My guest this week is author Gilli Allan, who is interviewing her character Jane Smith from her novel Buried Treasure.
Let’s take a look at the cover and find out a bit more about the book.
Within the ancient precincts of the university the first encounter between the conference planner and the academic is accidental and unpromising. Jane thinks he sees her as shallow and ill-educated. Theo thinks she sees him as a snob, stuffy and out of touch. And neither is entirely wrong. Just as well there’s no reason for them ever to meet again!
But behind the armour they’ve each constructed from old scars, hide far more vulnerable and complex personalities, who each have an archaeological puzzle they are driven to solve. As their stories intertwine, their quest to uncover the past unearths more than expected.
Find Gilli’s other books TORN, LIFE CLASS and FLY or FALL at
Interview with Jane Smith.
‘Do you mind this?’ The interviewer lays down the recording device and, when Jane shakes her head, switches it on. ‘Now … I see from my notes that you were born in Essex?’
‘Yes. But the family moved into Suffolk when my father got his promotion to bank manager.’
‘Branch manager.…’ Jane does not fill the interviewer’s pause. ‘After Oxford, didn’t your sister follow in his footsteps.?’
‘Unlike me, Rachel is brainy. She inherited Dad’s love of maths, figures and statistics. But she went into the City, not High Street banking.’
‘But you did well in what amounted to your first job at Lew Chapman Roofing Solutions. You began as a trainee, and by the time you left you were the boss’s PA.’
Jane looks down into her lap and twists her hands together. She hopes he doesn’t notice the shudder that zips icily down her spine. ‘I was very young when I began, and was there for nearly ten years.’
‘Even so, setting up from scratch as an Events and Conference Planner was a courageous move?’
‘My job as PA had included events management and corporate entertaining. I felt I had the experience and contacts and had some money. I didn’t want to be at the … at the beck and call of anyone else ever again. Fresh start. Sink or swim.’
‘You wanted to be your own boss. The conference you organized at Lancaster College was a very big deal for someone just starting out on a new venture?’
‘It wasn’t the first job I undertook on my own. There were a few smaller events earlier in the year. But yes, I’d never before planned anything on that scale, involving a stop-over of several days, accommodation, multiple meals….. But there’s a dedicated hospitality department at the college who I worked with, and they were very professional.’
‘Until they tried to change your arrangements?’
Jane sighs. ‘Partly my own fault. I’d not paid close enough attention to the small print, and didn’t realise there was a degree of leeway in the contract….. They changed the room we’d agreed to use for registration. I’m not very … flexible.’
‘Hence the melt-down?’
Jane looks up wide-eyed. ‘Who told you … Theo?’
‘No. Not Dr Tyler. Although, after you met by chance in the pub next to the college, wasn’t it Dr Tyler who tried to resolve your problem? I understand a … ‘free-range’ sandwich was involved…’
‘Oh that!’ Jane smiles. ‘Both problems wereresolved. The sandwich immediately, and later the glitch over my use of the Geffrye Room which, ultimately, was as a result of Theo’s … Dr Tyler’s intervention.’
‘And despite the differences between you, you became friends?’
‘What do you mean by that?’
‘Your backgrounds are very dissimilar. Family, class….?’
‘Education? In fact the schools he and I went to were the reverse of what you might expect. But I left at fifteen with just a handful of GCSEs, despite my school, not because of it. Whereas he is probably the only pupil from his school with a Phd. As it happened, we found we had interests in common. He’s an historian and archaeologist and I’ve always been interested in the subject…’
‘Indeed. Dr Tyler was not your only friend with ‘Archaeology’ in his CV. You went out with a Dr Adam Wiseman….?’
‘Oh, him!’ Jane says dismissively. ‘I met him at a book fair that I organized. But I suspect he was always more interested in the hoard unearthed by my mother’s uncle, during the war, than he was in me.’
‘That’s the Maidenhill hoard, isn’t it? There was a bit of a mystery attached to that. More than 80 years later hasn’t there been a recent discovery connected with it? An artefact believed lost has been reunited with the original find?’ The last statement is posed as a question and the interviewer looks at her intently.
Jane blushes, recalling the circumstances of that discovery. ‘Yes. I think there has.’
‘So, to recap…,’ he continues, when Jane offers no further comment. ‘What you’re saying is that you and Dr Tyler became friends through shared interests. But forgive me for pressing you. Wasn’t there more to it than that? After all, your first meeting was not a success?’
‘Where are you getting all this? All right, if you must know I thought he was pompous, pedantic, high-handed and patronizing. And he had a misguided view of me too. But I’m sure you would agree, first impressions are not a reliable guide to future relationships.’
‘Relationships?’ Yet again he gives her that intent, questioning look.
‘People are complicated,’ she goes on, uncomfortably. ‘You shouldn’t jump too soon to hard and fast conclusions. We’re all allowed to change our minds.’
‘Indeed,’ he nods. ‘Your change of mind inspired you to help him track down the vital evidence he needed to halt the proposed development at Beacon’s Hill.’
‘Luckily it was easy.’ She seems relieved at the change of tack. ‘If the individual I was searching for had moved home or died, it could have proved a lot more difficult, if not impossible.’
‘And Dr Tyler has, in his turn, helped you?’
Jane exhales. ‘In many many more ways than one…..’
Some Nice Reviews
“I found Buried Treasure a compelling read. It was so many things: a love story, a hunt for clues to lost secrets, and a fascinating look at how our past experiences shape us, and how we can heal even after damage. The characters were wonderfully well drawn,” says Clare Chase – author
“This is a book that gives you real characters, warts and all …. Gilli Allan manages to explore so much in this story, and to give so much to the reader. Intriguing, compelling, startling, disturbing and ultimately satisfying,” says Elizabeth Bailey – author.
“I was very impressed. Wonderful writing, intriguing plot, and an unexpected love story … a gem of a novel, ” says Jessica Belmont – writer and book blogger
Fancy reading it? You can get a copy here:
Find Gilli’s other books TORN, LIFE CLASS and FLY or FALL at
Gilli Allan began to write in childhood – a hobby pursued throughout her teenage. Writing was only abandoned when she left home, and real life supplanted the fiction.
After a few false starts she worked longest and most happily as a commercial artist, and only began writing again when she became a mother.
Living in Gloucestershire with her husband Geoff, Gilli is still a keen artist. She draws and paints and has now moved into book illustration.
She was published by Accent Press, now Accent Headline, and each of her books, TORN, LIFE CLASS, FLY or FALL as well as the independently published BURIED TREASURE, has won a ‘Chill with a Book’ award.
Following in the family tradition, her son, historian Thomas Williams, is also a writer. He is published by William Collins.
Contact Gilli at
Thanks for dropping by to talk to us, Gilli. Wishing you many sales!