Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Visting Lilly by Toni Allen

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Toni will be awarding a free e-book of VISITING LILLY and a FREE TAROT CARD reading for one lucky commenter to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Why do you write in your genre? What draws you to it?

I enjoy writing about ordinary people who end up having to deal with extraordinary situations. Every day we encounter the ordinary, but what happens when we bump into something we’ve never experienced before? Especially things that make us stop and question previous beliefs. In Visiting Lilly Detective Inspector Jake Talbot, a down to earth cop, is confronted with the possibility of time travel. His personal understanding of life is challenged in as much as he can, like everyone else, label young Frankie Hayward a schizophrenic, or dig deeper and form his own judgment.

Unravelling a mystery appeals to the part of me that likes solving problems by following a trail and putting the pieces together. I’m always fascinated by stories from history where we end up asking, why or how, someone did something. Are we able to get into someone else’s head and work out what motivated them to perform a particular act?

I’ve always enjoyed reading fast past action thrillers, so it appeals enormously to place my protagonist up against as many obstacles and baddies as possible. First I want the reader to love my protagonist, so I’ll show his life and his world, then I want the reader to not only care about whether he succeeds, but also whether he lives or dies.

What research is required?

With Visiting Lilly it’s all based in Farnham, Surrey, which is where I live; so no special research on location required. My world building challenge came with the shady workings of a secret department in the Ministry of Defense. We never see their base of operations, but the reader has to believe that they are there, manipulating from behind the scenes. I’ve already had one reader say that they Googled something to do with the department and couldn’t find any information online. When I said that I’d made it up they were stunned, because they’d completely believed it existed.

The paranormal, astral travel, time travel part came easy, because I work as a professional psychic and my entire working life is full of paranormal experiences. I’m doing what everyone suggests a writer should do; writing about what I know.

Name one thing you learned from your hero/heroine.

From Jake Talbot I’ve learnt that when you’re used to being part of a team and having loads of support, that suddenly going it alone feels incredibly uncomfortable, and very frightening.

Do you have any odd or interesting writing quirks, habits or superstitions?

I write best in total silence, late at night. Any interruption literally makes me lose the plot. I turn off phones and become very unsociable. Shhh, she’s writing!

Are you a plotter or pantser?

I’m a bit of both. When I write I have the beginning and the end, always, before I start writing. Joining the dots up is the pantser part. I set my characters off and instruct them where to end. No U-turns, no going off at a tangent, that is the desired end, and you will arrive there…or else!

Look to your right – what’s sitting there?

You really want to know? It’s terribly dull. My landline telephone, a pad and a red pen. I like red pens.

Anything new coming up from you? What?

I’ve just finished writing another thriller involving Jake Talbot. It’s called Saving Anna, and anyone who’s read Visiting Lilly will know who Anna is. We’ll be starting editing early 2015.

I’m very excited by Saving Anna, it brings Talbot up against an old enemy, more manipulation by the MOD and...well, you’ll have to wait and see if Frankie appears again or not.

Do you have a question for our readers?

I’m writing in a cross over genre. Mystery thriller with a sprinkling of sci-fi/paranormal. Do you enjoy the ‘paranormal’ side of my stories, or would you prefer straight mystery/thriller? How does the mix sit with you?

D.I. Jake Talbot is a burnt-out British detective given a second chance to believe in love, friendship and the transcendent essence of the human experience. When he investigates a seemingly innocent visitor to a residential care home for the elderly he uncovers a dangerous family hiding a forbidden romance that mysteriously crosses the boundaries of time. The deceitful family does all they can to prevent Talbot from discovering their secrets surrounding an unsolved murder, family betrayal; at the core of which is a keenly intelligent, though somewhat mentally challenged young man who is fixated on an elderly woman being held captive by her own grandson. Talbot sets out to right the many wrongs done to the blameless, and in turn, rediscovers his own humanity.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Jake comforts a sozzled, worried Helen - Chapter 6

He spent most of the night reading Frankie’s blog in his bedroom, the soft glow from a table lamp enough to scribble down some notes, the bed behind him unused, and his eyes aching from staring at the machine. For comfort he’d stripped off and put on his dressing gown, made himself as relaxed as the tension in his neck would allow. It must have been gone three when the door swung open, the sound of Helen creeping in making him turn, the sight of her mussed-up hair where she’d tried to sleep startling him into thinking she was a ghost. His pulses raced. Christ, this is what Frankie’s blog did for you, got you so involved in his crazy world that suddenly his reality became your own.

‘You okay?’ he whispered.

‘No,’ she said, sounding maudlin. She slumped down onto the bottom of the bed and burst into tears, a half-empty bottle of wine cradled in her lap.

‘Hey, hey,’ he said softly, and placed an arm around her shoulders, drawing her close.

‘I … I’m so … confused,’ she managed to say between great, heaving, alcohol-fuelled sobs. ‘Everyone’s lied to me, haven’t they?’

Not knowing what everyone had said, Talbot chose the middle line, ‘Not lied, Helen.’

‘What then?’

‘It’s a cover up, for something.’ He kissed her forehead.
‘He’s meant to be crazy,’ she said angrily. ‘Frankie is supposed to be a harmless schizophrenic, with a wild imagination, who lives in his own bizarre dream world … and … and writes a love story about someone who isn’t real called Lilly.’ She looked up at him, tears sparkling on her cheeks. ‘Now it’s all sinister, Jake, all creepy and bad—and bloody scary.’

About the Author:
Toni Allen is a professional tarot reader, astrologer, author and photographer.

I’ve been a professional tarot reader for about 30 years, and an astrologer for about 25. Now, thanks to the internet, I have an International client database. My main website is creaking because I haven’t updated it for so long, but it’s still fully functional and full of lots of interesting information. A new build is underway, with lots of modern bits and pieces so that you can connect with me via Facebook and easily keep up to date with events that I’m offering readings at.
Amazon author page:
BN Author page:

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  1. Thanks for hosting, great to be here.

  2. I liked the excerpt best. This book sounds like an interesting read. I will totally have to add this book to my "to-read" list.


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