Today I’m excited and blessed to be interviewing Deborah Allen Author of Windmills And Tulips and her newest release My Dutch Diary….
Welcome Deborah, please tell us a little about yourself and your novels.
Katie firstly thank you for having me and taking the time to review my books, it’s very kind of you.
Windmills and tulips is the story of my family. It’s all the funny things that happened to us when we moved to a new country. Although my new home is just 276 miles as the crow flies or 411 miles by road the culture and customs are very different and that can lead to some very funny misunderstandings.
My Dutch Diary is my view of life here in The Netherlands on a month by month basis. This is still a country where the seasons play a big role and that’s reflected in my book. I’ve also included some Dutch recipes for people to try, just so they realise it’s not all cheese, clogs and raw herring!
What inspired you to create your novel?
Seriously, although the idea for the book had been buzzing around in my head for quite a while I never really had the time to sit down and write. Then the company I was working for went bust and I found myself unemployed. So to fill the time, I decided to sit down and write. For years once people found out we were from London, they would ask ‘how on earth did you end up here’. I decided from now on if they wanted to know they would have to read the book. It also gave me a wonderful line on my CV and although it didn’t land me a job I did get a couple of interviews because of it. People were curious to meet the woman who turned unemployment in to an opportunity.
Sadly I only printed a rough copy before my pc crashed and I lost everything. I went back to work and didn’t do anything more about it until a couple of years ago.
What is your writing routine?
While I was unemployed and had the time, I set aside two hours each day normally between 10 and 12 after walking the dogs and before doing the housework..
Now I grab whatever time I can, an hour here and an hour there.
What surprised you most while writing your novel?
How absorbing it becomes, you eat, sleep and drink ‘the book’. Ideas come to you at odd times and I found myself jotting them down on bits of paper all over the place. I now carry a pen and small notebook everywhere I go.
Did you have to do a lot of research while writing your novel?
Windmills and Tulips was largely a case of getting all my old diaries down from the attic and re-reading them. All the events in the book really happened to us, so memory played a big part too.
For My Dutch diary there was a small amount of research, but again it’s a book about my experiences and my views of life here in The Netherlands. I relied on using my own diaries to note how things have changed and the main research took place in the kitchen. I’m not a professional chef, but I do like to cook. Each one of the recipes in the book has been tried and tested, some of them like the advocaat cake have been tried several times, but only because it’s so yummy.
Did you have a favourite place you like to write, while you were creating your novel?
Not really. As I mentioned I tended to re-read diaries and jot things on bits of paper. I have to say trains are great places to write. On the eight-hour journey via Eurostar from Leeuwarden to London I got quite a lot of work done. There’s nowhere to go on a train, so it’s easy to sit back and relax into your thoughts putting them on paper as you go.
Supportive, loving, family
What part of writing your novel did you most enjoy?
All those memories. Christmas parties, the children when they were young, my father in law coming to visit. It was nice to re-visit the past for a little while.
Are you a planner or discovery writer?
I’d say 50/50. I jot down bits of ideas and odd sentences and then as I write, it expands more and more from those few words.
Who are your favourite Authors?
As a small child I loved Enid Blyton, how wonderful it would have been to live the way the children did in her books instead of being on a London housing estate.
Then I discovered authors such as Agatha Christie, Conan Doyle, Dick Francis, JRR Tolkien and James Herriot among my father’s books. By the age of 10 I was hooked on crime thrillers. I still enjoy re-reading those books, but I still enjoy new detective and crime novels.
What was the best advice you’ve ever had while writing your novels?
I am quite isolated, so I didn’t really get any advice while I was writing, but I keep in mind something my dad used to say to me.
“Never let anyone tell you, you can’t do something. Get out there do your best, if it doesn’t work at least you have tried.”
What projects are you working on next?
In life the projects never stop and there’s always something new, be it jam making or mountain climbing. With my writing I am trying to write about all the dogs that have shared, enriched and blessed my life. This is a very emotional journey for me, remembering all those wonderful friends.
Do you have any advice for fellow writers who maybe undertaking creating their first novel at this very moment?
Do it. Don’t wait for tomorrow, next month or next year. Something will always get in the way, so do it today. Pick up a pen and write, who knows, your book could be the next best seller!
Thank you Deborah for taking time to do this blog interview, it has been great to hear about your novels. I wish you all the success with all other writing projects you may undertake in the future.
If you want to find out more about Deborah and her books check out the links below…
Website link: http://writerdeborahallen.wix.com/author-site
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Deborah-Allen/e/B00I94NFPG/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0