About Ali Mercer

author Ali Mercer at home in Abingdon
My novel His Secret Family was a #1 UK Kindle and Bookstat ebook chart bestseller and was also a #1 bestseller in Amazon UK’s most-sold fiction chart. Here’s The Bookseller’s write-up: Digital Bestseller Lists – Secret Family is a winning formula.

I write emotional family dramas about secrets, mysteries and lies. I’m published by Bookouture and my novels are available in audio and print as well as in a range of ebook formats. My Mother’s Choice is out now and will be followed by a further novel in spring 2021. His Secret Family was published in September 2019 and my previous novel, Lost Daughter, was published in May 2019.

You can order my books My Mother’s Choice, His Secret Family and Lost Daughter using the links on my homepage.

Here’s a selection of blog reviews of Lost Daughter and here’s where you can check out reviews of His Secret Family.

You can read more about my books in this blog post about my first book deal with Bookouture, and here’s a blog post from Bookouture about My Mother’s Choice and my next book.

reviews of Lost Daughter

I live in Oxfordshire with my husband, the poet Ian Pindar, and our two children. Our son was diagnosed with autism in 2011, about a month after I landed my first book deal. You can read more about the diagnosis in this blog post about how we found out about his autism.

Here’s an interview with Esther Lafferty published in Abingdon Town magazine to coincide with Lost Daughter coming out.

Here’s a bit more about me in Female First (including the story of me fainting in the sex education lecture at school – which I drew on for an incident in Lost Daughter.)

I’m represented by Judith Murdoch. I’m a member of the Society of Authors and Writers in Oxford.

About My Mother’s Choice

A notebook of secrets will reveal a lifetime of lies…

Nobody talks about my mother. Absolutely nobody. I have no idea what she was like. I’d always thought they kept quiet about her because they were sad. But what if it was because they were guilty?

I watch them at the school gates, all the mothers with their daughters. I see the hugs and all those thoughtful little adjustments to scarves and ponytails. How their love seems to overflow, they have so much of it to give.

And then I walk home to my aunt’s cold house, where there are a hundred rules for me to follow and only a single photograph of my mother to look at.

She is never spoken about in this house. They tell me that it will be easier if I don’t think about her.

It is strange though, isn’t it? That I know nothing about my own mother?

But they don’t know about the diary I’ve found up in the loft. Maybe they even forgot it was there. It doesn’t matter anymore if they won’t tell me anything. Because within these pages is what I’ve waited fourteen years to find out. And maybe some things I wish I could forget.

All I wanted was to bring our family closer together, but could what I find tear us apart instead?

About His Secret Family

You love him. But can you trust him?

It’s a beautiful day for a wedding. White roses scent the air and the summer sunlight streams in. A spoon chimes against a champagne flute and the room falls silent. And there he is – my husband – getting to his feet to propose a toast. He’s still handsome. His new wife is next to him, gazing upwards, oblivious.

I’m not supposed to be here. All these years in the same town and I had no idea until I saw his name on the seating plan. He lived with me, once. Loved me. Small-town memories are long, but the people in this room don’t want to remember.

They say the healing is in letting go, but after what he did, he needs to know we haven’t gone away just because he’s shut his eyes.

So I take Daisy by the hand and step forward from the shadows. He notices us and his eyes widen. The champagne glass falls from his hand and smashes. Then he sags forward, making a terrible sound – a sort of strangled scream…

About Lost Daughter

You’ve lost everything you’ve ever loved, and it’s all your fault… isn’t it?

Rachel’s life isn’t perfect, but she’s so happy. Her husband Mitch has stuck by her and he’s an amazing dad. Her daughter Becca makes her heart explode with love.

And then, in the blink of an eye, there’s no longer a place for Rachel in her own family. Her heart has been broken: her right to see her beloved daughter has been taken away.

Life goes on in Rachel’s home – family dinners, missing socks and evening baths – but she’s shut out from it. Becca may be tucked up in bed in Rose Cottage, but she is as lost to Rachel as if she had been snatched from under her nose.

