Author interview: Claire Allan

I’ve just read and loved Claire Allan’s fourth novel, It’s Got to be Perfect. I met Claire (only virtually, so far) when we were both in an online writing group. She’s lovely and I’m so impressed with everything she’s achieved. Four books! All with pride of place on my “special” book shelf (shelf for books written by friends). So she’s the perfect person to feature in my first author interview! (Hopefully the first of many).

What three books would you take to a desert island?

Very predictable but Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes, which is one a very select number of novels which I can read again and again still enjoy almost as much as the first time. It’s brilliant – funny, sad, uses the word feck alot, has great leather trousers in it. Pretty much everything you could look for in a book. I’d also bring Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte because I adored it as a teenager and keep meaning to re-read it just to see if I still love it just as much and whether I still fancy Hareton or will Heathcliff win me over. I think I’d also bring a biography – not sure which one but I know I’m dying to read Portia De Rossi’s Unbearable Lightness.

If It’s Got to be Perfect was made into a movie, who would you cast in the lead roles?

Ooooh! Not that I’ve thought about this too much but Colin Farrell would be the hairy Anton (although I don’t think Colin has a hairy back… but I’m sure they could whip something prosthetic up). I think Karen Gillan (Doctor Who) would make a good Annie, but perhaps she is a bit young and Scottish? Someone very thin and tall and glam would have to be Darcy – a bit Keira Knightly-ish but less annoying.

Your next book – tell us all about it please!

It has a working title of The 30 Something Crisis Club and it does what it says on the tin. It focuses on three friends, all mid 30s, all at a crossroads in their lives. They decide to have a girly holiday to France and their secrets unravel one by one. There is a very hunky French man to drool over too. And no, he has no excess body hair.

How do you write? Are you a plotter or a panster? Do you write in silence or in front of the TV? Do you have special writing pants? Tell us everything!

I completely fly by the seat of my very large pants. I tend to write more character led books, and have a notion of a plot but it is all very fluid as the characters take over and develop their own personalities. I do generally have a start point, and end point and a rough idea of how I’m going to get there but I’m open to change – which is very unusual for me as I do not do change well! I write, generally, in front of the TV in the evenings, with the sound down low. I always had to do my homework with the radio on while I was at school and this is my modern equivalent. I dream of a nice office, but generally it’s me on the far end of my sofa glass of wine or Diet Coke close at hand and the laptop balanced on a cushion on my knee. I spend a lot of my writing time in my pyjamas – comfort is very important.

What book do you wish you’d written?

Probably Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes although I think no one but Marian could have written it – she took so much of her personal experience and put it in there with crippling honesty. I do get writer’s jealousy over it though. Similarly, Designer Genes by Emma Hannigan is a brilliantly written book which really, really touched me but it is also based, loosely, on Emma’s own experience of cancer so no one but her could have written it.

Bonus question! Is there an abandoned book, hidden in a drawer and, if so, what’s it about and why is it abandoned.

There are starts of books, abandoned – maybe hitting 10,000 words mark. There is an aborted attempt to write Daisy from Rainy Days and Tuesdays‘ story but it was abandoned when Grace (the main character from RD&T) became too involved in it. I also think that book is done, best leave it alone and not revist the past.

Thanks, Claire. Find out more about Claire at her website.