My Guest, Mr. Allen!

Mr. DiPasqua:  Hi folks.  Only 4 days left until the finale at our ball.  I’m going to miss chatting with the other RHs and you lovely readers everyday.  Today we have Mr. Allen at A MIDNIGHT DANCE Blog party!  Mr. Allen can you tell us who you’re married to and what she writes?

Mr. Allen:  I am married to Louise Allen and she writes “Scandalously witty Regency romance.” – that is her description as displayed on her website: she certainly seems to do plenty of giggling when writing. And heavy breathing . . .

Mr. DiPasqua:  Sounds like she really enjoys the writing process. LOL!  Your wife’s fans would like to know the RH (Romance Husband) behind the author better. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Scholar? Athlete? Businessman? Artist?

Mr. Allen:  I retired early from gainful employment, and now I’m pit crew for Louise. I worked in the biological sciences at London Zoo, Cambridge University and ended my career at Cranfield University. I’ve always been involved in the hands-on practical side of things rather than the more academic. In my free time I enjoy motor sport, as a spectator or marshal. Travelling with Louise on holiday and to assist in her research (or, even better, both at once) lets me indulge another enthusiasm for food and drink. I also enjoy photography, bird watching and gardening, although Louise does all of the garden designing and I mostly dig the holes where I’m told to. Having said that, I do have a small vegetable plot for the first time in many years. So far I have harvested one tomato and one zucchini and a lot of snails.

Mr. DiPasqua:  Escargots for dinner…YUMMY!  Where did you and your wife meet? What convinced you that she was THE ONE?

Mr. Allen:  We met early in our first term at Durham University. Before the internet, universities must have been the best dating agencies ever created. What convinced me she was THE ONE is truly impossible to say. We dated for a while and then split up for reasons I have forgotten, and I then realized that there was a huge hole in my life that Louise filled perfectly. She still does.

Mr. DiPasqua:  Where were you when she got THE CALL from her agent/editor? What was your reaction when she told you she’d sold her first book?

Mr. Allen: We were at home when the letter arrived. I think my initial reactions were: a) congratulations, someone has at last recognized your talent (by this stage she had had eight scripts rejected), b) have we any champagne to celebrate properly, and finally c) how much are they paying you? (I have always wanted to be a kept man). As it turned out, for the first novel, it wasn’t much more than the bottle of champagne cost.

Mr. DiPasqua:   Is the hero in your wife’s last book:
a) Just like you;
b) The opposite of you;
c) You wish it were you;
d) More like Mr. May in the NYC Firefighter calendar.

Mr. Allen:  OK, confession time. I have not read any of Louise’s books. I have read the occasional page, but that’s all. This started with my not wanting to know too much about the secret workings of Louise’s sub-conscious, and finally turned into a superstition. I worry that if I do start to read them it will somehow affect what she does, and I would hate to do that. So the answer to the question is that I haven’t got the faintest idea.

Mr. DiPasqua:   On your first date with your wife, were you most like:
a) Prince Charming;
b) Prince (bad boy) Harry;
c) The Artist formally known as Prince;
d) Prince, the family pet.

Mr. Allen:  All I can say with any certainty is that it was at an undergraduate party, and drink had been consumed and the details are hazy! I hope that I behaved in a reasonably civilized manner. (Louise says it was a mixture of a & d).

Mr. DiPasqua:   Nowadays when you hear the word “ball” do you immediately think:
a) Baseball
b) Basketball
c) An uncontrollable weeping reaction of fans upon meeting your wife in person?

d) A gathering of lords and ladies.

Mr. Allen:  According to Louise, one of my best features is that I have no interest whatsoever in the vast majority of ball games. Soccer leaves me absolutely cold. I enjoy watching International rugby but don’t understand the rules – but then, it seems to me, neither does anyone else. Cricket is an endlessly fascinating game, best watched by listening to the commentary on the radio. ‘Balls’ now conjures up images of Regency Lords and Ladies being ever so elegant in Assembly Rooms the length and breadth of the country. Also, the Duchess of Richmond’s Ball on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo, the location of which I was expected to track down in the streets of modern Brussels.

