Meet the Author: Last Orders by Bill Todd

Today we welcome Bill Todd as we travel to Brighton, on England’s south coast, to learn how being a journalist, travel writing, Solitaire, birdsong, Shakespeare, and Superman come together as part of Bill’s learning experiences and writer’s life. Pack your travel gear, let’s board this Bill Todd interview …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in Brighton on England’s south coast and have a daughter and a magic grandson who celebrated his first birthday in June. I’ve been a journalist on local and national newspapers for most of my working life apart from brief bursts doing house removals, teaching and freelance photography. Travel writing has taken me to more than 40 countries and has been a fantastic learning experience.

In which genre do you write?

Mainly crime thrillers but I’ve also written three short military histories based on family papers.

How many published books do you have?

My Danny Lancaster crime thriller series about a wounded ex-soldier is currently seven titles with the latest, a novella called LAST ORDERS-Trapped in a pub with a killer, published in August. I have a full-length novel as a work-in-progress, possibly a standalone, and keep tinkering with a book based on my travelling experiences.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

I don’t know when it began. I was making up stories in my head long before I started writing them down. My grandfather was an inspiration. He wrote stories for my brother and I about the country adventures of two cave boys. The pages are yellow and fragile now but I still treasure them.

What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

I play a few games of Solitaire as fast as possible as a litmus of alertness before I start writing.

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?

I find birdsong very calming and often take a keyboard break to listen so a bird with a good voice would be my choice.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

I used to spend long hours in a rather gloomy upstairs back room with a PC, keyboard and two big monitors. Now I’ve gone miniature and mobile with my Samsung S8 phone and trifold Bluetooth keyboard so my office is everywhere.

What are you currently reading?

I’m working on several other projects and tend not to read when writing in case I unconsciously soak up someone else’s ideas.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

I enjoy walking, nothing too vigorous as I like to stand and stare at interesting things along the way.

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

Shakespeare, I’d love to know how he came up with all that cracking dialogue. I’m with Hamlet, words words words.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

Sleep is optional, up to a point.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve done or experienced to help create a scene or plot?

I try to be as accurate as possible without risking life and limb too much. One Danny Lancaster scene came from a travel writing trip. We were rocketing along a deserted African beach in a twin-engined aircraft. When I asked the pilot our altitude he said, ‘8 to 12 feet’. Crime thriller research can be very wide-ranging. My internet browser history would be a psychiatrist’s treasure trove.

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? Has this helped with your published writings? If so, how?

I kept a very intimate diary as a teenager. Still have it, locked safely away. Over my travel writing career I’ve written a detailed account of people and places and have drawn on this in my novels for scenes set outside the UK including Florida, Africa, Berlin and Gibraltar.

What is the most inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?

Impossible to choose between the birth of daughter Zoe and the birth of grandson Theo.

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What do you do to prepare yourself?

I’m not a natural speaker and struggle with public events. My usual technique is to stare, unseeing, at some distant point till someone calling my name snaps me back to the now.

What do you miss about being a kid?

Not sure I’ve matured enough yet to miss anything.

If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?

Has to be Superman. I’ve always been fascinated by flying and super powers would avoid all that queuing.

If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do?

I rather fancy an ordinary day in Brighton as my lead character, Danny Lancaster. We’re similar in many ways but Danny lacks my insecurities.

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

Bruce Willis in Tears Of The Sun. I have quite a few movies I watch regularly, often in the morning while I’m doing my digital paperwork and drinking coffee. They’re entertaining but don’t need my undivided attention as I know them so well.

A penguin knocks on your door and is wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?

He or she is recently returned from a vacation in a hot climate, has no food at home and would like to borrow from my well-stocked tinned fish cupboard.

Do you believe things happen for a reason? 

Back to Shakespeare for this one. Hamlet: ‘There’s a divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will’.

If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?

What’s your real name? Do you actually like that tinned stuff? Where are my socks?

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

Sticking at it regardless although some family members think it sometimes Borders on obsession.

What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?

South Shields at the mouth of the River Tyne in the north east of England. My father’s family came from there. The locals are known as Sanddancers and the fish and chips are the absolute best.

Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on … where, time of day, weather, place, etc.

Sossusvlei in Namibia’s Namib Desert, dawn as the rising sun turns the cloudless sky a brilliant blue and the giant sand dunes glow brilliant orange.

