After years as a children’s author, Marian recently published her first full-length novel for adults, Looking for Alex, published as an e-book by Carina UK.

'Looking for Alex is the kind of book you curl up with on a rainy Sunday. It’s a comforting read, a story of redemption, love lost and found again.' (Amazon reviewer)

She describes the book below:

‘The novel is set in Sheffield and London, in punk-era 70s and the present day. It tells the story of two childhood friends who did everything together, until the day that seventeen year old Alex disappeared.

Only Beth knew where she was, and then discovered the secrets she’d been keeping, but the unfolding events of that summer led to a severing of their friendship.

Years later a chance meeting leads Beth back to Alex, giving them the opportunity to resolve things between them, but once again Beth is presented with a dilemma – and a difficult choice to make.’

Looking for Alex by Marian Dillon
Marian Dillon

Marian, originally from Northampton, came to Sheffield to train as a teacher in the seventies. She taught for many years, both in primary and secondary schools, but always had an interest in writing. After a few false starts and rejections from publishers, she got her first children’s book published when she was in her early twenties. A very exciting moment! This was Wide Awake Billy, published by Hamish Hamilton.

After this success Marian was busy with work and family, and there was less time for writing. Her next books, this time for young adults with learning needs, were published between 2000 and 2006 by Hodder & Stoughton Educational - a collection of stories, non-fiction, and one short play, some of which are pictured below.

Wide Awake Billy by Marian Dillon
Whos Your Friend by Marian DillonLast Chance by Marian DillonMy Sister Kim by Marian DillonDear Kate by Marian Dillon

In 2009, with her family grown up, and having retrained to work in counselling, Marian decided to do an MA in Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University, something she had been thinking about for a few years. Her ambition had always been to write a full length novel, and this was a fantastic opportunity to develop and write the story that had been in her head for a long time, Looking for Alex. The book was written while on the MA and gained a Merit award. After a short revision process the book was ready to be offered to agents and publishers, and was soon snapped up by Carina UK, the digital imprint of Harlequin Books, in a two-book deal.

‘I’d always known of Harlequin as a leading publisher of romance,’ says Marian, ‘but Carina are trying to do something different, and are publishing a wide range of genres as e-books. Looking for Alex was exactly the sort of novel they were looking for.’

Already Looking for Alex has attracted five-star reviews. Marian is now at work on the second novel, due out later this year.

Among her favourite authors and literary influences are Sebastian Faulks, Maggie O’Farrell, Stan Barstow, Jon McGregor, as well as two famous Sheffield authors – Margaret Drabble and Lesley Glaister.

You can buy Looking for Alex from Amazon, Kobo and iBooks. Cover price is £4.99 but there are deals to be found! Here are some more quotes from reviewers:

Compelling, well-crafted, the characters brought to life in a thoughtful manner, oozing the 1970's punk era but managing to bridge the decades into 2013. She understands the teenager`s angst of that time and uncovers those hidden parts of everyday life that determine the direction we go in.

From the first page to the last this book had me hooked.

The intriguing and well-paced storyline flips between present day and the late 70s with each time handled very evocatively.

The twists in the tale kept me intrigued until the end.

Her writing appears deceptively simple but is all the more powerful for it, with not a word wasted.

The characters come alive in the script and are well drawn, believable and likeable as they come and go in this multi-layered drama.

Marian would be happy to visit local writing and book groups, for readings or talks.