Five on Friday with A.A. Chaudhuri @AAChaudhuri

Today I’m delighted to feature bestselling author A.A. Chaudhuri. In 2013 and 2014, writing as Alexandra Sage, she self-published two women’s fiction novels: Love & Limoncello and the sequel Love & Loss. Love & Limoncello has sold more than ten thousand copies to date and featured in the Amazon Kindle Bestsellers List in October 2014.

THE SCRIBE and THE ABDUCTION, published by LUME BOOKS in July and December 2019, are her first crime book series, plunging readers into London’s glamorous legal world and featuring series’ heroine, Maddy Kramer, fiction’s first female City lawyer amateur sleuth, who teams up with charismatic DCI Jake Carver to solve a gruesome series of murders and a puzzling abduction. Both books have hit the bestsellers lists in the UK, Australia and Canada, with bestseller tags in Australia and Canada.

Alex has also contributed an original short story THE ENCOUNTER to crime anthology GIVEN IN EVIDENCE published by LUME BOOKS in May 2020, has written many articles and short stories for The Crime Writers’ Association.

In February 2021, Alex signed a two-book contract for two standalone psychological thrillers with HERA BOOKS, the first to be published in summer 2021.

Alex is a former City lawyer. Born and raised in Portsmouth, Hampshire, she now lives in Surrey with her husband and two young sons, where she writes full time.

Once a highly ranked British junior tennis player, competing in the national championships and a member of the national squad, she went on to tour the women’s professional satellite circuit as a teenager and achieved a world ranking of 650.

After returning to full-time education, she gained a BA Honours 2:1 in History at University College London, and a commendation in both the Graduate Diploma in Law and Legal Practice Course at the London College of Law, before training as a solicitor at City firm Norton Rose and then practising as a commercial litigator at two other City firms, Kendall Freeman and Travers Smith.

She left law in 2008 to pursue her passion for writing and in 2010 passed the NCTJ fast-track newspaper journalism course, in respect of which she was awarded The Oxford University Press Public Affairs Award for the most outstanding public affairs central government paper.

Besides being an avid reader, she enjoys fitness, films, anything Italian and a good margarita!

Over to Alex:

Which five pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?

So, the five songs I’ve chosen aren’t necessarily my favourite songs, but they reflect important stages in my life and what I’ve learnt over the years. I would have included one about my children, as they are most precious to me, but I couldn’t find anything appropriate. Most of them seem to be about daughters, and I have two crazy boys!

A-ha: Take On Me – I was head-over-heels in love with Morten Harket as a teenager (I still am to a certain degree but don’t tell my husband that!). My bedroom wall was covered in his posters and I’ve seen A-ha live in concert three times. I remember being completely devastated when he got married on Valentines’ Day. Broke my heart! 💔 😭

Guns And Roses: Welcome to the Jungle – I played professional tennis on the WTA satellite and challenger circuit from the ages of 16-19, and later worked as lawyer in the City of London for seven years. Although completely different professions, they both require a thick skin and certain ruthlessness to survive. It got to the point where I wasn’t enjoying either. The City is an especially tough place to work, and I came across quite a few narcissistic, spiteful characters who made my life miserable and who I didn’t much want to be around. It wasn’t for me, but I’m grateful for the inspiration it gave me to write my books. Both experiences made me a stronger person, too.

Roxette: It Must Have Been Love – When I was 26, I got married to someone who I went to law school with. We were young and very much in love, but we didn’t live together and realised after two years that it wasn’t going to work long-term as we had different visions of the future. It was sad at the time but in the end worked out for the best for the both of us.

Survivor: Eye of the Tiger – I’ve had my share of struggles and disappointments in my life, and I guess because I’ve never been one to follow the crowd, it’s often made life tougher. Like tennis and law, the writing industry is a tough one to crack, but despite the rejections, I never gave up and now my hard work and persistence is paying off. If you have a passion in life, it’s so important to believe in yourself and follow your dream because life is too short not to.

The Rembrandts: I’ll Be There For You – Being an only child, I’ve really appreciated having good friends my whole life, even more so now I am older. At university and law school I shared a flat with five girls and we had the best time. OK, so there were the odd arguments, but for the most part we had an absolute blast and were there for each other through ups and downs. In the last five to ten years, I’ve made other solid female friendships and it feels like I’ve known these amazing women my entire life. They’ve been such a huge support in so many ways, and I feel so lucky to have them in my life. They’re like the sisters I always wanted but never had.

What five things (apart from family and friends) would you find it hard to live without.

Tea. I find it hard to function without starting my day with two mugs. When I was a lawyer, I would drink copious amounts of black coffee, but pregnancy hormones turned me into a tea addict and now I’m not so fussed about coffee.

Holidays abroad. I adore travelling. There are so many places in the world I still want to see and experience, and I would hate to miss out on that.