Thank you Bill for joining us on MTA. It was incredibly interesting to learn more about your history and writer’s life. –Camilla

Where to find Last Orders:

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/32Qgtf7

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Q9QihQ

Godlefe’s Cuckoo is Bill Todd’s sixth Danny Lancaster crime thriller. Here’s the
blurb:

Danny Lancaster has been missing since the fishing boat exploded. Police are closing their inquiry but Wanda Lovejoy continues her campaign to find the truth. An evil man kept alive by machines nurses a corrosive hate. As drugs and disease pull his dying mind apart he throws his crime empire into a scorched earth quest to find one man. If Danny Lancaster isn’t dead he soon will be.

DANNY LANCASTER crime thrillers on Amazon:

THE WRECK OF THE MARGHERITA –https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007OVUG6Q

DEATH SQUAD – www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0085V9HL4/

ROUGH DIAMOND – www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00DK7F6I6

ROCK HARD – www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00GXDU5DA

GARGOYLE PIXIE DOG –  www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B010T2CHK4

GODLEFE’S CUCKOO – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B079Z7Z4MW

MILITARY BIOGRAPHY

GUNNER, a soldier in WW2 Europe, 1944-45: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00LGSZQTU

A CROCUS FROM JERUSALEM, Fighting in Palestine, 1917:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B077P9DR7T

PIGTAIL PILOT, a young woman who almost became the RAF’s first female pilot: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B019H916OI

Connect with Bill:

Website: www.billtodd.co.uk

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreadscom/author/show/5804102.Bill_Todd

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/williamjtodd – @williamjtodd

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/@DannyLancaster3 – @DannyLancaster3

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/billtodd_writer/ – @billtodd_writer

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

Buy Me A Coffee

Book Shelf: Aunt Dimity & the Buried Treasure by Nancy Atherton

Aunt Dimity & the Buried Treasure by Nancy Atherton

It was in the 90’s when I became nearly obsessed with reading every Agatha Christie book ever published. I’m pretty sure I reached that goal (perhaps minus 1 or 2 hard to find books) and ended the obsession with reading her autobiography.

This book drew me in with similar feelings I remember having about Christie’s books … minus the always present mysterious deaths/murders. After I began reading the book, I realized that it was a part of the “Aunt Dimity Series”. I thought, oh no, if I like this, I will just have to read all of them!! Hahaha! Hopefully, I won’t like it.

Well, I did like the book, loved it, and deeply enjoyed it. I find I love traveling a journey of discovery, locating clues, putting them together, and ultimately finding what one set out to find. I just prefer that the mysteries don’t have to do with murder or mysterious deaths.

This did not disappoint as the main character, Lori, discovers an extravagant jeweled bracelet in the attic. This is the spark that lights the way for unravelling the truth behind the bracelet. Love, love, loved it!

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2O5ucu7

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2AnP8EF

Meet the Author: Best Intelligence by James Gault

Today we welcome James Gault as we travel to Bize-Minervois in the South-West of France, discovering how the local social group, Emily Bronte, being tone deaf, and the Western Isles in Scotland add a different twist to James Gault’s life and writing style. Leave your superstition at the door and let’s get this plane in the air …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am Scot who worked for some time in Prague and I now live in a little village called Bize-Minervois in the South-West of France, near the historic town of Carcassonne, retired from work and enjoying the sunshine and writing.

In which genre do you write?

I have to own up to this – I’m a bit all over the place when it comes to genres. My first fiction book was a comic novel for teenagers (Teaching Tania) then I wrote a philosophical novel (Ogg), but my last two books were political thrillers (The Redemption of Ann Petrovna and Best Intelligence), and the one I’m working on now is a tragic love story with some political content. I don’t recommend this scatter gun approach, but I write what comes into my head, based on what is concerning me, and making money or even creating a following is not a big concern for me.

How many published books do you have?

4 novels, one book on literature and several English Language textbooks

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

More than 60 years a ago, as a kid. In my previous careers I’ve always written something – letters to specialist magazines, articles, textbooks (as a teacher) or just reports on the work I was doing before that (It and management) When I retired, I found time to write more or less full time.

What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

I have a kind of obsession about being DIFFERENT. I don’t see the point in doing just what others have done before you.

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?

I’m not in any way superstitious – so I don’t have any idea. I guess that makes me a bit boring?

What does your ideal writing space look like?

A big big table where can I leave a mess but still find things – I’ve got a great ability to concentrate and shut things out when I’m working, so the actual physical environment doesn’t have much effect on me.

What are you currently reading?

