Oct 22nd, 2017
Let's welcome Raven McAllan to the blog today.
Raven, tell us a bit about yourself.
I live in Scotland, the land of mists, mountains and midges. The first two I can cope with, the last is well named as the scourge of Scotland.
Living on the edge of a forest, with wild life and tourists always about, life is never dull, especially when someone stops you on our lane and asks if it is the main road to Glasgow. (er no)
I share my life with my DH, and two cats. Our children have flown the nest, great to go visiting them!
What was your favorite book as a child?
Anything by Arthur Ransome. I was an avid reader, and his books got to the adventurous side of me. I read all the usual Enid Blyton sort of stuff but Arthur Ransome was my favourite. Unless you count the book my mum always wished she could hide when I was around two. Called Naughty Pussy Pickpaws (the images that conjours up now ;)). It was about a cat who was mischievous. Evidently I knew it by heart, but still insisted she read it to me.
What inspired you to be a writer?
A competition when I was about seven or eight. A well known UK Chocolate company ran a competition entitled, 'Where does chocolate come from?' To my amazement I won both years I entered, and the prize was chocolate. Well, to get paid in chocolate sold writing to me. I was hooked. Sadly at high school the art of writing prose was drummed out of me and it took me over forty years to get the mojo back. I am so glad I did. Now I just buy the chocolate and yes it is the same sort from all those years ago.
I should add I actually began to write again when I entered a competition on line. Boy was I bad. But I met a great group of up-and-coming writers, we formed a support group and eventually every one of us got published. We still nag cheer and high five today.
Did you study in college with an eye towards your writing career?
Nope. My degree is in International Studies. Think International Relations and Politics with a bit of Economics and History. I'd love to say the history helped with my Regencies, but it never touched on that era.
What genre do you write and why did you pick this genre?
I write whatever grabs me at the time. Anything from 1800 to the present day. It could be m/f, m/m or menage. Paranormal, YA, dark romance or straightforward romance. I've even got a chick lit out for consideration at the moment. Everything had a HEA though. I'm lucky I can and do ring the changes as the muse grabs me. I do wonder if it would be easier just to write one specific thing, but my mind evidently doesn't work like that. Just as well I love that I can do what I do.
Does your particular genre require research? If so, how do you do it?
I tell my husband it does, especially when I set a book abroad. I do like to know first hand the places I set my real life stories in. I'm lucky I do get to travel quite a lot so I carry notebooks everywhere and take lots of pictures.
When I write Regency there is lots of research involved because I hate not getting my facts correct. As I enjoy research, it's no hardship. My only problem is I get carried away and spend hours reading things that aren't really what I need but oh, you never know, might be one day...
Tell us about your current release. What inspired you to write it?
The Cleaner is the last book in the Death Isle series, written by my alter ego Kera Faire. She's my dark side
The series is set on Loch Lomond, and is about a group of government sanctioned assassins, The Dispatchers They each have their own peculiar skill, even though a favoured method is to feed traitors to the pigs. Alive or dead. Honestly they are love stories.
I got the idea for the story when I was chatting to my son about the loch. He and his mate used to have a speedboat on it and were telling me how many islands were uninhabited but could easily not be. And about the island with the wallabies. (Inchconnachan) They gave me the idea that it would be an excellent place to set a story. I took myself off there one day (it's not far from home) and thought it could be perfect for the government to put something hush-hush there. I wanted to try my hand at a dark romance and well...this last book is book seven. Each book is a standalone but of course there is a slim thread running through them all, and not just the fact that at least one person in each book is a Dispatcher.
In "The Cleaner," Dan and Rhonda, my hero and heroine have a past, and it's decided to rear up and bite them on the bum. As I say... One Dom, one sub and one unexpected pregnancy. Add in a killer and wait for the fun to start. Although I guess it does depend on what you consider as fun.
If you could give advice to a new writer starting out, what would that be?
Write as you can, not as you think you should. Your voice is unique to you, so enjoy it and use it.
Here's the blurb for "The Cleaner":
What do you do when you're pregnant and you have no idea where the father is?
Ask your brother for advice. Except Rhonda's brother, Marcus seems to have vanished as well.
Finding Dan, was a bonus. Getting mixed up with the Dispatchers when there was a killer on the loose was not. How could Rhonda and Dan sort their own troubles out until every other problem was solved? It was going to take all the skill of the Dispatchers and their ladies to make this a happy ever after.
For UK readers:
Say hello to Raven : RavenMcAllan.com