Rachel can never forgive herself for what happened that day, and the part she played in it. But she’s starting to realise that things aren’t how she thought they were, and her husband Mitch isn’t who she thought he was either. The truths she has been punishing herself for are built on sand. Has she lost sweet Becca forever, or could finding out what really happened finally bring her back?

A Dutch edition of Lost Daughter, Niet Zonder Jou, will be published by Boekerij in February 2021.

My writing debut

My debut novel, Stop the Clock, was published by Black Swan in August 2012. My second novel, After I Left You, also published by Black Swan, came out in ebook in January 2014 and was published in paperback in July 2014.

After I Left You Abingdon Herald
about After I Left You in the Abingdon Herald

Here’s an Abingdon Herald article about the writing of After I Left You.

After I Left You is published in Germany by Diana Verlag. The title of the German edition is Und dann, eines Tages.

The back story

I decided I wanted to be a writer pretty much as soon as I learned the word (and I am still finding out what it means – lifelong process!) I wrote my first novel when I was at primary school.

I went on to study English at University College, Oxford, and, like the characters in Stop the Clock, I did a diploma in journalism at Cardiff University. I worked as a reporter at The Stage, where I admired a pre-Hollywood Cillian Murphy and interviewed several Spice Girls tribute bands. I went on to be a features writer at the WI magazine, where I witnessed the birth of the nude calendar phenomenon, and then spent several years at Nursery World, writing about childcare and education.

All brilliant experience for an aspiring novelist interested in what women’s lives are like now, and their families, friendships and experiences at work. I started writing fiction again in my late 20s, and got down to it in earnest after I’d had my first baby and moved to Oxfordshire.

About After I Left You

cover of After I Left You
Anna has not been back to Oxford since her last summer at university, seventeen years ago. She tries not to think about her time there, or the tightly knit group of friends she once thought would be hers forever. She has almost forgotten the fierce sting of betrayal, the heartache, the secret she carries around with her, the last night she spent with them all.

Then a chance meeting on a rainy day in London brings her past tumbling back into her present, and Anna is faced with remembering the events of that summer and the people she left behind. As Anna realises that the events of their past have shaped the people they’ve all become, hope begins to blossom for what the future could hold…

Responses to After I Left You

Und dann, eines Tages, the German edition of After I Left You
Cover © t. mutzenbach design, shutterstock

“A lovely absorbing read, so evocative of student life. Alison Mercer really captures the passion of falling in love for the first time.” (Alice Peterson, author of Monday to Friday Man)

“Alison Mercer has expertly spun an engrossing story about love, secrets and second chances.” (Tamar Cohen, author of The Mistress’s Revenge)

“A tender and romantic story of love and friendship, elegant and engrossing, beautifully told” (Louise Douglas, author of The Secrets Between Us)

“Beautifully written and full of intelligent, emotional and interesting characters . . . will stay with you long after you finish the final captivating chapter” (Daily Mail)

Daily Mail review of After I Left You in full

“A wonderfully romantic read that’ll have you hooked from the offset” (OK!)

“A deeply moving tale of facing the past so you can live in the present” (Star)

About Stop the Clock

The cover of Stop the Clock
Meet Lucy, Tina and Natalie, twenty-something friends who are all negotiating the risky business of being grown-up.

Lucy knows exactly what she wants: her marriage to be a success, her children to be perfect, and to be the ultimate home-maker.

Tina knows what she wants too: her journalism career to take off and to see her name as a byline in a national newspaper… and the illicit affair she’s started leaves her free enough to follow her dreams.

Natalie just wants to be happy – happy with the boyfriend she’s dated since college, happy with the job she’s drifted into, happy with a life she thinks is enough – but is it really?

Ten years later, all three women have the lives they thought they wanted. But somehow, reality isn’t quite as neat and clean-cut as their dreams…

Responses to Stop the Clock

Alison Mercer
“Effortlessly readable and sharply realistic, this is grown-up chick-lit at its very best.” (Closer)

“Funny and moving, this is a fab debut from Alison Mercer.” (new!)

“Mercer has a satirical eye which she puts to good effect in describing such cornerstones of middle-class life as private antenatal classes and bitchy newspaper columnists. A funny, promising debut.” (Daily Mail)

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the end of my very first novel!