Hey there Book Monsters and Literal Addicts! Book Monster Reviews and LITERAL ADDICTION are very pleased to welcome author Allison Pang to our sites today.
Allison spends her days in Northern Virginia working as a cube grunt and her nights waiting on her kids and cats, punctuated by the occasional husbandly serenade. Sometimes she even manages to write. Mostly she just makes it up as she goes.
Allison is the author of the ABBY SINCLAIR urban fantasy series which currently consists on her first book "A Brush of Darkness". The second book in the series, "A Sliver of Shadow," is scheduled to be released on February 28, 2012.
Let's take a look at what "A Brush of Darkness" is all about:
Book Monster Reviews/LITERAL ADDICTION: Hi Allison! Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to drop by and spend some time with us! We’re happy to have you with us today!
Allison: Glad to be here! Thanks for having me. :D
Book Monster Reviews/LITERAL ADDICTION: We always like to start out by getting to know you a little bit better.
Q1): Can you tell us 3 things about yourself that we can't find out on the internet, in your bio, etc?
Allison: I don’t hold much back about myself on the blog so chances are if you follow it, you probably already know a lot of what I’m about. (Though I don’t talk politics or religion.) Let’s see. 1) Even though I’m only 5’6”, I have the arm and leg span of someone who is 5’9”. 2) I once fed a seagull an Alka Seltzer. (I was 12. And stupid.) 3) I once got trapped in an upstairs bathroom (the doorknob fell out on the other side of the door) and there was no one else in the house. I got out through a broken window pane and onto the roof. (One of those quarter panes. No, I DON’T know how I managed to squeeze through, but I did.)
2) Besides being a cat thief (LOL), what are some hobbies and interests you like to do when you're not writing?
Allison: Hmmm. Before I started writing on a professional level, I was definitely more of a hard-core RPG gamer (WoW, NWN, BG, etc – I cut my teeth on text based Zork games back in the day and that was that.) Aside from computer games, I also render crappy Poser art and cross-stitch. I have also been known to collect anime cels, although that’s a pretty expensive hobby. (I have a good sized collection from Ayashi no Ceres, atm, including several opening cels.)
3) Congratulations! "A Brush of Darkness is your first published book. You must be so proud and excited. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Allison: I don’t know if it was something I “realized” per se. I was always an avid reader, but growing up we didn’t have all the great resources via the internet that we do now. The idea of becoming an author seemed rather farfetched to me, particularly when I discovered I didn’t really like the creative writing classes I took in college. I did like the idea of writing, but the practical side of me decided I would never actually be able to do anything with it, so I gave it up completely for about 12 years or so. It wasn’t until a few years ago when I was playing online Play-by-Post RPG games that made me think it might be something I wanted to pursue.
4) What made you decide to start out writing in the urban fantasy genre?
Allison: I actually started writing more of a fantasy based piece with another writer but it didn’t work out. During that time I wrote BoD just to have something to use to learn “how” to get published. I never actually intended or thought that it would. It was just a practice book, I guess. It also started life as a paranormal romance (I had joined RWA because there were so many great resources accessible to members, so it made sense at the time.) Once it sold, I was asked to rework it into an Urban Fantasy.
5) Do you have any writing quirks or things that you can't go without to start the writing process?
Allison: It’s just music for me. Nothing else really matters as long as I have a computer to write on.
6) Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do to get the creative juices flowing again?
Allison: I wouldn’t call it a block exactly, but sometimes I do get stuck. I’m a panster so I tend to make it up as I go (as opposed to any sort of true outline.) I find that if I get stuck it usually means that I’m trying to force the story in a direction it shouldn’t go. That’s when I back up a bit (to an earlier part) and try taking it down a different road. Sometimes that can take a few days of just thinking and scratching notes out on paper until it feels right.
7) Who are some of the authors that have inspired you to start writing?
Allison: Heh. Just about anyone I’ve ever read. But my favorites would be Jacqueline Carey, Charles de Lint, Robin Hobb, Lynn Flewelling, and Peter S. Beagle.
8) How long did it take you to get published?
Allison: About a year. I started BoD in the summer of 2008 and finished the draft in April 2009. I had an agent by Nov. 2009 and my book deal with Pocket by Jan. 2010. I would consider this a bit on the unusual side in the world of traditional publishing. There was definitely some luck and timing involved!
