Alicia Wanstall-Burke released her second novel last year.
Alicia Wanstall-Burke released her second novel last year.

MEET THE LOCALS: She turned her dream into reality

WELCOME to our weekly Q&A, where we speak to local residents about the things that matter most to them. This week's resident is:

Name: Alicia Wanstall-Burke

Occupation: Author and Freelance Editor

Age: 33

Marital status: Divorced

Children: Hadrian, age 7

What is one thing you would like to change about the world?

I wish we could let go of fear. It's a base instinct that keeps us safe, but it's also our biggest flaw. We hate what we fear. The world would be a much kinder place if we could just reach beyond the edge of our fears.

What is your greatest accomplishment in life?

Writing and publishing my books and finishing something I started! Taking a dream and forging a reality, which is something I never thought I would actually do. But the books will always come second to my son, who is the greatest thing I have and ever will create.

If you were prime minister/ruler of the world what laws would you make?

A mandatory midweek day off, because who doesn't want to sleep in on a Wednesday?!

What is the best advice you have ever received?

Not quite advice, but a poem by Erin Hanson has kept me going through a lot of very dark days:

There is freedom waiting for you,

On the breezes of the sky,

And you ask, 'What if I fall?'

Oh but my darling,

What if you fly?

Alicia Wanstall-Burke with her son Hadrian.
Alicia Wanstall-Burke with her son Hadrian.

How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are? And why?

Well, sometimes I feel like I'm about 60 with all the aches and pains and broken body parts I have (my right hand and ankle are held together with pins, so I'm part bionic), but mentally I probably never got past being 30!

If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?

Writing would finally pay enough to live off. I could cover my bills, travel to do my research and focus my energy where my heart lies. Writing and publishing at the moment barely cover the costs of book production, so happiness dollars would be lovely.

What is your best childhood memory? What makes it so special?

Simple things, really. I'm very attached to a memory of holding my dad's hand, walking through San Francisco. And another of my mum telling me it was too hot to get out of the car when we drove across the Nullarbor, then she came back with ice creams. Best day ever!

What is the best sound in the world to you?

I can't choose one!

Rain. The sound of my son's laugh. The crackle of a book's spine when you open it for the first time. The comfortable silence of people enjoying a meal together.

Alicia Wanstall-Burke.
Alicia Wanstall-Burke.

If you could be transported back in time, where and when would you like to be?

I've always wanted to go back to Rome at the end of the Republic and the beginning of the Empire. Or England before the arrival of the Romans, when the world was still full of mystery, magic and old gods.

Who are the three people you most admire - dead or living?

Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus)- she literally invented the science Fiction genre at the age of 18.

Bilbo Baggins (he's fictional but I don't care) - completely terrified and out of his depth, but still brave, clever and resourceful enough to con a dragon and find the weak spot the leads to his downfall.

Mary Beard (Professor of Classics at Newham College) - probably one of the biggest influences on my love of Roman and ancient history.