Just finished rereading Of Mice and Men and started a detective novel by a Scottish author called William McIlvanney, who was a teacher at my old school and became a top name in Scottish Literature.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

I’m on the committee of a local social group here in France for mostly ex-pats and do most of the IT for them.

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

Emily Bronte, and I would ask her if she really did have an affair with the Brussels professor on whom she based the character in Villette and to whom she wrote all those ‘love’ letters?

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

How hard it is to market yourself. I was brought up as a Scottish Presbyterian where the worst thing you could do is to boast, and I feel guilty talking about myself.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve done or experienced to help create a scene or plot?

??? I’ve had a quiet life. The strangest things happen in my head.

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? 

No, I am lazy. I just trust that inspiration will always come when I need it.

What is the most inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?

Two very best things – my first published book and winning a prize for a short story I wrote. Sorry, that’s not a very imaginative response from a writer but there it is.

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking? What do you do to prepare yourself?

I’m tone deaf, so music doesn’t work so much for me. I just rehearse what I’m going to say over and over in my head, and then of course I say something completely different.

What do you miss about being a kid?

My gran. She was the one I would always go to with my problems ( and I had a lot then).

If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?

I would be Dennis the Menace from the Beano – I like to stir things up and cause mischief.

If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do?

This is a total fantasy but I would choose the character Michael from The Redemption of Anna Petrovna. The novel is set in a post-communist country where corruption permeates all the business and ruling classes, and this character is the fixer who makes everything happen for the powers that be. He is also the one that gets the girl. He is nothing like me, but it would be nice to be so successfully manipulative and get away with it for just for one day.

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

It was a recent Star Wars movie I went to with my grandkids – The reaction of the children was more entertaining than the film, to be honest.

A penguin knocks on your door and is wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?

It’s too bloody hot in this country – Got any free space in your fridge, pal?

Do you believe things happen for a reason? 

I believe events are a result of certain preconditions which logically lead to them. I also believe that often we don’t understand these preconditions, but I don’t turn to fantasy to replace them. Like I said before, I’m a bit boring.

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

The ability to concentrate although it drives my wife crazy.

What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?

In my home country of Scotland, any of the Western Isles (on a day when there’s no rain) for their beauty and tranquility. Here in France where I know live, Avingon during the festival in July for the music and drama.

Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on … where, time of day, weather, place, etc.

I’d do something I used to do but I’m too old now. I’d take a little private plane from our local airport and pilot it myself to one of the Scottish Islands and enjoy a few days in the sun and on the beach before flying back.

Tell us about your most recent book.

The most recent is Best Intelligence. It’s political thriller with a big surprising twist at the end. The hero is a cynical Glasgow policeman who leaves his job and moves to France because he feels he is wasting his time. But he picks up a pretty girl hitchhiker and finds himself mixed up in a web of mystery and intrigue.

Thank you James for being a part of MTA. It was wonderful to learn more about you. I have a quirk about doing things different also and I, too, don’t say half of what I practice saying when speaking in front of others – HA! All the best to you! –Camilla

Where we can find it the book:

The e-book and paperback are available on Amazon at:

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2NyDGOf

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2ZrMCYd

My other novels are available at:

mybook.to/OGG

mybook.to/TEACHINGTANIA

mybook.to/ANNAPETROVNA

Author facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/jgaultbooks/

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/James-Gault/e/B004JJOXW4

On-line literary magazine at www.voxlit.com

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

Buy Me A Coffee

Meet the Author: Death in Avignon by Serena Kent

Today we welcome Serena Kent as we travel to the Provencal area of the Luberon and a Kentish village near London as we discover how robust English tea, an aardvark, a puffin, the Luberon mountains, trees, David Bowie, and Mary Shelley come together to create the husband and wife writing team of Serena Kent. Grab the lantern and the magnifying glass. Let’s go ….

Serena Kent is the pen name of husband and wife partnership Robert Rees and Deborah Lawrenson. Deborah is a best selling novelist and has had eight novels published previously, including the bestseller The Lantern which was featured in the UK TV series The TV Book Club. Robert Rees, after retiring from the City of London has had one book published, A Season in the Sun.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Robert: I am from the UK and worked for most of my career in the City of London. After finishing with this about 10 years ago, I have been able to concentrate more on the type of work I enjoy, writing music, songs and plays. A few years ago I began to think about writing novels, and after the first was published some three years ago, I and my wife have joined forces to produce a series of cozy mysteries based around the Provencal area of the Luberon, where we have a house. In the UK we live in a Kentish village near London.

