Calmness of mum’s writing ‘rubs off’ on an autistic son

Alison Pindar, who writes under the pen name of Alison Mercer, with her new book

Alison and her son Tom

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Didcot and Wallingford. Call me on 01865 425425

MUM-OF-TWO Alison Pindar spends a lot of her time worrying about the behaviour of her autistic son Tom.

But the Abingdon parent, who works part-time for a publishing company in Wallingford, has still found time to complete her second novel.

Mrs Pindar’s pass-time has a beneficial effect on her son because she finds writing fiction therapeutic, and that calmness in the household then rubs off onto him.

She said: “Having the imaginative escape of writing helps me to deal with all the other stuff.

“The fictional world is under my control and it’s a safety valve.

“Tom is very sensitive to people around him getting anxious, so the calmer I can be the better.

“Two years ago he could answer yes or no to questions but did not have much descriptive language – he has improved.”

After I Left You has just been published by Transworld imprint Black Swan and is already winning glowing reviews.

The romance with a dark twist, partly set in Oxford, follows Mrs Pindar’s 2012 debut Stop The Clock and both novels are written under Mrs Pindar’s pen name, Alison Mercer.

The 41-year-old author lives in Lammas Close with husband Ian, 44, a poet, daughter Izzy, 10 and Tom, seven.

The graduate of University College, Oxford, said: “The latest book is dedicated to Ian because without his help I would not have had time to write it.

“Tom is at a mainstream primary school in Abingdon – St Nicolas – and is making progress so we are very hopeful for the future, but his condition does create some additional pressures.

“He can get frustrated or angry because he can’t express himself and finds certain situations difficult to deal with.

“A meltdown in the supermarket is a classic and other shoppers are looking round as if to say ‘why can’t you control your child’.

“We are hoping that his progress in a mainstream school will continue.”

Mrs Pindar said she managed to complete her latest novel by avoiding going out in the evening or watching TV.

The writer’s time as an English student at Oxford University helped her to formulate the plot for her latest tale.

After I Left You focuses on Anna revisiting her Oxford college 17 years after she graduates and she rekindles a romance with her old flame Victor.

The meeting brings back memories for Anna of how she was betrayed back in her student days.

Mrs Pindar said: “The novel draws on nostalgia and memories of when I was a student but it’s not autobiographical.

“It was fun to write about a time when no one had mobile phones and people pinned notes to each other’s doors. I had more than one boyfriend at university, including a big relationship which broke up, but this novel is purely fiction.”

The author said she was grateful to Mark Thornton, manager of Mostly Books in Stert Street, Abingdon, for hosting the launch of After I Left You earlier this month

 After I Left You is published by Black Swan, price £6.99.

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