KH: Where is your favorite place to write?
Allie Jean: During the summer I like to take my laptop out on the patio and write while my kids swim. If I want some sun, I’ll take a note pad out to a lounge chair and sip on some wine while I brain storm. During the winter, I love sitting by the fireplace with some slippers, a cozy blanket, and my laptop to write.
KH: Did you have nightmares as a teen?
Allie Jean: Not so much as a teen, no. I did when I was younger, say in the 6-10 range. They were very vivid and dark, with exquisite details that made them seem very realistic. They felt more like a story than a jumbled mess of images that don’t make sense. Most of the nightmares Chantal has in the books are based on ones I had myself.
KH: Finish this sentence: If I could live anywhere…
Allie Jean: This is a tough one. If I could live anywhere, I’d have to say that I’d like to live by the beach somewhere. I love the beauty of the Northern California beaches, so perhaps there. Maybe near Carmel.
KH: What inspired Legacy of a Dreamer?
Allie Jean: Legacy was inspired by an imaginary friend I had when I was younger. It was a shadow in the shape of a man with a tall hat on. He’d be there every night and I would talk to him when I was scared. Later, when my kids asked if I’d had an imaginary friend, I remembered this shadow. I thought how cool it would’ve been if that shadow had been real, and my imagination took off from there.
KH: Is there music or television on while you write?
Allie Jean: I listen to a great variety of music while I write, and I’m currently putting together a play list for the Dreamer Series. It will be posted to the website once it’s done. The most common background noise I write to, however, are my kids playing.
KH: Outside of your own, what's your favorite book?
Allie Jean: Another tough one. I’m a huge supernatural fan, so I love the Twilight series, of course. I think the biggest series that inspired my writing would have to be the Mortal Instrument Series by Cassandra Clare. I also love the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Hunger Games, and Harry Potter.
KH: As an author, are you a planner (outline) or a pantser (by the seat of)?
Allie Jean: It’s funny because I’m both. Some things I write just come to me. Others I plan. As for as the Dreamer Series, I currently have about seven books vaguely outlined. I know where I want the story to go and how it will end. Some of the specifics are still a mystery, but I like that in my writing. Sometimes if I plan too much, my characters take me in a different direction. It’s funny how that happens. Sometimes I’m just as surprised as the readers. I love it when I can say, “well…I didn’t see that one coming.”
KH: Chocolate or vanilla?
Allie Jean: Definitely chocolate
KH: Would Chantel (the MC of LEGACY) want to hang out with you and vice versa? Why?
Allie Jean: I would say yes. Chantal is a good mixture of a few very important people in my life. She also has some of my characteristics, so I’d say we’d get along great. LOL. I would have to say that I’d love the chance to go all “Buffy” on some monsters from the Shade, too.
KH: Phobias? Do your phobias ever work their way into your writing?
Allie Jean: I’d have to go with yes on this one. I don’t think I have a strict phobia of anything, although I detest spiders with a passion. That being said, the nightmares in my youth were based on fears I had of ridiculous things. For example, I had one reoccurring nightmare of a man dressed like an ice cream man who’d come around the neighborhood and tickle the kids to death. I remember waking up panting and crying because the man was tickling me until I couldn’t breathe. And before you ask, no, I did not have a traumatic childhood. I hated it when I was tickled, though. I guess that fear played out in my dreams.
KH: What do you do to get your creative juices flowing?
Allie Jean: Sometimes I’ll lie down on my bed and just close my eyes. I’ll think about a scene I want to write and just let my mind wander. Other times, I’ll put on a movie that has the same feel to the scene I’m writing. For example, if I’m writing a fight scene, I’ll put on a Buffy episode or Suckerpunch.
KH: Which authors inspired you as a young adult?
Allie Jean: I didn’t really have much time to read when I was in my early 20’s. I had four kids by the age of 25, so most of my time was spent chasing after them. When I did start reading again, I read whatever I could get my hands on. Some of it was great, some not so great. It was around this time that I started writing stories of my own. So to say one specific author inspired me would not be true. But if I had to choose one, I say JK Rowling. I think the world she created was vast and original, and that is exactly what I inspire to do with the world of the Fallen and the Shade. Although the Fallen concept isn’t original by any means, the Shade is and the concept of the Oracles. There seems to be a ton of repetition these days and originality is few and far between. That’s what I strive for, and JK Rowling achieved that with the Harry Potter series. That motivates me and should prove to other writers that originality is possible and inspiring.
KH: Best advice you’ve ever received about writing/publishing?
Allie Jean: Don’t get discouraged. Promoting is a HUGE part of this industry, and at first, it was a little daunting. But after a few weeks of self-deprecation, I realized I’m not in this business for the money. I don’t depend on the money. I’m here to tell a story, and as long as I entertain one person, I’ll be happy. After that great advice, my mojo came back. LOL.
KH: Looking back, what’s the one thing you wish you knew before starting your first novel?
Allie Jean: How to write one! I majored in human biology in college, so the art of grammar and punctuation did not come easy to me. The structure of a novel, too, I didn’t realize until after Legacy was completed. Luckily, the story seemed to fit the basic outline of a novel, so I wasn’t too upset.
KH: What advice would you give aspiring authors?
Allie Jean: Don’t give up! Don’t get discouraged. Remember the reason you want to write: to tell your story! If you think you’ll become the next JK Rowling, the chances are that won’t happen. Even if you have the best written book and the most original idea, there’s a lot of competition out there. But that’s not the point, right??? You are a storyteller, a dreamer, a visionary…and you want your story to be told. So tell it! Put the rest aside and entertain. Dream. Be inspired and keep true to yourself. The rest will come in time.