10 Questions With Gillian McAllister

Hi folks, today I’m delighted to welcome writer Gillian McAllister to my blog. Here, Gillian chats about her first two novels, Anything You Do Say and Everything But The Truth, and discloses whether she is a Rod Stewart fan.

Over to you Gillian.

1) When you were a child, did you have a favourite author? 
I read Sweet Valley High and The Babysitter’s Club voraciously – maybe five or six per week. Once I was in my late teens, I discovered Sophie Kinsella and there began a love affair with female fiction.
2) Did you enjoy English at school? 
I did – so much so I went on to do an English degree. I have to say, though, I much prefer a contemporary thriller over a classic! 

3) How did you find studying law at university – which area do you specialise in and did you enjoy your experience?

I did a law conversion course, which is a law degree in a year. Pretty intense. I enjoyed it hugely, though, and I met my boyfriend on that course, too.  
4) How did you find studying law helped you to write your debut novel, Everything But the Truth?
I suppose I have access to lawyers to chat to – I don’t practise criminal law, but I do know some criminal solicitors and barristers – and I get to discuss recent cases a lot (my boyfriend is a litigator). I suppose I also have the lawyers’ brain – my books are often organised by evidence (in the form of exhibits) or into trials. 
5) Did you find writing Anything You Do Say a different process to your debut?
It is always different once you’re an author under contract and writing to a deadline. I have to say, I much prefer that: it’s hard to write a full-length publishable novel, and having a deadline and an editor and agent to hold my hands along the way really helps me to do it. I’m at my happiest when writing and finishing novels, so I’m very lucky. Anything You Do Say was a sprawling novel: 20,000 words longer than my debut, and two books in one. I’m very glad I did it, but I’m not going to say it was easy to be under contract and working full time.  
6) Did you do much research for both books?
I tend to write about things I’m interested in – so for Joanna I was quite interested in the notion of self defence as applied to a feminist situation – and so I already know a fair amount by the time I write. I then flesh out that knowledge with research – and talking to experts/making friends with them – as I go.  
7) What was your inspiration for your novels and how did you find shaping your characters? 
For Everything But The Truth, I heard about a rare bit of Scottish criminal law which seemed so strange and ambiguous to me that I wanted to write about. Anything You Do Say was an idea that literally came to me in the middle of the night. I start with plot – so with Anything You Do Say I needed a heroine who would dither. Joanne came to me from there, in all her procrastinating, avoidant glory. That’s what’s happening to me now in my fourth novel: the bones of the plot are down, and the characters bring it to life. 
8) Did you have a favourite band growing up? How has your music taste changed? 
I was – and still am – an avid music listener. I always listen to music while I write, and I’m terrified of becoming old and irrelevant so I listen to the UK charts every Friday on Spotify’s New Music Friday while I write. I have always leaned towards American rock – REM, The Eagles, and then my father got me into rap, too. I’m currently listening to Drake as I type this.  
9) When writing, do you need music or silence? 
Music, definitely.  

10) Completely random – do you like Rod Stewart, and do you have a favourite song of his? 

That is rather random! I guess I’d have to say Handbags and Gladrags, covered by the Stereophonics ðŸ™‚ 

Thanks for visiting my blog, Gillian, and for answering my questions. It’s been a pleasure!

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