Monday, 26 February 2018

#PaulinesPeeps - Elizabeth Whitgift from Fly or Fall

Today I have Elizabeth Whitgift in the hot seat talking about how she met Nell and what she needed to tell here, so please sit back, help yourself to a glass of bubbly and enjoy my interview with Elizabeth Whitgift – Nell’s best friend in Gilli Allan’s FLY OR FALL

Introduce yourself and tell us how you came to find yourself in Nell’s story?

 “My home is in the original village, but I met Nell when she came into my shop in the centre of Downland. We started talking and I discovered she was new to the area. They’d moved from London. In fact, they bought their house through my Dad’s estate agency.’ Elizabeth pauses and bites her lip. ‘He died about a year after. Anyway, I made her coffee and we chatted for a while. I admit I was intrigued. She’s unlike so many of the women around here … the yummy mummies, gym bunnies and horsey types. It’s an affluent area but Nell seemed weighed- down and out of her comfort zone.

How do you mean?

“I got the impression she hadn’t wanted to move. I was curious. She seemed thoughtful, and questioning, unlike many….. The kind of woman who would call herself a feminist. Why had she allowed herself to be pushed into it? It was only later I came to understand how she’d been manipulated by her husband, Trevor. “

So you immediately hit it off. But what is it about you that appealed to her, do you think?

  “I can’t answer that. Perhaps she saw in me someone more like minded?  I don’t make friends … real friends … easily.  I’m not anti-social, not like my other half. I know loads of people. I’ve lived in the area all my life, after all, but I’m not a joiner. I’m not good at chit-chat.  People seem to find me a bit odd and call me a hippy…. Just because I like to burn joss sticks. Or perhaps because I’d rather do something creative, like making my jewellery, than spend my time worrying about filling my wardrobe with the latest fashion, sculpting my body with exercise, or trying to create a house like a glossy film set. I could really talk to Nell….”

You had a lot in common?

“It turned out we had more in common than even she realised. I wasn’t deliberately keeping secrets but….” Elizabeth sighs and shifts on her chair. “I found it hard to talk about. And to be honest, I thought she knew!  That club is a hotbed of gossip and scandal. I couldn’t believe no one would have put her straight.  But I was sorry not to have been more open with her in the beginning. It obviously came as a huge shock when she found out. We still remained friends, but it changed things.  There was a distance between us from then on.  I don’t blame her.  If anyone’s to blame it’s my husband. But he has always been my weakness, and I’ll forgive him almost anything.”

What did he do?

 “He caused havoc as he always has, and I fear he always will.  It hurts me that he’s suffered such bitter jealousy and resentment for so long. I was never able to compensate for the loss and injustice he felt. Never able to reassure him.  I can only hope that now…’ she pauses and looks up at the ceiling. ‘He’ll settle down and find peace of mind at last.” 

So, what about you? How do you see your own future after so much upheaval?

“Oh, I’m all right.  I’ll always be all right.  I have Synolda with me now. She’s a Reiki Master. My chakras have never been so aligned.  So, we live holistically and I have achieved self-acceptance and calm. I have no regrets, helped by the fact I was able to put things straight with Nell.  She was in such a bad place.  Her whole life had fallen apart. At the time I almost felt sorrier for her than I did for myself. She was stumbling around in the dark. I was glad I could shine a bit of a light on events and relationships that she was still unaware of.  And I hope too that what I divulged to her about Pat helped her to remake her life. “

What did you tell her about Patrick?

“You’ll have to ask Nell.  Or him…….!” 

You can meet Elizabeth Whitgift again in Fly or Fall

You can find out more about Gilli and her books at the following….

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

A Special Thank you to Lynsey Grant

Many of you know the last few months have been a rough tough time and last week we headed back to the UK for my mum’s funeral. We stayed at the Wherry Hotel in Oulton Broad where we were very well looked after. On the day of the funeral our taxi, ordered to take us to dad’s house, did not turn up and after waiting for over twenty minutes panic set in. Apart from sprinting there like a gold medal athlete, the chance of arriving on time was looking impossible! But, all was not lost, Lynsey Grant, Wedding & Function Manager for the Wherry Hotel walked into reception and seeing our distress quickly ushered us into her car and drove us to dad’s house.

Thankfully the problems with the traffic were not on the roads we needed to travel on to the village, however, the roads back to the hotel were grid locked! Sometime later we learnt of the problems and it was no fault of the taxi company but serious problems with the bridge. The bascule bridge is the main crossing for the town and due to these problems had brought much of the area to a standstill for many hours. And yes, the cortege was also caught up in the traffic and arrived a few minutes late. 

My mum hated the bridge and cursed it from the moment we moved to live in Lowestoft in January 1969 when the original swing bridge broke down within two days of our arrival. I can't help but think how strange that the bridge should have broken down on such a day! 

