Tuesday, February 3, 2009
INTERVIEW #2 With Author JEFFREY B. ALLEN
It is an honor to Welcome, and bring back to Geri's Interviews Author Jeffrey B. Allen! Author of: GONEAWAY INTO THE LAND Genre: Fantasy *****REVIEW A Great Adventure With Unforgettable Consequences! As Cleverly Entertaining As "PAY IT FORWARD" www.mypace.com/jeffreyballen http://www.jeffreyballen.com/ INTERVIEW Geri: Is writing a passion, a stress-reliever, or both? Jeffrey: Writing, writing, writing! Yes, it is a passion! Some who know me well say it is a form of pscho theraphy. The reason I write cannot be too much different from why authors in general write. Although I've not yet reached that point when writing, the thing I love to do most in life, becomes my primary source of income. What happens then? Will it remain a passion? Will it lift me out of bed at three in the morning? Will it consume me? I definitely want to find out! Geri: Do you write everyday? Jeffrey: Absolutely! Toddlers write everyday, and sometimes I think they are way ahead of me. I don't mean that to be sarcastic. What I mean to say is that a writer writes all the time, even when he, or she is not writing. Those who say they are not writers, also write. One of the most important things in life is to be able to be a writer when called upon to write. I think good writing is not stressed enough in High School, and College. I will give an example. I sold my architectural design company a few years ago. That sounds like a big deal, but it wasn't. It was time for me to move on. I owned the company for twenty- eight years. Life speaks to you from around the corner sometimes. At any rate, the person who bought my company is a graduate of Lehigh University, one of the top universities in the country. The other day I received a copy of a promotional letter he wrote, and mailed out to a thousand, or more customers. It was poorly written, incorrectly constructed, and I'm sure not proofed. In fact, the spaces between the lines told a story of a poorly managed company. It was such a departure from the letters those people were accustomed to getting that several recipients called me on the phone to tell me about it. The letter did more to harm his business, than if he had written to the same people, and told them to never buy anything from him again. In business, good writing can be almost as important as clean fingernails. In life, good writing can be a catapult. Yes, I write everyday! No, not everything I write is good! But, everyday, I am striving to write better. Geri: How many book-signings have you been to? Jeffrey: One, just one! I do not believe that book-signings are the best use of my time. "GoneAway" is doing better-and-better all the time, but it's far from a household word. My marketing efforts have to be to the largest audience that I can find, which does exist on the internet. When I've generated enough fervor over my work that I am invited to do book-signings, then I will gladly do them. Geri: How do you promote your book? Jeffrey: I have developed what I call the soft promotion, and the hard promotion. What I mean is that the soft promotion is getting the book on as many blogs, websites, and social networking sites as possible. I try my best to answer every lead with a solid response. It is a daunting task. The hard promotion is physically getting the book into libraries, schools and independent bookstores, and maybe even the box stores. But, I want them to come to me, so I have left that one alone. I have been successful in getting into the libraries, and several school districts have accepted "GoneAway" into their libraries. One is putting the novel onto the suggested reading list, and has committed to having me come in as a guest speaker. Last, but not least, I am working on the preliminary plans with a publicist. I only decided to that when I knew the book was good enough to be a best seller. I am now convinced that, given the proper exposure, "GoneAway" has something to offer a wide range of readers from sixteen years of age to adult. For that reason, I am going to go for it. Only the dreamer's dreams come true! Geri: Have you written books in different genres? Jeffrey: My books will always deal with the spaces that I believe exist between life, and death. There is a seamless transition that takes place when our blood stops flowing, and our breath goes away. There is an infinite place we go that knows neither time, nor universal periods of light and dark, or hot and cold. It is a place where journeys of self-exploration, reconciliation, and examination lead us to a place that can only be uniquely yours. My books will always be filled with adventure, and marvelous, wonderous places. I will strive to make my characters come alive. I still have vivid memories of characters I knew from books that I read years ago. It is as if I knew them personally, yet they only existed on the written page. Not true! Once they leave the page, and go into our minds, they are as real as any other memory. I love to blur reality, and slowly take the reader to a place unexpected. I love peeling away layers of a story, and then having multiple plots come together in the end. I would like "GoneAway" to be in a genre called philosophical fantasy, but the word fantasy is deceiving. Philosophical fiction may be better, but also does not tell the story. I know the booksellers need genre titles in order to categorize their books, but it all seems a bit stifing! Geri: Do you plan on writing a book every year? Jeffrey: No! It took me three and a half years to wite GoneAway, and that was writing no less than four hours everyday. Writing is also researching, editing, and revising. I would like to be faster, but my stories are complicated for a reason, and they need to be well constructed, or the reader will become confused. Confused readers do not last long! I enjoy intrique, and I enjoy being confused when I know I am supposed to be confused by intent. But, if I am confused because the author misrepresented something, or went on a tangent where I see no correlation, I will throw the book on the yard-sale pile. The story is finished when it is finished. My new book, Quarry Waters, is moving along nicely, but I have reached that place in the story where I need to spend at least a month writing biographies of my characters. I need to do a time line so that I know where they all are, and when. Also, I need to do research on some of the subject matter. Thank goodness for Google! Geri: What has inspired you the most to write? Jeffrey: I am a tormented person when it comes right down to it. I am fifty-five years old. A lot has happened to me in those years. Some of it haunts me, some were fantastic. None of it has been boring. I was blessed with a vivid imagination that slants toward the surreal. I have always dreamed up stories. I read to my children when they were young, but mostly I told them stories that I made up. We called them chapter stories, because every night I would tell another chapter. I was glad to have the twenty- four hours to think up the next chapter, and the appropriate cliff hanger. I was inspired to write by my children. I was encouraged to write by my wife, and I was motivated to write by my trials and tribulations, and the torrent of voices that keep me awake at night. It is not as bad as it sounds. I think I am lucky to have found writing, or I am lucky that writing found me. As human beings, we are tormented by the awareness of our own mortality. It's too bad really, because we tend to judge our lives decade-by-decade for what we have, or haven't accomplished. That leads us to seek answers. In the seeking, we fall into what we hope is a tolerable comfort zone, be it political or religious. That rush to live our lives to the fullest causes some to do foolish things, others to do dreadful things, and still others to wish with regret that they had done some things. That is why I like to write about the place where we come to stand before ourselves, where without regard for the passing of time, we embark on our journey. It is also strange to think that we may be on that journey right now. Who's to say? What is my journey is my alone, and one I cannot lend. Geri: What factors place you in the comfort zone while writing? Jeffrey: I like to write late at night, while the house is quiet. The sounds that filter in from the outside during the day are silent. I also like to write when I am experiencing emotion. Be is anger, or sadness, or exhilaration, it's a good writing time for me. Geri: Have you written a series, and or a sequel for one title? Jeffrey: I have the story for the sequel GoneAway, and maybe one-hundred pages roughed out. But, I need to see how GoneAway Into The Land does, before I write the sequel. Geri: After having one book published, do you find it easier to write? Jeffrey: Yes! I spent much of my time laboring over fundamentals with GoneAway. You know, sentence structure, adverbs, dialog and those kinds of things. I found one piece of advice that I read in Steven King's book on writing very helpful. He suggested putting the finished manuscript, or in my case, portions of it away for an extended period of time. Then, when enough time elapsed, say a few months, take it out and read it straight through. He said, "You will be surprised at how bad parts of it will seem to you." He is absolutely right, I do just that, and my editing is much more efficient, and critical. Geri: It has been a Pleasure to Interview you. I wish you much success in all your writing endeavors! Jeffrey: Thank you Geri for the opportunity to have this Interview. All the best to you, and your readers.