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D.I. Jake Talbot is a burnt-out British detective given a second chance to believe in love, friendship and the transcendent essence of the human experience. When he investigates a seemingly innocent visitor to a residential care home for the elderly he uncovers a dangerous family hiding a forbidden romance that mysteriously crosses the boundaries of time. The deceitful family does all they can to prevent Talbot from discovering their secrets surrounding an unsolved murder, family betrayal; at the core of which is a keenly intelligent, though somewhat mentally challenged young man who is fixated on an elderly woman being held captive by her own grandson. Talbot sets out to right the many wrongs done to the blameless, and in turn, rediscovers his own humanity.
Visiting Lilly by Toni Allen
Genre: British Detective Mystery, Paranormal Romance
‘I’ve been warned off, Jake.’
‘Had a phone call from that twit Weissman, about an hour ago.’ He nodded in response to Talbot waving the coffee jar. ‘He told me I was making too many waves, asking too many questions, helping you out too much.’ He pressed his index finger firmly on the manila folder. ‘Keith McKenzie’s school reports that you requested.’ His lips curled into a snarl. ‘I won’t be able to offer much more. Damn people.’
‘May I ask who these damn people are, sir?’ Talbot asked, hoping Bailey knew more than he’d gleaned from Weissman, but the answer was disappointing.
‘All I know is that they’re a psychiatric unit connected to the MOD, and have a lot more clout than I do.’ He frowned, sat down and picked up Lilly’s photo again. [***] ‘And all for a bit of skirt.’ Opening his fingers, he let the picture float to the table. ‘Putting you on this case, they’ve stolen one of my best resources … and then they expect me to back down and not offer assistance.’
‘Why exactly is that, sir?’ Talbot smiled, amused by Bailey referring to him as a top resource. He placed the drink in front of him.
‘Digging. Christ, you’re allowed to go digging, unofficially, but it appears that anything I do leaves a footprint they’re not keen on shadowing.’
‘Odd, isn’t it.’ Talbot nonchalantly lit a cigarette. ‘Weissman was correct in his prediction that being a lone dog wouldn’t be much fun …’ He leant very close to Bailey, tried not to grin, and said in a hushed whisper, ‘Of course, sir, you’ve been behind a desk a while now; I guess you wouldn’t be much interested in offering a little covert assistance.’
‘I never have liked your methods, Jake, never approved.’ Bailey sipped his coffee. ‘What did you have in mind?’
Interview with the Author
Q: Is there a story tugging at the back of your creative mind that begs to be written?
There’s always a story tugging away at me begging to be written. I have several pages of notes, for several novels, and every so often one of the characters will pop into my head and shout, ‘Aren’t you going to pay me any attention!?’
One set of notes is about a different detective who’s forced by circumstances to turn Private Investigator, and that’s a murder mystery. The other is a rather bizarre tale which has some extreme paranormal, but is still about very ordinary people sharing an extraordinary experience.
Q: What is the most difficult aspect of being a writer?
Finding absolute quiet time in which to totally focus. I’m one of those people who has to have peace and quiet in which to write, so summer is never highly productive as the world moves around more in the evenings because it’s light until later. Noisy distractions can make me lose a word or phrase, and that creates down time, (and irritation) so I always prefer to work when I’m least likely to get interrupted.
Q: What is the easiest thing about writing?
I have loads of ideas. Characters, plots and scenes come to me all of the time. That’s the easy part, getting those ideas down on paper is the hard work.
Q: How long did it take you to write your book?
About 12/18 months. Because Visiting Lilly has a complex plot and a very tight time-line I was constantly going back to double-check that everything was accurate. I had a pin board with a chart of when everyone was born, their age, and what age they were when certain events took place. It was an invaluable resource. I also made copious notes using comments in Word to ensure that my time-line was accurate.
Plotting scenes and making visual check lists is all part of the writing process and takes time, even though I wasn’t actively sitting at my computer writing the novel itself.
Q: Do you get writer’s Block? How do you overcome it?
I expect a lot of people will hate me when I say, ‘No,’ I don’t suffer from writer’s block. I never don’t know what to write, or don’t feel like writing. Sometimes I might spend a week or so mulling over what happens in the next scene so that I can seamlessly move the story onto the next plot hook I wish to create, but I don’t count that as writer’s block. I see it as playing with my characters. I head them off in different directions, so what they do and where they turn up, and if I don’t like it, I head them off somewhere else until I get the desired result.
About Toni Allen
I’ve been a professional tarot reader for about 30 years, and an astrologer for about 25. Now, thanks to the internet, I have an International client database. My main website www.toniallen.co.uk is creaking because I haven’t updated it for so long, but it’s still fully functional and full of lots of interesting information. A new build is underway, with lots of modern bits and pieces so that you can connect with me via Facebook and easily keep up to date with events that I’m offering readings at.
Find her on the web at
Toni will be awarding a free e-book of VISITING LILLY and a FREE TAROT CARD reading to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
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