I’d like to introduce you to the sixty-first interviewee in my ‘Meet the Author’ series. She is Bev Allen.
Hi, Bev! Welcome to Susan Finlay Writes blog site. Can you tell us a bit about your background as a writer?
I think I have twiddled around with words most of my life, but as I’m dyslexic, I never really got myself together until I discovered word processing. From then on I wrote and wrote and wrote. I have to admit, 90% of it was self-indulgent twaddle, but not all of it and eventually a story short of mine was a competition winner in an SFX magazine. After it was published, I was commissioned by Big Finish to write for one of their Dr. Who anthologies.
This gave me the confidence to try a novel.
Your young adult science fiction novel, Jabin and the Space Pirates, was published by Taylor Street Publishing in May, 2012. Can you tell us about it? What inspired you to write it?
It’s the story of one boy’s journey from abandonment and neglenct to acceptance and happiness. I always loved the sort of teenage pulp fiction SF that authors like Heinlein wrote back in the early days and I wanted to see if I could do something like it, but for a more up to date audience dealing with the sort of problems a lot of kids face today. I like high adventure stories where good triumphs over evil.
You’ve completed another novel which has been accepted by Taylor Street Publishing. Do you have an anticipated release date yet? Can you tell us anything about the book?
To begin with, its nowhere near as dark as “Jabin”. Its called Lucien and the Tattooed Tribes and it is a coming of age story set on a distant forest world. There is a strong ecological theme, but in case you think I might be preaching, it is also stuffed full of tribal warriors ( tattooed of course), bush craft, political intrigue, kidnapped maidens and plenty of action.
What has your experience with your publisher been like? Is it everything you’d hoped for?
It’s been great. Tim and Kathleen are good people, very supportive of their authors.
If you could meet the author of any book, who would you choose, and why?
This varies depending on who is my current favourite author, but at the moment it would be Ben Aaronovitch who writes the Rivers of London series. They have a wonderfully original premise and they are set in London, a city I know and love. I would like to sit down with the author in some old style pub and just talk about London and The Folly and find out just exactly what Molly is and why she never leaves the house.
What books or authors have inspired you the most? If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I would be hard pushed to name all the authors who have inspired me, it would be a very long list, from Heinlein to Heyer, via Auten and Eddings, by Rose Macauley and George MacDonald Fraser, passing Dorothy L Sayers and Kipling on the way. And that would just be scratching the surface. Not one mentor, but many.
What books are you currently reading?
Too many to mention…this is embarrassing….my husband and I are trying to down size our library, so we are going through our books working out what we want to keep and what can go. In the process…to my shame…I have found a huge number of purchased but unread mysteries (blushes), I am now slowly working my way through them. This may take a while.
What is your favorite or least favorite part of writing?
I love writing dialogue, it is the best bit. On the other hand, I have real trouble with describing places and buildings. I frequently resort to drawing pictures to try and fix an image in my head. For my next book I’m cheating. I am going to use a scale model of a castle my husband has built for the main setting.
Do you have a writing routine, a special place where you go to do your writing, or a certain time of day? Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind of music?
I’ve never had a routine for anything in my entire life. I write in my sewing room, so I can turn from screen to machine as the whimsy takes me . I make quilts when I’m not writing. I don’t listen to music when I write, I just end up listening instead of working. When I do listen, I like traditional English folk, early choral music and Mozart.
How do you get past writers’ block or distractions like the internet?
I make another quilt. At the moment I am trying to teach myself free motion quilting. It is very difficult and is driving me crazy. By the time I’ve unpicked, done a lot of swearing and some endless moaning about how hard it is, it is pure relief to return to the world of words.
Please list any websites or social media links for yourself or your book. Thanks!