5 April 2018
Rugby born author Anne Allen, never dreamt that she would one-day become an award-winning author. However, her rise to the top has been thanks to her Rugby based mother who pushed her into entering a true-life writing competition in Prima magazine.
“My mum has always been extremely supportive of my writing and I owe her a big thank you for pushing me into entering the Prima competition.
“When I began to draft my first novel, I was apprehensive. However, she kept cheering me on.
“She noticed a writing competition in Prima magazine and insisted that I should enter. She wouldn’t take no for an answer!”
Anne was shocked when she won the writing competition and it helped boost her confidence to get her debut novel published, Dangerous Waters, which was awarded Silver (Adult Fiction) in TheWishingShelfAwards 2012. Anne went onto write five more books in The Guernsey Novels series, and has won additional awards.
So, why did a Rugby born author write about Guernsey? Well, although, she was born and raised in the landlocked Warwickshire town, Anne absolutely adores being near the sea. This is thanks to her father, who was from Anglesey in Wales. They were very fortunate to spend every summer holiday visiting her grandparents in the Welsh seaside town of Rhosneigr.
“The sea is definitely in my blood,” she says, “and I’ve spent most of my life trying to get close to it.”
Anne lived in Rugby until her mid-thirties, when she tragically lost her husband, Michael, a well-loved local pharmacist and was left to raise three young children on her own. During her grieving period, she craved to be besides the sea and relocated to Devon.
However, a few years later she met some new friends on a course in Glastonbury. They instantly connected and invited Anne and her children to visit them in Guernsey where they lived. At this point, Anne did not know what a life-changing event this holiday would have for her. The moment she set foot on the island, she fell in love with Guernsey and decided it was where she wanted to be. One-year later she sold her home in Devon and moved to Guernsey with her children, and she felt that she had found somewhere that she truly belonged. She initially tried to buy a small guest-house in St Peter Port to use as a residential health centre However, the deal fell through shortly after they arrived on the island with her car laden with all their belongings.
“I was devastated, but looking back I can see it was just as well, for at the time interest rates were sky high and financially it would have been difficult.”
Initially, life on the island was not plain sailing, as a non-local she had to live ‘Open Market’ which was both restrictive and expensive. Anne set up her own psychotherapy practice on the island and began to build up a number of regular and loyal clients. With their support, she was eventually able to get a housing licence. Anne and her children created many happy memories on the island.
“One friend had a boat and we would go out for fun trips with our children, mooring up in one of the lovely south coast bays. The boys would jump into the sea and splash around while us girls lay decorously on deck to top up our tans.”
A few years after living on the island, she fell in love with a local man and they lived together in a beautiful farmhouse on the west coast in Perelle. In their garden there was a German bunker which her partner renovated and Anne eventually featured in her first novel, Dangerous Waters.
Anne never envisaged leaving Guernsey, however, life threw her some curve balls, and she eventually moved back to Devon. She had always craved creativity, yet, never found the time due to being a busy working mum of three children. When they flew the nest, she eagerly put pen to paper. It was during this time period that her mother, who still lives in Rugby, encouraged her to enter the Prima competition.
“If it wasn’t for my mum cheering me on, I may never have ended up writing The Guernsey Novels, which is my homage to the island that I dearly love.”
All the stories in her novel series, take place predominantly on the island of Guernsey and are linked by characters popping up from one book to another. They provide an ongoing story of a ‘village’ spread, so far, over 6 years. Each book is standalone with fresh new lead characters with their own links to the German Occupation during World War 2, having an impact on the present. The Guernsey Novels are a mix of mystery, family drama, and love story and influenced by the author’s love of the island where she spent many happy years. Guernsey itself is always a main character in the books, offering a gorgeous backdrop to all the sorrows, joys and tragedies she describes.
Anne is currently working on her seventh book in The Guernsey Novels series.
Notes for Editors
1) Anne Allen is available for telephone interviews and is happy to provide any further information that you may require.
2) Additional information is also available on her website www.anneallen.co.uk
3) HD images are available in her Media Centre http://anneallen.co.uk/media-centre or upon request via email
4) The Guernsey Novels are available from Amazon, Waterstones, and other book stores.
5) The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society movie will be screened in cinemas from 20 April.