Deborah: I’m also British but grew up in various countries around the world as my parents were in the diplomatic service. I worked for some years as a journalist in London while I gathered the courage to write a first novel.

In which genre do you write?

Light humoured murder mysteries.

How many published books do you have?

Robert : Death in Avignon will be my third

Deborah: Death in Avignon will be my tenth

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

Robert: I thoroughly enjoyed writing the local pantomime (words and music) for our village, and it seemed a logical step to move to books, after I had an idea for a novel which became eventually ‘A Season in the Sun’. I have always enjoyed writing, though in the City it was more legal than imaginative.

Deborah: I always wanted to write. I was the kind of child who bought notebooks and set out to fill them with deeply derivative adventure stories that ran out of steam by the third chapter.

What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

Deborah: I have to earn the cups of robust English tea that fuel my writing by achieving word counts. Tea is the stuff. I have never been able to understand how Fitzgerald and Hemingway can have been so brilliant while drinking strong liquor – I can’t write a decent sentence after just one glass of wine!

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?

Robert: An aardvark – I feel sorry for them as they get a pretty bad press and are not chosen nearly enough.

Deborah: A puffin. Puffins are stocky, loyal and vocal at their colonies but silent at sea while they concentrate on their work.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

Robert: I particularly like writing at our house in France, on the kitchen table (close to food and wine). It has a low ceiling of provencal beams, a truly magnificent cooking range, and a view out to our garden with the Luberon mountains in the background.

Deborah: I prefer writing in my study in Kent, where the red walls are gradually getting covered in floor-to-ceiling bookcases and my desk faces out onto trees. I love writing through autumn and winter especially on grey, rainy days when the pictures in my head seem to get more vivid.

What are you currently reading?

Robert: The latest Jack Reacher novel by Lee Child , the Life of PG Wodehouse by Frances Donaldson (brilliant) and ‘Guns Germs and Steel’ by Jared Diamond .

Deborah: Pulse, a collection of masterly short stories by Julian Barnes, the biography of Agatha Christie by Janet Morgan and Christie’s Murder in Mesopotamia because I now know that it is based on her own experiences of archaeological digs in Iraq in the 1930s.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

Robert: Play the piano and take part in music shows and plays locally.

Deborah: Walk, exercise, have lunches with friends, read, paint, travel.

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

Robert: David Bowie – and I would ask him how he remembers the words to all his songs (I never can). More seriously I guess, Albert Einstein. I studied science at Cambridge and still find it fascinating.

Deborah: Mary Shelley. If possible, when she was only 20, so I could see for myself what kind of young woman could have written the brilliant and prophetic Frankenstein. I’d also like to warn her that Romantic poets were all very well on paper, but in real life Percy Bysshe Shelley would make a terrible husband.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

Robert: I can occasionally make people laugh out loud.

Deborah: I am extremely and stubbornly determined to achieve what I set out to do.

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? Has this helped with your published writings? If so, how?

Robert:. No, but it is extraordinary how certain events in one’s life are definitely locked away for future use in stories. This is not always conscious, but I do find myself now looking at objects and considering how they could work as murder weapons…

Deborah: I have kept a diary since 1974. It reminds me of all kinds of details and sequences of events, though it’s of no help at all with writing.

What is the most amusing, crazy or inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?

Robert: I once had to audition Emma Thompson, Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie for singing in the Cambridge Footlights Pantomime. Not that I would have dared criticise any of them! Even by then they were outstandingly good and extremely funny.

Deborah: When I was a journalist on the Daily Mail, I once had to ambush the actor Michael Caine on a street near Piccadilly. He was not only very charming and forgiving, but unexpectedly tall for an actor. Proving yet again that one should never judge people before actually meeting them.

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking? Or, what do you do to prepare yourself?

Robert: A glass of rosé (if it is after six o’clock). I tend to listen to music most of the time, so I wouldn’t have any favourite song in particular.

Deborah: I’d join Rob in a glass of rosé and hum something jazz-bluesy.

What do you miss about being a kid?

Robert: Anticipation and the passing of time so slowly. And those wonderful summer parties where we drank lemonade and played games on the lawn until it was quite dark and getting chilly.

Deborah: The sense that anything was possible.

If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?

Robert: Not quite a cartoon world, but I always longed to be able to visit Narnia. Talking animals, magic, and that feeling that the side of right would always win.

If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do? 

