I’m delighted to welcome Anne Allen to the blog for an author interview. Anne is the author of Dangerous Waters, her debut novel, a mystery/love story which is published by Matador (an imprint of Troubador Publishing). It was released on 26th March 20212 and is available in both e-book and paperback formats.
Firstly, I have a giveaway for you!
Anne has very generously offered prizes for a giveaway.Click this link –> a Rafflecopter giveaway <– to enter to win a signed paperback copy of Dangerous Waters (UK ONLY) and an ecopy of Dangerous Waters (INT)
Hi Anne! Thanks for stopping by and answering some questions for the blog readers today, I really appreciate it!
Since Dangerous Waters is your debut novel, and people may not be familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Sure. 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 anywhere 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!
What inspired you to write Dangerous Waters? Did the idea for the story come to you first, or the idea that you’d like to write a book and then the story after?
About 6 years ago I realised that I had the time to write and had just finished reading a novel about a small French island which put me in mind of Guernsey (I was living back in England by then). So the starting point was writing something set in Guernsey and the idea of a heroine with a tragic past having to face her demons started to evolve. I was also drawn to the idea of a house with a secret!
Who are your favourite writers?
There are sooo many! I love books by Mary Higgins Clark, Maeve Binchy, Joanne Harris, Robert Goddard, Daphne du Maurier, Georgette Heyer, Hilary Mantel . . . .
Do you get a lot of time to read?
Not as much as I’d like! Writing seems to get in the way . . . I usually end up reading in bed and if it’s a really good book will just keep reading till I turn into a pumpkin 🙂
What genre do you like to read
An eclectic mix – mystery, suspense, historical fiction, crime and, of course, romance! It’s lovely when a couple of genres are mixed in the same book . . . .
Do you have an all-time-favourite book character?
Nick, in Dangerous Waters (Sigh!)
Did you like to read as a child?
I loved reading! I would trot off to the library every Saturday morning to equip myself with another pile of books to read – lovely!
Which authors were your favourites?
I read Enid Blyton’s Mallory Towers, Isaac Azimov’s science fiction and, once I moved to secondary school, Georgette Heyer, Daphne Du Maurier, Raymond Chandler and loads more I can’t remember. I loved detective novels and devoured Agatha Christie et al. And, of course, Mills & Boon!
What have you found to be the most difficult aspect of getting your work published?
Not being able to attract an agent – it’s so hard nowadays to get noticed as the increase in Creative Writing Courses means everyone wants to write a bestseller. I wish! (Another sigh)
What’s been the most enjoyable part of the journey to be a published author?
Having such great support from those around me. I was cheered on when I felt like giving up – all newbie writers need a great support system to keep going.
When you’re writing do you plan the book entirely before writing or do you have a vague idea of what you want the story to be about and start from there?
I tend to work out a rough plan that takes me to the ‘end’ without dotting the ‘i’s’ or crossing the ‘t’s’. I let the main part develop along the way which is where the fun comes in!
Where do you do your writing and when? Is there a specific place and time that you’re most productive?
I initially write in longhand so that’s usually at a table, indoors or outdoors depending on the weather. This ‘summer’ it’s all indoors! When I type what I’ve written, a chapter or two at a time, then it’s at my desk on the PC. When I wrote Dangerous Waters I was able to write a lot during the day without much interruption but now I just fit it in when I can. There isn’t a specific place that affects my writing but I do tend to be more productive late morning and again late afternoon.
What are you working on next?
Finding Mother, which follows a young woman in her search for her natural mother after her marriage crumbles. Along the way she also meets a new grandmother and the book looks into the back stories of the two older women, who both have unshared secrets. I love secrets, don’t you?!
Now For A few fun questions!
What’s your favourite colour? Blue
Favourite animal? Horse
Favourite food? Lobster (I know, I have expensive tastes!)
Favourite holiday destination? Safari in Kenya/Botswana (Ditto above)
Favourite character from a book you’ve read? Mr D’Arcy!
Favourite thing to do when you have time to spare? See my friends and family
Favourite season? Summer-tho’ not this year! *We’re having a rainy summer in the UK!*
Can you describe yourself in 6 words or less? Warm, friendly, a bit mixed up
If you could be invisible and spy on one person for a day who would it be and why?
Daniel Craig – do you need to ask why?!
Pick 5 dinner party guests, past, present, famous or not, who would they be?
My best friend from school, Linda
I’d like to take this opportunity to say a HUGE thank you to Anne for taking the time to be interviewed for the blog and for allowing me the chance to read and review Dangerous Waters by kindly providing me with an ecopy*. Now read on to find out more about Dangerous Waters and to read my review.
‘Oh my God, what’s happening to me? After all this time, please, not again!’ Jeanne Le Page, gripped by fear and panic, struggles to breathe as the ferry arrives in Guernsey, the island she had fled 15 years before, traumatised by a family tragedy. Now she has to return after her grandmother’s death. Jeanne has inherited her cottage and she plans to sell it before returning to the UK. Deeply unhappy after the recent end of a long-term relationship, she has no desire to pick up her old life on the island. Suffering traumatic amnesia after being involved in the accident that killed her family, Jeanne has experienced nightmares for years. The return to Guernsey triggers flashbacks which become frightening and Jeanne undergoes hypnosis to recover her memory, reliving the tragedy as the ghosts continue to haunt her. But someone on the island does not want her to remember, and she faces danger from an unexpected source…
Dangerous Waters follows Jeanne as she tries to adjust to life on an island she once loved, one which now holds such horrific memories.
Life has not been great for Jeanne lately and then she gets a call to say that her grandmother has passed away on the island of Guernsey, the island that was once Jeanne’s home until she left at the age of 16 after her parents’ murders. Jeanne reluctantly has to go back to put her grandmothers affairs in order since she’s the last of her family line.
Jeanne starts off as a nervous, heartbroken woman but over the course of the story gains strength and finds love, as well as solving a couple of traumatic mysteries from her past that concern both herself and her grandmother.
The two separate mysteries that Jeanne solved were well thought out and I was intrigued to know what happened in Jeanne’s grandmother’s situation and what happened to Jeanne’s parents. I was left satisfied at the outcome of both and I was right about ‘whodunnit’!
I liked Jeanne as she was so normal. She was indecisive in that she wasn’t sure whether to stay on Guernsey or leave after selling the house, she thought she could change her partner *don’t we all?!* and she worried about things like the rest of us do. She eventually learnt to open up, talk things through and, most importantly, to love again.
I really enjoyed reading Dangerous Waters. I think it was well written with beautiful descriptions of Guernsey, descriptions that could only have come from someone who knows the island as well as Anne does. I also appreciated the historical information that was in the book, it was clear that a lot of research went it to getting this right. The recipes from the book that were included at the end were a very nice touch, too.
Anne is working on another novel called Finding Mother and I look forward to reading this when published.
*My ecopy of Dangerous Waters was provided free of charge by the author in exchange for a review. This has not influenced my review in any way.