Writer Wednesday: Gillian McAllister

Elle Field's Writer Wednesday author interview
Gillian McAllister is the Sunday Times Bestselling author of Everything But The Truth. She lives in Birmingham where she works as a lawyer by day.

Writer Wednesday interview with Gillian McAllister, author of Everything but the Truth
1. Why did you want to become a writer?
I never had a moment where I wanted to become a writer - I just always have, for as long as I can remember. I wrote stories on an ancient Atari, on Notepad, on Word, and then I went off to study for an English degree. I've always been a voracious reader - there aren't many times as an adult where I haven't read a novel a week - and I guess it was a natural lead in from that. Writing is how I make sense of the world, from blogging to writing diaries to making lists. There's nothing in my life more constant than writing.

2. What's the toughest part of the writing process for you?
Probably towards the end of a first draft. I'm a planner but, inevitably, things go wrong, plots aren't quite as good as I thought they were going to be, characters feel flat and underdeveloped, but I have committed to the idea which means I have to figure it out. By then, after three months intensive writing, the deadline feels almost upon me (though it never truly is) and the pressure to figure out the plot within the parameters of the world I have created looms large. It's usually at this stage that I get tempted by an idea for a next novel but the only way out is through...

3. What's the most enjoyable part of writing?
What I call the prose edit, which is when the structure is nailed, the plot and characters are working, and am just reading through, finessing for voice and style. It's usually the fastest edit, too, sadly!

4. Out of all the amazing books out there, which book do you wish you had written and why?

You Don't Know Me by Imran Mahmood. God, I wish I could write like that! It's a fantastically voicey take on the justice system. Sensitive and edgy and urgent. I am still thinking about it, months on, as I tell Imran often!

5. If you could only save one of your characters from fictional calamity, which would you pick and why?

Probably Joanna from my second novel, Anything You Do Say, coming Nov '17 to Kindles and Jan '18 in paperback. She's a procrastinator, an avoider, a bit feckless, but super smart. She sort of stole my heart a little, in the writing.

6. If you could spend the day with your favourite literary character (not from your books), who would you spend it with and what would you do?

Kiki Belsey from On Beauty. We'd take a walk and talk marriage.

7. What can we expect next from you?
My second novel is called Anything You Do Say. It is a Sliding Doors style thriller where a woman catastrophically injures a man on her way home from night out and has to decide whether or not she should call 999 and confess, or leave the scene and go on the run. In the narrative, she does both, and the book follows the two strands as her life spirals in different ways.

8. Is there any particular writing advice you wish you'd been given at the start of your writing career? If so, what is it? If not, what advice would you give to someone starting out?
I suppose I spent an awful lot of my twenties not finishing anything, and being in the peculiar position of writing being very important to be but not actually producing much of it, at least, not in the style I most wanted to, which was fictional novels. All writers have a sort of moment of 'reckoning' when they realise that if they want to do it, they need to do it often, and finish projects, and submit them. For me, that was getting ill when I was 26 for 6 months. It not only gave me time to write (although it was awful, of course, to be unwell for so long!) but it gave me a moment where I thought: if not now, when? (as Emma Watson so wisely said). Those moments come for different people at different times, but that was mine. I've basically written most days ever since.

9. Tell us what a typical writing day involves for you.
Well, I'm a lawyer, but part time. On work days I often come home and tinker, but only if I want to. On non-law days I try to get up at a decent hour and at the moment I'm working on two short stories, so I do those in the morning and then edit my novel in the afternoon, after pasta (God, how I love those dirty pasta n sauce packets!). I often break up the day with something - sometimes swimming, or a walk, or I see my father, who is very helpful with general plot angst (and other angst, too). I still work late into the evenings, which I wanted to stop when I went part time but, such is life.

10. Finally, what are you reading at the moment?
I'm reading Last Seen by Lucy Clarke which is beautifully written and totally gripping.


Writer Wednesday interview with Gillian McAllister, author of Everything but the Truth
Do you ever check your partner's phone?

Should you?

Are you prepared for the consequences?

Everything but the Truth is Gillian McAllister's stunning breakthrough thriller about deceit, betrayal and one woman's compulsive need to uncover the truth.

It all started with the email.

Rachel didn't even mean to look. She loves Jack and she's pregnant with their child. She trusts him.

But now she's seen it, she can't undo that moment. Or the chain of events it has set in motion.

Why has Jack been lying about his past? Just what exactly is he hiding? And doesn't Rachel have a right to know the truth at any cost?

Follow Gillian on Twitter | Buy Everything but the Truth on Amazon |
Like her on Facebook | Visit her website

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