The Mistress of Pennington's Tour

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Interview with author of Finding Mother, welcome Anne Allen...

1)   Did you set any goals for 2014?

Yes. I've suffered health problems over the past few years and decided enough is enough! I'm committed to eating healthily and have been lucky enough to come across a wonderful mineral supplement which has boosted my energy levels.
The increase in energy and the anticipated boost to my brain-cell activity (!) should produce a greater writing output this year and in the future. That's the plan, Stan J

2)   How long does it take you to write a 50,000-60,000 word manuscript?

How long's a piece of string? I wrote my first book, Dangerous Waters, the first draft of which came in at 110,000 words, in 6 months. Then the re-writes and edits took several years, on and off. My second novel, Finding Mother, with 83000 words, took around 5-6 months, including the first re-write. So, I've speeded up! I'm about a third of the way through my current book, Guernsey Retreat, after 2 months. I think my brain has become stuck in a rut re the time frame; but that might now change thanks to the brain boost and donning the Wonder Woman costume passed on to me by Lynda Carter.  She didn't need it anymore.

4)   Tell us about a new author you’ve recently discovered

There's been so many! I'm a very eclectic reader, only drawing the line at vampires/werewolves and extreme horror. I want to sleep at night! One author I'm following is Rachel Abbott, who's published two thrillers, Only the Innocent and The Back Road, and is shortly to publish a third. She keeps up the suspense and keeps the reader guessing as to 'who did it' to the end. Definitely worth checking.

5)   Name two romances you’ve read more than once

I don't tend to re-read books these days as there's such a brilliant choice out there, but when I did, I re-read a couple of Georgette Heyer's books, Regency Buck and The Toll-Gate. Such fun to read! I loved her books as a teenager.

6)   Tell us about your first car

Ah, yes. It sticks in my memory even after … years! My then boyfriend bought me a Morris Minor convertible (now you see why I didn't quote how long ago this was) for £25. What a bargain! Only it wasn't. At the time I was a computer operator in a college and the first time I drove it to work, it wouldn't start at the end of the day. I was surrounded by students trying to be helpful (I may have been wearing hot-pants, but that had nothing to do with it, I'm sure), and remember being red with embarrassment. I think we must have jump-started it at some point so I could drive it home, but I never risked taking it out again. I made my poor boyfriend sell it and it was few years later before I bought my own car again.

7)   Tell us something you’ve lied about?

Well, if you insist J As I've become, ahem, older, I've not always been truthful about my age. My grandchildren recently asked me for the umpteenth time and the 4 year old suggested I was 46. I was more than happy to agree, bearing in mind that my daughter is 40. But the 7 year old wouldn't have it and guessed closer to the truth. And the next birthday's only two weeks away! Even more little white lies may have to be told…

8)   Kissing in public? Yes or no?

Yes! As long as that's all it is 


Prepare to be swept away by a heart-warming tale of family relationships and love 
Three women. Three generations. Sacrifices for love… 

Who is she really? Nicole is about to find out as she searches for her real mother; the woman who gave her away at birth. With her marriage in tatters, she sets out from England: travelling to Spain, Jersey and Guernsey before the extraordinary story of her real family is finally revealed. 
Nicole becomes an unwitting catalyst for change in the family. Two women are forced to reveal long-buried secrets. One going back as far as the Second World War. Lives are transformed as choices have to be made and the past laid to rest… 

This contemporary romantic drama is the second of The Guernsey Novels, a series of stand-alone books by the award-winning author Anne Allen. It is likely to appeal to lovers of the works of Joanna Trollope and Maeve Binchy.
chapter 1
‘I want a divorce!’

  Nicole’s cry hung in the air as she slammed out of the house. She flung herself into the driver’s seat of her car, an Audi TT parked adjacent to its twin. After substantial and unnecessary, but therapeutic revving, the car shot out onto the road as Tom appeared at the front door, shouting something Nicole couldn’t and didn’t want to hear.

Half a mile along the road towards Bath, she pulled into a layby and, leaning her head on the steering wheel, sobbed.  A few minutes of unrestrained tears later, Nicole reached for a tissue from her handbag and, using the vanity mirror for guidance, wiped the black streaks of mascara from her face and blew her reddened nose.  A few deep breaths helped restore her breathing, but her head continued thumping from the release of emotion.

