Today I have the pleasure of sharing with you my interview with Marian Allen, author of Force of Habit, which I recently reviewed.
Bookworm: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions! So I read an interview where you stated that Force of Habit first started off as a Star Trek fan fiction. Tell me about the early drafts.
Marian Allen: I was a “pantser” when I wrote fan fiction, and they’re pretty loopy. They can be found here. So, to all intents and purposes, the early draft was a story, published in Devra Langsam’s Masiform-D fanzine.
When I decided to expand the story and make it an original, I knew I wanted to change the ST characters so they weren’t the ST characters anymore. Bel was mine and Tetra was created by my pal Jane Peyton, author of the Callie London’s Vampire Adventures series (she graciously and generously gave me the right to use the character). The more I tweaked the ST characters, the more they became themselves.
Bookworm: What inspires you to write?
Allen: What doesn’t? No, really, EVERYTHING is about writing!
Bookworm: What was it like working for the Red Cross?
Allen: Very gratifying. I loved working for an organization that existed to help people. My fellow employees were among the most selfless people I’ve ever known. We also worked with far more volunteers than paid staff, and that was a beautiful thing.
I worked in Accounting (detective work with numbers!) and Youth Services (kids doing things for retirement homes and shelters). Before that, I was a temp in Emergency Response and then in Service to Military Families. I met my husband through a presentation I did for Red Cross at a school. When I was expecting, I said if I had a girl I was going to name her Clara Barton Allen. (Luckily for her, I didn’t.)
Bookworm: What are some of your other works?
Allen: The SAGE trilogy: Book 1 – THE FALL OF ONAGROS, Book 2 – BARGAIN WITH FATE, Book 3 – SILVER AND IRON. Book 1 is already out and the other two will be out soon.
I’ll have a science fiction novel out soon, and I’m doing pre-submission edits on a New Adult Paranormal and edits for a new edition of EEL’S REVERENCE, a fantasy.
I self-published four collections of short stories: LONNIE, ME AND THE HOUND OF HELL; TURTLE FEATHERS; THE KING OF CHEROKEE CREEK; and MA’S MONTHLY HOT FLASHES: 2002-2007.
Bookworm: Your list of awards is longer than my sister-in-law’s police record! What award meant the most to you?
Allen: The “award” that meant the most to me wasn’t anything official. I wrote a short-short character study of my mother-in-law. When she read it, she said, “How do you know? How do you KNOW how I feel and what I do before anybody gets here on Sunday?” I said, “You told me, a little bit at a time over the years.” She dropped a tear or two and said, “I didn’t think anybody listened.” I’ll never have an award that means more to me than that.
Bookworm: What do you read for leisure?
Allen: Anything except erotica. I read mostly mystery, fantasy, science fiction, humor, classics, literary, and non-fiction.
Bookworm: What is your current work in progress?
Allen: I told you what I’m editing. As for new writing, I’ve signed up to do Story A Day in May, so I’m not starting anything.
Bookworm: Favorite book by an indie/small press author?
Allen: TROLL OR DERBY by Red Tash is certainly one of my favorites. PACKAGED by Leslie R. Lee is another. In non-fiction, there’s Joanna Foreman’s wonderful memoir, THE KNOW-IT-ALL GIRL. Jane Peyton’s Callie London, of course. There are just too many excellent books being published by indies and small presses to list them all!
Bookworm: What are you reading now?
Allen: WHEN PUSH COMES TO SHOVE, the first of Jane Peyton’s Callie London books.
Bookworm: What advice do you have for new authors?
Allen: I always give the same advice whenever I’m asked: Never give up! Never surrender!
Bookworm: How has the publishing world changed since you started writing?
Allen: When I started, there was no internet. Yes, there was electricity. “Publishing” for a genre writer meant getting a contract on a book from an agent and/or a Big Name Publisher. There were small presses, too, but they usually specialized in non-fiction, poetry, or literary fiction. Now…. THE WORLD IS OURS!!!! Bwa-ha-ha-ha-haaaaaaaa!!!!!
Just for fun
Peanut butter and banana sammiches.
James Bond, Ethan Hunt, or Jason Bourne?
Very Special Agent Tony DiNozzo of NCIS.
Favorite literary character?
George MacDonald Fraser’s Harry Flashman. Of course, that’s today. Another day, it’ll be somebody else.