Her series Our Beautiful Child debuts today! Our Beautiful Child is a set of three novellas set in the same town. Annalisa describes it as, "dark contemporary with shades of paranormal."
“The Boathouse collects misfits. Strange solitary creatures that yearn for contact with the outside world, but not too much. They sit, glass in hand, either staring at the table in front of them, or at some distant point on the horizon.”
… so says the narrator of Our Beautiful Child. And he’s been around long enough to know.
People end up in this town almost by accident. Ella is running away from her nightmares, Sally is running away from the memories of previous boyfriends and Rona is running away from university. Each of them seek sanctuary in the 18th century pub, The Boathouse; but in fact, that’s where their troubles begin.
Ella finds love, a moment too late; Rona discovers a beautiful ability which needs refining before she gets hurt; and Sally meets the captivating Murray, who threatens to ruin everything.
Three women. Three stories. One pub.
Q: Tell us a little about the plot of your novellas, Our Beautiful Child.
A: Ella’s Story – Ella has had the same dream, predicting her own death, since she was a child. When other elements of the dream start to become real, she thinks she’s on a downward spiral towards the end.
The Traveller – Sally meets Murray on a hot, sticky summer evening and is immediately captivated. She tries not to fall in love – nothing good happens when you meet strangers in pubs – but she can’t help it; even though the past is catching up with them both.
Our Beautiful Child – Rona discovers she can communicate with ghosts when a sham psychic arrives at the pub she works in. Once she can hear them, the spirits all want to share their story with her. And a thousand years’ worth of tragedy is too much for anyone to handle.
Q: Did you set out to write these shorter novellas or did the project evolve into this over time?
A: The Traveller came first – in 2000, actually – and was on its own for about nine years. I wrote Ella’s Story next, and although I don’t remember choosing to link them, they seemed like a good fit. At that point, I knew I wanted to create a trilogy, but I didn’t have a third story. In fact, I took another year to even come up with the story of Our Beautiful Child. But once I started, it flowed, and became one of the speediest stories I’ve ever written!
Q: You already have two books, Cat & the Dreamer and That Sadie Thing and Other Stories. What has your experience as a published author been like so far? Did anything surprise you about the publishing process?
A: It’s been a quiet experience, really. You see some authors taking the world by storm with their debut, but I just sidled in, working hard and staring at my rankings. I think the thing that surprised me the most was how much I would take the rankings and reviews to heart.
Q: What is your writing process like? Do you plan your stories out before you write them?
A: I am one of the most chaotic writers I’ve ever met. I am so envious of people who sit down with a plan, write their entire allotment of words for that day, complete first drafts in six months… I do a lot of thinking – I need my muse to be working hard before I even tune into the fact she’s got a new idea.
I write longhand in beautiful notebooks, but once the work is on computer, I randomly add scenes all over the place. I’ll have a great idea for the penultimate chapter and have to go back to add in the clues and foreshadowing. I never write in chapter order, but then I never write a chronological story either, so I suppose that’s not too much of an issue.
Q: Do you have a favorite writing spot?
A: I used to have a small study, but since that became a teenager’s bedroom I’ve just plonked myself in the living room, right in front of the TV. I’ve got a large window to stare out of, I’m close to the kitchen – for a constant stream of cups of tea – and I know exactly which channels to turn to for the best programmes. I don’t watch the TV, but it’s on – Murdoch Mysteries and Castle are favourites to work to, at the moment.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I’ve got a novella out on submission, but I haven’t started another long piece since finishing that one in February. I was completely drained after that one, it was very emotional. I’ve been revising some short stories that I used to think were brilliant, but now know better. I’ve been entering writing competitions, because I’d forgotten how fun it was!
Thank you so much for having me here today.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I live in Cornwall UK, with a good supply of beaches and moorland right on my doorstep to keep me inspired. I live with my husband, two sons, a dog and a cat.
Despite my location, I neither surf nor sail, and have never had any inclination to try. I much prefer walking along a deserted beach and listening to the waves crashing over rocks. For this reason, I really love the beach in the winter!