1. Tell me about yourself. What got you started in writing?
By profession I was a psychotherapist with little time for writing, bringing up three children single-handedly. So it was a bit late in the day when I did start. I was about to become a grandmother when my mother ‘pushed’ me into entering a writing competition. Bless her! She knew I’d started to write a novel and thought it would be a useful experience, assuming that it was a fiction short-story comp. Instead the national magazine wanted a true-life story in 500 words based on a significant life event. I still entered (my life had been anything but boring!) and won! It was quite a boost and spurred me on with my book which, Dangerous Waters, which turned out to be the first in an unplanned series, The Guernsey Novels. I’ve now published five to date and they are a mix of family drama, mystery and romance, set on the beautiful island of Guernsey in the English Channel.
2. How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?
A few years ago I retired from psychotherapy and can now spend as much time as I wish writing. I’m not a morning person so I tend to focus on mundane tasks before lunch and then settle to write in the afternoon and into the evening if the words are flowing.
3. How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or some other method of getting your words down?
I first started writing by hand and then typed the result into my laptop but this is long-winded and my hands suffered. Then I invested in a PC and it’s so much more comfortable to use! A lovely big screen to see what I’ve written and a big comfortable office chair set in my own study. When I’m away from home I’ll use the laptop, but it’s not the same. I’ll jot down notes and outlines in a pad before typing anything.
4. What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?
Planning the outline of the story and deciding on the characters and what parts they’ll play is my favourite part of writing. At that stage I don’t need to know how various objectives will be achieved, so there’s no pressure. My least favourite part of writing is more to do with the promotion and marketing aspects. I’d love to just be able to write and let others do everything else.
5. How did you come up with your book idea? How long did it take you to write your book?
With my first book I’d been inspired by reading books by Katie Fforde and Joanne Harris. One had written about an old house in need of restoration and holding a secret and the other had set their story on a small island off the coast of France which reminded me of Guernsey, where I’d spent many happy years. So I ended up combining both themes!
It took me about six months to write the first draft, but several years, on and off, to re-write after seeking professional guidance.
6. What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?
I’m fairly active on social media and will offer price promotions on the kindle version a couple of times a year. I’ve built up several retail customers who are happy to sell my paperbacks and I take part in radio and blog interviews to spread the word.
7. What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?
Book six in the series, The Betrayal. It’s set in dual time, partly in 1940s Guernsey during the German Occupation and partly in the modern day and the link between the two eras is a previously unknown Renoir painting, now worth millions. When it turns up hidden in an antique shop, it leads to murder and the victim’s sister, Fiona, is forced to find out what happened not only to her brother, but during the Occupation.
My latest published book is Echoes of Time, again set between the German Occupation and modern day in Guernsey, and focuses on two women from each era who live in the same house 60 years apart. Family secrets and a suspicious death are unearthed by the present day woman, Natalie, as she is haunted by the past.
8. What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?
It’s tough to believe in yourself when you start out writing, but if the passion is strong enough then just carry on writing. Write from the heart, write the story you want to share and when you’ve made it the best you can, seek professional advice in the form of an editor or critique partner to take you forward. And remember, self-publishing is a great way to go if you can’t find an agent ☺
My website: http:www.anneallen.co.uk
Amazon Author Page: http://Author.to/AnneAllen
Trailer on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iBYFRyCOoQ