Friday, 27 April 2012

Author Showcase - Gilli Allan

This week I’m hosting fellow Romantic Novelist, Gilli Allan.
Gilli has been previously traditionally published but now self publishes in ebook format which, she says, has given her the freedom not to follow any kind of formula in her writing. “Love may still be the engine of the plot, not that my characters are necessarily aware of this, but I try to write honestly, refusing to romanticise the downsides and the pitfalls in modern relationships”. Gilli’s new book ‘Life Class’ is out on Kindle on the 1st May. For the next two weeks, she is running a special price offer on her current book ‘Torn’ for those of you who might not have yet discovered this talented author.

Take it away Gilli..!

I woke this morning, my mind still pleasurably caught up in the dream I’d been having.  When I’d properly come to, the dream lingered. I was prompted to think about the iconic opening line of Daphne du Maurier’s ‘Rebecca’, which led me on to the not very startling conclusion that all writers (of fiction) need to be able to dream. 

At this point I have to make it clear that, despite the originating thought, I am no longer talking about that thing we do when we’re asleep, although for some, I understand, their night-time adventures can be quite an important wellspring of their waking creativity.  I am talking about switching off from the prosaic world around you and allowing yourself to fantasise - to start playing the ‘what if...?’ game.
I am convinced everyone possesses this potential. If you played make-believe as a child, whether it was Cowboys and Indians, Princes and Princesses or Orcs and Hobbits, you were tapping into that ‘let’s pretend’ part of your brain. I am not saying that everyone has a good book in them, few do, but everyone has the capacity to dream.  No one would buy a lottery ticket, bet on a horse or consider going in for X Factor, if they didn’t. In many people, however, the child-like part of the brain that devises a scenario, fills it with characters and weaves the ingredients into a story, seems to wither as they grow older and real life takes over.  

All fiction writers must hang on to this capacity, although their imaginative life varies wildly from one to another. Some stay in the world of pure fantasy, of fairies, knights and maidens, vampires, time-slip or space travel. Others create a world, which some might argue is still fantasy, by writing erotica or category romance peopled by beautiful ‘cinderellas’ and handsome billionaires.  Others create a darker, gritty, uncomfortable world peopled with policemen, low-lifes and serial killers. 
In many ways I wish I could put a convenient label on my stories.  They don’t fall within any easily pinned down sub-genre like Chick-Lit or Rom Com. If anything, my own imaginative star leads me to subvert the stereotypes of romantic fiction - to people the contemporary world I’ve created with plausible characters, who aren’t drop dead gorgeous, or mega rich, or film star handsome. I give them the regrets and ambitions any of us might have, the strengths, flaws and weaknesses that make them human and believable. And then I throw in obstacles to trip them up and divert them from achieving their goals. The path to happiness, whatever that means for the individual concerned, may not be smooth, it may lead in unexpected directions, but in the end....   Well, you’ll have to read one of my books to find out.

Oh yes...  about that dream, the one that set me thinking...  You may not believe me, but last night I dreamt I was having an affair with Johnny Depp!

Alongside the publication of ‘Life Class’, Gilli is running a special offer price cut - for the next two weeks - on her book ‘Torn’.

Gilli’s Links:
twitter: @gilliallan

Thanks for all your comment's - I love to hear from you.
Do pop back next week - when I'll be discussing my favourite writerly  topic - research!


Old Kitty said...

Hey - that's my dream! LOL!!

Awwww hello Gilli and thanks Janice for hosting! I remember as a child it was my brother (now a criminal solicitor) who created this universe out in our backgarden - I was his assistant!

Take care

Kit Domino said...

A writing tutor once told me I had too much imagination for a fantasy writer to be able to carry my timeslip novel to its conclusion. Doh! If we haven't got imagination or dreams, we have no business being authors. As for genre slotting: Good for you, Gilli! Why have a convenient label just because others haven't the imagination to see further beyond. PS the writing tutor was wrong! Great post Gilli, and thanks, Janice, for hosting.

Gilli Allan said...

I was in the fairies and princes and princesses brigade. Sometimes wish I could tap back into that unselfconsciousness.

Pauline Barclay said...

Congratulations Gilli on your new book.... wonderful news.

Gilli Allan said...

Thanks Pauline. It's been a bit of an uphill struggle, but I think I'm getting there.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Lovely post, Gilli - it's good to see you writing outside 'the box'! Interesting cover.

Sheryl Browne said...

Yay! Good post, Gilli/Janice. Real people inspire my writing, too, real life events and the turmoil of emotion that often goes with them. Nice to connect with a likeminded author. Love the sound of your books! Best of luck! :) xx

Sandra Nachlinger said...

I enjoyed your post, Gilli. I love the "what if ..." game! No telling where it will take y ou.
TORN was a book I won't soon forget. I'm looking forward to reading LIFE CLASS too.

Gilli Allan said...

Thank you so much, Sandy. I do hope you enjoy Life Class. A different story, approached in a different way for me. Thrilled to be out there with a new offering!

Gilli Allan said...

And thank you to Kit and Rosemary. It's been a bit of a trala getting Life Class to this point. What is it,that gremlin inside our heads that won't let go? It keeps saying, try harder. This book deserves an audience. Hope you all agree.


Joan Fleming said...

Thanks for an interesting piece, Gilli and Janice. I agree with your thoughts on categorising your work, Gilli. I know this makes life easier for booksellers (who are on our side), but if your characters don't fit the genre stereotype, there's no point in trying to shoehorn them into a category where they'd be out of place.

Talli Roland said...

Hi Gilli! Great to see you over here at Janice's. Congrats on 'Life Class'.

Miriam Wakerly said...

I totally relate to your post Gilli. Imagination is a wonderful thing, but if characters and life are seen through a too-rosy glow I become so irritated! How do they earn a living? Pay the bills? If not accounted for, the absence of this kind of detail is a distraction - for me, anyway. But of course fantastical flights of fancy demand you distance yourself from this mundane side of life.
On the thorny subject of genre I remember I did a couple of posts on this although I can see the necessity for labels from the publishing point of view.
Great to hear about your new novel Life Class - another to add to my list!

Gilli Allan said...

Thanks Rosemary and Joan for taking the trouble to comment. I appreciate it.
Don't get me started on finding a label to fit your book, or should you write a book to fit the label?