An Interview with Catherine Alliott
Next up in our interview series is an intimate discussion with our all time favourite author and Rollo London fan Catherine Alliott. Known for her romantic novels, she now has 15 to her name and is in the process of penning the next one - we can't wait!
Describe a day in the life of Catherine Alliott?
My normal day involves feeding the animas first - we have sheep, chickens, bantams, an aviary, dogs and horses - which in the winter takes about forty minutes and in the summer, about ten. Then I settle down to write. If I'm doing the first draft I can write anywhere that takes my fancy as I write in longhand. So depending on the weather I could be in the garden in a deck chair, or by the fire in the sitting room. I stop whenever I feel hungry which is at about 1.30, but by then the dogs are desperate for a walk so I take them quickly round the fields, tummy grumbling. I usually come back and have a bowl of soup because I don't have to think about it! In the afternoon I'll either ride one of the horses, or meet a friend for a cup of tea, or go to the supermarket and generally catch up on the day. Every evening without fail - if we're in - I have a gin and tonic and two cigarettes at 6.00 pm. Then a bath, then my husband comes home and we have supper, then the television goes on and bed after the ten o'clock news.
When did you first realise you wanted to become an author?
I fell into writing by accident. I was working as a copywriter in an advertising agency but I was so bored.... so I stared writing a book under my desk for a laugh. I got the sack! Not so funny. In a fit of pique I decided to finish the book, and amazingly, it was published.
When you start a new book, how do you plan it? (Doodles, diagrams, spider diagrams?)
I never plan a book. I have a few thoughts, a few ideas, which I might jot down, but absolutely no diagrams, family trees, chapter ideas etc.
You have recently started a new book. Where did you get inspiration for this?
I’m very much at the thinking stage of a new book, all of which is in my head. Nothing definite!
What would be your top tips for new authors looking to pen their first book?
My advice for anyone wanting to write a book is to sit down, write Chapter One, and get going. That's how I started. No notes, no firm ideas, not a clue. These days I have slightly more of an idea, and don't totally fly by the seat of my pants, but it's not necessary for book one. Just have a go.
Have you ever suffered from writers block?!
Luckily no, I've never suffered from writers block: I seem to have too many ideas spinning round in my head. If I'm not in the mood - which is different – I simply do something else.
What item / product could you not live without daily?
I love my Rollo notebook which I use mostly for thoughts along the way, as a book progresses. If I'm out shopping, or on holiday, or in the bath and I want to jot something down - that's where I'll do it. I don't take my A4 notebooks on holiday so the A5 Rollo notebook is the perfect size.
Why do you use Rollo London notebooks and what do you find special about them?
The feel of the Rollo London notebook appeals to me: the leather look cover, the smart gold charm and the creamy paper inside make me feel efficient even though I'm not!
At first I thought it was a shame to write in it, but now I scrawl all over it, although I don’t stick to the lines, I’m afraid!!
What is your favourite element to the Rollo London Notebook?
I'm particularly keen on the pouch in the back: if I don't have it with me and need to write on a train ticket or something, I can then stuff inside when I get home.
What’s your website?
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