Mr. DiPasqua:  How long have you been a RH? (Romance Husband). What advice would you give new RH’s about what you’ve learned being married to a romance author? What should a new RH do or not do when his wife is under deadline?

Mr. Allen:  Louise’s first book was published in 1986, but I suppose that I must have been a RH for a few years before that while she was trying to get accepted. Advice to the new RH – be patient. A baby takes 9 months from conception to production, novels take much longer and can be just as stressful. If she asks you to read something, do so and offer an honest critique. DO NOT say “ Oh that’s wonderful, dear” if it isn’t or you will run the risk of marital disharmony when someone else, an editor or agent, criticizes it. As for deadlines….offer as much support as the writer will accept. Keep her supplied with food, tea and biscuits, gin and tonic, chocolate – whatever she feels she needs. Take the blame when she gets on the scales once the deadline is reached. Do not expect to find that the laundry has been done and your socks miraculously paired up in the appropriate drawer. Learn where the washing machine, dishwasher, vacuum cleaner are and how to use them. Learn to cook. Or starve. I’ve just been on a course to learn how to make bread. If, when delivering tea, G&T or whatever, you find that she is playing Solitaire, or on Facebook or Twitter, do not get downhearted. This is known as ‘Thinking time.’ Mind you, if you go back an hour later to collect the empty cups, glasses, plates etc and there still no evidence of work, I think you are definitely on your own.

Mr. DiPasqua:   We all need our thinking time!  Okay, you know I have to go there . . . What’s your response when asked, “So where does your wife get the inspiration for her love scenes?” (Usually by a guy smirking.)

Mr. Allen:  This happens so many times at workshops and talks to readers. There are two stock answers. Either ‘She uses her imagination based on her experiences,’ (plus smug smile) if you feel that you can brazen it out, or you ask in return whether they think that crime writers base their work on their personal experiences of murder most foul. That usually gives them pause to think.

Mr.DiPasqua:  Good answers!  Which character in your wife’s books would she say most resembles you and/or your personality?

Mr. Allen:  I can’t comment – but Louise says there is a bit of me in all of the heroes. I like to think those are the dashing/romantic/very rich /handsome bits, but I wonder…

Mr.DiPasqua:  Tell me something about your wife her fans would be surprised to learn.

Mr. Allen:  We are both tracing our family trees. As part of our research we have discovered that in Louise’s ancestry there are two highwaymen who were hanged for their misdemeanors, and a woman who poisoned her husband on Christmas day with a cake made with rat poison. So far I haven’t seen any evidence of these character traits in Louise, but then, I do all the cooking….

Mr. DiPasqua:   LOL.  Thanks so much for participating in the A MIDNIGHT DANCE Blog Party. You’ve been a great sport! One last question: What would you like us to know about your wife’s latest or upcoming release?

Mr. Allen:  Louise has two trilogies beginning this month. In the States there is The Transformation of the Shelley Sisters which traces the lives of three sisters from a repressive country vicarage who take their destinies into their own hands despite scandal and heartbreak. The first (August) book, Practical Widow to Passionate Mistress has been described by The Romantic Times as an “addictive read” and follows the middle sister, Meg, as she takes drastic action to return to England after being widowed in Spain during the Peninsula war. The trilogy continues with Vicar’s Daughter to Viscount’s Lady (September) and Innocent Courtesan to Adventurer’s Bride.

Buy at Amazon.com

In the UK there is Danger and Desire which follows the fate of four of the passengers on an East India Company ship wrecked on the Isles of Scilly in 1808. The first (August) is Ravished by the Rake, the story of Lady Perdita Brooke, a lady haunted by scandal, and the dangerously tempting Lord Alistair Lyndon, a man who holds the key to her most devastating secret. Seduced by the Scoundrel (September) and Married to a Stranger (October) complete the trilogy.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk
(Published in the States in 2012)

To learn more about Louise Allen visit her WEBSITE HERE.

