It’s time to present another great author, Anne Allen and her great book Dangerous Waters, a heart-warming contemporary romance
TBM: How do you imagine the ideal reader of your book?
AA: I imagine my ideal reader being someone interested in relationships – both romantic and familial –but also enjoying stories encompassing secrets and mysteries. My books are all set in Guernsey, in the British Channel Islands, providing the added frisson of a foreign setting for most readers, appealing to people who wish to learn more about countries they may never visit.
TBM: How was the writer inside of you born?
AA: I’m not sure! I think the writer side of me enjoyed an extremely long gestation period, frankly. I did enjoy writing what was termed ‘composition’ while a schoolgirl, but didn’t ever feel that I wanted to be a writer. In fact initially I wanted to be a pharmacist! However, I became a mature student at The Open University here in the UK and my studies gave me the opportunity to stretch my unused writer’s muscle. Again, there was a period of gestation before I finally took up my pen in earnest in 2006 and wrote my first novel, Dangerous Waters, after winning a true-life short story competition in a national UK magazine.
TBM: What genres do you work with and why are you attracted to these forms of writing?
AA: I write romance based stories, with either a touch of mystery or family drama. Having spent nearly thirty years as a psychotherapist, I am fairly well qualified to write about relationships and issues of love and loss, including overcoming tragedies. While working with my clients I was always heartened to hear how strong the human spirit is in the face of adversity. And, unlike real life, I can allow my characters to achieve happy outcomes.
TBM: As a reader, what elements of a story do you love, or do you hate?
AA: I love stories that are many-layered, and involve the emotions. I need to empathize with the main character(s) and want to will them to succeed in achieving their goal or goals. My pet hate are stories that seem to run out of steam and offer up a tame ending after what was an enjoyable ride. Even worse are those books that leave the reader in suspense, having to decide for themselves what the outcome is.
TBM: What inspired you to write Dangerous Waters and what do you hope your readers will take away from this book?
AA: I was inspired by a book set on a small island off the French coast which reminded me of Guernsey and made me want to write a story based there. In a way it was my homage to an island where I had lived for many happy years but had recently, and reluctantly, left. I also wanted to have a tragic heroine who needed to let go the past and move on, in the process uncovering family secrets and solving a tragic mystery. Ideally, I would like readers to feel a connection with this young woman and her journey and also come to appreciate the beauty and history of Guernsey.
TBM: How long did it take you to write this book and what did you do the day that you finished it?
AA: The first draft took 6 months and, in my ignorance, I thought that was it! But after several professional critiques and much re-writing and editing, I finally finished the published version in 2012. Having thoroughly enjoyed writing the initial draft, I felt a little bereft when it was finished so promptly started my second book, Finding Mother.
TBM: What would you like to say to your readers?
AA: I do hope that you enjoy my books and I would love to hear from if you do. It’s wonderful as an author to receive an email from a reader, saying they enjoyed a book I’d written but I think readers may shy away from doing this. As if they are imposing on the author. Don’t be shy! I can be contacted through my website – www.anneallen.co.uk
TBM: Tell us more about Dangerous Waters
AA: Jeanne Le Page left Guernsey 15 years ago at the age of 16, after a tragic boating accident that left her injured and an orphan. In distress, she left the island to live with her maternal aunt in England and has remained there since. But now she has to return as her beloved grandmother has died and left her an old cottage. Jeanne, recently grieving the end of a relationship, plans to return long enough to settle her grandmother’s affairs and then leave. Life, however, does not always go according to plan, and she finds herself drawn to stay and re-invent herself. The cottage itself contains a long-buried secret and as Jeanne learns more, she also begins to learn the truth behind her parent’s deaths, putting her own life in danger.
TBM: Lastly, a direct message to the readers, about why they should read Dangerous Waters.
AA: If you enjoy romance and mystery, then this is the book for you! It can be enjoyed on the beach or curled up under the duvet on a chilly evening, wafting you to the beautiful, sunny island of Guernsey for some true escapism. And remember, it is Book 1 in The Guernsey Novels series, with two more books already published and the 4th due in 2015.
My ideal would be to spend part of the English winter somewhere warm, possibly Spain, so that I can recharge my body and soul. By profession I was a psychotherapist but have long had creative ‘itches’, learning to mosaic, paint furniture, interior design and sculpt. Although I had often thought about being a writer, life had always seemed to get in the way.