With us today is Romance Author, Raven McAllan.
Describe a typical day in the life of Raven McAllan.
Nothing typical I guess. It all depends where I am. At home on a weekday I walk, then make coffee, shove the washing machine on and write. Around 4pm I realize I’ve forgotten to sort dinner, eat lunch, set the fire, unload the washer etc etc. Weekends its DH time. On holiday I get up early and write for an hour before DH gets up and we enjoy our relaxation time together.
Tell us, what’s the first thought that comes to your head when you read the following words…
Licorice … Damn it it has gluten in it, so it’s a do not eat food.
Thor … Thunder
Tulips … Amsterdam. ( I was there a few weekends ago and they were magnificent)
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where do you live, do you have a significant other, any young ones running around?
I live in Scotland with my SO and one cat. The young ones are all grown up and flown the nest. so DH and I rattle around in a house too big for us, but we love where we live. (On the edge of a forest)
Preference – Sam or Dean Winchester? If you haven’t seen Supernatural (and why not! It’s MY Fave show LOL), then would you prefer Iron Man or Wolverine?
Um, I have to confess I’m er who? To all of them. Johnny Depp all the way.
What do you like to do for fun and relax?
Well if it’s the one day of summer ( I live in Scotland) It’s sit in the garden with DH, a good book and a glass of wine. Other than that, I walk most days, and love, love, love, holidays and discovering new places. I also do tapestry and cross stitch.
What five items do you take everywhere with you – besides cell phone, keys and purse/wallet?
Tissues, Kindle, Driving license, tinted lip balm, notebook with a pencil attached. DH would say My MacBook Air, but that only goes almost everywhere!
If we were to come over to your house for dinner, what dish would you make us?
Well it would be gluten free, so probably curry, or something seafood.
Have you read any books that have made you cry?
The Far Pavilions, by M.M. Kaye.
Who is your celebrity crush?
Sadly I’m boring, I don’t really have one. Mind you I do think Johnny Depp in Chocolat is a bit of all right.
What three words would your family use to describe you?
Loving, caring, opinionated.
If you were given an all-expense paid, five day/night trip to anywhere, where would you go?
Somewhere I’ve never been before. I’m very lucky. Dh are doing our gap year in two week stints, and I’ve been to some fantastic places. I’d like to go back to the Great Wall of China though, and to see the terra-cotta warriors.
If you had the chance to meet one author – past or present – who would it be? Why?
M. M. Kaye. Her autobiography of living in India during the first half of the twentieth century, is so evocative.
Who/What are you currently reading?
I’m actually rereading Village School by Miss. Read. When I’m in the middle of a WIP I tend to shy away from any book that might influence what I’m writing.
Tell us about your “big break” in the publishing world. Was there any one person believe in your work first (besides yourself of course)? What did you do to celebrate your first contract?
I’m a member of a fantastic group UCW. We all got together during an abortive competition attempt, and have encouraged each other ever since. They dared me to write Wallflowers Don’t Wilt, after I announced, to everyone’s surprise, including my own, that I was going to write a Regency f/f/m. Then they all helped me edit it, do a synopsis and blurb, and decide where to send it.
When I got the yes email, it was 3am, and I’d got up for a drink of water (and checked my emails as you do) . I then woke DH up, who was ‘ohh great tell me again later’, and went back to sleep) And emailed a fantastic writer in New Zealand, Robyn Donald who also encouraged me all the way. Her books described New Zealand so well it made me want to go there. Our daughter did her gap year in that country, so when we went to visit her, Robyn invited me for tea, and told me not to give up.
Writing can be a crazy business. How do you stay positive within the craziness?
Eat chocolate, and know that my author friends are all in the same boat. We laugh,cry and support each other all the way.
No matter the story, where do you always draw inspiration from when you begin each story?
I have no idea. I really don’t. It just sort of hits me, and the characters shout loudly until one wins.
What is your one pet peeve about the writing business?
Um… Pirates. We work long and hard to get our books from our mind to your eReader. For someone to steal it is horrible. would they go into a bookshop and take a print book? And then to be told by someone ‘well I can’t afford to buy a book’, so how about asking the author if they can give you one? Because let’s face it not many authors can afford to write for nothing, as much as we wish we could. We have to eat and pay bills as well. Okay rant over. (Almost, but when you see hundreds of pirated downloads you do get disheartened.)
I often get asked where I get my inspiration from and I find it almost impossible to answer that. It sort of just hits me, for no apparent reason and at any time and place.
I can’t say how I decided to write Diomhair, yet again I just thought one day, ohh a BDSM club in a Scottish Castle. I like that. It was only once I started writing, I thought of ‘the castle’. I use a lot of Scotland in my books, after all I live there, and I know it’s what I say it is. Note In didn’t say where it is, because I’ll hold my hands up and admit I do fudge where something is on occasion. A house I used in one of my YA books is in a great setting so I moved it to another (equally great) setting, where no houses exist. It wouldn’t be fair to the occupiers to have someone ask if this is where Brios lived and can we see round. (It does happen, I know people who live in a house where someone write a very famous book, and they often get people knocking at the door asking to see inside.)
So when I knew which castle it was, I took the liberty of moving it a few miles, and ignoring some of the surroundings. After all I write to entertain and a wee bitty (that’s the Scottish voice coming out) poetic license is allowed surely.
Diomhair, Gaelic for secret and pronounced as best I can write phonetically, ‘jeever’. It burned down when the present owners were children, and it’s been recently restored to become Diomhair.
Sadly the real castle hasn’t, but oh my, has it given me idea. And for that i’m so very thankful.
One of the pleasurable—well to me—aspects of writing is the research. I love history, love reading and love looking around places. Nosiness, but it is research honestly. And it’s amazing how much of that nosiness comes in handy even in contemporary stories.
I’ve been lucky enough to visit some amazing places both here in the U.K. and elsewhere, and take lots of pictures and notes. So if you read something and think, ohh I wonder if Raven’s been there, more often than not the answer is yes.
On the other hand when someone asks if what I describe in my books are all from experience, more often than not the answer is no. I have a good imagination, and like I said, I love research.
Love R x
Connect with Raven:
https://www.facebook.com/rmcallan (my page)
https://www.facebook.com/ravenmcallan (author page)