Anne Allen’s Guernsey Love-Affair
A very warm welcome to Anne Allen today, author of the Guernsey series of novels…
Why does she love the island and why has she decided to write her novels based on its history and culture? A stunning backdrop to her series of crime mysteries…
Islands have their own story to tell she explains…
Islands, by their very nature, lend themselves to romance and mystery, separated from the rest of the world and Guernsey is no exception. With spectacular sandy beaches, wooded cliff paths and hidden lanes dotted with isolated cottages, there’s scope for all kinds of goings-on.
“Guernsey is gorgeous and is the perfect backdrop for storytelling,” says the author Anne Allen who so far has written six books, titled The Guernsey Novels.
Anne was born in landlocked Rugby in Warwickshire, however, developed a love of the sea thanks to idyllic family holidays with her Welsh grandparents in Anglesey.
“The sea is in my blood and I have spent my whole life getting close to it.”
Anne who is believer in Serendipity, states that her life has been full of life-changing events – however, one of the most significant events was when she met some wonderful ladies on a self-awareness course in Glastonbury and they formed an instant connection. Two of them were sisters and had children of a similar age to Anne’s three children. They invited Anne and her children to visit them in Guernsey.
The moment that Anne set foot on Guernsey, she fell in love. Not with a man, but with the island itself. One-year later, Anne made a life-changing decision, she sold her home in Devon, packed up the car and they moved to Guernsey.
“The moment I returned to the island, I knew I had found the place where I belonged.”
Initially, Anne tried to buy a small guest-house in St Peter Port to run as a residential health centre. However, the deal fell through shortly after they arrived on the island with her car laden with all their belongings and their furniture in storage.
Island life was idyllic for Anne and her children. They would take boat trips, enjoy the delicious cuisine, and frolic in the sea. The coastal adventures were only part of the appeal for Anne, its fascinating history and culture also drew her in.
“I love the arts and felt so inspired by Guernsey’s beauty. I understand why Renoir came to the island to paint the stunning view of Moulin Huet Bay.”
Renoir stayed one month in St. Peter Port and began to paint around fifteen works during his visit. He focussed on the rocks and cliffs along Moulin Huet Bay, and he eventually finished the paintings in his studio in Paris.
Guernsey has a rich cultural heritage and has inspired many other famous people too, including the French author Victor Hugo who was exiled to the island and wrote many of his famous works including Les Misérables.
Following in the footsteps of Hugo and Renoir, Anne too felt creatively inspired by the gorgeous island.
“I craved to pay homage to my beloved island.”
As a busy working mum to three children, she didn’t find the time to be creative until they flew the nest. After fourteen years of living on the island, Anne was thrown a few curveballs and she reluctantly left the island. She initially moved to Bath but missed her beloved Guernsey. Her head was filled with fascinating stories about Guernsey past and present, and began to type away and drafted her debut novel, Dangerous Waters. The novel centred around a young orphaned Guernsey woman returning to the island and discovering a secret about her grandmother from the time of the German occupation. Anne conducted very thorough research and it paid off as her first novel was well-received, especially by the islanders who were impressed with her authenticity.
Each book is standalone with fresh new lead characters with their own links to the German Occupation during WWII, having an impact on the present. The Guernsey Novels are a mix of mystery, family drama, and love story and influenced by the author’s love of the island where she spent many happy years. Guernsey itself is always a main character in the books, offering a gorgeous backdrop to all the sorrows, joys and tragedies she describes.
With many thanks to Anne Allen and the Globeflower Agency for this interview. And don’t forget to enter our competition to win a signed book and some Guernsey goodies!