GIVEAWAY: Louise will give away a signed copy of both PRACTICAL WIDOW TO PASSIONATE MISTRESS and RAVISHED BY THE RAKE. The giveaway is available WORLDWIDE.

RULES:
To win you must:

1. Ask a question or leave a comment below—We’re men. We can take it. :) Remember: the more you comment, the greater your chances at winning the GRAND PRIZE.

2. You MUST be a follower/subscriber of Lila DiPasqua’s blog (through Google Friend Connect).

3. Must be at least 18 years of age.

4. Winner will be selected at random on SUNDAY.

Ways to increase your odds at winning are found at the very bottom of this blog.

Mr. DiPasqua:  It was a pleasure interviewing you, Mr. Allen. That’s a great giveaway!  Okay, folks, let’s hear your responses! :)

  • Hi, Mr. Allen!

    Good interview! I love your comment – ” .. and then I realized there was a huge hole in my life that Louise filled perfectly. She still does.” Awfully sweet!

    As pit crew for Mrs. Allen, what are your ‘duties’? What has been the most romantic vacation that you and Mrs. Allen have taken?

    Thanks!

    Karen C
    kacbooks(at)hotmail(dot)com
    US Resident
    GFC follower
    Newsletter subscriber

  • I really enjoy reading all these interviews. There have been a lot of RH’s interviewed and I’m amazed that all seem to have a great personality with lots of wit and humor. :) I have Ravished By A Rake on my TRL .
    Do you and your wife do anything special to celebrate sales and releases of her books ? Great interview Mr. D Thanks again.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  • Mr Allen

    Thanks, Karen C & Carol L!
    Duties of a pit crew member – it is just like pit crew in motorsport really – keep the driver on the road. In this case, catering manager, wine waiter, PC crisis averter, photographer, chauffeur and, of course, Romantic Inspiration. (I wish)
    Most romantic vacation? Rajastan, India this January – staying in pricely palaces and in desert camps under the stars.
    To celebrate it is usually a good bottle of champagne and a deep breath before the next deadline

  • It must be really intresting learning about both of your families pasts. Do you have any rat poison bakers on your side?

    elizabeth_14@hotmail.co.uk
    facebook follower
    Twitter follower

  • Mr Allen

    What a great hubby you are so helpful I love your answers and seeing as how I live in Australia I do love cricket.

    I need to get your wife’s boosk and very soon love the sound of them

    Have Fun
    Helen

  • Hello, Mr. Allen! You are a man for all seasons. Dig the holes, offer the honest critiques, keep up the flow of gin & tonic, and do all the cooking! You are a Renaissance man! I am a longtime fan of Mrs. Allen’s richly-detailed romantic tales : )

    US Resident, GFC Follower, Subscriber

    gcwhiskas at aol dot com

  • Ora

    It sounds like a lot work goes into working the pit crew, along with some wonderful rewards.
    I have to say that it I don’t like having to wait for books. I am very grateful that my husband’s work takes him to London often, and will have to ask him get them for me.

  • Nr Allen

    Hi Elizabeth, Helen, Virginia C & Ora – and thanks for commenting & your kind remarks. Elizabeth – no, my ancestors seem to be far better behaved than Louise’s – if they’d been less law-abiding they’d be easier to find!
    Ora – hope your husband finds you the books you want – make sure he takes a spare suitcase.

  • Loved your interview, Mr Allen!
    I think your answer about where crime writers get their inspiration is the best ever!

  • Great interview! Those answers were definitely made by a man who knows his woman! LOL!

  • Thanks for all the lovely interviews, Mr. D! And I agree that the response about the crime writers is inspired. I’ll have to remember that one!

