Today I am joined by John Paul Allen, author of such works as Monkey Love and House Guest. Welcome John, why don’t you introduce yourself to the captive audience that you now have before you.
I’m John Paul Allen – call me John. I use the middle name, because it sounds like a writer … or a serial killer. Also it’s easier to Google me. It can’t be proven that I’ve killed anyone, so you may assume I write stuff. This wasn’t planned. Unlike many of my friends who dreamed of writing, I fell into it. I wrote a short story for a college class and people liked it. A year later signed with a publisher.
I’m from Michigan, but left home via the navy upon graduating from high school and in the last forty years I’ve done my best to remain in the southern states (Florida, South Carolina, Texas and now Tennessee). Right now I’m with my girlfriend, two cats (Sixx and Stella), and a sun conure (Tika) living not far from Nashville.
As for writing, my first (and newest) work was/is Gifted Trust. That was followed with some shorts – Hello Neighbor, Weeping Mary, Prader-Willi, House Guest and a couple of novellas – Monkey Love and Marquee (which is actually a short, but the publisher called it a novella). I’ve also got a collection of shorts, Dark Blessings, out there that appears to be getting some attention. That brings us back to Gifted Trust. About five years after the release I convinced Biting Dog Pubs that it needed some fixing. Great story/terrible writing – I learned to write after it’s 2003 release. So over the last five years, between real life events and other projects, I did some revising … cut 10,000 words … added chapters … changed a few things to fit where I wanted it to go. That’ll be released soon. Also I’ve got a story coming out in the Fresh Blood and Old Bones anthology edited by Kasey Lansdale with some pretty cool writers.
Now that the readers are more acquainted with you John, tell us about your writing process?
I write best in the morning, waking between 4:30 and 5:00am. I stagger into the kitchen, make coffee and after checking email and the net (giving me time to wake) I’ll write. The television is always on with the volume low or mute. This works better than music.
I’m not an outline type, beyond knowing the general idea of a story. Sometimes that means a sentence or two in my head. Very little is preplanned and I never know an ending until I type it. The best ideas come at traffic lights or in the shower.
You’re the second author to mention that the best ideas come in the shower – perhaps I’m missing some sort of secret? Moving on… Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?
Dave Dinsmore of Biting Dog Publications once told me I had a romance novel in me – maybe. If I wrote one it would still have a horror connection, because my concept of the genre is broader than most. Pretty much anything dealing with life can be horror related: life, love, Taylor Swift, people – anything.
Oh Erotic Horror is growing genre, that’s for sure. Perhaps you do have a romance novel in you somewhere… Speaking of books, what are the 5 books that have influenced you the most, and why?
There’s more than five, so I’m just pulling out the ones that come to mind first:
On Writing by Stephen King – the first half more so than the writing tips. We share many life adventures.
Suffer the Flesh by Monica O’Rourke – one of the first horror books I read and I learned that boundaries are not necessary if one writes well.
Bambi by Felix Salta – great story for studying the development of characters.
Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumble – it changed me at an early point of my life. I grew up during the Viet Nam War and my political views altered after reading it.
The Book of Job (Bible) – Lesson learned: Bad things happen so deal with it.
Great choices John. I haven’t had another author choose anything from the Bible yet, but it is fitting. If you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters?
I’d love to see Monkey Love with Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart. Snookie would be a second choice for the female role.
Having read Monkey Love, that would be a great pairing! What is the first thing you would do if you woke up one morning to find one of your books on the NY Times Bestsellers List?
I’d make coffee – then call Dave Dinsmore and ask WTF?
Again, I must be missing something as I don’t drink coffee, ever… Do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing?
Lots of coffee – I drink it all day long.
What do you do when you’re not writing, John?
Anything Lisa wants me to do – lots of babysitting.
Please share with us the first nine lines of your current work-in-progress.
Possible beginning to the Gifted Trust sequel:
They were not children, by societal standards they never were. It was role play. Hidden among peers, they waited their moment. The Lucky Ones, as Steve Butcher called them, were discovered. Through him they became human again. He met the new arrivals weekly, and though success was low it was enough to make him stay.
Monday during orientation Steve studied files, hunting unshared nuggets within affidavits and trial testimonies. He looked over notes and made decisions about therapy. In the afternoon, staff discussed older clients.
I would like to thank John for being my guest today. If you would like to pick up any of John’s books, you can find links to them on his Amazon Author’s Page. As a special treat for you right now however, here’s something to whet your appetite.
Dark Blessings is a collection of stories that takes the reader down paths only author John Paul Allen could imagine…Sinister notes from a secret neighbor…a soul gets a second chance…a road trip to hell…a child with an unusual appetite…death cries on an answering machine…a child’s reluctant salvation…and a closet lover with deadly intentions…A look beyond reason and sanity and into the mind of madness.
Interested in purchasing John’s most recent collection? Just click on the photo and it will take you to Amazon’s listing for Dark Blessings: A Collection. If you’d like to connect with John, you can join him on Twitter and Google +.
Join me next week when I talk to Allison Dickson, authoress of many things creepy!