I thought crying was supposed to be good for you, but I’ve never felt so awful.  Well, not since I broke my leg skiing when I was twelve.  In a rare moment of clarity she wondered which was worse – a broken leg or an unfaithful husband.  

It was a close call. Reclining the car seat, Nicole stretched out her tall, slim frame, allowing her clenched muscles to finally relax. What a mess!

 It had all started when she wanted to order a food delivery from Sainsbury’s and couldn’t find her credit card.  After calling out to Tom if it was okay to use his – being a joint card – Nicole took the answering grunt from upstairs to mean a yes. As she opened his wallet a bill fell out.

Picking it up, the heading caught her eye; ‘The Stratford Manor Hotel, Warwick Road, Stratford-upon-Avon’.  Odd, when did Tom stay there?  

Opening it out Nicole saw it was a receipted bill for two nights in the name of ‘Mr and Mrs Oxford’ dated for the previous weekend.  Nicole held onto the chair as the realisation hit – he was still being unfaithful. Tom had assured her he’d got it out of his system and was now a devoted husband.  Except it appeared he wasn’t.

Nicole’s feet felt as if encased in lead boots as she went upstairs to the bedroom.  As she flung open the door to the designer decorated room which, at least for her, had represented love and harmony, Tom was shrugging into his jeans.  He was freshly showered after his run and his light brown hair stood up glistening and spiky.

Moving slowly into the room she threw the bill onto the cream velvet bed-throw.  Tom stiffened and looked up, the turned down mouth and contracted eyebrows offering the mournful look of a penitent.

‘Please, darling, it’s not what you think…’

‘Oh, what is it then?  Entertaining a new writer, perhaps?’ Nicole’s voice sounded harsh, even to her own ears.  As a television producer Tom often met with programme writers.  But meetings were not usually conducted in a hotel bed, or so she assumed.

Tom opened his mouth but nothing came out.  Unheard of for him.

‘Didn’t you tell me you were attending a conference in Birmingham last weekend?  At a city centre hotel?’

‘Yes, but I. . .I wanted to get away from everyone.  That’s why I moved to Stratford.’ He must have seen the disbelief on Nicole’s face as he went on, ‘It wasn’t anything important, really it wasn’t, darling.  It’s you I love, you know that, don’t you?’

He reached out to Nicole but she stepped back from him, a coldness clutching at her heart. The thought of being touched by those adulterous hands made her feel sick. Anger at his betrayal triggered off a flow of adrenaline, propelling her through the bedroom door and down the stairs, giving herself time to grab her bag and car keys before slamming out of the house.

About the Author

I'm a late-comer to writing, having only started in my, ahem, middle years. (I'm assuming we'll all be living to 100 from now on, won't we?) I'd often had an 'itch' to write but was focussed on my career as a psychotherapist and bringing up three children on my own. Writing was a luxury I simply could not afford! Then a few years ago I was a reluctant entrant (pushed by my mother!) into a writing competition  run by Prima magazine. They wanted a True- Life story and I won the first prize of £500  So I decided that writing wasn't such a bad idea and wrote my first novel, Dangerous Waters, shortly after; eventually  publishing it in 2012. As I'm now more or less retired as a therapist I've devoted a lot more time to writing and published my second novel, Finding Mother, in October 2013. 
A restless soul, I have moved around the country quite a bit, as far north as Scotland and south to Guernsey in the Channel Islands. I've learnt that the sea must be part of my soul and am happiest when living near it. I now live in Devon to be near my daughter and grandchildren so I have the best of both worlds. As a family we lived in Guernsey for many happy years and I left one son behind as a valid excuse for frequent return visits. My other son's based in London so great for when I need some culture.
Am happiest in warmer climes, however, and lived in Spain for a few years.  My ideal would be to spend part of the English winter somewhere warm, possibly Spain, so that I can recharge my body and soul. So, if and when I write that bestseller…!

The giveaway on this tour is overall of two paperback copies of Dangerous Waters OR 2 ecopies for International entrants. 
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  1. Hi Rachel
    I really enjoyed answering your unusual questions and hope my answers entertain your readers. :)

  2. An interview with a difference :) Entertaining questions and fabulous answers ladies.

    Thank you for hosting Rachel!