Toni will be awarding a free e-book of VISITING LILLY and a FREE TAROT CARD reading for one lucky commenter to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Interview with Toni Allen
What made you want to write a book?
When I was young I was an eternal daydreamer. I never enjoyed watching TV and would much prefer to be out and about with my own thoughts. Our house backed onto a river so I would walk along the riverbank for hours on end, looking at the wildlife and making stories up in my head. One day, when I was about 8 years old, I decided to write down my imaginings, and ever since then I’ve set my stories down on paper.
Writing an entire book didn’t happen for a few more years, and these days I’m always writing some part of some book, even if it’s only scratching around with ideas and making notes.
POTENTIAL BIG PLOT SPOILER
Characters literally walk into my head and show me part of their story. Unfortunately I have no control over this and the character rarely steps in and shows me the very first scene of a book. If only it were that easy!
With Visiting Lilly my initial vision was of Frankie and Keith visiting Lilly. I saw them both standing in the bedroom of a beautiful woman who came from a different time than them. Something weird was going on because to me it felt like they were ghosts in her bedroom, appearing unsolid and slightly transparent.
Frankie was being very shy, revering this stunning beauty as he lowered his head, raised his eyes and dared gaze upon her. I instantly felt the spark between them. Keith acted like a total outsider, as if he shouldn’t be there and was intruding on something highly personal. He was standing to one side, sullen, wanting to go. Frankie said to Lilly that they had to leave, but that he would visit again, and as he spoke they both started to evaporate.
I then saw Frankie standing alone, back in a dark room, back in his body, appearing solid and real now. He was in a panic. Keith had not returned with him. Where was Keith? His body was gone.
This scene gave me the entire premise for the storyline. From there I had to work out how to write Frankie’s story, and at which point the story should start.
How do you balance writing with your job, life and family?
Balance is currently not a word in my vocabulary. The scales have tipped and I’m threatening to slide off into oblivion.
Fortunately my son is grown up and lives overseas, so I don’t have duties and commitments to a young family to contend with. My partner is very understanding and we ensure that we set aside quality time for each other, to walk and talk and just be together.
I’m self-employed so the job has to take priority or the bills don’t get paid. I have a large client base and I’m constantly in demand, my working hours being the opposite to everyone else’s as most people consult me for tarot and astrology during their free time. Hence I work afternoons and evenings.
Writing is part of my life blood, so I write during my free time. I don’t go on leisure holidays, I go on holiday to take time out and write. Other people ask me if I’ve watched so-and-so programme on TV, but I don’t watch TV, I write. You get the picture.
I’m not a party animal so most of my socialising is on a one-to-one basis. I go out for dinner with a friend once a week, every week, it’s part of my ‘switch off from everything’ routine. We go for a drive, walk, talk, and have a laugh. I always carry my camera and take photos of wildlife or anything that catches my attention.
The bottom line is that it’s the people in my life who help me keep the balance. They help me relax by dragging me away from the computer and saying, ‘Don’t worry, your imaginary people will still be there when you get back.’
by Toni Allen
D.I. Jake Talbot is a burnt-out British detective given a second chance to believe in love, friendship and the transcendent essence of the human experience. When he investigates a seemingly innocent visitor to a residential care home for the elderly he uncovers a dangerous family hiding a forbidden romance that mysteriously crosses the boundaries of time. The deceitful family does all they can to prevent Talbot from discovering their secrets surrounding an unsolved murder, family betrayal; at the core of which is a keenly intelligent, though somewhat mentally challenged young man who is fixated on an elderly woman being held captive by her own grandson. Talbot sets out to right the many wrongs done to the blameless, and in turn, rediscovers his own humanity.
Jake comforts a sozzled, worried Helen
He spent most of the night reading Frankie’s blog in his bedroom, the soft glow from a table lamp enough to scribble down some notes, the bed behind him unused, and his eyes aching from staring at the machine. For comfort he’d stripped off and put on his dressing gown, made himself as relaxed as the tension in his neck would allow. It must have been gone three when the door swung open, the sound of Helen creeping in making him turn, the sight of her mussed-up hair where she’d tried to sleep startling him into thinking she was a ghost. His pulses raced. Christ, this is what Frankie’s blog did for you, got you so involved in his crazy world that suddenly his reality became your own.
‘You okay?’ he whispered.
‘No,’ she said, sounding maudlin. She slumped down onto the bottom of the bed and burst into tears, a half-empty bottle of wine cradled in her lap.
‘Hey, hey,’ he said softly, and placed an arm around her shoulders, drawing her close.
‘I … I’m so … confused,’ she managed to say between great, heaving, alcohol-fuelled sobs. ‘Everyone’s lied to me, haven’t they?’
Not knowing what everyone had said, Talbot chose the middle line, ‘Not lied, Helen.’
‘It’s a cover up, for something.’ He kissed her forehead.
‘He’s meant to be crazy,’ she said angrily. ‘Frankie is supposed to be a harmless schizophrenic, with a wild imagination, who lives in his own bizarre dream world … and … and writes a love story about someone who isn’t real called Lilly.’ She looked up at him, tears sparkling on her cheeks. ‘Now it’s all sinister, Jake, all creepy and bad—and bloody scary.’
Toni Allen is a professional tarot reader, astrologer, author and photographer.
I’ve been a professional tarot reader for about 30 years, and an astrologer for about 25. Now, thanks to the internet, I have an International client database. My main website is creaking because I haven’t updated it for so long, but it’s still fully functional and full of lots of interesting information. www.toniallen.co.uk . A new build is underway, with lots of modern bits and pieces so that you can connect with me via Facebook and easily keep up to date with events that I’m offering readings at.
BN Author page: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/toni-allen