Nine Questions with… Allison Dickson

Boy, oh boy! Do I have a treat for you all today! You’ll never guess who my guest is… Allison Dickson!! If you’re not acquainted with Allison or her work, it’s about time you join those in the know.

Hello everyone! I’m Allison M. Dickson, and I am an author. Er… Okay, maybe I’ll just share my bio from my publisher’s website:

Allison M. Dickson lives in southwest Ohio and has been writing since she could hold pencil to paper. It’s only in recent years that she started treating the craft as a career. After earning a few small publishing credits, she started selling her stories online, where she gained a decent following with such dark tales as “Dust” and “Vermin.” She soon caught the attention of author and visionary Vincent Hobbes, and her relationship with Hobbes End Publishing solidified with her two contributions to the second volume of The Endlands, and finally with their recent acceptance of her upcoming science-fiction novel, The Last Supper. Her other obsessions include food, movies, cracking bad jokes with her family over dinner, taking pictures of her giant cat, and harboring secret fantasies of being a Bond girl/sword-wielding martial arts master.

I also love cake.

I feel like we are kindred spirits – not only do I also have a giant cat, but I also love cake! Mmmm cake… Time for a subject change – what is your writing process, Allison?

My process is not to have too much of a process. I crave flexibility in my life. If an idea pops into my head and it’s a good one, I think on it for a bit to see if it sticks. It can be as little as a couple days or several months. I don’t like outlines and I don’t plan too much ahead of time. Sometimes I’ll brainstorm aloud with some friends of mine, and that inspires me a lot, but usually I just start writing and see what happens. I prefer to write my stories in chronological order, and I do most everything on my laptop. Sometimes I’m inspired to write during the day or late at night. All in all, I’m not the most regimented writer.

Sometimes the best ideas come out of not planning every last detail; it allows you to go n the direction that the story decides to take you. Tell us Allison, is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?

I would love to write an awesome crime thriller or suspense novel. Something very gritty and haunting, with an oft-quoted character that becomes part of the cultural fabric, like a Hannibal Lecter or Tyler Durden. That seems easy enough!

(Cleaning up the tea that I just spat everywhere…) Yes, it’s amazing how easy that is… *wink* I’m definitely going to get on that later today! I do know what you mean however, you can have a great story, but it’s even better with great characters. If you had to choose 5 books that have influenced you the most, what would they be and why?

The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King (I consider the series as a single work) because I think it demonstrates the kind of fiction I most aspire to write.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein, because Heinlein’s characters are so quotable, and I credit this book for really getting me interested in science fiction.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy, because it shows so much while saying so little, and I really admire that.

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood, because it’s a gorgeous and haunting example of speculative literature.

1984 by George Orwell, because of how it shows how much truth exists in fiction.

Speaking of books, have you taken a look at Allison’s latest offering, The Good Girls?

For the last five years, Nina has been turning tricks at a mob-run brothel to pay off her debt, but the Madame is willing to let her go free if she sees one last client, a mysterious recluse with a chilling reputation.It was an offer she couldn’t refuse. One more client, one more trick, and all her troubles would finally be over. Or would it be the beginning of a new unspeakable horror that could obliterate Nina’s mind for good?

Click on the cover to be taken to The Good Girls on Amazon. No worries, it’ll open in a new window so you don’t miss the rest of the interview.

If you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters?

If I could cast my book Scarlet Letters, I’d want Lee Pace in the role of Louis Cross, the main character. The role of his buddy Stan would go to Sam Rockwell. The love interest, Sera, would be Emma Stone. The villain, Dr. Marx, would be Jason Isaacs, and his cohort Casper Van Morris would be Nick Nolte. Finally, the longest living vampire, Dexter Bloodgood, would be Jeff Bridges in a sort of undead version of Jeffrey Lebowski.

But it’s not like I’ve thought of this or anything.

As we all know, one of the best ways to turn your book into a movie is to get it on one of those pesky best-seller lists. 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?

Go back to bed, because I would be taking that entire day off.

Great plan! Do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing?

I’m the rare author that doesn’t drink coffee, because I don’t like feeling “jacked up” on anything when I write. I used to smoke, but I quit because I need to be able to breathe when I write. Drinking and writing don’t mix very well, because there is a very fine line between “just buzzed enough to feel super creative” and “stupid.”  I also don’t have much access to “other” stuff that may or may not be beneficial to my creative process. So no, vices aren’t really a part of my process. I need to be in a very clean frame of mind when I write, and I need to be pretty well-rested and not angry or sad. Serenity. I just need serenity.

I’m not a coffee drinker either, though I will admit to consuming more than enough peppermint tea. Delicious stuff and very refreshing! How do you spend your time when you’re not writing?

Goofing off online far too much. But movies, cooking, gaming, and reading are big parts of my life. I also have two kids and a great husband that I truly love being around.

Now it’s time for the fun stuff! Please share with us the first nine lines of your current work-in-progress.

Sure! This is from my futuristic science fiction novel, The Shiva Paradox. There is a lot going on in this book, but I’ll boil it down to the broad points. Bravo is part of a program whose chief function is killing off other planetary natives in order to make room for incoming colonists from Earth. After his space station is attacked by a rival corporation, Bravo flees the wreckage with the help of a mysterious woman who claims to know him. Only after his space craft passes through a time rift, he winds up on Earth, two hundred centuries prior to his birth, where he finds this woman again, in a timeline that occurred before she knew him. With the virus he carries in his body, he poses a dire risk not only to his home planet, but also to the woman he’s come to love. At some point, these two timelines will collide. Or will they?

A short story “prequel” of this book called “The Shiva Apparatus” will be appearing in volume two of The Endlands anthology, presented by Vincent Hobbes and the awesome people at Hobbes End Publishing. Hopefully the novel will be finished sometime in the fall.

ADAM Bravo stumbled out of the compound as the alarm brayed into the silent turquoise morning. His hands and face were sticky with purple blood and black sweat that didn’t belong to him, but to the planet’s natives who now lay dead all around him. The spooks had kept him prisoner for two days before the virus in his chest cavity finally deployed. He blamed the stress of the interrogation, but the dispersal was inevitable. It’s why he and his team were here.

These natives had been hardier than most, but they’d succumbed just like all the rest across the galaxy, regardless of their chemical makeup. The virus had no equal. Lawtram’s pathogen could adapt itself to nearly every variable of amino acid and nucleotide, except of course for the ones belonging to an Advance Deployment and Asset Manager, of which there were currently a dozen on this planet, that is if they hadn’t abandoned him after he went M.I.A.

A quick sweep of the facility did not uncover his Orca craft, but he had found his sidearm and his coms unit in an unlocked lab cabinet, and he just hoped he’d have a way off of this rock, or he might be stuck until the first colonists arrived in three years.

Awesome, awesome, awesome! The Shiva Paradox sounds like my kind of read and I cannot wait for The Endlands: Volume 2 in order to check out The Shiva Apparatus! Thank you for the wonderful interview, Allison. If you’re interested in connecting with Allison or in any of her other works, you can check out her Amazon Author Page, her website, her page on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Join me next week when I have the pleasure of talking with Eric S. Brown.


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