Hi, I'm Alex, author of "The Only Genuine Jones" and a writer of historical fiction with a strongly adventurous flavour.
I moved to Burgh in 2011 after several years living in Scotland, working behind the bar at the Clachaig Inn, Glencoe.
Many have commented that Burgh is quite a contrast to the Highlands, and it certainly is, but my reason behind the move was simple: I wanted to be closer to my partner Hannah. Hannah Smelt runs Snapdragons Florist in the village and after we met in 2010 I knew I couldn't stay in the mountains forever!
Burgh residents may know me as a Scout leader, helper at village events, or phone guru at the Carphone Warehouse in Skegness.
In my spare time, I write about my adventures in the mountains of Britain and the Alps. I am a student of the history of mountaineering, and my period of expertise is the 19th century: a time when brave pioneers discovered new routes up the most forbidding cliffs. Many of them died for their sport. Climbing has changed a great deal since those heady days, but it's still possible to seek out wild and desolate places, and even discover new routes that have never been climbed before.
When I lived in Glencoe, I decided to put my interest in Victorian mountaineering to the test. Over a period of several years I collected items of 19th century climbing equipment--or made them myself if I could not find them. I put aside my modern crampons and lightweight ice axes. I hung up my Gore Tex jacket. In their place, I kitted myself out with nailed leather boots, a wooden-handled ice axe a yard long, and a coat of rough tweed. Using this primitive equipment I climbed several demanding routes on snow and ice by the old craft of cutting steps:
exhausting work and far more dangerous than modern techniques, but all in the name of historical research.
The experience opened my eyes and really allowed me to see into the world of my characters. It also helped my writing, and readers have remarked on how I bring the lives of these pioneers to life in my writing.
After several years of work, "The Only Genuine Jones" was published as an ebook in October 2012. It has attracted widespread praise and has achieved ten ratings of 5* on Amazon after a little over a month. An illustrated paperback edition is currently being produced which will be launched at a special event at the Clachaig Inn on February the 27th, 2013. The Clachaig is a key setting for the book and a place of inspiration for me, so I would not have my first real book launch anywhere else.
My next book is currently being written and I anticipate a late 2013 release. In the meantime there will be plenty of short stories to look forward to!
Most of the work is in the editing!
I also run a website and blog dedicated to the world of mountains and the Victorian era: