Hello my little fellow munchkins. How are you all doing? I am doing well. I am currently in Vegas and am currently making myself a schedule for blogging as the coming school year will be difficult compared to last year.
Anyways, why don’t we get into this lovely post???
Places to find/buy the book:
“War changes everything…
Emily has always lived a life of privilege. That is until the drums of World War One came beating. Her family may be dramatically affected but it also offers her the freedom that she craves. Away from the tight control of her mother she grabs every opportunity that the war is giving to women like her, including love.
Working as a land girl Emily finds a new lease of life but when the war is over, and life returns to normal, she has to learn what to give up and what she must fight for.
Will life ever be the same again?”
About the author:
Allie lives in Kent with her family and two tortoises. When she’s not writing for business or penning her women’s historical fiction, Allie enjoys swimming and yoga. She has an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University and The Lido Girls is her debut novel. She is currently working on a second interwar years novel, which is due for publication in the summer of 2018.
What is your writing kryptonite?
My children and my messy my house. I seem to spend forever tidying and I still have a permanently untidy house! If I have a deadline then I just have to keep writing, and the children have to feed themselves, but at other times I’m like a hamster in a wheel.
What made you want to write this book?
When I researched my debut, The Lido Girls, I read quite a bit about how important the First World War had been for opening up previously unthinkable freedoms for women in the workplace. Things then took a dramatic step backwards once the war was over and the men came home. This had a lot of story potential and I also wanted to explore how the experience would be less positive or welcomed for the older generations. I also love the Kentish countryside and the fruit and hop farming heritage we have in the county and so it felt like the perfect setting.
If you could tell your younger writing-self something, what would it be?
Don’t use the fact that something is difficult or unlikely to ever happen as a reason to put you off. Also learn about the theory of plot and story structure, and look for it in every novel and film you read and watch.
Have you ever had difficulty coming up with an idea for your story?
I have a book where I store all of my story ideas, usually I know what a character wants, and what she ends up with but I have to spend a lot of time working out what her journey is to get from the person she is at the beginning, to the one at the end.
As a writer what would your spirit animal be?
What Hogwarts house would the main character of your book be sorted into?
Emily would be in Hufflepuff. She works hard, is loyal and dedicated and waits patiently for what she wants.
What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your character?
I don’t consciously base my characters on real people, they tend to come to me fully formed in my mind. I have named three cows in The Land Girl after my friend and her two daughters, but thankfully she just laughed when I told her what I’d done.
While you were editing your book what were some thoughts that were going through your mind?
I asked myself constantly why I had made things so complicated for myself by drawing on both real events during and after the First World War and also the seasons. During the revisions I had to revisit all of those details, and in some cases it was really restrictive because a character often couldn’t do a particular thing because it didn’t fit with the real timeframe of events.
I actually love the editing process as it’s a chance to make the story really shine – but it is also really hard work.
Do you google yourself?
No, should I?
What word would sum up your book.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I don’t think that I can say I don’t believe in something just because I’ve never experienced it. I think you can hit difficulties and it can put you off writing or moving forwards.
What is your writing process like?
I’m trying to be a bit more organised for my third book. I’m not by nature a planner and I like to dive in and work things out on the page, but this time I’m attempting to be more time efficient and do as much planning as possible before I commit any words to the page. So, for this next book, I have been looking into the story behind a pair of evening gloves that belonged to my great aunt, my research has helped me to develop a character and setting and I’ve also been trying out a slightly quirky structure and sharing that with my writing group. I’m also working through the various writing books I’ve got and using them to help me build a stronger picture of my characters. All the while I’m researching and reading about the time period to help fill in the details and I have a structure outline which I’m completing as and when things fall into place. It’s taking longer to get going than with previous projects, but I’m hoping that by crystallising the story first I will streamline the actual writing process.
What advice do you have for other writers?
Find a group of likeminded writers – my writers’ group have become amazing friends and are the only people with whom I can have a serious conversation about a person who only exists in my head!
How much research do you do for your books?
I do a lot of research, but that is because it’s an enjoyable part of it for me. I love watching films made and books written during the period of my stories to get a feel for the fashion and language. I also read a lot of social history books, visit museums and archives to build a strong picture. My 95year-old grandmother is also useful for fact checking and anecdotes!
When did you decide the you wanted to become a writer?
I can’t remember exactly when, but it did take me a long while to get going because I felt I needed permission to write. When I eventually went along to my first writing course the tutor’s opening gambit was ‘just write, don’t wait for anyone to tell you to do it.’ It was so obvious, and I don’t know why I made myself wait so long before I did just put pen to paper, and write.
When did you first start writing?
I kept diaries in my teenage years. They’re largely written in code I probably won’t understand now, but I don’t know because I can’t I bring myself to read them.
Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
I write a lot in longhand first and then take the bits worth keeping and use them to piece it together on the computer.
What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?
The planning and plotting of the story. I think it’s so hard to make those decisions in abstract because there’s a danger of totally removing the character from the actions they actually take and the author just ends up pushing them about like chess pieces.
What is the easiest part of writing that you consider?
It’s definitely easy to develop the characters and to see and hear them, although I do find it hard to say goodbye to them at the end and I usually feel quite sad about letting them go.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Including the research and editing, The Land Girl took me about 18 months from start to finish. The actual writing of the first draft was probably about 7-8 months of that time. I’m hoping to bring that time down for the next book.
Any tips on how to go through a dreaded writer’s block?
Freewriting, or morning pages, are a great way of working through those things, or simply skipping something that’s difficult and coming back to it later. I’m obsessed with Julia Cameron – I’m currently working through Sound of Paper and it is helping me to restore my creative mojo.
How did you decide to pick out your book cover?
The publisher designed the cover, and they did such a wonderful job – I love it!
Do you think the cover plays an important part of the buying processes?
Yes, it does definitely. There are lots of shorthand clues in a cover to tell us what type of book we’re buying, but my overwhelming feeling when I saw The Land Girl cover was that I wanted to be standing beneath that blue sky in that field, which is exactly the right response.
How do you market your books?
Mainly through social media. I find the writing and researching process so time consuming that I struggle to be too prolific on social media. I have a few events coming up later this year as well – a charity literary lunch, a book launch picnic, and some local events to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.
Why did you choose said route?
My choices are largely restrained by time. I’m also a firm believer in building up readers from friends and family – the support has been amazing and if those people enjoy the book and they recommend it to a friend then I that’s the best way to develop a readership.
What is your favorite quote of your book?
I think this one:
“The writing style is relaxed and easy, the story unfurling page by page. Sparky heroines and frustrating mothers make this book well worth the read.”
It’s just great to know that when someone has given their precious time to read my novel that they’ve been entertained and enjoyed it.
How can your readers discover more about you and your work?
I can be found on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (although I’m not always talking about writing!)
Where do you see publishing going in the future?
I think that is the million-dollar question! Seeing how much my children and their friends love reading, and how much this is encouraged at school and facilitated by the amazing array of children’s and YA fiction on offer, I think this generation coming through will be sophisticated and committed readers and that has to be a good thing for the future of publishing.