Thursday, October 11, 2012

Interview with Anne Allen

I met Anne Allen thanks to Twitter and this book blog, she asked if I would be interested in reading her book and once I read a few reviews I was convinced. Dangerous Waters offers a story of self-discovery, healing, love and a few mysteries that need to be solved. To learn more about Dangerous Waters, please read my review and check out the giveaway!

I'm glad Anne agreed to be interviewed and give us a little more insight about the story:

After reading the story I Googled Guernsey, it's such an itty bitty island, and from the descriptions in the story it seems so charming. Have you visited Guernsey?

It’s certainly small! About 5 miles by 7 and you can drive round the coast line in about an hour. Mind you, there are even smaller islands in the Channel Islands and one, Herm, also figures in Dangerous Waters. Here there are no cars and both residents (about 50) and tourists walk everywhere. I lived in Guernsey for nearly fourteen years from 1988 and then made a very reluctant return to England. I’ve left behind not only one son but a number of friends to give me a valid reason for frequent returns. I fell in love with the island and the people after enjoying a holiday there in 1987 and vowed to move there as soon as possible. And you’re right, Ellie, it’s full of charm and has a lot to offer visitors as well as residents.


The love story between Jeanne Le Page's grandmother and Wilhelm, the German soldier was so tender and interesting in a historical sense. What can you tell us about the research you did about that time period?

I was fortunate to be able to talk to people who had lived through the Occupation, gaining first-hand accounts of what life had been like at that time. Also, luckily for me, that period is well documented locally, providing me with a rich source of historical material. The Islanders still celebrate Liberation Day every year to mark the arrival of British forces on May 9th 1945.

Where did you get the inspiration for the cottage Le Petit Chêne?

I had lived in a farmhouse in the area where ‘Le Petit Chêne’ could be found and knew the local cottages well. I’d actually undertaken a large-scale renovation of my home so knew what would be involved for Jeanne. Including the stress! Her cottage wasn’t the same design as mine but the garden had similarities. However, mine had a small pine forest instead of an orchard. And the German bunker mentioned in my book actually existed – in my garden! We had it professionally renovated – it had been prone to flooding – and even had the original German signs re-painted. My sons had an illicit party in it while we were away one weekend and we only found out because a neighbour complained about beer bottles being thrown in to the adjoining lane. I had decided early on that my story needed to include an old cottage with secrets and I didn’t have to look far for inspiration. 

Guernsey Cottage

Jeanne Le Page's journey of self-discovery and memory recovery through hypnosis seems to parallel Le Petit Chêne's renovation. Both went through mayhem at their foundation and both came out of it stronger. While you were writing the story was it your intention to link Jeanne and the cottage this way?

Most definitely! For me it was a key strand of the plot and I’m so glad you’ve picked up on it. Both Jeanne and the cottage were in need of TLC at the beginning of the book and I wanted the renovation of the cottage to reflect the changes taking place in Jeanne. For her, the cottage had symbolized her lost, loving family and by bringing it up to date in the 21st century she was echoing her own progress towards renewed life and love. I’ve often found that people take on a big project like a house renovation when they’re searching for something new in their lives – a fresh start. And there’s a tremendous feeling of satisfaction when it’s completed. We can pour our ‘love’ energy into a home instead of a person if we happen to be single.

The book has yummy recipes at the end, have you made them? Are they family recipes?

Guernsey Bean Jar

I’ve only made the ‘enne jarraïe d’haricaöts’ – Guernsey Bean Jar and it was delicious! The recipes are genuine old Guernsey recipes passed down through the generations and are well known locally. I’ve also eaten loads of Gâche , a fruit bread smothered with rich Guernsey butter. No calorie counting allowed!

Gâche with butter

What are you working on now?

My second novel, Finding Mother, the story of a young woman who, as her marriage crumbles, seeks to find her natural mother. She feels the need to understand herself and her roots while re-evaluating her life. The story also focuses on the history of that mother and the grandmother who have kept secrets from each other for years. The setting is predominantly Guernsey (shows how much I love the place!) but there are excursions to England, Jersey (another Channel Island) and Spain.

Thank you very much Anne for such a great story and donating the books for the giveaway.

If you want more information about the book or the author, please visit:

Twitter: @AnneAllen21

Anne Allen, author of Dangerous Waters


  1. Hi Ellie
    I'd like to thank you for hosting my interview and giveaway and you've certainly found some great photos of Guernsey to illustrate my story! I'd like to wish your followers the best of luck with the giveaway:)


  2. I really enjoyed how Anne made the setting such a key part of Dangerous waters and your interview really heightens those aspects. I'll be looking forward to Anne's next book.