Exercise. I exercise every day, as much as for my mental well-being as my physical health. It’s kept me sane in lockdown.

Black-out curtains. I like total darkness when I sleep. I find it very hard to drift off with even a chink of light filtering through.

My glasses/contact lenses. Without them, I can’t see further than one foot in front of me!

Give five pieces of advice to your younger self?

Always stand up for yourself and never tolerate bullying.

Trust your instincts, they’re invariably right.

Live with someone before you marry them.

Money isn’t everything, follow your heart and do what you love doing best.

Don’t fry yourself in the sun, the tan isn’t worth it and you’ll regret it later.

Tell us five things that most people don’t know about you

Pat Cash ate some of my birthday cake when I was seventeen and we were training at the same Wimbledon tennis centre.

I’ve travelled all around the world as a teenager playing tennis, including six weeks in Mexico and five weeks in South America where I narrowly escaped being caught up in a bomb explosion in a shopping mall in Peru, having visited that mall a few hours before!

I’m scared of flying since having a terrifying experience in Africa over the Kalahari desert when travelling from Johannesburg to Botswana to play a tournament. We were in a ten- seater propeller plane and it kept dropping A LOT (!) while the cockpit door kept springing open. I thought I was going to die!

I can’t ride a bike because I was always too busy playing tennis as a child to learn. I felt very left out at Center Parcs last summer when my husband and children went off riding, but on the flip side it was a good excuse to use the spa 🤣

I was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid aged sixteen and take daily medication for it.

Tell us five things you’d still like to do or achieve.

Have to say, narrowing down to 5 for this question was hard! There are so many more things I’d like to do or achieve!

See my children safe, healthy, and settled into adult life.

See my books on all the supermarket shelves.

Have one of my books made into a TV series or film.

Visit as many of the capital cities of the world I still haven’t managed to get to.

Make it to Australia. It’s the only continent I haven’t been to, and despite my fear of flying I’d love to go.

Thanks so much for joining me today Alex, it was lovely discovering more about you. While putting this post together I had a quick Google of the lovely Morten to see what he’s up to now. It was a bit disconcerting to discover he’s now in his 60’s like me!! You also got to share your birthday cake with Pat Cash – I might just be a little bit envious! Your tennis career certainly gave you lots of memories and stories, even if some of them are quite hair-raising. Welcome to the tea club, you’ll find plenty of tea addicts here, one of the pitfalls of travelling though, very hard at times to get a decent cuppa. I really hope you get to achieve your dreams, hopefully travel will back on the agenda for us all in the not too distant future. Fingers crossed for those books appearing on supermarket shelves soon. Congratulations again on your new contract with Hera, a lovely positive start to the year.

Alex’s Books

The Scribe (A Kramer & Carver Thriller Book 1) Kindle Edition

The Scribe (Kramer & Carver Book 1)

Making it as a lawyer has always been a cutthroat business.

A killer is targeting former students of The Bloomsbury Academy of Law. The victims – all female – are gruesomely butchered according to a pattern corresponding with the legal syllabus. Even more disconcerting are riddles sent by the killer to investigating officer, Chief Inspector Jake Carver, offering clues as to who is next and where they will die.

Up-and-coming lawyer Madeline Kramer, a former classmate of a number of the slain, soon finds her life turned upside down by the savagery. And when she decides to help Carver track down the killer, she places herself in mortal danger. Can Maddy and Carver unscramble the complex riddles and save the lives of those destined to die?

The Abduction (A Kramer & Carver Thriller Book 2) Kindle Edition

The Abduction (Kramer & Carver 2)

Madeline Kramer has finally got her life back on track at top City law firm Sullivan, Blake, Monroe. But when two armed, masked men burst into a conference room one lunchtime, kidnapping a trainee and a partner, Maddy’s life is plunged into disarray once more—particularly when charismatic DCI Jake Carver, who caught a heartless killer when they last met and with whom Maddy shared a mutual chemistry, is called to the scene.

Things become more complicated when a disturbing video reveals two more trainees have been taken. What initially appears as a random kidnapping for mercenary gain soon evolves into something far more complex, the horrifying events of thirty years ago motivating the abductors and having colossal implications for those in the present…

Against a backdrop of sleaze, sex, lies and murder in The Abduction, Maddy and Carver must work together to unravel the truth, and ensure that no crimes—past or present—are left unpunished.

Given in Evidence: A Collection of Crime and Thriller Short Stories Kindle Edition

Given in Evidence : A Collection of Crime and Thriller Short Stories

10 ingenious and exhilarating short stories in one collection:

A murderous feud in a seemingly quiet country village…

A haunted hotel with one particularly difficult guest…

A hostage situation gone horribly wrong…

Featuring stories from acclaimed and bestselling authors, Given in Evidence is an anthology that showcases the best in contemporary crime and thriller writing.

You can follow Alex via her website, FacebookTwitter, Instagram and Linkedin


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