Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Q&A Interview and Giveaway with Allison Pang

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.
A marine biologist in a former life. Allison turned to a life of crime to finance her wild spending habits and need to collect Faberge eggs. A cat thief of notable repute, she spends her days sleeping and nights scaling walls and wooing dancing boys….Well, at least the marine biology part is true. But she was taloned by a hawk once.  She also loves Hello Kitty, sparkly shoes, and gorgeous violinists.

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:

"A Brush of Darkness" - The man of her dreams might be the cause of her nightmares.

Six months ago, Abby Sinclair was struggling to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. Now, she has an enchanted iPod, a miniature unicorn living in her underwear drawer, and a magical marketplace to manage. But despite her growing knowledge of the OtherWorld, Abby isn’t at all prepared for Brystion, the dark, mysterious, and sexy-as- sin incubus searching for his sister, convinced Abby has the key to the succubus’s whereabouts. Abby has enough problems without having this seductive shape-shifter literally invade her dreams to get information. But when her Faery boss and some of her friends vanish, as well, Abby and Brystion must form an uneasy alliance. As she is sucked deeper and deeper into this perilous world of faeries, angels, and daemons, Abby realizes her life is in as much danger as her heart—and there’s no one she can trust to save her.

Sounds great right?  Now, let's get to the interview so we can learn more about Allison and what she has in store for ABBY SINCLAIR.

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:

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 ( 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


Mary said...

Loved the interview. Three book series are good but when a series is really good, I love seeing more and more books added to the series.

Cath said...

Great interview ladies.
We used to have a cat that would hump my husbands pillow!!!
I look forward to reading BoD :)

blackroze37 AT said...

i did the whole stalker thing on you, facebook twitter, your blog and LOVE THE THINGY OF YOURS ON YOUR WEBSITE , not sure what to call the book lookin movin that tells your stuff

blackroze37 AT said...

i did the whole stalker thing on you, facebook twitter, your blog and LOVE THE THINGY OF YOURS ON YOUR WEBSITE , not sure what to call the book lookin movin that tells your stuff

Na said...

The Abby Sinclair series is completely new to me and this post is the first I've heard for it. It sounds exciting. I just discovered the urban fantasy genre this year and just wrapped up a fantastic series so I'm on the hunt for more UF books. This series is on my reading radar now. Abby is living in quite a world.


alainala said...

thanks for a great interview!! the book sounds amazing, i hope i get to win a copy!! and trading cards!! wheee i LOVE trading cards!!

Spav said...

Great interview. I really liked the first book, A Brush of Darkness. Really looking forward to reading the second.


Lori in Philly said...

Have never come across a unicorn in a underwear drawer before now cats stalk me in my yard and porch all the time.Mother(87)still won't let me have one.They find me must be I smell like cat food I hide the cans well don't tell. Thanks for the interview can't wait to read about that unicorn. Take care

Heather said...

I absolutely loved Brush of Darkness!!! Phin is one of the best literary characters (and he is the ultimate character) that I have ever read! I can't get enough of that bitty unicorn. I would love a phineas-centric short story or a scene from his point of view. He's the best! I can't wait to see what happens with Abby and Brystion in the next book! You are definitely a must buy author for me!


Cindi Phillips said...

Glad I read this interview. I was completely unaware of the "Abby Sinclair World". This is going on the TBR list.

summertime said...

I've read that you said originally the book was a romance and needed to be re-written to fit more into urban fantasy. If you get a chance, could you tell us what challenges you faced when you had to remove and re-write the romance in the book?

Anna said...

Thanks for the great interview! I'll definitely be checking out your books and your blog! :D

Allison Pang said...

Thanks for all the comments so far guys! :)

@Summertime - The primary things that make a book a romance are 1) an HEA (Happily Ever AFter) and 2) the story is primarily about the relationship
(i.e. if you can remove the romance out of the book and you still have a plot, it's not technically a romance.)

The original ending of BoD *did* have an HEA (or at least happily ever, right now), but I was asked to try to remove that. I also had to kill a number of the love scenes (or at least cut down the length of some of them), as well as play up the roles of the secondary characters.

It's a fine line to walk - I would say that the book probably has a bit more romance than a standard UF, but not as much as a PNR. The next book has more of a UF feel since that's what I attempted to write from the beginning, if that makes sense.

Roxanne Rhoads said...

The trading cards are awesome as was A Brush of Darkness- I would love to win the upcoming book so please sign me up.


RoxanneRhoads @

Amberia said...

I loved the part about your horny, randy cats. That's so adorable!
And the time frame that you wrote a book, found an agent and signed to get published was REALLY FAST! Congrats!

Linda said...

Congrats on your 1st book! Love the cover.

The unicorn sounds like it's going to be every1's fav character :)

Chrisbails said...

great interview. this is a new author for me and would love to win so please choose me. thanks for the giveaway and the chance to win.

elaing8 said...

Great interview.I have read fantastic things about this book.

*yadkny* said...

Those trading cards area awesome! I am excited to see that this is a series and the next is not too far out to be released... I have a feeling I am really going to enjoy this story!

*follower of the BMR Blog

SdyLion said...

Who can live wit out a cranky unicorn! Love it! Thanks for the interview, sdylion(at)gmail(dot)com

k2sgal said...

Ok so what happened to the seagull LOL would love your book

LIESA said...

Love the Interview!!

Looking forward to reading the books!!

Christina said...

Thank you for the interview! I'm looking forward to reading your books.

lindseye said...

Did enjoy BoD and look forward to the second book. I have no issues with books being more than one genre and sometimes find trying to make a book only fit a certain category can make the story stutter and lose its flow.

linze_e at
GFC follower

Laurie said...

Another wonderful interview! And I thought I had strange cats! At least mine don't hump things LOL! And I love books that are a series. Congrat and I hope you have much success.

xander_316 said...

I am loving how authors are getting into the trading cards. They always remind me of my childhood and buying a pack and they had gum in with them