In Exile
by Alexandra Turney
Alexandra Turney grew up in London and studied English Language and Literature at the University of Oxford. She lives in Rome, where she works as an English teacher and freelance writer. Her specialities include helping Italians to understand the present perfect and writing about alternative tourist attractions in Rome. Almost all of her writing, both fictional and non-fictional, is related to Italy in some way, and has appeared in the Huffington Post, Go Nomad, L’Italo-Americano, Panoram Italia and Urban Travel Blog.
While she was at university , Alexandra  told people that her life plan was “move to Rome, become a novelist”, and that’s what she has done. She was inspired by her love of Romantic poetry (Keats and Shelley both lived briefly in Rome and are buried there). Alexandra says she would still be a writer if she lived somewhere else, but Rome inspires her, and is the setting for In Exile.

Dionysus, god of wine, is reborn in modern Rome and creates a new teenage cult.

Dionysus is re-born in a city which is never named, but which can only be Rome. He doesn’t understand how or why he’s there again – a pagan god in a city where he has no believers.

Weak and disorientated, he’s sleeping rough when he meets fifteen year old Grace; a chance encounter in the streets of the Jewish Ghetto leads to the beginnings of an unconventional relationship. It seems that the god needs Grace more than she needs him, but along with her best friends, Caroline and Sara, she overcomes scepticism and fear to become his worshipper.

Alexandra approached around 70 agents, who all said no. They were mostly generic rejections, but a couple said that the book was good but that they had no idea how to sell it. Alexandra's father knew someone who had been published by Unbound and suggested she try. They were the first and only publisher she approached, and they said yes.

"Unbound publishes books through crowdfunding –151 friends, family members and strangers pledged to buy my book in advance in order to cover the initial costs of printing, editing, cover design etc."

In Exile was published by Unbound as a one off publication on 24 January.

"Unbound thought it was an original concept, and that I would be able to get enough support via crowdfunding. Although I didn’t know how it would work at the beginning, I was keen to do everything possible to make my dream a reality, and they understood that I was very enthusiastic and willing to spend a lot of time and energy on the promotion." 

IN EXILE can be purchased here.
Extract from the book

A white pyramid. When he opened his eyes he could see nothing but
bright stone, splitting the sky in two. For a while he lay in the grass,
watching it through half-closed lids. The world was too bright, too
If he closed his eyes, he could almost pretend that he wasn’t there,
but his breaths betrayed him. He was alive. There was no smoke this
time, no hand coming to grab him from the flames, but he was alive.
When the pain of his headache had softened a little, he tried to sit
up so he could look around. Behind him, the grass was scattered with
white tombstones. If he crawled towards them, he could reach the
shade of the umbrella pines. Despite the early hour it was already hot.
His naked skin was a deep gold, and he was in no danger of burning,
yet the intensity of the sunlight was too much for him. He dragged
himself into the shade, flinching at the sensation of the rough grass on
his skin. He couldn’t bear to touch anything. He had been away too
Later it would dawn on him how unfair it was, how desperately
unfair that he should be awake again for no reason. The others were
long dead, yet here he was again. Why him? Why now? Why here? Wherever here was…


"Non-writers think that writers should only write when we're inspired."

"Non-writers often think that writers should only write when we’re inspired. Of course those flashes of inspiration are wonderful, and you’ve got to make the most of them, but if I only wrote when I was feeling “inspired”, I would never finish a book! I think some of the best, most useful advice is to make writing a discipline, a routine. It’s less romantic, but that’s how it works. I think Stephen King’s idea of writing “one word at a time” is helpful too. It’s just a question of carrying on, one word at a time, whether or not you feel like it."