Thursday, 21 February 2013

Interview with Anne Allen and your chance to win a copy of Dangerous Waters

Delighted today to be joined by fab author Anne Allen who wrote Dangerous Waters which I reviewed towards the end of last year.  (That review can be found by clicking here.)

Find out more about Anne Allen at her website
You can follow Anne on Twitter

Buy Dangerous Waters by clicking here

You can also view the trailer for Dangerous Waters by clicking here. 

Anne has also very kindly offered a prize of a paperback copy of Dangerous Waters (this will be in the form of an ebook or paperback if you are in the UK and ebook only for international entrants) and all you have to do is comment on this post and tell me what is the name of the main character in the book?

Hi Anne, thanks so much for joining me here today.  Hope you don't mind me being nosy and peeking around in your life!  Lots of questions for you so here I go!

When did you decide to write a book?
About seven years ago when I finally had the time and space to write. I’d always had an ‘itch’ at the back of mind to write but life always got in the way. I had just finished renovating an old house and needed something to get my teeth into that was creative. A big boost to my writing came when I won a non-fiction writing competition in ‘Prima’ magazine. The ideas for my book Dangerous Waters revolved around a young woman with a tragic past, an old house with a secret and the setting of Guernsey. Although now back in England, I had lived happily in Guernsey for many years and wanted to show how much I loved it.

How do you think that your skills you have acquired in your career as a psychotherapist has helped your writing?
I feel that I have learnt an awful lot about the human psyche and the different ways that people react to life’s tragedies and problems. Although my characters are entirely fictitious, I’ve imbued them with the strengths and weaknesses of the real people I’ve observed over many years. I was also able to draw on my experience as a hypnotherapist to deal with the issue of traumatic amnesia which is a central theme of Dangerous Waters.

So you had an idea for a book. Where did you go from there?
I wrote a rough plan covering the parallel stories of Jeanne and her grandmother and then just started to write – seat of the pants approach really. As a result I wrote far too much and wandered off the point at times, which I understand is a common failing of first-time writers. The story had taken on a life of its own which was good in some ways but not others! I realised I needed help and had my work critiqued by a professional writer/tutor and received helpful feedback. This resulted in my cutting out 15,000 words and re-writing whole chunks. Over the next few years I continued to tweak the book until I felt it was of a publishable standard. I learnt so much from the editing process that I’m hopeful it will mean less re-writes of my current WIP J

Where is your favourite place to write?
I prefer to write in longhand first which, in theory, means I can write anywhere. In practice I need a peaceful, calm environment so cafés and public transport are a definite no-no! I’ve never understood how J K Rowling wrote such great books in a busy café . . . If the weather is fine I’ll happily write outside in my little courtyard and if not, at my dining table or desk. The drawback of writing at my desk is the temptation to check my emails etc on the PC. But it’s great for research and no writer can survive without the internet these days.

Jeanne in Dangerous Waters made a choice when she was faced with a cottage to either do up and live in or do up and sell. What decision would you have made?
Oh, definitely do up and live in! In fact, I had renovated a cottage on Guernsey with my then partner and it was situated in the same area as Jeanne’s. The cottages were not the same physically but we carried out similar works so I was well versed in the mechanics of a renovation. By the way, the German bunker which features in Dangerous Waters actually exists in the garden of what was my home. We renovated it and my sons had an illicit party in it while we were away for a weekend!

Cooking is featured in Dangerous Waters. Is cooking something you like to spend time doing?
To be honest not as much these days. I used to enjoy cooking for my family but they’ve flown the nest and cooking for one isn’t as rewarding. While I lived in Guernsey I was at my most adventurous where cooking is concerned and enjoyed trying out new recipes. My signature dish for family meals now is roast lamb – tasty but not exciting J

What genre of books do you like to read and who are your favourite authors?
I have eclectic taste but particularly enjoy mysteries and thrillers. I like to be kept guessing as to how the book will end and only want happy endings if there’s a love story involved. Definitely a romantic at heart! Historical novels are also high on my list and I can’t wait to read Hilary Mantel’s ‘Bring Up the Bodies’. Other favourite authors are Barbara Erskine, Robert Goddard and Mary Higgins Clark.

Who inspires you to write?
There’s no-one in particular; I’ve always enjoyed writing as a creative ‘process’ but it’s only in the last few years that I’ve set out to write ‘properly’. I think reading chick-lit such as that written so well by Katie Fforde, encouraged me to have a go myself. Although my own genre is not quite chick-lit it is aimed at women readers. I’ve also read most of the books by Maeve Binchy and Mary Wesley and found them very inspiring.

If you knew that an author had written a book but wasn't using the modern methods of promoting a book via social media, what advice would you give them?
To think seriously about including social media in their promotional activities. It’s a way of connecting to, potentially, thousands of people who could help spread the word about their book worldwide. Not only that but the authors you connect with are happy to help with advice and suggestions, quoting their own experience with book promotion. It’s a no-brainer J

What book are you reading right now?
‘The Expats’ a thriller by Chris Pavone. He’s a new author, having spent many years as an editor, and so far I’m really enjoying it. Can I just mention the book I’ve just finished? ‘Thursdays in the park’ by Hilary Boyd. This was her first novel and covers love and passion in the ‘mature’ generation to which I belong. A lovely, feel-good read.

What's next for you? Are you planning to write anything else?
I’ve been writing my second novel, Finding Mother, on and off for a while now. Life got in the way, as usual, but I’m now back on track. It’s the story of a young woman, Nicole, who decides to trace her natural mother after her marriage hits a crisis. She feels that tracing her roots will help her to understand herself better. The novel also features the stories of her natural mother and grandmother, who have both kept secrets for many years.  The setting is predominantly Guernsey but there are excursions to Spain, Jersey and both contemporary and wartime England.  I’m hoping to see Finding Mother published this year.

Thanks so much Anne for joining me today.  Please do come back and see me again when Finding Mother is  published.  I'd love you to come back and tell us all about it.   


Angela Reed said...

The main character of "Dangerous Waters" is Jeanne Le Page.
Thanks for sharing the interview.

Anne Allen said...

Hi Kim, would just like to thank you for allowing me to be interviewed on your lovely blog! It was great fun and I look forward to sending the winner a copy of my book.
Anne :)