Robert: They say your characters have a bit of you in them, so I could say any of them, but I do like my main character in my first novel. Henry is a slightly diffident bon viveur who discovers hidden strengths when tested.

Deborah: Hate to say it, but it’s the other way around: there’s a lot of me in Penelope Kite!

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

Robert::I saw Bohemian Rhapsody with Deborah in a rather nice cinema in Apt, a small town near our French house. It was subtitled and so the dialogue was still in English. The actors playing the parts of the Queen group were outstanding – Brian May in particular. It is a great story with a suitably tragic ending and the songs have stood the test of time.

A penguin knocks on your door and is wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?

Robert: ‘Can you hide me? The polar bears are on my tail and the Mexican disguise just hasn’t worked!’

Do you believe things happen for a reason? 

Robert: I do have a certain fatalist element in my make up, and sometimes I feel that there is a karma about us. But most of the world is a mixture of randomness and luck. I remain cautiously optimistic.

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

Robert: A measure of stubbornness, and an optimistic outlook.

Deborah: Stubbornness has also worked for me, but allied with a romantic nature and belief that eventually most things work out for the best.

What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?

Robert: In England it would either be Grasmere in the Lake District, the most idyllic lakeland scene, or standing on one of the London Bridges on a clear night.

Deborah: I’ve always loved the sea and am particularly drawn to the Kent and Sussex coasts, and to Northumberland out of season. Bambrugh with its brooding castle over the beach is spectacular.

Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on … where, time of day, weather, place, etc.

Robert: Beauvallon Bay, the Seychelles, in the dry season, snorkelling mask at the ready to dive down amongst the coral and the fish. With a plentiful supply of Mojitos and a radio broadcasting England thrashing the Australians at cricket.

Deborah: Sanary-sur-Mer in the south of France, in September. A wander around the market, followed by lunch overlooking the port. It’s warm but not stifling, and the perfect time to go along the coast to swim at Bandol. After that, a glass of local rosé at sunset.

Tell us about the book.

It is a sequel to ‘Death in Provence’ and follows our heroine Penelope Kite as she gets caught in yet another web of deceit in Provence. This time the Southern French art world conspires to drag her into the shady underworld of fraud, poison and murder.

Thank you Serena Kent (Deborah and Robert) for being a part of MTA. It was incredibly interesting and inspiring to learn more about each of you. – Camilla

DEATH IN AVIGNON – BOOK BLURB

When Penelope Kite attends a gallery opening on the arm of the gorgeous mayor of St Merlot, her dream life in Provence seems finally to have become a reality.

But beneath the glamour, scandal is brewing. Shockwaves ripple through the art world when a controversial painter, Roland Doncaster, chokes on an almond-stuffed olive.

A tragic accident? Or a ruthless poisoning? Embroiled once more in a murder investigation, Penelope discovers that any number of jealous lovers and scheming rivals could be in the frame. And with dashing art dealers to charm, patisseries to resist, and her own friends under suspicion, Penelope will need all her sleuthing talents to uncover the truth…

Where to find the book.

Death in Avignon (published by Orion in the UK) came out on June 27th and is available in most bookshops and on amazon.

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2K8cPqw

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Mzm2K5 

Harper Collins US link to Death in Provence: bit.ly/2X0racY

Instragram link @serena.kent
Facebook @serenakentauthor
Twitter @SerenaKentBooks
Website http://www.serena-kent.com/

Here are some reviews of Death in Provence – our first novel together.

“As scenic murders go, it’s hard to beat the dead man floating in the swimming pool of Le Chant d’Eau, a stone farmhouse hilltop-high in Death in Provence…. Who could resist a vacation in Provence?” (New York Times Book Review)

“Riffing on Peter Mayle and his year in Provence—as well as Alexander McCall Smith and his Ladies’ Detective Agency—this is the first in a breezy mystery series set among the vineyards and olive groves of the Luberon.” (National Geographic)

“Peter Mayle fans will enjoy this first novel and series opener.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Penelope sparkles, turning what could have been a lightweight Shirley Temple into champagne. Although Kent makes no promises, updates on her heroine’s further adventures would be most welcome. “ (Kirkus)

“Charming…. While the quirky characters are enjoyable, it’s the details of the details of Provençal life that will attract armchair travelers, fans of Peter Mayle.” (Library Journal)

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

Buy Me A Coffee

Meet the Author: The Inheritance by Anne Allen

Today we welcome Anne Allen as we travel to Devon, with a long stop in Guernsey beforehand, as we uncover how psychotherapy, a wise old owl, and fey intertwine with history to form the drama of Anne’s writings. Grab your flashlight and magnifying glass. Let’s investigate …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a late-comer to writing, having spent most of my working life as a psychotherapist. I see it as my ‘third-age career’ and one I wish I had come to a lot sooner! Although my current home is in Devon, I have moved around quite a bit, much to the annoyance of my three children, I suspect.

