Monday, May 13, 2013

Interview with Kathleen S. Allen

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
It’s called, HOW TO BE ALMOST FAMOUS IN TEN DAYS-Young Adult Contemporary.
17-year-old plus-sized Cassie wants to be “seen” so when she finds a book of rules on how to be famous in ten days she devises a plan---with the help of her BFF---to do just that. She has hilarious and sometimes serious, almost disastrous consequences. Cyrano de Bergerac meets Comedy of Errors with a teen girl.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
I’m still querying. My latest book is published by a small press, but I’ve done the Kindle/Nook publishing too. In fact one of my self-pubbed books, FITZROY: THE BOY WHO WOULD BE KING, a YA historical fiction, has been in the top paid 100 for children’s eBooks/Historical fiction since December, 2012 in the UK.

Are you currently under a traditional publishing contract for future books or do you have manuscripts that you will self-publish?
I have a YA Dystopian that most agents have told me is a “dead” genre for editors right now so I’ll probably put it up on Kindle at some point. I have one agent looking at it right now and if she passes I’ll put it up.  I also have a middle grade zombie book that I’m querying and if that one doesn’t catch the eye of an agent, I’ll consider putting it up too.  I’m not under a traditional publishing contract at the moment.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish your book(s)?
The first book I self-published is AINE, a YA faerie novel. It wasn’t as long as most agents wanted a YA book to be so I stopped querying it and self-published it. Up until FITZROY, it was my top seller.  I heard about eBooks and wanted to try it myself. I think that both eBooks and print books are good to have. I like self-publishing but I’m also looking for a traditional publisher. At this point in my writing career I need an agent to take me to the next level, so to speak. I promote my books as much as I can but I feel like I’ve hit a plateau.

If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
I’ve used a cover designer and did my own covers. For small presses you have more input than you do in traditional publishing, or so I’ve been told. I was able to work with the cover designer on AINE, LORE OF FEI, WAR OF FEI and my two murder mysteries. I also chose the cover for FAMOUS but the designer did the font.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
I have an online critique group, a couple of beta readers and two CP’s. Yes, they improve my writing. I usually want more of the big picture, what works, what doesn’t, what’s confusing, timeline or plot holes, that sort of thing. I encourage any writer to have someone other than your family, an objective person to read your writing before you publish it or start querying. Polish, revise, polish, revise…

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
I am a total pantser. I let the characters take me on their journey. Sometimes I plot things out, especially in the YA faerie books and murder mysteries but usually I don’t. I do storyboarding after the novel is done, it’s a screenwriter’s technique that helps to visualize your scenes to see if they’re working or not.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
I have in the past but now I am more confident in my editing skills, I rely on my own editing and my CP/Beta readers to help me catch things. If you feel insecure about editing, I’d say hire a good one but they can be expensive. Some of them will do a sample edit for you so you can see if you like them first before committing.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
Nook/Smashwords anywhere you can buy either eBooks or print books.

What’s next for you?
I am writing a science fiction novel based on a short story I published in my short story collection, INTERLUDE. I love science fiction and the first book I remember reading at a young age was a science fiction novel. I also have a pirate YA book that is a historical fiction I hope to finish soon. I have a novella about a girl who finds a box filled with secrets. That one is YA too.  That one will go up on Kindle as soon as I format it. I already have the cover for it. After that? Finish the pirate book and go from there.

I write every day, usually in the morning and that’s the best advice I can give anyone who writes. Write every day, no matter what. Get a CP/beta readers, revise as needed, don’t be “married” to your words and stay positive. Writing is filled with rejection after rejection but you can’t let it define you. If you’ve put out the best story you can and it’s been polished and revised and still getting rejections, “trunk” it and start your next project. I always have another project “in the wings” in case my current one isn’t going well or it’s getting rejections. KEEP GOING and write every day. Don’t give up. Persistence is the key factor in getting published.

Buy Link on Amazon:
Buy Link on Nook:
Buy Link on Smashwords:
Buy Link on Gypsy Shadow Publishing website:

On Twitter: @kathleea
On Facebook: Witch Hunter 
Author Central page:

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