I’m delighted to welcome Anne Allen to My Reading Corner. Anne is the author of four novels set on the beautiful island of Guernsey. I’ve read and enjoyed Finding Mother (reviewed here last year) and have the remaining three to look forward to.
Instead I set up my psychotherapy practice and clients trickled in while we moved from one rental to another. Guernsey has an unusual two-tier housing system, which meant I could only live Open Market, in more expensive housing. In spite of this I was happy to be in the island, building up friends and clients and exploring all the gorgeous beaches and stunning cliff paths. The way of life was so different to anything I had previously experienced: a mix of great watering-holes and restaurants and a laid-back approach to daily life. The gentle pace suited me and, although I knew I could never afford to buy a property, I was determined to hang on and build up my practice.
A few years later I met someone and we lived together in a beautiful farmhouse on the west coast in Perelle; a happy time. In the garden was a German bunker which my partner had renovated and is featured in my first novel, Dangerous Waters. Previously I had lived in various parts of Guernsey and try to incorporate them into my books. I’m often told by readers with a local connection that they recognise my descriptions. I strive to be accurate as there’s an island full of people who could rise up and shoot me down in flames if I make a mistake!
Guernsey has an interesting, but poignant, history. The German Occupation of WWII has left an indelible mark on the psyche of the islanders, even those who were not born then. Liberation Day, May 9th, is celebrated every year, and this year was the 70th anniversary, marked with more events than usual. Thousands of children were evacuated in 1940, shortly before the Germans arrived, and their lives were changed forever. Some never returned, having settled in England, causing upset to the families on the island. All my books have a reference to this period in honour of the impact it has had.
Anne’s a late-comer to writing, having only started in her, ahem, middle years, (assuming everyone will live to 100 from now on, yes?). She often had the ‘itch’ to write but was focussed on her career as a psychotherapist and bringing up three children on her own. Then some years ago she was a reluctant entrant (pushed by her mother!) into a writing competition run by Prima magazine. They wanted a True- Life story and she won the first prize of £500 ☺ Deciding that writing wasn’t such a bad idea, she wrote her first novel, Dangerous Waters, a romantic mystery and eventually published it in 2012. Now retired as a therapist, she has devoted more time to writing, and has since published three more books, all forming The Guernsey Novels – a series of stand-alone stories with links to earlier ones. They are Finding Mother, Guernsey Retreat and The Family Divided.