Thursday, 27 February 2014

Brook Cottage Books is thrilled to welcome the lovely Gilli Allan to the blog with a fab guest post. Thanks so much Gilli.

Hello JB- thanks for having me.  I am here to talk about my book FLY OR FALL, but before I do, there are two more exciting bits of news I’d like to mention.  

I was lucky enough to have my story, Holiday Romance, accepted for inclusion in the RNA anthology,  Truly, Madly, Deeply, launched on 21 February. 
I am only in the extended digital version, not the paperback, but even so I am delighted.  It was a particular surprise and a thrill to have Holiday Romance included, as it is the first short story I have written since school days!
My story is also available in the slimmed down (and cheaper) e-edition, which I share with Catherine King, Anna Louise Lucia and Rosie Dean - Truly Madly Deeply - Part 9.

You may have heard something about the forthcoming Vikings-Life and Legend exhibition at the British Museum, which opens on March 6. My son, Tom Williams, is project curator.

Early last year Tom decided he would like to write a children’s adventure story to coincide with the opening of the exhibition and he asked me if I would illustrate it. (At this point I should mention that before I started writing seriously, my career was as an illustrator in advertising.)  Tom’s book idea was then put to British Museum Press.  It took them a while to think about it, but at the beginning of September we had their agreement in principle. We produced a sample illustrated chapter... and the rest is history. Now on sale from the British Museum and all the usual online outlets -

 The Tale of King Harald - The Last Viking Adventure

“An illustrated adventure telling the story of King Harald “Hardrada” Sigurdsson, the last king of the Vikings.  Based on a true story, Harald’s adventure takes him from a frightened teenager to wealthy and powerful warrior and finally, to a ruthless and tyrannical king, whose ambition leads him to a futile, yet glorious death at the battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066. In this exciting and action-packed story, Harald journeys across the world from Scandinavia to Russia, Byzantium, Sicily, Turkey, Palestine and finally England. Travelling overland and by sea he gathers wealth, recognition and power, and along the way meets a range of famous and flamboyant historical figures including Cnut the Great, Prince Jaroslav of Kiev, the Empress Zoe and King Harold of England.”

And finally - FLY OR FALL. I spent several months in the summer last year preparing this book for publication onto Kindle.  No sooner had I clicked publish, than King Harald “Hardrada” Sigurdsson, and all his adventures, evicted everything else from my mind.  As a result Fly of Fall had a very quiet entry into the world. Now, however, I have just completed the print publication of this book. I don’t believe it is available quite yet, so I can only provide the link to the e-book, but it will only be a matter of days before the paperback is also available on Amazon. So I am making a bit more noise about it now. 


Nell admits that she doesn’t like change. Married young and kept at home by twin babies and an invalid mother, and dependent on her husband Trevor’s wages, her life has been limited.  But when circumstances change for the better and her husband wants to move away from London, the ground seems to shift beneath her feet. She is gripped by an inexplicable foreboding. 

Now in her early thirties, Nell feels cast adrift, far from her friends and all that is familiar. Trevor is no longer the man she married, and their teenage twins, Jonathan and Juliet, are grumpy and difficult. The new house is unwelcoming and needs modernisation and she’s thrust into a continuing chaos of rubble and renovation.  The women she gets to know - Katherine and Felicity - seem frivolous and hedonistic. They wrongly assume that she’s ‘one of them’, someone who will delight in the knowledge that Patrick, one of the builders working on her house, is a notorious womaniser. At first grateful that he doesn’t make a pass at her, Nell begins to feel resentful that Pat finds her unattractive.   

Nell takes a bar job at the local sports club, but she distances herself from the overheated atmosphere of flirtation and gossip.  She’s not that kind of woman, but....   She can’t help being influenced by her new friends’ attitude of casual infidelity. Secretly Nell begins to fantasise about romantic adventures. When she’s pursued by a beautiful and enigmatic young man, whose name she thinks is Angel, she is tempted. Before she can boast about her conquest to another friend, the quirky, new-age Elizabeth, her world falls apart. The presentiment of disaster, felt as a tremor at the start of the story, rumbles into a full blown earthquake, delivering shock after shock.  When the dust settles nothing is as it seemed, not even the life she left behind in London.  The unlikely love which has blossomed from the wreckage is doomed and she is forced to confront the hair’s breadth between wishful thinking, self-deception and lies, when shocking truths about friends (old and new), her husband, both her teenage twins and even herself, are exposed.

Fly or Fall follows the dismantling of all of Nell’s certainties, her preconceptions and her moral code.  By its conclusion, everything has altered for the ‘woman who dislikes change’, but has Nell been broken or has she transformed herself? 

From March 12-15 the Kindle version of Fly or Fall is on a 99p Countdown.

7 Responses so far.

  1. Really enjoyed your post Gilli. And, you must be very proud of your son. The best of luck to him in his ventures. x I love Nell's character and am looking forward to reading about her in the printed version of Fly or Fall. xxx

  2. Fascinating blog. Thank you JB and Brook Cottage Books. I will be back as there's so much I haven't had time to read. x

  3. Thank you for having me Jonty, and for allowing me to waffle on! When we first arranged this guest appearance I didn't realise I'd have so much to talk about.
    BTW, I can tell your readers that FLY OR FALL is now available in paperback. It went live after I'd sent the post. The link is:

  4. Oh, Gilli! Are those your illustrations? You super-talented lady, you, they look wonderful. Huge CONGRATS on the inclusion in Truly, Madly, Deeply. You have been busy! Well done on all you achievements, including the release in e-book and PRINT of fabulous Fly or Fall! :) xx

  5. Wonderful post from two multi-talented people! Congrats! I've tweet it.

  6. Thank you Sheryl and Lindsay. The last few months have been quite bizarre. I thought I'd given up illustration! Although the job was being talked about through the summer last year, I never truly believed it would happen. Even though I'd said "yes" I feared I'd not be able to produce the goods. My story's inclusion in TMD was a big surprise. The fact everything has happened together is a bit mind boggling! gx

  7. You're certainly a talented illustrator Gilli ad you and Tom should be proud of your joint achievement.
    And I think I'm busy! Fly or Fall is waiting on my Kindle and I am going now to download your short story in TMD. You're on a roll.

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