  • Ivy

    I really enjoyed your sense of humor Mr. Allen. Mrs.Allen has a very interesting family tree. Are y’all still looking into those?
    I’ve always wanted to travel to England and see all the places I’ve read about..England & Scotland.
    Hope you have a great day.

  • Mr. D, as always a great interview!

    Mr. Allen, I loved your comeback to questions of where your wife gets her inspiration for loves scenes by referring to crime writers! Not only witty but the perfect question stopper.

    I love Louise’s books and have a habit that once I start reading one it’s not going to be put down until I finish it. This can cause my husband to get “miffed” and complaining about getting cereal from dinner (hey, I didn’t want to take time away from reading that great scene just to cook?). Could you give me a good come-back to say to him? After 41 years I’ve used up all the ones I know. Your help would be appreciated.

    PS: Thank Louise for me for having 2 trilogies coming out. It makes my book buying decisions so much easier.

    jeannemiro@yahoo.com

  • Mr Allen

    Hi Sherie,BlogHore, RebeLovesBooks, Ivy & Jeanne M – glad you like my counter-question about crime writers – it worked really well the other day at a Rotarians’ dinner!
    Ivy – yes, we’re still working on the fmaily tree. No Scots that we can find. I seem to be all English with a spinkling of Welsh and Louise is all English plus some 18th century German piano makers.
    Jeanne M – I’m tempted to say, hand him the skillet,or perhaps point at the freezer and the microwave (and then hide behind the pile of books!)

  • Dear Mr Allen

    Unfortunately I’ve not had the pleasure of reading your wife’s books, but after this interview I’m so tempted to get them ;o)

    I too don’t understand international rugby and funny thing is that I live in South Africa and they are totally crazy on the sport.

    Having visited India, what is your next place to visit and how do you choose where to go next?

    Rita from South Africa
    bitemeash(AT)gmail(DOT)com

    Fan on Facebook
    Shared the Blog Party on Facebook
    On Lila’s Yahoo Newsletter group
    Follower of Blog(Through Google Friend Connect)

  • Mr Allen

    Hi Rita, the next holiday is a river trip along the Duoro River in Portugal in time for the grape harvest (Louise can pretend it is for Peninsula War reseach, I can just enjoy the wine) and then, next year, Africa – safari to Botswana for the wildlife because I’ve always wanted to go there

  • Great interview Mr Allen you are obviously a vastly experienced and expert RH. Although how anyone can stay awake watching/listening to cricket is beyond me!
    Looking forward to the new books.
    irgl7(at)bonzo15(dot)plus(dot)com

  • Interesting intrview Mr Allen. I was just curious if any of you romance husbands actually hung out together?

  • What a great and humorous interview……loved it!! How lucky your wife is to have such a devoted and supportive husband. How interesting the things she discovered in her family tree research, maybe she’ll be inspired to write a book about one of them!

  • Very funny interview! Still laughing over her geneology! Thanks for sharing with us today!I will be adding you wifes books to my wish list now!

    fb fan
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  • Di

    Mr. Allen – it’s fabulous that you retired early from your prior career to take up your role as Louise’s support system. The travel perks sound great too. Will Louise be setting a future story in Africa?

    sallans d at yahoo dot com

  • Great interview Mr. Allen. I can understand why you don’t read your wife’s books. Most men just don’t want to read romance or just not readers at all. I am married to a man that doesn’t read anything except a magazine. Thanks for sharing with us today.

    lead[at]hotsheet[dot]com

  • Hi, Mr. Allen! Loved your interview! You have a great wit and sense of humor. I don’t know if you have ever been told this or not. Maybe it is my imagination, but I think you and Mrs. Allen look a bit alike. Are you sure your family trees aren’t intertwined somewhere?

  • Na

    Hi Mr. Allen,
    It’s so heartwarming that you were there with your wife when the letter arrived for her first book. Your belief in her work and support must mean a lot to her. Her books are new to me but I wil be adding her books to my reading radar. Witty and scandalous romance in the Regency era sounds fun.

