Friday, August 17, 2012

"I'm not good in the mornings - more of an owl" - #Interview with @AnneAllen21


Tell us about you.
I live in Devon, by my beloved sea. I have three 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 living in Spain for a couple of years. The longest stay was in Guernsey for nearly fourteen years after I fell in love with the island and the people. I contrived to leave one son behind to ensure a valid reason for frequent returns!

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!

Tell us about your book.
It's about love and loss with parallels drawn between the lives of two women; the young woman Jeanne Le Page and her late grandmother, whose story has echoes of the Occupation. Jeanne had fled Guernsey 15 years ago, traumatised by a family tragedy which she survived but suffering traumatic amnesia. She now has to return after the death of her grandmother who's bequeathed Jeanne her old cottage. The cottage holds a secret which she slowly unearths and at the same time she begins to learn the truth of what had happened to her family. As her memory slowly returns Jeanne's life is in danger from an unexpected source.

At the beginning of the novel Jeanne is unhappy after the end of a long-term relationship but the island works its magic, encouraging her to live and love again . . .

What inspired you to write this particular story?
I had spent many happy years in Guernsey but had returned reluctantly to England. A few years later I read a novel about a small French island which put me in mind of Guernsey and the germ of a story took root. I  have a fascination with old houses holding onto secrets and, together with a tragic past for my protagonist Jeanne, my story grew into the novel Dangerous Waters.

What is your current project?
Finding Mother, which follows a young woman's search for her natural mother. Nicole's marriage is on the rocks and she wants to understand how she became the person she is. Along the way she meets her mother and grandmother, who both have secrets they've never shared. All three women learn to adjust to the revelations before their lives can go forward. The story is set primarily in Guernsey but has excursions to England, Jersey and Spain.

Are you a panster or a plotter?
A bit of both! I start out with a general idea, build up the characters and a chapter by chapter breakdown of the story but along the way the writing may take off in a slightly different direction!

Tell us 5 random things about you the person, not the author
1. : I'm not good in the mornings - more of an owl
2. : I'm a psychotherapist by profession
3. : I love history and enjoy museums and touring historic houses
4. : I've always thought I should have been born in a mediterranean country
5. : I made a bronze resin sculpture of my 2 sons - not great but for me an achievement!

Where to connect online
Twitter : @AnneAllen21

What format does your book(s) come in?
Paperback, kindle, ibook, kobo

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