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Tuesday, 13 April 2021



Special Guest - Alison Martin

The Pivot Questionnaire comprises 10 questions. I have seen it used on the television show Inside The Actor's Studio, presented by James Lipton. Apparently Proust was the original inspiration. The modern questions originated on a French TV show called Bouillon de Culture, hosted by Bernard Pivot. I have expanded the questions to 12, and left room at the end for encouraging words.

Alison Martin is an independent researcher and writer with an MA in Irish History from Queen’s University, Belfast (2014).  Her research and writing focuses mainly on modern Irish history, particularly the revolutionary period (1916-1923). She has had articles published in History Ireland, the Irish News, Saothar: Journal of the Irish Labour History Society and the Irish Story website.  Alison is also a contributor to Ireland’s Own magazine which regularly features her articles on lesser known historical figures.  Her article on Michael Collins and the British press was the main feature in the July/Aug 2020 issue of History Ireland.  She is also active on twitter

Twitter @a_martin33 profile

In July/August 2020, Alison's article on Michael Collins
and the British Press made the front cover of History Ireland


Q: What is your favourite word? 

A: Quidditch- a word that you’ll be familiar with if you’ve read the Harry Potter series.

Q: What is your least favourite word? 

A: I don’t think I really have one.  Though I probably use the words moreover or however a bit too much.

Q: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? 

A: I would say kindness and encouragement from others.  Fortunately when I was growing up, my family encouraged me with my education and then later on with writing which is a pursuit people can sometimes be a bit cynical about.  I have also been fortunate enough to have received support and encouragement from other friends and mentors along the way.  Sometimes a little encouragement can go a long way.

Q: What turns you off? 

A: Well, I think that people should respect the opinions of others.

Q: What is your favourite song? 

A: Sucker by the Jonas Brothers.

Q: What is your favourite film? 

A: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels starring Steve Martin and Michael Caine.

Q: What is your favourite curse word

A: I try not to!

Q: What sound or noise do you love? 

A: Laughter and the sounds of birds singing whilst walking through the park.

Q: What sound or noise do you hate? 

A: Maybe the sound of drilling outside especially when you are trying to concentrate.

Q: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? 

A: There are a few I would like to try.  Given my interest in history it might be nice to try working in a Museum.  I’d be especially interested in the educational outreach aspect.

Q: What profession would you not like to do? 

A: I’m sure that most jobs have both good and bad points so I think trying to get something that you are interested in is the key.  I don’t think I’d be keen on anything too focused on maths.

Q: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? 

A:  That’s a tough one!  Hopefully that I’d tried my best.

Q: Any words of encouragement for writers and writing?

A: In many ways I am still learning myself.  I think if I could give any advice it would be to try, try and try again.  Although it is sometimes difficult to accept at the beginning, rejection is part of the process so it is important not to get too discouraged.  There are often many factors at play including timing or just that the idea is not a good fit for that particular publication.  Ultimately, I think that persistence is important and it is also important to enjoy what you are doing. If writing is something you are really interested in then keep at it!  Also, don’t let criticism get you down too much.

Thank you for participating, Alison.

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