Are you sitting comfortably, the fire crackling, a mug of cocoa in hand? Then let us begin…
A journey through fog and darkness, destination unknown…
A sexual obsession spiralling out of control…
A forbidden love…
A killer who preys on the lonely…
An investigation into a haunted monastery…
A visitation on Christmas Eve with diabolical intentions…
A night-time escape through the forest…
Seven tales of mystery and the supernatural for a winter’s evening.
1. Do you always take a book/e-reader wherever you go?
Whenever I travel, I will always take a book (or books) with me. But during a normal every-day routine, no. I prefer physical books and like to keep them immaculate – transporting them around regularly endangers that. Plus, reading is one of the things I do to relax, so it doesn’t fit well with the commute or a busy office canteen. But the benefit of smartphones is that there are always articles and research material within reach.
2. Say someone asks if they can use your name in a book. Would you rather be the ‘good one’ or the ‘bad one’?
Since I was a child, I’ve often found villainous characters more interesting, if not necessarily endearing. But perhaps it depends on genre – you’d want to be the detective in the mystery or the hero in the action thriller, not that either of those may necessarily be the ‘good one’. Ultimately, I think I’d want to be an interesting character, perhaps facing some moral quandries.
3. Where can I find you when you are reading?
Usually lounging on my sofa, with a cup of tea and a packet of biscuits for company. My cat often joins me. Or I may be on a beach or on a clifftop when on holiday.
4. Where can I find you when you are not writing/reading?
I also love TV, film and music, so you may find me enjoying those. I enjoy the theatre and cinema, or you may occasionally find me enjoying food at a restaurant. But I’m frequently a home bird – it’s where I feel most relaxed and most productive.
5. Can you walk past a bookstore without going inside?
Truthfully, no. Even if I’m not looking for anything in particular or have no intention of buying anything, I’ll go in to just look around. Rarely will I go shopping and not call into Waterstones or The Works. I don’t often walk out of The Works empty-handed.
6. What are you most proud of?
I would say the “Whispers from the Dead of Night” collection. I worked so hard on it for eighteen months. There were some difficult times during that period and writing kept me going. There were also many times I felt that I might never get it to where I wanted it to be. But I kept going and I’m very happy with the end result.
7. What goes through your mind when you hold your new book in your hands for the first time?
It’s an incredible feeling, even four books in I still feel such a sense of achievement. I’m not sure it will ever get old. There’s a sense of the journey too – this piece of work has gone from jotting down some notes of ideas to this story or stories packaged in a book cover with your name on the front. This is blood, sweat and tears in print.
8. What piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Firstly, write everything down. Even the vaguest fragment of an idea. I religiously keep notebooks – everything gets written in there. Secondly, always remind yourself that what’s most important is the next sentence. It’s easy to get overwhelmed thinking about the book, the chapter, even the scene. But all of those things are ultimately built out of sentences, one at a time. Finally, never give up. Not just on the writing dreams, but on the story that’s in your head, the book your heart is telling you to write. Don’t let self-doubt tell you those ideas you jotted down aren’t worth pursuing; don’t allow those times when confidence ebbs away or you worry you’ll never finish stop you from writing that next sentence. If the story hasn’t given up on you, then never give up on the story.
9. Who would you like/have liked to interview?
Lynda La Plante – she is a hero of mine, such an incredible novelist and screenwriter. Her dedication to research is phenomenal. I find her incredibly inspiring and she has so many stories to tell. Though I’m not sure I’d be any good at interviewing anyone I admire – I think I’d become very tongue-tied.
10. When and where do you prefer to write?
I make notes anywhere at any time. Whether that be on paper or on a computer or smartphone, I try to make a note of whatever has been going around in my head as quickly as possible. That could stretch to drafting entire scenes. But when I dedicate time to sit down to write, I’m most comfortable in my own home – that could be in my office, bedroom or living room. I may write at any time of day, but most often it is in the evening or later at night.
Thank you, Lee Allen and Love Books Group
About the author
Born in South Wales, Lee Allen was writing from a young age, developing his fascination with mystery, thrillers and the supernatural.
His debut novel, Those Crimes of Passion, a crime thriller, was published in 2012. He followed this with the novella Alone, a supernatural mystery, in 2014; and a second novella, The Jack O’Lantern Men, a horror chiller, in 2015.
His short story collection, Whispers from the Dead of Night, a hybrid of horror and multiple sub-genres, was published in early 2020, preceded by downloads of two of the stories: A Deathly Shade of Pale, at Hallowe’en 2019; and ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, at Christmas 2019.
He is currently working on several future projects, including his second full-length novel.