Book Monster Reviews/LITERAL ADDICTION: Now we'd like to ask you some questions about the ABBY SINCLAIR series.
9) For those who have not read "A Brush of Darkness" yet, can you please give us some more detailed information about the ABBY SINCLAIR series?
Allison: It’s the story of Abby Sinclair, who is pretty much a normal girl (at least to start – what’s a UF without a few extra powers tossed in?), essentially tossed into this mystical world that overlaps our own. Everything she does has political repercussions, but directions are hard to come by and she finds herself struggling to figure out how to manage. When her Faery boss goes missing, Abby is forced to try to find her, joined by a perverted unicorn and a sexy incubus, who may or may not be setting her up.
10) There are so many different supernatural groups in the series (ie: Unicorns, incubi, succubi, angels, demons, werewolves, vampires, and mermaids). Where do you get all your information for the series?
Allison: I used to read a lot of fairy tales growing up and I was always very interested in mythology from all sorts of different cultures, so I’m mainly just drawing from what I remember about that and make the rest of it up as I go.
11) Phineas the unicorn is known to be cranky, sarcastic, VERY horny but extremely loveable. How did you come up with Phineas' character? Was he inspired by someone you know? ;-)
Allison: He’s based off two of my cats. (One who used to sleep in my underwear drawer and the other is a cranky, randy thing who used to drag my bathrobe around and hump it.) In the book Phineas wasn’t actually supposed to talk, but about halfway through that changed, pretty much as it was written. I also had a Phineas character that I ran in a PbP several years ago (also a unicorn – although larger and more obnoxious than in the books.)
12) The second book in the series "A Sliver of Shadow" will be released 2/28/12. Can you tell us what we can expect in this book?
Allison: Hmmm. Well, I don’t want to give too much away, but it does take place about six months after the end of BoD. Abby has to face a new crisis involving the CrossRoads actually being shut down (including traveling to see the Faerie Queen). Most of the usual suspects will be there in greater or lesser roles (Melanie, Phineas, etc. And yes, Brystion.) as well as the introduction of a few new ones. We’ll learn a little more of Abby’s past, too.
13) How many books do you have planned for the series and what can we expect as the series progresses?
Allison: At the moment, I’m writing this current story arc to finish at the three book mark. Doesn’t mean there won’t be more, but my initial contract was for three books and I don’t want to leave too many threads dangling. Hopefully there will be a resolution for Abby and her relationship status by that point, but you never know. There should be a short story out at some point as well – a sort of prequel involving Melanie and how she got her magic violin.
14) What's next for Allison Pang? What do you have planned in the upcoming months?
Allison: Finishing up the draft for the above mentioned third book (and copy edits for the second book.) Finishing up the above mentioned short story as well. And then most likely turning my attention to a different book/world.
15) Is there anything specific you would like to say to your readers?
Allison: Just that I’m incredibly grateful to have this opportunity to have people read my books, like them or hate them. Thank you!
Thank you so much Allison for taking time out of your busy schedule to sit down and talk to us. We are looking forward to the release of "A Sliver of Shadow" and we would love to have you back on Book Monster and LITERAL ADDICTION in February 2012 to help celebrate and promote the release.
Allison: I’ll be here! :D
If you would like to find out more about Allison and the ABBY SINCLAIR series, you can visit her at any of the sites below.
Allison's Website: http://www.heartofthedreaming.com/
CONTEST: Allison is giving away a SIGNED copy of "A Brush of Darkness"( if you already have it, you can request her upcoming release "A Sliver of Shadow") AND a set of Allison's awesome trading cards to a lucky winner from Book Monster Reviews.
To Enter: Make sure you are a follower of the BMR Blog and then post a comment on the interview and make sure you leave a valid email address. Any comments without an email address will NOT be entered into drawing. You must also be a follower of the BMR blog. GOOD LUCK!!!!
Don't forget to drop by the LITERAL ADDICTION website (http://www.literaladdiction.com/) and follow the directions and links to enter their contest for an extra chance to win! They will also be giving away a SIGNED copy of "A Brush of Darkness"( if you already have it, you can request her upcoming release "A Sliver of Shadow") AND a set of Allison's awesome trading cards