Thursday, 30 April 2015

Magical Muse Collection Anthology - Author Interview with Allison D. Reid

Allison D. Reid’s passion for medieval history and fantasy was sparked by writers like C.S. Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien. She also spent years living in Europe, captivated by its ancient towns, cathedrals, and castles. She received her B.A. in writing from Hampshire College.

Current Published Works:

Journey to Aviad Published Nov. 11, 2011

Connect with the Author

About the Anthology

Stories of fantasy ranging from dark, to light and inspiring, bring life to this anthology. The creatures featured throughout, both good and evil, display the devastating or wonderful personalities they were given by the authors who created them for your enjoyment.

Alexis Lantgen brings a twist to the story of a fairy changeling, showing a dark evil intent behind this mythological practice.

Andrea R. Cooper turns a dark fantasy tale into a lyrical piece that tests your understanding of your own mind.

George L. Duncan features a creature many never saw coming as the source of justice in a corrupt world.

Dark fantasy takes a humorous twist with Oz Durose, who introduces us to a new type of zombie that makes you regret deleting the files off your very own computer…readers beware!

Mythological hounds are a foreshadowing of doom for one man seeking refuge from their deadly chase. Allison D. Reid brings a tale of adventure as seen through the eyes of the hounds and their mysterious master, born from the darkness of hell.

Demons lurking throughout this tale bring a monster into the world. A demi-god finds out her fate as KJ Hawkins spins a tale of triumph and fear.

Matthew Frassetti presses the will of a man trying to save his lover from the hands of a demon. The bonds of friendship between man and beast are tested as this tale of adventure takes a twist.

Brendan Carroll brings a brilliantly fun, entertaining story to life, showing how in the midst of everyday beauty, time simply passes when you least expect it.

Khushi Agarwal tests the power of Christmas cheer with elves on strike. Will Christmas come on time, or will it be ruined for all?

The holidays are here as D.B. Mauldin brings a hard working elf into the spotlight for a special Christmas festival.

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An interview with Allison

What is the biggest obstacle you face as an author and what do you do to overcome it?

The biggest obstacle I face is time. I have a job with sometimes long or strange hours, and I’m raising a young family. My schedule can be unpredictable and overwhelming. I am learning to overcome this obstacle with good old fashioned discipline and persistence. Instead of trying to set impossible goals that leave me disheartened when I fail to meet them, I’m taking the one-day-at-a-time approach. If I know that I am going to have a quiet half hour in my day, I take it and get whatever I can accomplished, whether that be actual writing, marketing, editing, or planning.

Do you ever base your characters on people you know?

Not exactly. However, because Morganne and Elowyn’s stories began during my online roleplaying days, there are some significant events in their history that are still tied to the stories of other characters I knew from that world. One of those characters belonged to my husband, but I’m not telling who that is in the book series. Readers will just have to guess!

Though I don’t base characters on real people, I learn from the traits, attitudes, and behaviors of others and use that to inform my character development in a more general way.

What genres do you write?

At the moment my fiction writing is medieval-era fantasy. My blog includes other topics related to writing and editing, as well as my Bible study posts.

Is there a genre that you've been wanting to experiment with? If so, what is it and what attracts you to it?

I’ve been wanting to experiment with historical fiction for a long time. Aside from the middle ages, there are other eras of history I find fascinating, from ancient civilizations, through colonial times, to the industrial revolution and the Great Depression. What interests me most is the human element. I want to know what it was like to live during that time; how people thought, what they did, how they lived day-to-day, and how major events impacted them.

As I’ve traced back my own family history, I’ve occasionally come across old photographs of my direct ancestors. In some cases, they are the most personal link I have amidst a handful of facts and official documents. Those eyes staring back at me are a haunting glimpse into a world I will never know, but that still connects through time to my present day existence. Writing historical fiction is a way to honor those who came before us, giving them a chance to live again even if only in our imaginations, and touch a whole new generation of people.

How do you come up with the titles for your books? Do you find it difficult?

I find titles excruciatingly difficult, because they have to say something enticing, informative, and meaningful about my book in just a few words. I keep referring to “the second book in my series” because as long as I’ve been working on it, I still don’t have a title for it. Only about half of my chapters have their titles as well. When I do come up with titles, I start by thinking about what deeper meaning I would like to convey, then look for words or phrases that fit my intent.

Do you write about real life experiences, or does everything come from your imagination?

Everything comes from my imagination, though I do try to infuse a certain level of realism into my fantasy. This is not to take away from the imaginary, but to make the reading experience genuine and relatable. Interspersed with mythical creatures and make-believe landscapes are the authentic workings of medieval life, gleaned from many years of historical research.

I do not borrow real life stories or put people I know into my books. But I use what I know of human nature to make my characters think, feel, and react as real people would in their given situations.

What are you working on now?

I am nearly finished with the second book in my series (one chapter left), which is very exciting for me. I am eager to line up a few beta readers, finalize my editing process, and send this new book out into the world. It has spent far too much time hidden away on my laptop.

What was the hardest part about writing your latest book?

My latest book is more intense and introspective than Journey to Aviad. History, legend, and prophecy are starting to converge more rapidly. There are a lot of details to keep track of, and the underlying Christian message needs to stay true in spite of the unique way in which it unfolds in my imaginary world. Allegorical fiction gives me more leeway for creativity, but it also provides more opportunities for me to screw things up and say things that I don’t really intend to.

Another difficulty I’ve had is that Morganne and Elowyn are growing up. They live in a time and culture much different from our own, where the line between childhood and adulthood was pretty thin. While teens of our generation are thinking about school, extracurricular activities, and having fun, teens in the middle ages were already laboring at their adult jobs, getting married, and having families. Average life expectancies were about half of what we’re accustomed to. Girls could be married off as early as 12, and there was a much larger age difference between husbands and wives. Wrapping my head around all of that mentally has been challenging at times, and I’ve had to find ways to convey this shift in the norm (at least from our perspective) appropriately to my readers.

Are you a pantser or outliner?

Definitely an outliner. I tried to pants Journey to Aviad and regretted it pretty quickly, so I started outlining about halfway into the story which was a pain. I learned from that mistake and made a complete, detailed outline of the next book before I even wrote the first sentence of the prologue.

The outline has remained my best friend through the process, reminding me of easy-to-forget details, and keeping me from getting too involved in tangents and subplots. I’m not rigid about my outline though. If I come up with a brilliant new idea, or an old one isn’t working so well, I simply adjust the outline accordingly and move on.

What book or series do you enjoy reading over and over again?

Even as an adult, I still enjoy picking up the Chronicles of Narnia every once in a while, or listening to the dramatized version on CD. (Don’t get me started on those horrible movies.) They are soothing comfort books for me. Somehow Lewis kept his writing light and humorous, yet rich and spiritually powerful all at the same time. I would love to be able to write that way.

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