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!