Interview of Author Anne Allen

To help me welcome Anne to the laboratory, I decided to give her a theme song 😉

Sorry, if it’s not showing up in the post… I’m sick of trying to figure out how it worked before.

Iphoto for email

Why don’t we start by telling the folks a little about you?

I live in Devon, by my beloved sea. I have three grown-up children and my daughter and two grandchildren live nearby. I was born in Rugby, to an English mother and Welsh father. As a result I spent many summers with my Welsh grandparents in Anglesey and learnt to love the sea.  My restless spirit has meant a number of moves which included Spain for a couple of years. The longest stay was in Guernsey for nearly fourteen years after falling in love with the island and the people. I contrived to leave one son behind to ensure a valid reason for frequent returns. My other son lives in London which is great for city breaks.

By profession I’m a psychotherapist but have long had creative ‘itches’, learning to mosaic, paint furniture, interior design and sculpt. At the back of my mind the itch to write was always present but seemed too time-consuming for a single mum with a need to earn a living. Now the nest is empty there’s more time to write and a second novel is gestating, but novels take a lot longer than children to be born!

When and why did you start writing?

 Friends had for years told me that I should write a book. I think this was more to do with the fact that my life could not be described as boring! I did, in fact, start to write my life story but somehow just couldn’t get into it. I may have another go one day when I no longer have to protect the guilty.

Ironically, my first stab at ‘real’ writing was an entry into a UK national competition run by Prima magazine a few years ago. They wanted a 500 word true-life story describing a life-changing event. My mother pushed me into entering, thinking a fiction piece was needed and thought it would encourage me to get on with my novel. From being a reluctant entrant I emerged as the winner with a £500 prize. I was began to realise that I could write and began my journey as a novelist.

Who is your favorite author and why?

That’s so difficult to answer! I’ve enjoyed so many books over the years and my taste has changed as I’ve ‘matured’. These days I try to read all the books written by Robert Goddard, an English writer of suspense/thrillers. I love the intricate plots and rarely guess the ending.

Do you feel that Robert Goddard inspired your writing? Do you feel that your writing is modeled after him?

Only to a small extent. There’s no way my writing could compare with his, but it gave me the idea to write more than a romance story. His books rarely include a love story and quite often the protagonist (always a man) loses the lady he loves. I prefer the Happy Ever After ending. I’ve been compared by some readers to Maeve Binchy, another writer I adored.

What do you hope to accomplish with your writing?

Two things – to entertain my readers and to keep myself creatively fulfilled. I’ve had many creative ‘itches’ over the years and only came to writing about seven years ago. I instantly fell in love with the idea of making up stories and making my characters do what I wanted when no-one in my real world did! It’s a kind of power play but in a good way. A writer gets totally absorbed in their writing and characters and I can only compare it to having babies and seeing them mature and become independent. I’ve had some great feedback from readers so I must be doing something right with my ‘children’

Traditional or self publishing and why?

I tried for years to get an agent interested in my book and although a couple were encouraging, no-one took me on. At the time traditional publishing seemed the only way to go. Then, a few years ago self-publishing became the thing, respectable and relatively easy to do. I chose a company, Matador, to publish Dangerous Waters for me and I’m very pleased with the result. They helped with PR and distribution which I think is paramount if you have a paperback version, as I do. My book’s also available in all ebook formats but the paperback is outselling the ebook.

Tell us about your most recent book and why we should love or hate your characters.

Dangerous Waters is a romantic mystery set on the island of Guernsey near the coast of France. The main story concerns Jeanne, a young woman who left Guernsey at 16 after a family tragedy. She now has to return after her grandmother’s death having inherited her cottage. Jeanne doesn’t plan to stay any longer than it would take to sell the cottage but events conspire to keep her on the island. She discovers that the cottage holds a secret going back to the German Occupation and is also drawn to find out what really happened when her family died. As she unearths that truth her life is endangered as there’s someone on the island who doesn’t want it known. . . .

Ghosts continue to haunt her but over time the island works its magic, encouraging her to live and love again . . . .

I think Jeanne is very loveable as we can all relate to her real problems of love and loss. She starts off being emotionally drained after the end of a long-term relationship and the loss of her grandmother but picks herself up and ends up much stronger and with renewed purpose. There’re a couple of men interested in her and one of them is easy for the reader to love. In fact, readers have told me that they fell in love with him! There’s only one character who could be hated but they get their comeuppance – naturally!

If your book had a soundtrack, what are the first 5 songs you would include?

Sailing by Rod Stewart

Sand in my shoes by Dido

This Land is Mine by Dido

A Message by Coldplay

Crests of Waves by Coldplay

N.B The story is set in 2005 so chose time appropriate songs

Aside from writing or reading, what is your favorite pastime?

I love walking on the beach, only ten minutes away. If I have to be indoors, and with our British climate that’s most of the timeJ, I love watching dramas and films or seeing my friends.

What is the one thing you want to do, or the one place you want to go, that you would put at #1 on your bucket list?

Pompeii. I’ve just been watching a TV programme about it and would really love to see it first-hand

Finally, what else would you like readers to know?

I’m writing my second novel, Finding Mother, which is also set primarily in the Channel Islands. The story follows Nicole who, as her marriage hits the rocks, decides to trace her natural mother. She has a strong desire to find herself and her roots in an effort to better understand herself. Nicole not only finds her mother but her grandmother and discovers that both women have been keeping secrets for years. Her grandmother’s story goes back to the evacuation of Guernsey during WWII.

P.S. Dangerous Waters has just won the Silver Award for Adult Fiction from TheWishingShelfBookAward for indie writers. Am so thrilled

Thank you so much for being my guest! I was honored.

~Genevieve~

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