Manic Readers

Gilli Allan


I suspect I’ve always been a writer.  Long before I was capable of committing more than a few laborious sentences to the page, I routinely developed long and complex stories in my head, peopled typically with fairies, princes and princesses and the sons and daughters of red-Indian chieftains.  And at primary school, instead of the usual playground games, I forced my friends to enact these dramas.      

I was ten when I first began writing 'a novel' , but it was soon abandoned. In fact I  never finished anything, but I’m nothing if not persistent, and once I’d caught the writing bug, I carried on throughout my teenage years making many beginnings to various, and increasingly morbid stories. Doubtless I was compensating, through my romantic fantasies, for my lack of a real love life. 

My parents were both artists.  They never discouraged my writing, but it was ignored. Their interest in my notebooks was not engaged by my literary pubescent outpourings, but by the doodles and illustrations which lavishly embellished them.  It was clear where they thought my talents lay.  In my early adult life I stopped writing – writers were clever, educated people. I was neither.  I’d left school at 16 with just enough exam passes to go on to art -college.  I now realise that, although I am on the mild end of the spectrum, I was then and am now almost certainly dyslexic.  

I did a few unsuitable jobs before I found my dream job. I was a shop assistant, variously selling, shoes, wigs, children's fashions, and as a beauty consultant, selling cosmetics and face care products. I've also been a bar maid and once did a job which involved spotting US tourists in London, chatting them up and sending them on a coach tour of the capital, which culminated in lunch at the Hilton, where they were subjected to a high pressure sales-pitch, to get them to buy real estate in Florida. 

My career was in advertising where I worked as an illustrator.  When I stopped work to have my son, I started writing again.  Given my subsequent experience, I now find it amazing that the first two novels I ever finished were immediately taken on by a new independent publisher, who was looking for unconventional love stories. Though my first book, Just Before Dawn, fitted the brief, it kept within most of the recognisable stereotypes of category romance.   But with the second, Desires & Dreams, I let my hair down and wrote the novel of my heart. It was still a love story, but it subverted the romance stereotypes, revisiting the darker world of my teenage imagination.  For both novels I was able to design my own covers.

My publisher failed to achieve the marketing, promotion and distribution necessary to achieve success for itself or for its new authors. It folded after a few years and since those days the world of publishing has changed completely.  This is why, in a time when publishers and agents are increasingly risk averse, I decided to self-publish. 

Even now, many books later, I cannot follow any kind of formula in my writing.  Love may still be the engine of the plot, not that my characters are necessarily aware of this, but I try to write honestly, refusing to romanticise the downsides and the pitfalls in modern relationships.

Gilli's MR Links
Current Releases
FLY OR FALL Can the allure of the unknown ever overcome the fear of stepping away from solid ground? Nell admits that she doesn’t like change. Married young and kept at home by twin babies and an invalid mother, and dependent on her husba...
Available Now!

Available Now!
  LIFE CLASS About art, life , love and learning lessons The story follows four members of the class, who meet once a week to draw the human figure. All have failed to achieve what they thought they wanted in life. They come to re...
Available Now!

A Peek Into the Life of Gilli Allan

At the Festival of Romance in Bedford. November 2012

At the Festival of Romance in Bedford. November 2012
At the Festival of Romance in Bedford. November 2012

At the Festival of Romance in Bedford. November 2012
Spot me at the monthly Oxford RNA lunch.

Spot me at the monthly Oxford RNA lunch.

Visit Gilli Allan's website:

Gilli Allan's Links:

TORN in ebook format: =UK   =US

TORN in paperback: =UK    =US

LIFE CLASS in ebook format:  =UK    =US


My blog:

Twitter: @gilliallan

FaceBook Author page:

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