Interview with Author
Anne R. AllenJanuary 30, 2012
I am really excited to talk to Anne R. Allen. She is one of the hardest working writers I know and has recently been in a publishing frenzy.
I’ve published five novels in the past three months with my digital publisher, and they’re slowly coming out in paper—in slightly different order—with another publisher, so it’s hard to define “latest.”
Two of my Camilla Randall mysteries, Ghostwriters in the Sky and Sherwood, Ltd, have just been made available for Nook, and the prequel, The Best Revenge, which is set in the 1980s, debuted this week in paper. All three are also available for Kindle on Amazon.
They feature amateur sleuth Camilla Randall—a perennially broke socialite and manners columnist—and her gay best friend, screenwriter Plantagenet Smith. They’re a fun sleuthing couple—kind of Nick and Nora Charles for the 21st century.
Ghostwriters in the Sky is set at a writers’ conference in California’s wine-and-cowboy country north of Santa Barbara. (It’s also the setting of the popular oenophile film, Sideways.) It’s a fun read that should appeal to any writer who’s gone to a conference or is thinking of going to one—spoofing all the obsessed writers and goofy wannabes.
Sherwood Ltd takes Camilla to a wild, unorthodox publishing company in the English Midlands, near the real Sherwood Forest. She falls for the owner, a charming, self-styled Robin Hood, who turns out to indeed be an outlaw engaged in some very shady enterprises. Unfortunately, he may also be planning to murder her. It’s inspired by my own experiences working for a small publisher in Lincolnshire from 2002-2005.
The Best Revenge introduces Camilla and Plantagenet in the 1980s, when the Savings and Loan scandal caused a recession much like the present one. When Camilla’s patrician family loses everything, she seeks refuge with Plantagenet in California. But he has developed heterosexual tendencies and an inconvenient girlfriend, so Camilla has to move in with wild-partying friends. To make things a whole lot worse, a famously debauched TV star ends up dead after one of their parties, and Camilla is arrested for murder. In order to clear her name and find the real killer, she must turn to a friendly sanitation worker, a dotty octogenarian neighbor and a muckraking journalist who once ridiculed her—who also happens to be her boss.
Ghostwriters in the Sky: Murder at a Writers Conference. Whodunnit? Ghosts, gangsters, the cross-dressing dominatrix, or the bogus agent?
Sherwood, Ltd: Penniless socialite becomes a 21st century Maid Marian, but is “Robin” planning to kill her?
The Best Revenge: A 1980s celebutante loses everything—even her gay best friend—then is accused of murder.
Tough question, since I have so many. I have the works of a lot of fabulous Indie chicks on my Kindle TBR list. But I do love Nick Hornby, (whose work would probably be called “chick lit” if he were female) and Marian Keyes.
I realized recently that my work was influenced by three types of books I read when I was a teen: The classic mysteries of Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Josephine Tey, 2) The sophisticated Dorothy Parker-type humor I read in my parent’s issues of the New Yorker 3) The romantic suspense of Mary Stewart.
I think in my own work, I’ve tried to braid together all three of those threads.
Actually, it’s one of my own—from a popular blogpost from last year. It got picked up by Quotes4Writers on Twitter and makes the rounds about once a month. It’s about “Mirandizing” our friends—the ones who are always looking for themselves in our novels. I’m thinking of having it printed up on a tee-shirt:
“I’m a novelist. Anything you say can be taken down and used against you in a work of fiction.”
I’m very excited to be writing a handbook for writers with Pay it Forward author Catherine Ryan Hyde, who has been my mentor for many years.
Its working title is How to be a Writer in the E-Age
I’d like to thank you, Cheryl, for starting the awesome group of independent women authors we call the Indie Chicks. You’ve been our leader and guiding light as we’ve written and marketed this anthology. It’s such a wonderful, supportive group: women helping each other, and giving the proceeds to charity. I’m also pleased to be part of the MWiDP team with you. I think we’re really going to take off this year.
Anne R. Allen's website: http://annerallen.blogspot.com