In The Chair 18: Gilli Allan

Welcome, Gilli Allan.

How would you describe your writing style in only three words?

Gilli: Truthful, dramatic, controversial.


If you could have a relationship with one of your fictional characters who would it be and why?

Gilli: I always fall for my “heroes”. But I put the word in quotation marks because they’re not heroes in a conventional sense. I am able to dally with them for a while, and then move on, but my heroine will properly fall in love – despite the man’s flaws, failings and weaknesses – and although I don’t have them both sailing into the future in a billowing cloud of white wedding dress and confetti, there is an implied permanency to their decision to hook up (even if the reader doubts the HAPPY will be EVER AFTER).
I’ll have to choose Patrick Lynch, from FLY OR FALL – but I suspect it’s only because he’s more “present” to me at the moment. Would I ever really trust him or believe a word he said?

If you had to exist for a week in one of your books … which one would it be? Would you be a central character or simply watch the story unfold from the sidelines?

Gilli: It would have to be Life Class, my next book to be published by Accent Press. The story revolves around four people who are all connected to an adult life-drawing class. Three of them are there to study the nude figure, and the fourth is the sculptor, Stefan Novak, who teaches the class. I am an artist, and attended a ‘Life Class’ from art school days until a few years ago, and I’d really love to get back into it. A concentrated week of art would be lovely, but I don’t want all that emotional turmoil. I’ll be one of the quiet students who get on with their work, watching the drama unfold from the sidelines.

Dead or alive literary dinner party: who would you invite, and what would you serve?

Gilli: So difficult! I think I’d invite writers who are also wits and raconteurs, Clive James and Stephen Fry for example, and maybe Mark Billingham. I’d also like to have Kate Atkinson, C J Sansom and Ruth Rendell – authors I greatly admire and who I am sure are erudite, but I don’t know how witty they’d be.
And I wouldn’t want to miss a moment, so I’d be very stressed about producing a fantastic spread. It would have to be simple. Smoked chicken and radicchio as a starter. Then lamb shanks which can have been slow cooking for hours, served with Mediterranean roast vegetables (pre-prepped on a tray, with loads of oil, garlic, seasoning and fresh herbs) which I can pop in the oven just before the pre-prandial drinks. Then my own recipe blackcurrant and Creme de Cassis ice cream, and a big bowl of summer fruits.

If you had to write in a different genre which would it be and why? 

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Gilli: It would have to be crime, as this is the genre I most read, but it might prove a two edged sword. Writing ‘women’s fiction’ has rather spoiled the genre for me. I’m either cast into despair because I’ll never be that good, or I am very critical and can’t subdue my internal editor. So, apart from not being clever enough to write crime, it would dilute my enjoyment in reading it.

What do you dislike the most about being an author?

Gilli: The compulsion to sit in front of the computer and write something WHETHER I WANT TO OR NOT – even if it’s only (at the moment I should say usually) promo and marketing stuff!

Favourite word? 

Gilli: Several sprang out at me. I love hugger-mugger, and lugubrious. But I think I’ll plump for *curmudgeonly*. (I’ve just noticed. I must have a previously unsuspected attraction to the letter U!)

Gilli Allan was in the chair: Author of  Torn, Fly or Fall & Life Class. Published by Accent Press.



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