with feathers but she's ignoring me.

    1. I'm sure that reading your book will help me get over the trauma I suffered Alison but I never want to see another feather ever again! 😉

  2. Again, thank you, Neats! I hope you enjoy reading "Zenka"