Wednesday, February 11, 2015

**Review** Countdown to Love ~ The Silver Night Romance Collection ~ Allyson R. Abbott ~ Donna's Review ~

A Silver Night Romance Short Story
Humorous Hen Lit written with the mature woman reader in mind

When Project Manager, fifty-nine year old Marie, realises that it's been way too long since having any kind of sexual relationship or romance with anything other than her magic wand, she knows action is needed.

Hmm, sex. How long has it been? I carry on spinning the wine as I ponder the equation. It's been four years, 7 months, two weeks and 2 days since I last had sex. Not that I am counting or anything, but a woman just knows these things.

Using her professional training and project management skills she sets about a new project: Countdown to Love, using the forthcoming Valentine’s Day as her deadline. As an empathiser of being lonely, she also includes her gay neighbour Richard into her project to help give his boring and quiet life a boost. Little does she know that fifty-one year old Richard also has his own project on the boards and she blithely ignores his world while focusing on her mission to find them both dates/sex/love before February 14th

Richard was amazed at my work. He just stood there staring.

“Wax or shave?” He asked, “Pedicure? You’re taking this date way too seriously Marie.”

“Every little detail helps when project planning. I might let you off the waxing, although I do know of some gay men who do it, but maybe if you don’t fancy it, you can just shave a bit and tidy yourself up.”

He immediately put his hand to rub and feel his chin. “I don’t think I need to shave any more than I do.”

“Oh, Richard, get with the project dear. I wasn’t talking about your chin!”

This is a short story about middle-aged people trying to find love. Marie is a 59 year old Project Manager. Richard is an architect and almost 52. They live in the same apartment building.

Marie creates a Project Plan to find romance (and have sex) by Valentine's Day. She feels Richard needs romance, too, so she invites him to be part of the project. End result, romance isn't always found where you expect it.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. A romance story with leading characters I could actually relate to is a rarity. Marie is a bit overbearing (if you have ever seen Keeping Up Appearances--she reminds me of Hyacinth) but is a good, kind-hearted woman. Richard is more of a mystery until the end but that works very well in this story.

I highly recommend this book. This is the debut book by this author. I certainly intend to read more as they become available. Especially since her books deal with baby boomers.

5 Stars

Author Interview

Allyson R Abbott:  Questions and Answers

Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I think I would class myself as a late developer.  I plodded along until my late thirties and then I started going to college in the evenings to study business and English.  It inspired my curiosity and kick started my brains cells.  After getting a Hons Degree at the age of forty two I went into training and teaching, which is what I was doing before I gave it all up to travel with my partner when he retired.  I now enjoy a much more relaxed life style.  I enjoy keeping in touch with my family through the technology of Skype, Face-time, emails and calls, as well as following them on facebook; so I never feel out of touch.   I love the fact that I do not know where I will be when I am writing a chapter or a book.

Describe your book in 30 words or less.   
Touching ED
A humorous and realistic story of a mature couple who fall in love, but encounter the many problems that comes with age while trying to enjoy a sex life.
Countdown to Love
A Humorous (even laddish) approach to find love/sex or romance by 59yr old workaholic Marie. A no nonsense direct approach to romance

What was the hardest part of writing your book? 
Touching ED
Writing the sex scenes with falling into the lingo that many erotica books use.  I wanted to try and keep the dialogue to match the characters decades and write how they would possibly describe it.
Countdown To Love
Trying to keep Marie’s character likable, while also keeping her bossy and self possed at the same time hoping the reader will laugh at her traits.

What books have had the greatest influence on you?
I love the classics. Jane Austin and Charles Dickens are my favourite writers. Although mostly known for their romance or characters I only seem to read the humour.  They are very witty and funny when you read between the lines.

Briefly share with us what you do to market your book?
Using as much social media as possible I would aim for the audience that (I think) will enjoy reading it and try to persuade them to try it.  I would be the first to admit it is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I am sure that many women of my generation (Baby boomers) will probably appreciate the honesty and approach; as well as the humour.

How do you spend your time when you are not writing?
At the moment enjoying life on the road in The United States.  Meeting new people and trying different foods as well as learning about American History as we travel from state to state.

What are you working on next?
I have so many ideas in my head that it drives me crazy sometimes.  I am focusing on book two of The Silver Romance Years Series; Managing Ed, as well as writing a short story for the new Silver Lining Romance Series which will find mature women in all sorts of different challenging yet exciting situations.
I have already written the second Short Story in the Silver Night Romance Collection.  Salsa or Die and will be published soon.  The story is based on a couple who have been married for forty years and have different approaches to aging.

When did you first start writing?
I thought that early retirement would be a blessing, but discovered that I needed to have a project to keep my mind busy.  I started a travel journal, but that can be limiting when you are in the same spot for more than a few days.  I thought about writing a novel and then remembered the conversation I had with my friends about how sex is portrayed in books and how it makes you feel inadequate as a woman as well as raising the standards much higher than reality.  I pondered about a new approach and decided that being a mature woman myself honesty was the best policy.  Tell it how it is or at least how it can be when you get older.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
My characters are bits and pieces from people I have met, who made an impression on me.  Traveling, I get to meet lots of new people and they all seem to have little quirks; which I quickly make a note of.  I do use a lot of my own information from my travels and holidays about places and interesting facts.  I have to admit to borrowing some of my partner’s quirks, habits and mannerisms to help build Ed’s character.  Although please don’t tell him.

Are you very disciplined when it comes to your writing?
I am when I need to be, but being on the road it is impossible to have a set time or daily regime.  There is no point to travelling if my head is in a note book or at a computer all day.  I hand write it all first and then type it in when I have more time.

Do you read for pleasure and what genre of book?
I definitely read for pleasure and escapism.  I read a wide variety of books but my favourite genre is thriller/detective/who-done-it type, followed very closely by humorous books that make me laugh out loud.

When you come to the end of a series do you feel as though you're saying goodbye to friends?
No idea.  Have not got to that point yet.  It may go on forever with all the ideas bouncing around in my head.
Do you travel a lot to research or do you choose locations that you know and utilise the internet?
I choose locations that I know through my travel and then use the internet to check facts.

Is there a particular theme that you'd like to write about?
As a new writer I am learning to find my feet.  As a mature woman I feel confident about the material I know and can develop that into stories.  I am a fairly strong minded and independent person and will probably use that in most of my books because when I have read books in the past that have female characters who cannot decide anything I feel like I want to shout at them ‘come on get a grip’.  Life and aging will probably be the theme that I will stick to.  I write mostly from the first person point of view and hope to move to third person when I feel more confident.  I would also like to try literary writing.

Is this the only style of writing you do or do you write others e.g. commercial books?
At the moment yes, but possibly the travel journal might find its way into a book at a later date.

With a grown up family and time on her hands after deciding to take early retirement, Allyson has now turned her hand to writing.  Born in Northamptonshire in England she now enjoys travelling and meeting new people, but especially looks forward to warmer climates and learning about other cultures.  With a very special man by her side, Allyson lives most of her life on the road and writes while on the move.  She believes making the most of her life and carefully avoids answering questions about settling in one place or establishing a routine.

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