Saturday 22 August 2020

Interview with Author C S Alleyne

Today we have the first of a two part interview with author C S Alleyne and her character Johnson Nottidge. Today's interview is with the author as she joins us to discuss her paranormal horror novel, Belle Vue, and her writing. And tune in tomorrow when Richard Dale puts her antagonist Johnson Nottidge on the hot seat. Enjoy!

Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

My name is Cheryl Alleyne. I grew up in Australia and originally trained as a hotel manager in the UK. After several postings in the Caribbean, I changed tack and completed my MBA followed several years later by a PhD in Information Systems. When not writing, I am a management consultant and also lecture in several universities.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

My debut novel, Belle Vue, is a paranormal horror which is told in two strands – past and present – around a Victorian lunatic asylum and the people who live there. It is very dark and focuses on an unspeakable crime, the hunger for justice and how when revenge is paramount, innocence doesn’t count. It will be published on 25th August 2020 by Crystal Lake Publishing.

Do you have a favourite character? If so, why?

I always have a preference for ‘baddies’ and there are numerous in Belle Vue but my favourite (and goodness knows what this says about me lol!) is the aristocrat, Johnson Nottidge. He is completely amoral, a cunning schemer and cares not a jot for anyone or anything but his own pleasure.

Why did you write this book? What was your inspiration?

Although I was always jotting down ideas for stories, I never got round to completing anything but then that unexpectedly changed. I used to go past a derelict asylum on my way to the gym. It was then converted into luxury flats and some time later, I found a book in the library about murders in Hertfordshire (the county in which I live). In it, there was a case about a girl in that asylum who was murdered. That story, and my connection to the location, captured my attention in a way nothing had done before. So from having years of half-finished stories and yellowing notes, I wrote every spare minute I could get and didn’t stop until Belle Vue was complete.

What did you enjoy most about writing your book?

To create characters. For me, that is a fascinating process as you can choose every aspect of their lives and appearance and with but a few words change their fate. What I didn’t expect was that – for me - the characters became so strong that it was as though they were directing their actions and speech on the page, not my imagination!

Did anything surprise you about the process of writing your book? 

Yes - that I could write so much! When I first started and had the idea about a murder in the asylum in Victorian times and it being converted to luxury flats in the present day, I didn’t really think I’d be able to write much and wondered if it might be a short story as it was unlikely I could find enough to write for a novel. I sure got that wrong! The soon-to-be-published book is half the size of my first complete draft.

I joined a writers’ circle and many there who had had books published said they had written lots of novels before getting published (now in bottom drawers) so each was a form of practice and developing their writing skills. I did it the other way round and used the same book to do this!  I pruned it and rewrote it numerous times instead (using advice from a lot of rejection letters!). Then my wonderful agent, Italia Gandolfo saw its potential (or I caught her at a weak moment lol) and we did more pruning and editing before it was accepted by Crystal Lake Publishing.

How do you research your books?

I love all the research and given I didn’t know much about the history of asylums, murder and punishment in Victorian times and satanic societies, I had much to get my teeth into. The present day required a different type of research and as I was local I was able to visit old asylum grounds – not just the Leavesden one but also others in the area such as Colney Hatch and others that had also been converted into luxury accommodation. I also posed as a potential buyer to view the inside of the main building and one of the luxury Leavesden apartments but the buyer who knew my husband (at the time), recognized me and wanted to know all about our moving plans! Oops.

What advice would you give beginning writers?

If you love to write or have a story you want to tell, then - as long as you are enjoying yourself - keep at it. Hone your craft – be open to ideas and feedback and whether you want to be published or not – take pride in your creation. If you can translate that pride and excitement about your work to the page – you’re halfway there! If you do want to be published, you may get (lots of) rejections but believe in yourself, keep honing and never give up.

Are you working on another book?

Yes, Belle Vue is now planned to be the first of a trilogy. I am in the middle of writing the sequel – Secret Nemesis is the working title - and in it, the main characters from both the Victorian and present day move to the United States and face a cross-fire of evil and danger.

About the Author

C S Alleyne grew up in Australia and originally trained as a hotel manager in the UK. After several postings in the Caribbean, she changed tack and completed her MBA followed several years later by a PhD in Information Systems. She is a management consultant and also lectures in several universities.

Her dark horror novelette, POWEЯ, was published in December 2019. 

Author links

Website | Blog | Goodreads Profile | Twitter | Facebook

US Amazon Author Page | UK Amazon Author Page

Belle Vue by C S Alleyne

Jealousy, betrayal, murder and a hunger for vengeance that spans the centuries…

History student Alex Palmer is thrilled when his girlfriend, Claire Ryan, buys an apartment in Belle Vue Manor, formerly a Victorian lunatic asylum.

But as Alex begins to discover the dark truth about the asylum’s past, he, Claire, and their friend Marianne find themselves on a nightmarish journey. Each will face the deadly consequences of the evil that began with the construction of the first Belle Vue Manor by an aristocratic French émigré in 1789, as well as the cruelty and satanic practices that continued when it became an asylum for the insane.

As the two strands—past and present—unfold, Alex uncovers a supernatural mystery where revenge is paramount and innocence irrelevant—without being aware of the price he, and those around him, will pay.

You can check out Belle Vue on Amazon:

Or on Goodreads

You can read an excerpt of Belle Vue here: Prologue and first two chapters

And click the link to check out C S Alleyne's other book POWEЯ:


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