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Allie Cresswell . . . I have been writing stories since I could hold a pencil and by the time I was about seven I was writing copiously and sometimes almost legibly.
It was at this time that I had the difference between fiction and lies forcefully impressed upon me, after penning a long and entirely spurious account of my grandfather’s death and funeral. My mother was mortified when she found out. My teacher had permitted it as being good therapy for bereavement whereas – as Mum knew all too well – it was only a good excuse to get out of learning my multiplication tables (something I have never achieved).
I did, however, manage a BA (Hons) in English Literature and Drama from Birmingham University and an MA in English Literature from Queen Mary College, University of London. Marriage and motherhood put my writing career on hold until 1992, when I began my first novel in snatched moments between the school run and the village flower and produce show. It took me ten years to complete that book. In 2007 my situation saw a radical change and I was able to write full time.
In the meantime I worked as a Production Manager for an Education Resources company, a bookkeeper for a small printing firm, ran a pub, a B & B and a group of boutique holiday cottages. Most recently I taught English Literature to Lifelong Learners.
Until I wrote my Highbury Trilogy I would have said that my books are about the real world – the ordinary and extraordinary things which could happen to you or your friends. With my foray into the world of Jane Austen this has become less the case unless you habitually dance a quadrille or fall in love with militiamen. In all cases I strive for truthfulness, to imbue characters and situations with truth which makes them vivid and credible. If something has truth it has significance, it means something. I’d describe myself as a writer of literary fiction, which means different things to different people, but to me it means producing work in which the story and the words I use to tell it have equal importance.
Tall Chimneys was awarded a Silver Medal by the influential Readers’ Favorite website AND was a winner of the One Stop Fiction Five Star Book Award! Additionally, in June of 2019, Dear Jane received a One Stop Fiction Gold Award!