Sara Alexander attended Hampstead School, London, and went on to graduate from the University of Bristol, with a BA hons in Theatre, Film & TV. She followed on to complete her postgraduate diploma in acting from Drama Studio London. She has worked extensively in the theatre, film and television industries, including roles in much loved productions such as Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Doctor Who, and Franco Zeffirelli’s Sparrow. She is based in the London. Today she tells us a bit about herself as she releases her debut novel Under A Sardinian Sky.
My mother is from Sardinia. I spent all my childhood summers there. I fell in love with the neighbours, ran the streets with my cousins, played underwater. It was an idyllic setting for so many milestones. It’s my tribal land. The town Simius, in Under a Sardinian Sky, is based entirely on her home town of Ozieri.
I’m brilliant at finding distractions when I’m grappling with a chapter. These range from over-baking to over-sorting (sock drawers / files / kids’ room / mementos).
I love my bike. Once an abandoned mountain bike, it now pays homage to Carmen Miranda - think fake flowers and glitter. It brings spontaneous smiles to passers by. In an upside down world, a sprinkle of simple joy can’t be a bad thing. I spend a lot of time on these wheels when I’m writing. I love taking it through the heath not too far from our home, and having a dip in the pond there. The freezing invigoration is the closest call to the wild in North West London!
I joined a weekly writers workshop in New York City when our second son was four months old. I rewrote the first chapter 7 times. After the eighth (successful!) attempt, I understood the stamina required to finish the manuscript. After a year, with a completed story, the teacher, a literary agent called Jeff Ourvan, took me on as a client.
I have a Scandi / Nordic obsession. There’s a tiny Swedish bakery in Covent Garden, where I sneak into for my cardamom bun fix and to eavesdrop Swedish conversation…
I’m an actress and I often play Italian teenagers for voiceovers, or scatty sidekicks for theatre.
I love a bonfire at our allotment surrounded by friends and music. Add barbecued food, home made wine, home grown veggies and itinerant offspring high on company, the dark and an open fire and I’m happy.
My great grandfather was a Russian Jewish umbrella handle maker in London’s East End. It’s a seductive part of my city to me, even before it became Hipsterville. When relatives from abroad are over I jump at the chance to wander the Tower of London and stroll south of the river.
I’m a pianist and a very keen but clumsy beginner cellist. We have three pianos – two were donations - the smallest lives in our allotment shed. I teach a handful of kids. I learn a great deal from them. It’s brilliant watching them grow as musicians and discover the exhilaration of improvisation.
I love to hear about families’ ghosts. It sparks my imagination. I’m attracted to the riotous pomp of Mexico’s Day of the Dead and I’m a wannabe pagan. It counters having a Catholic mother and Jewish father; I was destined for good food, but I’ll swap the guilt for a dose of laid-back mysticism any day.
Under a Sardinian Sky by Sara Alexander, actress of Harry Potter and Doctor Who, is out 20th April (HQ £7.99)