Monday, December 28, 2015

Interview with humorous novelist Allison Spector

I’m kicking off the week with novelist Allison Spector. I’m chatting with her about the humorous, literary fiction with elements of magical realism novel, Let’s Stalk Rex Jupiter!

During her virtual book tour, Allison will be awarding a signed copy of book with original plot outline notes (loose sheets of paper) inside and additional notes at the end or in margins of the story (US/Canada only) to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

Bio:
Allison Spector was born and raised in the hedonistic playground of the Jersey Shore, but finds herself oddly allergic to spray tan. She is a proud graduate of Goucher College, and started her environmentally-focused career in Washington DC in 2005. She moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2008, and fell in love with its beauty and people. Allison is currently on a Midwestern Adventure and is determined to live as much life as possible—to accomplish her dreams one at a time—and to nurture her loving family, and blaze a trail of wit, whimsy, and eccentricity wherever she goes.

Welcome, Allison. Please tell us about your current release.
Let’s Stalk Rex Jupiter is a lighthearted farce about the perils of the Internet Age. It’s chock full of extremism, jumping to false conclusions, identity thieves, and group-think. But you won’t be bored by heavy handed morality, because I’m pretty sure there’s very little in there. It’s more of a stream of consciousness about our modern state of madness, a stream that induced a lot of manic giggles as I wrote it.

What inspired you to write this book?
A few things inspired me…but mainly homesickness. I’ve spent the last year and a half in the Midwest for work but before that I had lived in the Pacific Northwest since 2008. The majestic sequoias, sparkling waterfalls, and mustachioed hipsters were my life’s breath—the ambient magic of the home in my heart. So lamenting my departure from my fairyland, I walled myself away and began to write a story that took place in Bellingham, Washington, the City of Subdued Excitement where my youngest child was born.

The general concept of a trainspotting detective investigating her own death and a book thief had been in my head since I was about 19—but the story never came to life because I didn’t have the location. Once I had the location, the story pretty much wrote itself. And it was perfect because this story couldn’t work anywhere else but Bellingham. The other bits and baubles in there were drawn from my current hopes, concerns, and daydreams.


Excerpt from Let’s Stalk Rex Jupiter:
“You…you saved me!” Phil stammered in disbelief. His head reeled with delirium as he stared at the wiry, tanned, vaguely mustachioed, brown-haired girl with the interconnected eyebrows, and he immediately thought of a young Frida Kahlo. Which was kind of awesome because Frida Kahlo was his favorite twentieth-century Mexican artist.

And even better, this girl was like some kind of acrobatic superhero. One who swooped to the rescue on a rope!

Spider-Frida!

The thought that such a person existed make Phil's brain fog over with awe. Or maybe it was the blood that had rushed to his head during his rescue. Also, there was the adrenaline of the attempted-suicide-turned-love-at-first-sight. Or maybe it was just his seasonal allergies. Whatever it was, Phil just couldn’t stop wheezing.

Abbie, too, appeared a bit overwhelmed. She fought back the temptation to mutter some too-cool-for-school rejoinder like “you’re welcome, kid” or “you can let go of me now.” But none of these suited the occasion. Thus, she simply lay on the rocky riverbank in the arms of the stranger she had just saved from imminent death. They were both soaking wet and grinning—happy to be alive.

And they should have been pleased with themselves.

It was not easy to unhook oneself from a harness and travel to shore with a rather large male in tow. She was glad for the lifeguard training she had taken during her Aquatic Superhero Phase. Phil had helped, too, with his half-hearted doggy paddle.

Yup, they were a good team.



What exciting story are you working on next?
Right now, I’m working on a novel called The Fringers which takes place in a dystopian New Jersey and post-apocalyptic Seaside Heights. It’s a world where reality stars are indentured servants and North America is carved up between corporate fascists (with awesome fashion sense) and a Totalitarian Fear-State. Our protagonist has to choose which particular misery she wants to subject herself to as she navigates her early 20’s as a major celebrity with 0 control over her own life.

So cheery stuff, right?

For those of you that can’t wait till I finish/publish my troubling tale, I’m posting my story one chapter at a time to JukePop.com, which is an awesome place for writers to discover an audience, and for readers to provide ongoing feedback and love for lots of amazing (and free) stories.

If you want to check out Fringers, you can find it at http://www.jukepop.com/home/read/6366?chapter=1 . Just a heads-up that it’s dark, and definitely not for kids.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Pretty much since I could first write, did I consider myself a writer— although first and foremost I identify as a poet. I’ve been writing poems for many years, although I never bothered trying to get them published.

The first poem that I can fully recall was written when I was 11. I still have it memorized, so I’ve posted it below:

Who is this dreamer in the sky
That sheds and spreads its knowledge high
and strives on joy and spirits true
and makes me, me
and makes you, you?
Could it be fate or faith combined, or just the love of being alive that makes me wonder so?
What is heaven what is earth and where do they collide and mix to make this thing called life?
What is pleasure, what is pain and what makes either dissolve?
Is it some unseen force so unforeseen?
Are we all here or is this just a dream?
A dream and a dreamer’s question—so simple, yet a lack of words.

I guess it was my nascent attempt at being profound...it’s really kinda cliché, but hey—I hadn’t even hit puberty yet so I can’t be too harsh on myself.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Actually, by day, I’m an energy industry/environmental professional who designs, develops, and implements energy efficiency and some renewable efforts. I just love to build things, write things, and advocate for things I believe in. It’s something I’m passionate about.

I write after work, usually sometime between 7pm and 1am during the week, and catch-as-catch-can on the weekends. There’s time for writing because I have no other choice. I exorcise my fears and feed the good of my spirit through written words. Not writing would be the same as not dreaming, a slow death of madness.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I giggle a lot. Sometimes I act out my scenes to gauge the realism (which is a bad idea because I am a TERRIBLE actor).

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Until I was about seven or eight wanted to be a doctor, but my mom told me I was too sensitive to handle the potential loss of a patient. To her defense I did associate losing my baby teeth with mortality at age 3 and had a mini-existential crisis, so yeah—I was kinda intense.

So then I considered being a journalist until I was about twelve, but I feared it was a dying medium.

Then I wanted to be a psychologist because I found I was very good at handling people, but people in my life thought it was a tough road in the current economy, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go for my master’s degree anyhow.

So then I decided to get into politics which was an absolute blast. I discovered energy policy and that I was really good a building programs, so I think I made a good choice.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I have immense appreciation for readers and writers of all stages and backgrounds. I think there are a lot of amazing books out there that are left to be discovered. Try to explore genres that are outside your comfort zone. And look for authors that do not match your own demographic profile. It’s just amazing the different angles you can approach the world from if you step into the mind of someone new.

Also- be sure to check out Black Hill Press / 1888 for other awesome novellas!

Thanks so much for interviewing me!

Links:

Thanks, Allison!

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3 comments:

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Allison S said...

Thanks so much for hosting me today! I should be able to pop in and out for comments, but will be off at my day job. I will be sure to check back this noon and evening to answer questions!

bn100 said...

nice interview