Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Author Interview & Giveaway: Diane Allen

Today it's my pleasure to welcome author Diane Allen to the blog to talk about her latest book The Windfell Family Secrets which was published in paperback last week.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your writing journey? 
I looked after my father for several years, after he had suffered a stroke. Upon his death, a job was advertised in a large print publishers in my home village. I applied and was lucky enough to get it. I worked there for over twenty years, eventually becoming manger, with that I got a good insight into the publishing world. 

However, it wasn’t until my children left home and I was bored one evening that I decided to write myself. I soon found out that writing is a lot harder than I had realised. It is an art form that you have to learn slowly and surely and one I am still learning. I’m sure my agent and publisher despair of me sometimes. But, I love writing and I hope that my love of the Yorkshire Dales is found in my stories. 

If you had to describe The Windfell Family Secrets in one sentence, what would it be? 
A typical book of family life, all families have their secrets, some more than others. 

Is Windfell House based on a real house or an entirely fictional creation? 
It is based on a local house. Re-named, but I think anyone local will know that is a well-known house set in beautiful grounds a few miles out of the market town of Settle. 

What three words would you use to describe Charlotte?  
Feisty, determined and caring.

All of your books to date have been set in your home county of Yorkshire, was this intentional from the start of your writing career or just the way things panned out?  If you were to set a story elsewhere in the UK, where would you choose? 
I’m a Yorkshire lass, through and through. It was my intention from the start to base them all in Yorkshire. I would really like to write my books in Yorkshire dialect, but that would limit the readership. If I decided to set a story elsewhere in the UK, I’d probably choose the Lake District. I know and love it well and it is so romantic, even on wild wet days. 

What attracted you to writing historical sagas as opposed to any other genre?  Would you or have you ever tried writing something completely different?
I just find family life fascinating and I have a great love of social history. Sometimes a little crime slips into my books just to give them a little edge. I have tried writing a crime novel, but failed miserably. I admire anyone who can put plots together and knows the correct police procedures.

If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?  
Never give up! Write with your heart and don’t be put off if at first you get rejected. My first attempt I can honestly say was terrible, but I got there in the end. 

What would  you say is the hardest thing about writing?
The plot comes easy to me. It is the actual putting down of words. Plus, it is a twenty four hour a day vocation because you never switch off from thinking about what you are going to write next. 

If you get a block during the initial writing phase, how do you work your way through it? 
I go for a walk, take a day out or have a few hours in the garden. I hate getting a block, you feel as if you are never going to finish your book. 

What essentials do you need to have close to hand when you are in writing mode? 
Writing pad and pen. Plus plenty of coffee and silence.

What type of books do you like to read to unwind?
I like to read historical novels or local history books. I’m afraid I am bad at unwinding when it comes to reading. A good film usually does that for me.

Where would be your idyllic location for a writing retreat? 
Somewhere wild and remote. A house set back on a fell side in one of Yorkshire’s beautiful dales. 

Do you treat yourself to something nice to celebrate the publication of your books?
No, I’m afraid it is just another day. I do so welcome the bunch of flowers that my publishers usually sends me, which I count as my treat. 

And finally, what can we expect from you next?
I have just delivered the next one in the Windfell Series to Pan Macmillan, which is to be published next summer. The title is being discussed at the moment. Then shortly, I am to start a new book set in Swaledale, around the lead mines and the workers that toiled there. I’m looking forward to writing this once I have finished my research. 

Twitter: @_DianeAllen
Facebook: Diane Allen

Thanks to Frances at ED PR I have a copy of The Windfell Family Secrets to giveaway to a follower of the blog.

Twenty-one years have passed since Charlotte Booth fought to keep Ferndale Mill and her home at Windfell Manor following her traumatic first marriage. Now, highly regarded in local society and happily married to her childhood sweetheart, Archie Atkinson, she seeks only the best for their children, Isabelle and Danny. But history has a habit of repeating itself when Danny's head is turned by a local girl of ill repute, despite his promise of marriage to the far more respectable Harriet Armstrong.

Meanwhile, the beautiful and secretive Isabelle shares all the traits of her biological father, the notorious Joseph Dawson. And when she announces that she is to marry John Sidgwick, the owner of High Mill in Skipton, her mother quickly warns her against him. An ex-drinking mate of her late father who faces bankruptcy, Charlotte fears his interest in Isabelle is founded more upon self-preservation than any notions of love. What she doesn't realize is how far he's willing to go to protect his future...

As with all giveaways on the blog, this one is open to existing followers of the blog as a thank you for your support.  The winner will be selected at random when the giveaway ends and contacted for their postal address to pass onto ED PR to post the book to them. NB. Please do not add details of this giveaway to other sites without my permission.    

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  1. Loved reading the interview and the book sounds like a really good read.

  2. Great interview and insight into an author life. I love discovering new authors