Interview with Alex Pearl

Author of A Brand to Die For

Back in the distant mists of time, Alex spent three years at art college in Maidstone; a college that David Hockney once taught at, and later described in a piece for The Sunday Times as the 'most miserable' episode of his life. Here, Alex was responsible for producing - among other things - the college's first theatrical production in which the lead character accidentally caught fire. Following college, he found employment in the advertising industry as a copywriter. He has turned to writing fiction in the twilight years of his writing career.

His novella, 'Sleeping with the Blackbirds' - a black, comic urban fantasy, was initially written for his children in 2011 and published by PenPress. It was longlisted by the Millennium Book Awards 2018 and selected by the Indie Author Project in 2019 for distribution to public libraries across the US and Canada.

In 2014 his short story, 'Scared to Death' - the fictionalised account of the first British serviceman to be executed for cowardice during the First World War, was published in an anthology ('The Clock Struck War') by Mardibooks along with 22 other short stories to mark the centenary of the Great War.

Alex's psychological thriller, 'The Chair Man' set in London following the terrorist attack in 2005 was published as an e-book by Fizgig Press in 2019 and as a paperback in 2020. It is his first full-length novel, and was a Finalist in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards 2021.

His comic murder mystery, 'A Brand to Die For' is set in the world of advertising in 1983, and is only the second murder mystery ever set in London's adland. The first being 'Murder Must Advertise' by Dorothy L Sayers back in 1933.

Alex's claim to fame is that he is quite possibly the only person on this planet to have been inadvertently locked in a record shop on Christmas Eve.

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Quick description of the book for a new reader - what should they expect?
  • A Brand to Die For is a comic murder mystery set in the London advertising world of 1983. The last murder mystery set in the advertising industry was written back in 1933 by Dorothy L. Sayers. Readers can expect a compelling storyline suffused with amusing dialogue and scenes of a comic nature: an entertaining page-turner.
What was your inspiration for this book?
  • The inspiration for the book was over 30 years in the advertising world as a copywriter. The 80s was undoubtedly a good time to have been in the industry as a creative. It was the golden Age of British creativity.
Which authors do you admire? How have they influenced your writing style?
  • There are too many authors to mention. But for this book, A Brand to Die For, I think I am paying homage to one of my comic writing heroes Tom Sharpe, and some people have picked up on that.
Can you tell us a little about the locations in your book?
  • The location for the first half of the book is primarily Soho in 1983. It's where I worked at that time. The second half of the book moves back and forth from Soho to Campania, Southern Italy.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
  • Enjoy your writing. And be yourself.
Could you talk a little about your writing process?
  • I'm a planner, not a panster. Planning can take me longer than the writing. Though this wasn't the case with my most recent book 'A Brand to Die For', which I planned with my brother's assistance. Perhaps his input speeded up the process.
Which character has had the greatest impact on readers?
  • I suspect our two protagonists Angus Lovejoy and Brian Finkle. They are quick-witted and funny.
If the book were to be adapted for TV or film, who would you see in the lead role? Who did you have in your mind’s eye ?
  • Good question. I have just finished the screenplay. I see Tom Felton as Angus |Lovejoy and Daniel Radcliffe as Brian Finkle.
How have readers responded ?
  • Readers have so far enjoyed it. I have eight reviews on Amazon and they all give the book five stars.
Where next? What are you working on now?
  • I am looking at the screenplay and a possible sequel.
Authors – click here to learn about Profile



It’s 1983. Margaret Thatcher has been waging war on the Argentinians in the Falkland Islands. The miners are about to wage war on Margaret Thatcher. And Angus Lovejoy, once sent down from Charterhouse for shagging the Chancellor's daughter in the cricket pavilion, has now landed a job as a copywriter at London adland’s creative hot shop Gordon Deedes Rutter where he is teamed up with art director Brian Finkle whose neurotic Jewish parents are the bane of his life. The two are an unlikely duo, but their mischievous and sardonic take on the world makes them a brilliant creative team. Everything goes swimmingly until a bizarre and mysterious murder rocks the world of Gordon Deedes Rutter and ripples out into the national media.

While the dearth of evidence leaves the police baffled, Lovejoy and Finkle take it upon themselves to apply their creative brains to solve the mystery, and in so doing, inadvertently get themselves into particularly deep water.