The longest and happiest stay was in Guernsey, which became the focus of my novels when I started writing thirteen years ago. The first, Dangerous Waters, was published in 2005 although I did not realise this was the start of a series.

In which genre do you write?

The genre is a mix of family drama, romance, mystery and an element of historical, particularly in my last three books which are dual-time.

How many published books do you have?

Seven

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?

Ah! I’d love a wise old owl which would use his wonderfully expressive eyes to let me know if he approved of what I was doing – or not. I could spill out my thoughts and wait for the blink!

What does your ideal writing space look like?

It would be a lot bigger than the one I have now! I’m using a small single bedroom overlooking the street of Victorian terrace houses and ideally I would love a proper study cum library, with book lined walls, a huge desk, lots of storage for all my files and a gorgeous sea view. Near enough to hear the sound of the waves breaking on the shore. Bliss!

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

I would love to have coffee with one of my favourite authors, Barbara Erskine, who has written so many time-slip books, beginning with Lady of Hay 30 years ago. I would ask her if she is ‘fey’, able to sense spirits or ghosts as they form a large part of her stories and I’m beginning to include them in my own books. I would also ask her if she would mind reading one of my books and give me an honest opinion.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

That I can finish things I start!

What is the most amusing, crazy or inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?

The most inspiring thing that has ever happened to me was winning a 500 word True-Life story competition in Prima magazine which encouraged me to write my first novel. The prize was £500 worth of M & S vouchers with a two-page spread in the magazine. I realised then that writing could put food on the table!

What do you miss about being a kid?

The freedom to just ’be’: not having adult responsibilities like the need to earn money; the long school holidays to enjoy as I wished with my friends – going out on our bikes for the day or going to others’ houses to chat or play; the pleasure of going to the library each week and bringing home 3 or 4 new books knowing I had plenty of time to read them.

If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do?

It would be Jeanne Le Page, my heroine from Dangerous Waters, who returns rather reluctantly to her birthplace of Guernsey. Further on in the story, her life picks up and she becomes close to a man, Nick, who I, for one, fell in love with! I would like to spend the day with him on his boat, cruising round the island.

Do you believe things happen for a reason? Do you have an example from your own life to share why you believe this?

I do. Some years ago I was on course in Glastonbury, trying to make sense of my life after my husband had died suddenly, leaving me with three small children. Most of the others on the course were women from Guernsey and we hit it off instantly.

Over the weeks we became good friends and two sisters invited me and the children over for a holiday and I fell in love with the beautiful island. A year later we moved there, in spite of a restrictive housing policy. A few years later I met a local man and we were together for about 10 years. I returned, reluctantly, to England after our breakup, but the memories were still strong and led eventually to The Guernsey Novels.

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

Stubbornness. After receiving rejections from agents, I decided to publish under my own imprint, Sarnia Press, and haven’t looked back.

Tell us about your most recent book.

‘The Inheritance’, a dual-time story set partly around Victor Hugo when he lived in Guernsey, and partly in the modern time. The connection between the two is Eugénie, a young widow who comes to the attention of Hugo and begins work as his copyist, and her great- great- great-granddaughter, Tess, a young doctor who inherits her house. The story handed down through the generations is that Eugénie and Hugo were extremely close and perhaps he was the father of her child, born after her re-marriage. Eugénie’s story is told through her diaries and interwoven with Tess’s life 150 years later.

The book is available as an ebook through all retailers and as a paperback from Amazon and bookstores.

Thank you Anne for joining us at Meeting the Authors. It was incredibly interesting and wonderful to learn the clues that come together as part of your writer’s life. –Camilla

BookTrailer:

The Inheritance

To Buy: https://books2read.com/GuernseyNovels

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2MMtkvM

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2F1q4Gg

UK Kindle: https://amzn.to/2Wzz0h1

US Kindle: https://amzn.to/2K9jUbd

The Inheritance Website: https://www.anneallen.co.uk

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnneAllen21

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Anne-Allen-Author-176883759173475/

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And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

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