Today, we’re delighted to welcome Allie Spencer to the blog. We’re getting very excited about her next novel, Summer Nights and we wanted to find out more about Allie and the book…
Q: What are your favourite genres to read and would you ever consider writing something radically different?
My favourite genre is probably the comic novel, so I suppose I’m already writing the sort of book that I like to read! I would like to write a carefully plotted, intricate farce – a sort of novel version of an episode of Fawlty Towers (not necessarily set in a hotel, though) but I don’t know if I would have the patience to plan it all out in detail. I would also, at some point, like to try an historical novel – but I’m not sure if I could write a serious book and I don’t know if there is much of a market for comic historicals.
Q: Roughly how long does it take you to write the first draft of a novel?
In theory, it should take me two and a half months. Two thousand words a day, five days a week for ten weeks. However, at the time of answering this, my current WIP is currently languishing at 114,000 words and I’ve got at least another ten to go before I can begin pruning back the dead wood and getting stuck into full-on editing. I think the actual answer is ‘too long’!
I don’t know! I write during school hours plus weekends plus any extra time I can get my husband to take care of the children. I thought it would get easier when they were both in full time school, but now they go to bed a bit later, I don’t seem to have any peace and quiet in the evenings – so it’s swings and roundabouts. I think the most important thing is that I’m available for them and we do things as a family – the last thing I want is for them to grow up and say to me ‘you were never there when we were small’.
Q: If you were not an author, what would you do?
I’d probably be back at the law. I can’t afford not to work!
Q: What makes you laugh?
Original, intelligent comedy. Preferably jokes I would never have thought of myself.
Q: What is your favourite comedy TV show?
Soooooooo hard. Probably my top three are Fawlty Towers, Blackadder and the first few series of Frasier. But that leaves out Father Ted and The Young Ones and – no, sorry, impossible question!
Q: In Summer Nights, Flora’s cousin Bella is the lead singer in an Abba tribute band so… Please list your top three favourite Abba songs and why you like them? (And have you been up singing them on the karaoke?)
Ooooh – another hard one. Probably The Winner Takes it All (very powerful), Super Trouper (remember seeing it on Swap Shop when I was little!) and ‘Thank You for the Music’. No, I haven’t done any karaoke but I do sometimes belt them out in the kitchen when there’s no one else in the house. So far the neighbours haven’t complained…
Q: As a writer, do you take note of song lyrics above hearing the song?
Strange, but no. I take note of the overall ‘feel’ of the song. I remember when I was writing ‘Tug of Love’ David Gray’s ‘This Year’s Love’ exactly mirrored the mood I wanted to create in the book so I listened to it incessantly. Summer Nights is a bit different because it features an Abba tribute band called Abbadabbatastic and there are an awful lot of songs mentioned in the text – including a completely made-up soul/Motown/bluesy number called ‘Respect Me’ which is written by one of the characters. Actually, there are so many brilliant songs in it that I wish I could release a soundtrack, it would be awesome…
Q: Which song do you wish you’d written?
Goodness, another impossible question! I don’t really have a favourite song. Perhaps, though, if I absolutely had to choose one, I’d go for ‘Bridge of Troubled Water’ by Paul Simon. It’s a perfect blend of mood and music and it sends shivers down my spine. Maybe one day I’ll write all the lyrics for ‘Respect Me’ from Summer Nights and have some clever person put music to it. That would be brilliant!