Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Getting to know … Alan Parks

Tell us a little about your books
My first book, Seriously Mum, What’s an Alpaca? is the memoir of my partner and I, our decision to up sticks and move to rural Spain to breed alpacas.

What made you choose to write about your experiences?
So many people said to me, “You could write a book,” as we regaled them with tales of what had happened to us in the short time we have lived. Last year I decided to try it out, and wrote 50 pages, sent it out to a few people to read. They liked it, so I finished the story! I have just finished writing the sequel, and hope to publish it at the start of October.

How long does it take you to write a book?
About three or four months. But then there is editing, cover designing, promoting. The easy bit is writing it. Don’t forget, as a memoir, the stories have already happened, whereas with fiction it all needs to be made up.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
Life gets in the way. We live in an old olive mill. There is always work that needs doing there, plus looking after the animals. Then of course, there are two months of summer when it is so hot you don’t want to do anything but sleep.

Where do you get your ideas for your books?
As I said before, the stories surround us every day. From animal dramas to out there local characters, stories just kind of present themselves.

How old were you when you knew you wanted to write and what was your first attempt?
I had never thought about writing before last year.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Just enjoy life, relax and live life to the full. In reality, I spend as much time, if not more, promoting the book once it’s written.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That people were interested in our lives. We have had emails from all over the world, telling us how much they enjoyed our story, and when the sequel would be out. I thought a few family and friends might buy the book, but animal lovers across the world have bought and read it.

How many books have you written?
The sequel that I have just finished is my second.

Which is your favourite and why?
I think the first one will always be my favourite, because I didn’t actually know that I could write a book. I’m quite proud of myself, for sitting down, writing it and then being able to sell it too.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I was never really sure. Now I look back, and wish I had gone in to zoology or similar, but as a kid I didn’t really know.

What are you working on now?
Final edit of the sequel, plus trying to help my partner Lorna, put the finishing touches on an e-book compilation of her blog posts.

Bio - Alan Parks was born in Eastbourne, East Sussex in 1978. His life changed for the better (he is constantly reminded) when he met Lorna in 2003. Work consisted of fairly mundane, mainly managerial posts. In 2008, Alan and Lorna moved to rural Andalucia, Spain, and now live in an old Olive Mill, off grid and with a menagerie of animals.

You can find his page on Facebook -
Follow him on Twitter -
And his website/blog is at

Blurb for book - Seriously Mum, what's an alpaca?' is the frank and charming story of a brave couple who risk everything to move to Spain to breed alpacas. Their intention is to make a living, but first they must negotiate their way through the Spanish property market, local characters, rogue builders and the worst weather Andalucía has seen for 100 years. Alan and Lorna experience the joy, but also the heartbreak of alpaca breeding, picking up an assortment of stray animals on the way. It is essentially a story of endeavour and spirit, living each day as though it may be the last.

Buy links - 

Critique Service for Writers

Flash 500 Home Page: Flash Fiction, Humour Verse
and Novel Opening Chapter and Synopsis Competitions


Lorna Penfold said...

Thanks for featuring me on your blog Lorraine :)

Sue said...

Nice interview - read the first book, eagerly awaiting the sequel.....