Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Author Interview: Allie Spencer

Today I'm pleased to be able to welcome local author, Allie Spencer, to my blog for a chat about her books.  

Allie has recently been nominated for the Melissa Nathan award for Comedy Romance for her previous novel, Summer Loving, which is a fantastic accolade and well deserved recognition for her hard work.  Fingers crossed that she wins at the awards ceremony next week.  Her new book, Summer Nights, is due out later this month and I'll be reviewing this shortly. 

How long did it take to get your first book published?
I’ve actually never had my first book published!  The first novel of mine that came out (Tug of Love) was the second book I wrote; the first, a country house farce, is currently in a drawer awaiting further interest.  I began Tug of Love as soon as I’d finished that first one, and it took me nine months to write, a final draft being completed in November 2006.  Tug was accepted for publication by Little Black Dress (Headline) in the summer of 2008 and was published in 2009 so all in all in quite a long old haul with plenty of rejections along the way.

Do you have a set daily writing routine?
I have young children so the only real time I have to write is when they are at school.  When I’m writing a first draft I try to write at least 2000 words per day.  Editing is much slower and I go over/rewrite the book many times before I feel it’s good enough to send off to my editor.  I usually end up working weekends, bank holidays and (sadly) even some family holidays so that my husband can take over the childcare.  It’s a question of squeezing it in wherever possible.

Have any of your characters in your books been based on people you know?  If so, did they recognise themseves?
No.  I did try it once but I found it really restricting to try and keep the character in the mould of the person – the character kept wanting to go off and do their own thing (and in the end I let them!) 

If you could write another style of genre, what would it be and why?
I wouldn’t mind trying my hand at a historical.   There are certain historical periods (late middle ages, Regency, 1920s) that really appeal to me and, if I somehow had access to a time machine, I’d love to experience for myself.   To have the opportunity to ‘live’ them through a book would be amazing, but I’m not sure if I could write a serious book and I don’t know if there s any market for comic historicals.

After writing 4 successful novels, how do you manage to keep yourself motivated?
I just love writing.  If I wasn’t writing novels, I’d be writing something else!  However, the actual business of getting going in the morning – particularly with all the distractions of the internet – is always hard, especially if you’ve hit a tricky spot.  The only thing to do though is to plough on – always make sure you write something.  You can always go back and change it, and that is far less demoralising than staring at a blank page. 

If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
Never give up.  Keep writing and keep polishing.  Then, when you’ve written and polished till you can do no more, start the next one!  Someone once said to me that the only failed writer is one who gives up writing and I think that’s true.  If you don’t keep at it, you’ll never have that breakthrough. 

Can you give us a hint about what your next novel is about? And when is it likely to be published?
Arggh!  No, sorry.  I can’t talk about novels I am currently writing.  For some reason I feel very superstitious about them!  But I am writing.

Do you have much spare time to read books?  If so, what was the last book you read or what are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading ‘The Mitfords: Letters Between Six Sisters’, edited by Charlotte Mosley.  It is utterly fascinating and I love their very different voices and world views and how they react and inter-react with one another.  Brilliant. 

If you could have any of your books made into a film, which one would you choose and why?
Probably Tug of Love, because the big court room scene at the end would make a stunning climax to a movie – or possibly Summer Nights, because it’s set in San Francisco and involves an Abba tribute band which would give it a stunning backdrop as well as a stunning soundtrack – as well as a gripping plotline, naturally! 

If you were going to be stuck on a desert island and could only take 3 books with you, which ones would you choose?
I think I’d be a bit boring and start with a couple of things I know I should read but will probably never get round to, so the complete works of Shakespeare please, and, Paradise Lost (which I’ve been meaning to read for years and years!).  Then, to cheer me up, The Code of the Woosters by PG Wodehouse which is genuinely laugh-out-loud, hysterically funny.
Can you describe Summer Nights in 20 words or less?   
Fab, funny and funky; with more twists than a twisty-turny thing, a few tears and a very happy ending.

Allie has kindly given me a signed copy of Summer Nights to giveaway so make sure you enter the giveaway which will be uploaded later today.

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