Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Spotlight on E.S. Alexander, author of Lies That Blind


What would you risk to avoid obscurity?

Malaya, 1788

Aspiring journalist Jim Lloyd jeopardises his future in ways he never could have imagined. He risks his wealthy father’s wrath to ride the coat-tails of Captain Francis Light, an adventurer governing the East India Company’s new trading settlement on Penang. Once arrived on the island, Jim—as Light’s assistant—hopes that chronicling his employer’s achievements will propel them both to enduring fame. But the naïve young man soon discovers that years of deception and double-dealing have strained relations between Light and Penang’s legal owner, Sultan Abdullah of Queda, almost to the point of war. Tensions mount: Pirate activity escalates, traders complain about Light’s monopolies, and inhabitants threaten to flee, fearing a battle the fledgling settlement cannot hope to win against the Malays. Jim realises that a shared obsession with renown has brought him and Light perilously close to infamy: a fate the younger man, at least, fears more than death. Yet Jim will not leave Penang because of his dedication to Light’s young son, William, and his perplexing attraction to a mercurial Dutchman. He must stay and confront his own misguided ambitions as well as help save the legacy of a man he has come to despise.

Inspired by true events, Lies That Blind is a story featuring historical character Francis Light (1740-1794) who, in an effort to defy his mortality, was seemingly willing to put the lives and livelihoods of a thousand souls on Penang at risk.


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E.S. (Liz) Alexander

Fun Facts
(Stuff you may or may not already know!)

I was born in St. Andrews, Scotland, home of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, reputed to be one of the oldest in the world (established 1754). However, the only time I ever picked up a golf club and tried my hand at the game, I had to agree with the popular saying that golf ruins a good walk.

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I was born by Caesarean section and my mother had to be rushed to a large hospital, which happened to be in the nearby town of St. Andrews. We moved from Scotland when I was two years old. Ironically, it wasn’t until 2018 – at the age of 64 – that I visited the place of my birth for the first time since that maternity ward experience.

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I’m an inveterate ex-pat, having lived for varying periods of time in Paris, France (six months); California and Texas in the United States (eighteen years); and have been residing on the island of Penang in Malaysia for the past four years.

Balcony View

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The idea for writing my first non-fiction book (I’ve written or co-authored over twenty since 1988), How You Can Win Competitions, sprang from a hobby I’d picked up, at which I found I was rather successful: ‘comping’. At a time when Apple’s neXT Cube home computer had just been launched, costing the equivalent of almost $14,000 today, I pecked out the manuscript on my electric typewriter, sent in the whole thing to Javelin Books in London (an imprint of Cassell). Within a few weeks, I’d received a contract and a nice little advance. Almost a quarter of a century later, as my debut novel, Lies That Blind, is published, I’ll admit I miss those days when publishing houses were easier to reach, they responded promptly, and having a social media presence wasn’t a consideration.

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Early in my broadcasting career, I was an occasional contributor to the BBC’s TV show, Good Morning…with Anne and Nick. The first time on set, I was on the couch seated next to the actress, Joan Collins. Before the cameras rolled, she pulled out a compact from her purse to check her make-up. Extremely nervous, I asked if I might borrow it for a moment. She gave me a look that was pure Alexis Colby/Carrington (Dynasty – remember that?) – as if I had the nerve to even speak to someone as famous as she! 


E.S. Alexander

E.S. Alexander was born in St. Andrews, Scotland in 1954, although her family moved to England a few years later. Her earliest memories include producing a newspaper with the John Bull printing set she was given one Christmas. She wrote and directed her first play, Osiris, at age 16, performed to an audience of parents, teachers, and pupils by the Lower Fifth Drama Society at her school in Bolton, Lancashire. Early on in her writing career, Liz wrote several short stories featuring ‘The Dover Street Sleuth’, Dixon Hawke for a D.C. Thomson newspaper in Scotland. Several of her (undoubtedly cringe-worthy) teenage poems were published in An Anthology of Verse.

Liz combined several decades as a freelance journalist writing for UK magazines and newspapers ranging from British Airway’s Business Life and the Daily Mail, to Marie Claire and Supply Chain Management magazine, with a brief stint as a presenter/reporter for various radio stations and television channels, including the BBC. In 2001 she moved to the United States where she earned her master’s degree and Ph.D. in educational psychology from The University of Texas at Austin.

She has written and co-authored seventeen internationally published, award-winning non-fiction books that have been translated into more than twenty languages.

In 2017, Liz relocated to Malaysia. She lives in Tanjung Bungah, Pulau Pinang where she was inspired to embark on one of the few forms of writing left for her to tackle: the novel.

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