Thursday 14 November 2013

In conversation with Anne Allen...

I am delighted to welcome back to the blog

Anne Allen



October 2013

Where did the idea for Finding Mother come from?

I've always been interested in the impact that being adopted has on people. This issue figured in my work as a psychotherapist and two of my cousins were adopted. And about the time I was playing around with the idea I read a newspaper article written by a man who traced his natural mother when he was in his fifties. So, it was meant to be!

I knew that I wanted the story to be set mainly in Guernsey and I had a vision of a big, old Gothic house on a cliff playing a prominent role.

What is it about your book that will pique the reader’s interest?

Well, anyone who is interested in families and relationships should find something enjoyable in my book. I focus mainly on the three generations of women caught up in the story, but the men have their parts to play too. My main themes cover love and loss and buried secrets – themes which also figured largely in my first book, Dangerous Waters. And who doesn't like old secrets?! There's also a reference to WWII and the evacuation of Guernsey children to England and I undertook quite a bit of research to make sure of accuracy.

How important is location to your story?

Very! I'm one of those writers who prefers to write about places they know well so that readers can easily visualise themselves walking in my characters' footsteps. I lived in Guernsey for nearly 14 years so know it very well; I've also lived in Spain and Bath which appear in the story. Readers of Dangerous Waters have commented how well they feel they 'know' Guernsey after finishing the book.

The cover of Finding Mother is very striking, who designed the cover and why did you go for that particular design?

Thanks Jo! It wasn't an easy decision as my designer, Claire Siggery ,came up with a few great choices. She had designed the cover for Dangerous Waters, which I'd loved. We finally went with this design as the idea of the maze holding the figure of the 'mother' seemed to say exactly what we wanted to convey. The sea-scape, by the way, is the west coast of Guernsey to add some authenticity. I'm afraid there's no real maze on the island!

Finding Mother is your second novel – did you feel more of an obligation to make this book even better than the first?

Not an obligation, more of a desire to improve as a writer. Something that will be spurring me on as long as I write. Each book teaches me something new and I hope that my readers continue to enjoy my stories as much as I enjoy writing them. The positive reviews for Dangerous Waters certainly played a part in encouraging me to write another book.

Have you another novel planned yet?

Not just planned, but started! I wish to continue the Guernsey theme again. In fact, I'm calling my books The Guernsey Novels. They're not a series but there are links between them, as you may have noticed, Jo? So there will be a link with the next, to be called either The Retreat or Guernsey Retreat. It's a story based on a newly opened Natural Health Centre and what happened there just before the war and the repercussions in the present day. The main character is a young woman, Louisa, who turns up at the Centre looking for answers and finds out more than she bargained for! It's a romantic mystery covering a couple of mysterious deaths and missing jewellery. I've been so busy with the publication and promotion of Finding Mother that I've not written much yet but can't wait to get on with it.

Anne has very kindly offered one lucky UK winner a copy of Finding Mother in this great giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Anne thank you so much for spending time on our blog. Jaffa and I are always glad to welcome back our favourite authors.
Do come back and visit us again.


My thoughts on Finding Mother

‘Oh, what a tangled web we weave. When first we practice to deceive’ Sir Walter Scott, Marmion.

Nicole’s escape from her philandering husband takes her into a quest to find her roots. Adopted as a baby by a loving and devoted couple, and brought up on the island of Jersey, Nicole has always felt loved and cherished, but her longing to find out more about her birth mother leads her, first to her adoptive parents in  Spain, and then to the island of Guernsey, and into a treasure trove of long buried secrets.

Finding Mother is the second in the series of Guernsey Novels, and as we have come to expect from this talented author, there is a warm and welcoming feel to the narrative. The fine attention to detail and rich characterisation carry the story along without ever giving way to overemotional sentimentality. The sensitive subjects of abandonment, adoption, infidelity, and marital breakdown are explored in remarkable detail and yet the underlying message is always one of hope and redemption. Alongside the present day family mystery, the rich tapestry of Guernsey’s WWII history also comes gloriously alive, and as long buried secrets rise to the surface, the past and present intertwine into an unforgettable story of love, loss and hope.

I have only recently been introduced to Anne Allen’s novels, but she is fast becoming one of my favourite authors. I stayed up long and late to finish Finding Mother, because I simply could not put the book down and needed to find out just a little bit more. By the end of the story I felt, not only like I had made new friends, but also that I had visited the beautiful island of Guernsey, which Anne describes in such vivid detail. I am convinced  that the Guernsey Novels she writes so lovingly should feature in the tourist information guide to Guernsey and the Channel Islands.

I can’t wait for more of The Guernsey Novels from this lovely author.



  1. I really like the sound of this story, I have a personal interest in adoption. Great interview, thanks for the giveaway Josie x

    1. Thanks for visiting Anne and for checking out this lovely story x

  2. Hi Jo
    Thanks so much for both your searching questions and the lovely review! I feel quite humbled. But it will spur me on to book three so hope to meet here again next year :)

    1. HI Anne - it was a real pleasure to host your interview. Jaffa and are looking forward to book 3 !!

  3. I have Dangerous Waters on my "to read next" pile and really like the sound of this one. Very interesting interview and a great giveaway.

    1. HI Essex Reader - I'm sure you'll enjoy Dangerous Waters as much as I did. Thanks for reading the interview !

  4. This sounds just like my kind of story. Thank you for hosting this author chat and giveaway.


Thanks for taking the time to comment - Jaffareadstoo appreciates your interest.