Another Blog Tour, another interview. Join me today in speaking with Author Raven McAllan.
Hi Raven, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Hi and thank you for letting me come and ramble on about my writing.
I am a bus pass toting refusing to grow old granny who lives in Scotland. Land of whisky (no E) haggis, men in kilts, (sometimes) and on our side of the country, the bleeping midge. We live on the edge of a forest, and my study overlooks my garden, where I can watch red squirrels play. (And listen to the tourists in the lane debating which way to go.)
I drive a sports car and on the odd occasion our Scottish weather allows, love to go out in it with the top down, playing old 60’s and 70s music loudly.
Tortured duke Gibb Alford has vowed never to love again... until a beautiful French knife thrower brings him to his knees
When Gibb Alford, Duke of Menteith, saves a beautiful French knife thrower from the unwanted attentions of a fellow aristocrat he is ill-prepared for the immediate tug of attraction to the beautiful Evangeline. Widowed, he has sworn off love forever, so he can well do without this temptation.
Evangeline certainly doesn’t want the complication of being in the sights of one smoky-eyed Scottish Duke. She’s a lady on a mission, with no time for love or dalliance.
However, fate and life have other plans and gradually Gibb and Evangeline become a couple.
As each struggle with the demons of their pasts, Evangeline finds life in the ton difficult. The spurned aristocrat Gibb saved her from, is not prepared to give in and retire gracefully. And while Gibb fights the man, he also declares war on his own emotions. When Evangeline’s past is revealed to her, everything changes. She has a decision to make.
Fight for Gibb—or flee to a safe but unfulfilled future.
As for her Duke… All is fair in love and war—right?
So, what have you written? (*Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest. Where can we buy or see them?
Honestly, there are too many to mention. I’ve been writing for almost six years now, and have a goodly mixture of books from short stories to full length. I’m very lucky in that I’ve been able to indulge my love of writing right across the romance board. So, I have stories from the beginning of the nineteenth century up to the present day. I’ve written about shifters, vampires and aliens, as well as straightforward humans in whatever pairing the story needed. If humans can be called straightforward of course.
I’ve won several awards and been on a fair few Amazon category bestseller lists. I also write YA under a different name. (J. Lilley)
All the books that are still published (sadly my first publisher closed down a couple of years ago) are on Amazon, and most of them on the various publisher's sites, Kobo, Smashwords and Bookstrand.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
In The Duke’s Temptation, both my main characters Gibb and Evangeline are complex people. Evangeline is a French knife thrower, who has come to England on a whim. Gibb is a Duke who doesn’t want to get involved with any one. Sparks fly.
What genre are your books?
This one is Regency romance. I swap depending on what mood I’m in. Plus I don’t like to go straight from writing a Regency to another in case I get my plots mixed up.
What draws you to this genre?
I think because I try to get ‘behind’ the scenes. After all we only know what we’ve been told, about that era don’t we? There must be a lot we are unaware of. I like to imagine my characters lives, give them ideas and intentions that might not have been of the norm, but were part of their make up. Decide what their foibles are and how they lived their lives in the way they wanted. I have a preference for feisty, know their own mind heroines who won’t stand for any nonsense. Plus, I love history. There is something so satisfying about research and discovering something you didn’t know. My problem there is that I do tend to get carried away, and sometimes end up nowhere near the subject I was attempting to research. But I enjoyed every minute.
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
This is a hard one. I tend not to base my characters on any one person. The only time I did that, I was told I’d spoilt the book for a good friend because she didn’t see the hero like that, and she hated the actor chosen. Now you get the features and characteristics and you chose. I guess Evangeline is like a young Lauren Bacall. Which, I know is no help whatsoever. As for Gibb... Rufus Sewell in A Knight’s Tale?
Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers? If not, is this something you would consider?
My best mate Doris O’Connor and I wrote The Dukes’ Christmas Abductions together. It’s a time slip from the present day to yes, you’ve guessed it, Regency times. We had great fun, and keep saying we must do another. When we find the time.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
Well, I don’t go out to work, but I do have a lot of commitments. It all depends on what’s on. Though I confess to taking my lap top on holiday and getting up early to write. I don’t write in the evenings or at weekends unless I have a deadline. (Or the footie is on. Then I disappear into my study and crack on.)
Where do your ideas come from?
Goodness knows. They just do. That’s not a cop out, I have no idea. I wake up with one. Look out of the window, sit on a plane... And the ideas are never about where I am. I have a mind full of bits and bobs, which jumps around like a demented gnat.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to see where an idea takes you?
I do both, depending on my mood and my muse. Sometimes I have a beginning and an end, but no idea how I’m going to get form one to the other. Then I can also find myself with the complete story in my head. I will admit that even the ones that are plotted might (and usually do) deviate from what I thought would happen. Characters have their own very definite ideas on what should go on it seems.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
As a better writer, I hope. When I read back over my first few books I can see how I’ve changed. I think my writing flows better now. I’m happier to do what I think needs to be done, and to trust my instinct.
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
Well that’s a hard one because I don’t think any two writers would describe writer’s block as the same thing. I’m not sure what it is. I’ve had days I don’t want to write, for whatever reason. So I don’t. I’ve had characters who refuse to talk to me, so I ignore them and write something else. I guess the biggest thing is not to stress about it. (Hard, I know.) My advice to a friend was to pick 5 or 10 words, or let someone else pick them, and write 100 or 500 words with those words included. Pick words that just spring to mind, don’t think about them, and see where your muse takes you. I picked hers and she ended up with a vampire book from them. (Nothing remotely connected to a vampire was in the words I gave her.)
What advice would you give writers who want to go down the traditional publishing route?
Take your time. Look at various publishers and see what they publish. Decide if it fits your book(s). Ask around. Someone will always know someone who writes for whoever you want the information on. Remember whatever you hear is only one person’s opinion, but if a lot of those are negative beware the big red flag waving.
Read their guidelines and follow them.
Accept you might have a long wait to hear from them, and try not to press the refresh button every five minutes.
Well what can I say?
I'm growing old disgracefully and loving it.
Dh and I live on the edge of a Scottish forest, and rattle around in a house much too big for us.
Our kids have grown up and flown the nest, but roll back up when they want to take a deep breath and smell the daisies so to speak.
I write in my study, which overlooks the garden and the lane. I'm often seen procrastinating, by checking out the wild life, looking—only looking—at the ironing basket and assuring tourists that indeed, I'm not the bed and breakfast. That would mean cooking fried eggs without breaking the yolks, and disturbing the dust bunnies as they procreate under the beds. Not to be thought of.
Being able to do what I love, and knowing people get pleasure from my writing is fantastic. Long may it last.
https://www.facebook.com/ravenmcallanandkerafaire (author page)
http://amzn.to/2r3i55e (Amazon. com page)
http://amzn.to/2r32baI (Amazon UK)