Sunday 11 March 2018

The Hippo Hangs Out . . . . with Anne Stormont

Today I’m delighted to be nattering to Anne Stormont, who also writes as Anne McAlpine, but more about that later, first I'd like to welcome Anne to The Hippo and to tell you a little bit about her.

Photo courtesy of Anne Stormont

Anne Stormont writes contemporary women's fiction. So far she has published two novels Change of Life and Displacement. She is currently working on a sequel to Displacement which will be out in 2018. She has also written a children's novel called The Silver Locket published under the name of Anne McAlpine.

Anne is a Scot and she has recently moved from the Isle of Skye to the Scottish Borders. She has travelled the world and has visited every continent except Antarctica – where, considering her penchant for penguins, she really must go. Anne was a primary school teacher for 36 years and is also a wife, mum and grandma.

She is a subversive old bat but maintains a kind heart.

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Anne is currently writing the sequel to Displacement and I believe it's called Settlement, so, by telling you about Displacement now, that gives you plenty of time to read it before the next book comes out later this year.


A story of love, courage and hope.

Divorce, the death of her soldier son and estrangement from her daughter, leave Hebridean crofter, Rachel Campbell, grief stricken, lonely and lost. 

Forced retirement due to a heart condition leaves former Edinburgh policeman Jack Baxter needing to take stock and find a new direction for his life.

When the two of them meet in dramatic circumstances on a wild winter’s night on the island of Skye, a mutually supportive friendship develops between them, despite their very different personalities.

But with Rachel due to be in the Middle East for several months and Jack already in a relationship, it seems unlikely they'll get the chance to take their relationship any further – much as they might want to.

Set against the contrasting and dramatic backdrops of the Scottish island of Skye and the contested country of Israel-Palestine, this book tells a story of love, home and heritage and what happens when these are threatened at a political and a personal level.

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Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
I used the pseudonym Anne McAlpine when I did my children's novel The Silver Locket. I did it in order to keep my children's book quite separate from my adult novels for which I use my 'real' name. Sometimes it can be a bit of a pain having two author identities as it means two author websites, two Facebook author pages etc., but I have no regrets. I definitely believe it was the right thing to do. It means when I visit schools or festivals as Anne McAlpine I can be completely sure that all the associated stuff – publicity material, website posts and so on are all appropriate for my younger readers.

What advice would you give your younger self?
In terms of being a writer, I'd say: Take your writing seriously, don't put it off, make time for it, believe you can do it. It took a brush with mortality when I was diagnosed with cancer aged 41 to make me seize the moment. I did a deal with fate and said if I survive, I will stop procrastinating. I survived and twenty years later I have three novels published and my fourth is due out this year. 

Image found on chibird

I thought  that this would be an appropriate time to pop this little guy in – plus I heard that you have a soft spot for penguins! šŸ˜‰

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing etc come from?
I think my love of books, storytelling and reading comes mainly from my Granny. She told me wonderful stories when I was little. She also bought me books such as Heidi, Little Women, and Peter Pan – all of which I adored. But being taken regularly to the local library by my mum and discovering Enid Blyton around the age of seven also meant I was developed the reading habit.

The source of my love of writing is harder to pinpoint. As a child I wrote stories and plays and enjoyed dramatising some of the books I read and then I'd force invite my sisters and friends to act out these 'plays'. I didn't do much writing in my twenties and thirties when I was busy bringing up my children and working full time. But since I began taking it more seriously, I can't imagine my life without it. It's a huge part of who and what I am. At any given moment, If I'm not actually writing, I'm either thinking about writing or doing something writing related. So where it comes from may be a bit vague but what I do know is: I LOVE WRITING.

What do you think is more important: characters or plot?
That's a tricky one. Both are obviously important. But as a writer, and as a reader, it's the characters who really matter to me. I'm interested in what motivates them, in how they react and interact with the plot and with each other.

If you could spend time with a character from your book who would it be and why? What would you get up to?
I'd choose both my main characters from Displacement. They're also the main people in the sequel I'm currently writing. I'd want to spend time with them separately.

I'd have a whisky with Jack. It would be an evening by the fire in his house on the Isle of Skye, and I'd ask him why he's been so hopeless at relationships in the past. It would be good to chat to him about his former career in the police force too. And I'd really want to tell him not to mess things up with Rachel. After our drink and chat we could go outside and he could share his knowledge of the night sky with me.

With Rachel, I'd accompany her as she checks the sheep on her Skye croft, and talk to her about her travels in the Middle East and what it has meant to her to reconnect with her heritage. I'd also want to know if she thinks she has a long term future with Jack.

Which literary character is most like you?
I maybe share some characteristics with Jo Marsh from Little Women. I'm one of five sisters (one more than Jo, I know) and, like Jo, I was the one who was always a bit different. I was the most bookish, the one who wanted to be a writer, and the most rebellious. But also like Jo, I hope I share her passion and her kind heart.

You get a brilliant idea/thought/phrase at an inappropriate moment (eg in the shower or driving) what do you do?
The most likely times for this to happen to me are during my early morning shower or when out for my daily 5K walk. If it happens in the shower, I just keep repeating/rehearsing the idea sometimes out loud until I am (minimally) decent and can go scribble on the nearest piece of paper. If it happens when I'm out walking, I use the voice recording app on my phone and try to look as if I'm normal and having a chat while I dictate my brilliant idea.

Describe yourself in five words.
Loyal, imaginative, hard-working, stubborn, subversive.

You can find out more about Anne, her books and connect with her using the links below:

Amazon UK
Amazon US

I'd like to thank Anne for taking the time to stop by and chat with me today. I've really enjoyed finding out more about you and your books.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much, Neats for having me here on this wonderful blog of yours.I love the penguin gift and other pictures you included in the post.