One of the things we want to do here at Trust & Treachery is give you a chance to get to meet our authors. Over the next few weeks, you will see bios and Q&As for our amazing contributors. Although we continue to run behind in our posting schedule, today is Marian Allen. Stay tuned as additional authors are added every Monday.
Best, Editors, Trust & Treachery
I was born in Louisville, Kentucky and now live in rural Indiana. For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved telling and being told stories. When, at the age of about six, I was informed that somebody got paid for writing all those books and movies and television shows, I abandoned my previous ambition (beachcomber), and became a writer.
I like connecting and reconnecting with people, meeting new friends and keeping in touch with the friends I already have.
My writing reflects this love of network. I try to remember, in my books and stories, that no one exists in total isolation, but in a web of connections to family, friends, colleagues, self at former stages of maturity, perceptions and self-images. Most of my work is fantasy, science fiction and/or mystery, though I write horror, humor, romance, mainstream or anything else that suits the story and character.
Professionally, I’m a member of Southern Indiana Writers, Quills and Quibble, the #amwriting community and the Short Mystery Fiction Society.
Q. Do you have any recent events to announce (of publications or anything else exciting)?
A. Echelon Press is reissuing my science fiction novel SIDESHOW IN THE CENTER RING this year (2012). I have a fourth self-published collection of my short stories almost ready, four books under consideration by various publishers, and I’m in a Race to the Hugo Award (http://race2hugo.net) with Holly Jahangiri and Mitchell Allen (no relation).
Q. What inspired you to write this story?
A. During a major power outage, I ran into a man I didn’t know at the library. We started exchanging sad power-outage stories, and he ended up telling me where he lived, when his house would be empty, that his burglar alarm went out with his power, and what he had the burglar alarm to protect. My native sense of thrift made it difficult to waste such a perfect opportunity for turning to crime, but I managed. I had to let somebody go for it, though, so I wrote a story. The only part of reality that survived into the story is the target’s innocence.
Q. What books and/or authors have most influenced you?
A. My childhood favorites were Walter R. Brooks’ Freddy the Pig series (down-to-earth dialog and a wide range of strong characters, even though they were talking animals) and Albert Payson Terhune’s dog stories (more formal language and lots of action). Sol Stein is probably the writing advice author who has most influenced me. He’s very good with plotting, and I’m very bad with it. He helps.
Q. What are you reading now?
I just finished Sarah E. Glenn’s ALL THIS AND FAMILY, TOO, about an astronomy professor turned vampire who has as much trouble with her department head and the Neighborhood Association as she does with vampire hunters.
Q. What are your current projects?
I’m working on the short story collection, have short stories in two anthologies (other than TRUST & TREACHERY) to do final edits for, have the edits for SIDESHOW IN THE CENTER RING coming up, and have the books at Hydra and Blackwyrm. I also have a series of cozy mysteries drafted; they need to be polished and submitted somewhere.
Q. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write, read, write and rewrite. Don’t be too proud to take edits, but don’t be so insecure you try to make every change that’s suggested. Never give up. Never surrender.
Q. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope you like my work. If you don’t like one of my books or stories, try another one. I have plenty of free samples available at my web site.
Q. What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
“To hell with anything unrefined.” –Mehitabel the Cat (Don Marquis)
It cracks me up.
Q. What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
Corny as it sounds, I’m most proud of having helped raise three step-daughters and a birth daughter, and of most of my acquaintances being happy to see me.
On the writing front, I’m most proud of having kept at it, doing the best I can, learning what I can, moving with the times.
Q. What inspires you to write and why?
I’m all eat up with story. I’ve always been all about story: wanting to hear them, wanting to tell them. It isn’t that anything inspires me, it’s just what I do and who I am.
Q. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
The toughest criticism is, “This just doesn’t work.” How do you fix that?
The best compliment is when somebody reads something I totally invented and looks up with a stunned expression and says, “How did you know what it was like for me?” That means I succeeded in getting inside the experience. That’s gold.
Q. Tell us something unusual (or fun) about you.
My birth daughter says my spirit animal is the giant land turtle because I’m so slow. And I am. Slow.