    Cambonified[at]yahoo[dot]com

  • Amy

    Thanks for sharing the photo with us! It was really sweet how Mr. and Mrs. Allen reunited after they broke up and Mr. Allen realized there was a big hole in his heart. Sometimes, second chances and reunions are so sweet and meaningful.

    GFC follower: Amy
    Facebook fan: Amy Zh***
    Yahoo Newsletter subscriber

    angeldream3[AT]gmail[DOT]com

  • May

    I think it’s great that you two have been married for so long. :)

    Does your wife get upset that you haven’t read her books? Or does she prefer it that way?

  • Love the picture. You both look like you are enjoying your excursion. It is nice that you are both of an age/ time of life where you can travel and research for the books. (At least that is as good an excuse as any.)

    What types of trips do you enjoy for either research or for a holiday?

    I checked her back list and there are good books there just waiting to be read. I like the sound of both of these new trilogies. I hope their releases go well.

    I am a GFC Follower as librarypat.

    I follow on Twitter as pbbearclaw.

    I follow on Facebook as Patricia Barraclough.

    librarypat AT comcast DOT net

  • Mr Allen

    Good morning! Waking up here in England to a whole lot more great comments. I’ll do my best to answer your questions.
    Irene – the whole point of cricket is to help men sleep. Many B – yes, Romance Husbands do hang out. I meet up with some at the Romantic Novelists’ Association conference & we exchanged horror stories in the bar. Stephanie – great idea about family tree-based stories. yes, we do have a ready-made plot with one of my early 19thc ancestors featuring gamekeepers & servant girls. Di – don’t think there’ll be a sub-Saharan story, but Louise has some ideas about Egypt. Cathy P – I think the likeness you discern is the result of 2 people trying to hide their terror at being in a hot air ballon floating over the Valley of the Kings at dawn! May – no, Louise isn’t upset I don’t read her books. She doesn’t want me seeing what her subconsious is getting up to any more than I do. LibraryPat – we like cultural trips and ones where we see the real life of the local people. We’re not beach holiday fans.

  • Mr. Allen, you noted that you like cultural trips and ones where we see the real life of the local people and my husband and I enjoy the same. We took a wonderful trip to England and the townspeople in Winchester not only pointed out places of local interest not in travel guides but also to a wonderful local pub for lunch.

    My problem is my husband now wants to plan a trip to see the pyamids (he’s a master stone mason). With the current unrest what can I use to convince him this may not be the ideal time to travel there or offer as a safer alternative? (We’ve already gone to Stonehenge).

  • Mr Allen,

    Does having a wife who dreams up masterpieces for us to read ever influence special time you have planned together say when a idea hits her and she has to make work of it immediately ?

    GFC Follower Not a US resident FB follower subscriber and pavement princess

    desere_steenberg@yahoo.com

  • Mr. Allen, I want to thank you for participating in the A Midnight Dance Blog Party! I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed your wit! Your interview was so entertaining. A great big thank you to your dear wife, too!

    Hugs,
    Lila

  • Hi Mr. Allen:
    Loved the interview. You ask some really good questions. I always wondered if writers modeled their heroes after someone. I would love to interview people close to some of my fav. writers to find out what was in their head while they were writing certain scenes. Great Job. You should do more.

  • As a historical romance fan, I haven’t figured out why I’ve never heard of Louise before. Thanks for introducing me to a new author via an entertaining interview.

    Jen
    GFC follower as Romancing the Book
    admin.bookblog AT gmail.com

  • I suppose everyone would have iffy relatives somewhere in the family tree. I’m sure they were embarrassments back then but interesting characters many generations later. No one remembers the quiet ones who just did their jobs and raised their kids. :(

    ironss [at] gmail [dot] com
    GFC follower
    etc.

  • You two sound like an excellent couple! You’re very supportive!

    Robin D
    robindpdx (at) yahoo (dot) com