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VISITING LILY by Toni Allen: Author Interview

Today I am sharing an interview with the author of VISITING LILY, Toni Allen. The novel is one of the ebook prizes for my stop on the Beach ...

Today I am sharing an interview with the author of VISITING LILY, Toni Allen. The novel is one of the ebook prizes for my stop on the Beach Reads in August Giveaway Hop. Don't forget to enter for a chance to win after you read the interview (see right side bar).

Visiting Lilly – Jake Talbot Investigates

1. Quickly, give us the title and genre of your book and a 30-word or less tagline:

Visiting Lilly – Mystery thriller – Detective Inspector Jake Talbot investigates the mystery of a romance that crosses the boundaries of time.

2. Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

Anyone who enjoys working out the puzzle in a mystery, and gets caught up in the thrill of discovering who did what, and why. Lots of readers are calling Visiting Lilly a page-turner, and loving the supporting cast as much as the main characters, Jake Talbot and Frankie Hayward, the genius inventor who’s in love with a woman he met while time-travelling.

3. How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

The series is called Jake Talbot Investigates. I wanted to get away from adding the word series, as so many people do, and the stories are about the investigations Talbot becomes involved in, even when he is forced to work for the Ministry of Defence alongside a man he loathes.

4. Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

I guess it has to be my thoroughly British detective, Jake Talbot. He doesn’t like opening up and admitting how he feels, yet he feels things deeply. His sister fell into a catatonic state after they lost both of his parents within days of each other, so now Talbot does nothing but work and ignore his own emotional needs. It’s Frankie who notices that they’re both vulnerable people with hard shells. Talbot will always put his own needs on the back-burner, preferring to solve the crime first so that justice is done. An excellent detective, determined, and always pushing himself that extra inch to get the job done, Talbot is the kind of guy I’d love to have as a friend, but would hate to have as an enemy.

5. Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series:

In Visiting Lilly, Jake Talbot is persuaded away from his official job as a detective inspector with Surrey Constabulary, to work alongside Dr Weissman, a psychiatrist from the Ministry of Defence, whom he comes to despise. Weissman’s insidious influence will persist throughout the series.

Many readers have taken vulnerable Frankie Hayward to their hearts. Frankie’s somewhere on the Asperger’s autistic spectrum, a mathematical genius, and destined to become, not only Talbot’s greatest friend, but also his partner in many investigations.

Talbot has a dry wit, and the series is peppered with humour. The comedy moments usually occur when Talbot refuses to step down and admit that he’s made a mistake, his inner thoughts showing what a mess he can see he’s making of the situation.

6. Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?

I take photographs, mainly of wildlife, macro photography being one of my favourite pastimes. Recently I’ve had two really rewarding photo shoots, in which I’ve captured something rare or unique. I managed to capture a short video of a dormouse feeding in the wild, and these little fellas are often only seen by experts. Then I took some macro shots of a pink grasshopper, which a friend of mine who’s a conservationist is having experts look into to see if it’s an unrecorded species, or a rare anomaly. It’s such fun. Who knows what I’ll find next.

7. How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

My blog is at my Facebook page is and my Twitter handle is @Listansus

8. What can we expect from you in the future?

Book 2 in the Jake Talbot Investigates series, Saving Anna, is due out this fall, and I’m already working on the 3rd book, Finding Louisa.

9. What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

If someone enjoys my work then it’s really helpful if they write a review on Amazon or Goodreads.

10. Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?

The main thing is to keep on writing, even when rejection or negative reviews hit you square on. Maintain your own unique voice, and don’t give up on yourself. Learn by your mistakes, and above all else, perfect your craft. Agents, publishers and readers are far more inclined to pick up your work if they see that it’s well written, and edited.

11. And now, before you go, how about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us:

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.’

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