Allison FAQ

Allow Myself to Interview . . . Myself

Who do you think you are?
Depending on the time of the month, I'm either a happy-go-lucky mom/wife/writer or a two-headed bile-spitting beast named Brunhilde. Brunhilde does most of the good writing.

What kind of stuff do you write?
Whatever strikes my fancy. My fancy usually has to include something creepy, sad, and/or gross. Whether that takes place in a science fiction or fantasy universe or the real world depends on what Brunhilde is doing.

Why do you write that kind of stuff? Why don't you write something my kids or grandparents can read? Why don't you write something Jonathan Franzen would like? 
Hey, as someone who's been reading Stephen King since age 11 and was watching all manner of horror films before that, I have no gauge on what your kids or grandparents can or should be reading. Brunhilde doesn't write for prudes, but she's not all that scary (at least in her mind, though your mileage may vary). And she most certainly doesn't write for Jonathan Franzen. Though if he's reading this, uh, hi!

So, is all your stuff self-published or are you, like, a "real" author? 
Yes. Er. No. Hey... wait a minute! I see what you're trying to do there. Clever clever! I proudly refer to myself as a hybrid author. Most of my short stories and novellas, like my Colt Coltrane series, are independently produced, and purely by choice (as opposed to self-publishing out of resignation after all manner of agent or editor roundly rejected them). However, a number of my indie titles have gone through the trad-pub pipeline and will continue to do so. Universe willing, my agent will secure a book deal for me, and I can really start laying money down in the hookers and blow segment. As for whether this I consider myself a "real" author, I have the from the minute I could hold a pencil. See how I wrote a story about how I wished I could be a zombie "so I could kill. I love it. ha! ha! ha! ha!." True story. See?
I was in second grade.

Um, that's frightening on many levels. 
Yeah. I feel for my parents.

I'm an aspiring writer. What kind of advice do you have?
Simple. Just write. Shut off the voices, turn off the fear, stop thinking it has to be "perfect." Just write. Once you do that, finish something. Finishing your work makes you feel more like a writer. Or read my blog. Seriously, I have a lot of advice for writers there.

I'm looking to self-publish my books. How do I do that?
See this other FAQ I wrote!

Who is your agent?
I am represented by the wonderful Stephanie Kip Rostan of LGR Literary.

How do I get an agent?
First, write a kick-ass book. It might take you a few tries, so be patient. Next, write a kick-ass query. After that, just wait. Don't despair. Keep writing. Keep getting better. Be professional. Don't be a dick. Don't be a whiner. Don't be annoying. Don't be entitled. Keep your head down, improve your craft, and learn to be the most patient motherfucker never thought you could be.

How many novels have you written?
As of right now, ten or so. The first two were dry runs, though. Everyone's first two completed novels should probably be dry runs. I think that's the law of the universe, unless you're Harper Lee or something.

Can I buy any of your novels right now?
Please do! Visit if you want everything that's currently available.

So what scares you?
Not the typical stuff. Okay, being murdered is probably not my idea of a great time. But zombies, werewolves, and vampires don't scare me. Demonic possession is far more effective. Being lost really frightens me. Plane crashes or things falling from the sky downright terrify me. Complete isolation seeps into my soul like a cold drip of water. Also death in general, being covered in bugs, my mother when she's angry, people who take Ayn Rand and Donald Trump seriously, gummy worms, the letter Q (especially in Scrabble, when it doesn't come equipped with a U), and Brunhilde. Always Brunhilde.

Where do you get your crazy ideas?
Usually when I'm driving or sleeping, though a lot of my best ideas have come from brainstorming with other people. Even if I don't take any of the ideas thrown out there, it has a way of opening up the creative side of my brain. If you're struggling to find new ideas, talk to some creative or interesting people. I also highly recommend Story Forge Cards.

What's this Podcast you did?
Creative Commoners was a weekly podcast that I co-hosted with my good friends, Chris Armstrong and Corey Bishop for a little over three years. Episodes aired every Thursday, and we had a smashing good time talking about the creative world that encompassed mainly books, movies, and games. We also had episodes where we made up stories on the spot, read listener submissions, played D&D, and occasional broke out into really bad a'capella. Though the show has since wrapped, you can still listen to our extensive archive of 150 episodes. At some point, we may be back with a different show, or I myself may branch back out into the Podcasting waters alone. Stay tuned.

What is your favorite book/movie/color/food/Beatle? 
The Dark Tower series by Stephen King, Shawshank Redemption or Fight club, Red, Pizza, George Harrison.

Are you an atheist commie? I heard you were an athiest commie.
Depends on who's asking.

Can you read my book and/or blurb/review it for me?
First off, I am honored that you think a blurb from yours truly might boost the cache of your book. The only problem is I don't have a whole lot of time for extra reading these days, unless said request is actually a demand letter from my agent or publisher, and even then they'll have to send me lots of booze and cookies.

Can I at least send you an excerpt so you can tell me if it's any good? How can I find someone to beta read my work? 
I don't beta read for people I don't know. Most authors will probably tell you the same, so approaching us out of the blue to ask us to read your book is not a good idea, at least if you want us to not make a voodoo doll out of you and then set it on fire. First thing you should do is befriend other writers first through social networks or workshops. Make sure they genuinely like you and want to see you succeed. Also make sure they are not dumb. Some of us are really dumb. If you are striking out in this department, there are some great paid beta readers out there. I highly recommend the Book Nerd! She's cheap, fast, and extremely thorough. You'll love her!

I want to send you some fan mail. Where can I send it? 
You can direct all questions, praise, scorn, money, and marriage proposals to the address on my Contact page. You may also follow me on Twitter or join me on Facebook. Brunhilde expects to hear from each and every one of you.