Today I am on the Blog Tour for Striking for Ford and I am here with an author interview for you all.
Before I share that though, here’s some information on the book.
Title: Striking for Ford Author: Alan Dixon Publisher: Clink Street Publishing Published: 24th August 2021 Format: Paperback Source: N/A Summary: A wry look at the 1978 winter of discontent, seen through the eyes of a trainee personnel officer in a militant Liverpool car factory. An insight into the vanished world of a polarised society of petrol queues, three million unemployed, public service strikes and a socialist government unexpectedly trounced by Margaret Thatcher in May 1979.
What was your favourite thing about writing this book? To relive one of the most important times in my life, my first proper job, in what was to become one of the most important years for modern Britain. Finishing the memoir, seemed a fitting end to dragging around an old box of papers from 1978 every time I moved flat or house over thirty odd years. I had promised myself at the age of twenty two that one day I would write it up and in the end I succeeded.
What is/was your favourite drink to consume while writing? A proper quality Brooklyn style flat white made in a local coffee bar rather than a high street chain. If it’s sunny I like sitting outside the ‘Service Course’ or if it’s raining ‘Just between Friends’ both in Wilmslow. If I feel good, I can drink three which gets expensive.
Do/did you have any bad habits while you’re writing? I have developed a ridiculous self indulgence of every time I finish a draft of something; I have to go to St Helier, Jersey the last week in November to finish it. It started because my first book (still not completed) was set in Jersey. With the tourists having gone, Christmas yet to start and a single room in the Hotel de Normandie overlooking the sea just £28 a night it’s perfect. The seaside shelters are great for writing and if someone else arrives, I just cycle to the next one.
The weather has been sunny but cold the three times I have done this and with Covid over, I hope to go again. I don’t think I spend more than £250 including airfare, so it’s not too expensive but it is a stupid fetish.
How did you research your book? It intuitively felt that the winter of discontent was going to be an important time so I just kept putting stuff in a Spar supermarket plastic bag. After a year, I had six inches of copies of ‘incident reports’ which I had to write every time there was a loss of cars through strikes. When I added press cuttings about the car industry and cuttings from newspapers, with my work diary, I had all I needed.
Will you be writing any more books? If this is successful, I have another fifteen stories set in various factories that I could always use. I have also almost finished a crime novel called ‘Gina’s Hurt’ which I need to get back to. I have also just started a memoir of my grandfather, who was one of the few to fight in the first and second world wars and took part in the 1919 Russian campaign against the Bolsheviks on HMS Nairama.
If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why? Well, I have read all of JK Rowling’s works and even been an extra in one of her films! However, it wouldn’t be Harry Potter but the ‘Strike’ series I would love to live with in. I have the irrational feeling that I’m sure I could be a better investigator than most of their contractors and would love to reduce their work pressure so they could get on with their relationship and continue to do even more good in a difficult, modern world.
If you could befriend any fictional character, who would you choose and why? A strange choice maybe, but Robin Ellacott in ‘Strike’. I admire the way she has coped with serious issues in life, like being attacked at Uni, a failing marriage, unrequited feelings for Cormoran Strike without bitterness. It’s powerful to see a modern woman escape her difficult circumstances by ‘just’ looking within and realising how strong she really is.
About the Author
Alan Dixon was born in Luton to a large family of coal miners and manufacturers. When Vauxhall Cars opened in Ellesmere Port, his father took a job as a foreman, moving the family north. Initially bullied for being a southerner, Dixon would develop a thirst for literature and learning; unlike his peers, Dixon became the first in his family to go to university, studying politics and sociology at Lancaster. Having completed an MA and been captivated by the Labour Party Young Socialists, he was fuelled by a desire for social justice as he entered the workplace. He was recruited as a graduate trainee with blue chip company Ford, working over three years in a variety of training and staff personnel roles. In 1982 he joined ICI Agrochemicals as Personnel Manager of the company’s main agrochemical formulation and packing plant. He became HR Director of UK manufacturing for Zeneca Pharmaceuticals in 1990 where he was responsible for three sites and 3500 people. In 2001 he left manufacturing to join Astra Zeneca Pharmaceuticals Commercial as a Regional HR Director. Today he works as a self-employed consultant and lives in Wilmslow, Cheshire, although a part of his heart still lives in Speke.