Once again, thank you so much Lynsey.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Storm Clouds Gathering

A new poster I designed for my emotional book
Storm Clouds Gathering.

This is what some of the readers have had to say…

“Storm Clouds Gathering tells the story of three families during the sixties in the North of England. Being originally from Yorkshire myself the setting immediately appealed to me and Pauline’s evocation of the era is spot-on. I particularly enjoyed the way in which the three stories intertwined and Pauline Barclay is adept at sweeping the reader up as the story carries you along. I became quite engrossed in the highs and lows that the different characters shared, running the whole gamut of emotions – always the sign of a good writer. This is a book that will stay in your mind long after you have finished the last page.”

“This is the third book of Ms. Barclay's that I have read, and like the other two (The Wendy House, Magnolia House), this is a real page turner! Couldn't put it down! As the title suggests- there is a storm brewing, but Ms.Barclay sets up the story in a calm peaceful way. Then the lives of these characters start to unravel. There is much emotion throughout the story, and like another reviewer said: the book stays with you.”

“This was one of the best books I've read for a long time. Three different families' stories, interwoven and brought together by tragedy and heartbreak. Twists and turns aplenty, a complete page-turned that I found myself reading late into the night.”

“Yes, the story is deeply compelling. It takes more than a compelling storyline, though, to make a great novel. For me, the characters and the extent to which I connect with them are what really make or break a story. In real life, we have an emotional reaction to gathering storm clouds because we care about the people affected by the brewing storm. In Barclay's Storm Clouds Gathering, I absolutely had emotional reactions because I cared deeply for the characters. Barclay has created realistic, vulnerable characters, characters who, like real people, have strengths and weaknesses. Her characters, each with a distinct personality, are human. Barclay brings them to life in a very powerful way, and as I read I felt very connected to each of them in different ways.”

Available in Kindle and paperback from all Amazon sites and can be ordered from High Street Book Shops

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Character Interview: Patrick Lynch from the Fly or Fall by Gilli Allan.

Today in our special character interview we meet, Patrick Lynch from the Fly or Fall by Gilli Allan.

1.        Introduce yourself and tell us where we can we meet you?
“Everyone calls me Pat, but I’m Patrick … Patrick Lynch.  I work with my dad, Bill, in Downland, on the edge of the North Downs. I live……. Look, if you can’t find me on someone’s roof, shifting bricks or pouring concrete, I’ll be in the sports club.”

2.       Why are you in this book?
“Don’t ask me!  Wasn’t my idea. ‘Fly or Fall’ is Eleanor Hardcastle’s story.  She’s the first woman since…… uh, the first woman to break through my defences. Funny thing was, she had no idea she was doing it.”

3.       Would you describe yourself as a likeable person?
“Ha ha ha ha. Who’ve you been talking to? I want to be liked, makes life easier, and I work hard at it.  If I can’t make people laugh I feel I’ve failed. But for the most part everyone always seems pleased to see me … except my brother. Maybe it’s too late to mend that relationship.”

4.       What would you say are your strengths and your weaknesses?
“I don’t go in for self-analysis, but….  Good humour? Popularity? Are those strengths? If it’s within my capabilities I’ll always help folk out, go the extra mile. That might just be a strategy, of course, to ensure I’m everyone’s friend. But the flip-side of being liked, particularly by the ladies, is that I’m not above taking advantage. Something I’m not proud of, but hey, I’m only human.
I have been accused of avoiding trouble and confrontation … is that a weakness? … but if you ask enough people about me, they’ll all have their own take. Few really know me. My own fault, I guess. I’m not always … well … completely honest. I tell people what I think they’d prefer to hear, what fits with their preconceptions about me.”

5.       Did your author portray you and your story correctly? If not why?
“‘Fly or Fall’ is told from Eleanor’s point of view. What she doesn’t know neither does the reader. At first, I come across as pretty shallow, a bit glib, a bit … ‘Jack-the-Lad’. I’m not complaining. It’s the part I often play because it seems to go down well with bored housewives. Eleanor was different … out of place, kind of trapped.  She changed, of course, and that threw me a bit, and then there was the incident with her daughter! The kid’s only 14! I admit I was shocked that Eleanor believed that of me. And after that, well, I wonder if anything would have happened … if the ice would ever have been broken … if I hadn’t fallen off that ladder!  Even then I only slowly began to open up, to begin … finally … to tell her the truth.”

About Gilli

Gilli Allan began to write in childhood - a hobby pursued throughout her teenage. Writing was only abandoned when she left home, and real life supplanted the fiction.
After a few false starts, she worked longest and most happily as a commercial artist in London, and only began writing again when she became a mother.
Still a keen artist Gilli draws and paints, and has now moved into book illustration. She regularly attends a life-class near her home, a village in Gloucestershire, where she lives with her husband, Geoff.
Gilli Allan has had five books published.

Also by Gilli Allan:

Find Gilli @  (@gilliallan)