Author Q & A: Allison Rushby

Today I wish to extend a very warm welcome to Allison Rushby and congratulate her on the publication of The Heiresses.

Having failed at becoming a ballerina with pierced ears (her childhood dream), Allison Rushby instead began a writing career as a journalism student at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.  Within a few months she slunk sideways into studying Russian, began writing her first novel and, most importantly, joined the Chocolate Appreciation Society.  Over the past ten years, she has published five books for young adult readers and five for adult readers in the women’s fiction genre.  She is originally from Brisbane, Australia, but spent 2011 and most of 2012 living in Cambridge, UK, where she mainly spent her days whinging constantly about the weather.

Before I continue however, I wish to thank Pan MacMillan Australia, more especially Laura Norton from their publicity department, without whom this interview would not have been possible.

So, without further ado, let us indulge in getting to know The Heiresses and Allison much better.

Allison, as a brief introduction, would you mind sharing a bit about yourself and how you came to write?

Thanks for the lovely welcome, Marcia!  I suppose writing is in my blood – my mother, Pam Rushby, is also an author. I've always been a bookworm and after leaving school, studied journalism at university and started writing novels after I'd left.  My first novel was never published (and I can now tell why!), but my second novel was picked up and I haven't stopped writing since.

What can you tell us about The Heiresses?

The Heiresses revolves around triplets Thalia, Erato and Clio.  Estranged since birth, they are thrust together in glittering 1926 London to fight for their inheritance.  They quickly learn they can't trust anyone in their new lives – least of all each other.  I had an absolute ball writing The Heiresses with all its dramatic highs and lows.

What inspired you to write The Heiresses and was there any specific reason you chose the 1920’s in which to set your novel?

This is extremely embarrassing, but I think it was actually from watching a Dr Phil show, years ago.  I can't say too much as it will spoil the plot completely, but I saw a segment that involved a family and their genetic makeup and asked my husband (a medical specialist) about it all that evening.  This led me to wondering how this family's scenario might have played out if genetic testing was not available to them, which is the case in The Heiresses, set in 1920s London.

All three girls have such unique personalities.  How did you feel writing about them?

I realised quite early on that my three heroines would need to be decidedly different in order for the reader to remember who was who, or the story would simply be too confusing.  I really enjoyed writing about their differences and their being so different brought a fresh feel and a different take on each new scene as I wrote.

What was your favourite part of the book to write?

I think bringing all the girls to the Savoy for that initial meeting – getting them all to London from their very different homes and ways of life.

Which part of The Heiresses was the most interesting to research?

I was very lucky to be living in Cambridge as I was writing The Heiresses, which made research a breeze. London was less than an hour away by train and I took full advantage of this.  I think my favourite piece of research was simply wandering around Belgrave Square and hand-picking the townhouse the girls would spend most of their time in.  Bliss!

Can we expect another novel soon?  If so, would you like to give us a hint as to what we can expect?

You sure can!  It's contemporary New Adult and is about an English girl who falls for a charismatic modern artist who is American.  It's set in Paris, London and New York, so has more of an international feel than a lot of the college-based New Adult that's available right now.  I've also recently started writing another historical New Adult, set during WWII, which is quite similar to The Heiresses in many ways (three heroines, much drama!).  The research for this one isn't quite as pleasant as it was researching the 20s, but it's certainly fascinating!

And, just for some fun:

Favourite film?

Notting Hill

Pizza or Pasta?

Lovely gluten-y pasta (my daughter is gluten-free and I dream of eating real pasta again!).

Favourite writer?

P.G. Wodehouse.

If you had a book club, what would it be reading and why?

I'm in a book club!  We're currently reading Chris Bohjalian's Midwives.

Give us three good to know facts about you – be creative.

1. I'm a slave to my old, diabetic Devon Rex cat, Violet, who is currently warming my lap.
2. I'm crazy about Minis and have been known to squee when I see a particularly cute one.
3. I love baking, but cooking doesn't interest me much (I want to be Nigella when I grow up).

Allison, it has been an absolute pleasure having you on my blog.  Thank you for coming along.


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