Monday, October 14, 2013

Author Interview with Allyson Gottlieb



Hello and Good Monday, people of the blogosphere!  I have a super wonderful guest for you all today!  Author Allyson Gottlieb has agreed to stop by and answer a few questions for me.  I know, she’s pretty brave, huh? *wicked grin*

She’s one of the authors attending UtopYACon 2014.  In keeping with our Monday features through June and the event, Ms. Gottlieb will be returning next week to give us a guest post.  Now, it’s time for you all to sit back, relax, and have a cup of Joe while you meet this amazing author.


Jo: So good of you to join us today, Allyson!  Thank you for taking the time out of your writing schedule to chat.
Allyson: Thank you for having me on your blog, Jo.  I’m so happy to be here.

Jo: So I’m gonna jump right in here and ask you where did your love of music come from and how has it shaped your life?
Allyson: Music has always been a huge part of my life.  I’ve been singing since I was about five years old, sang with my school choir all throughout middle school and high school, and will sing along with the radio whenever a song I know comes on (it annoys my family but who cares?).  Whenever possible, I like to have a background soundtrack.  I can’t entirely describe it, but I feel almost as strongly about music as I do about writing.  It’s just a part of me.

Jo: Does music ever inspire scenes in your books and can we have some examples?
Allyson: Not specific scenes as much as larger plot threads or characters.  I almost always have a couple different songs that fit with the central couple of a story, for example (in Darkest Legacy, Tamara and Valentine’s song is “Poison and Wine” by The Civil Wars).  My muse is strange in that while I love listening to music when I’m doing pretty much everything else, I can’t write in large quantities with music in the background.  So maybe I’ll be listening to my iPod and a song will come on that sparks an idea for a new story, or a plot thread in an existing one, but I’ll have to turn off the music in order to go reason it out or attack it.

Jo: I can’t write with music, either. It’s too distracting! Congratulations on winning first place in the Central California Council of Teachers of English Young Writer’s Awards!  Tell me how you came across that contest and how you felt when you won.
Allyson: Why thank you!  I heard about this contest in my English class, because the way it works is that to be considered you have to be entered by an English teacher.  My teacher sent in two pieces from all the submissions he received over all the classes he teaches, and then it took a super long time to hear back, so long that I figured I just hadn’t won anything.  Then this letter shows up in the mail with a return address I don’t recognize.  When I read the first few lines I started shrieking with happiness.  The crazy thing is that I didn’t know until I got to the awards ceremony that I’d won first place in my age group; I thought I’d just gotten an honorable mention kind of thing.  So when I saw the program I had another little OMG moment.  (Funny story: the other girl my teacher entered actually also won first place in her age group.)

Jo: That’s amazing. I would’ve been yelping, too! Your book, Darkest Legacy, is the only book you’ve written so far.  How did you feel when you clicked the publish button and when can fans expect to see more from you?
Allyson: I remember hitting publish the night before my release date—advice from a friend, since KDP has that whole 12 hour waiting period thing—and then feeling like I was going to explode out of my skin (I don’t know how I got to sleep that night).  As for what’s coming from me next… a sequel to Darkest Legacy, titled Darkest Shadows, is in editing stages and will hopefully be released in December, maybe late November, depending on the way the cards fall.  After that I have one more story that takes place in this same world, revolving around the younger sister of my protagonist from DL and DS, which I plan to publish by next spring (so we’re looking at having all 3 Darkest Legacy series novellas out before UtopYA 2014).  And lest people think I only write novellas, get that idea out of your head!  I am also currently working on a new series that I’m very excited about, and hope to be able to share more details soon (I have to write more of it first before I’m going to share any details).

Jo: I love my Mystic novellas. They’re so much fun to write! I know about wanting to be a private person and not wanting people to intrude too much into your life, but is there a major reason you aren’t on Twitter (at least, not that I could find)?
Allyson: Honestly, I’m really not a huge person for social media.  It took me until two years ago to get a personal Facebook—this was before I even set up my author page and realized how wonderful Facebook is for self-promotion.  I always used to say that social media was pointless and ridiculous, nothing but a way for stupid people to show off.  (Of course, once I got my Facebook I rapidly became addicted…)  I’ve since learned how useful it can be, but I still don’t see the point of Twitter.  Maybe one day I’ll make the jump, but for now I’m content with Facebook, Goodreads, and a blog.

Jo: Hey, to each her own! I’ve written a number of posts about social media. When you decide to take that leap (if you do), I do hope you’ll reference them! Moving on! What have been your highest hurdles to jump in your writing?
Allyson: Finding time to write!  Summers are the exception (and even then my time magically seems to disappear), but during the school year it’s like an elaborate tightrope walking act to balance school and homework with my writing.  Add on promotion stuff now that I’m actually published and forget about it.  Sometimes it feels like I barely have time to breathe.

Jo: Time is relative. If there were thirty-six hours in a day, I’d wish for fifty. haha! I read that your parents aren’t big readers.  Since we’re usually convinced by another bookworm living in our home that stories are the cat’s meow, where does your love of books come from?
Allyson: When I was five, my family took a trip to Europe and we brought along the daughter of a family friend as sort of a nanny for my younger sister and me.  She read to us at night, the first few books in the Boxcar Children series.  I fell in love with them and immediately picked up the rest of the series, and from there became a regular at the local public library.  And the rest is history.

Jo: Sweet! Thank goodness for the nanny! You have one heck of a nice MacBook!  From my stalker-ish behavior, I found out you prefer working on a laptop.  Why is that?
Allyson: My dad works in computer tech and we live in Silicon Valley, so my house is practically sponsored by Apple, haha.  I think it’s a product of the fact that I was born at a time when computers were already so prevalent.  The very first story I ever wrote—based on a dream I had when I was seven—was typed, not hand-written.  I think I prefer typing because it’s easier to edit as I go along, like if I decide I want to use a particular train of dialogue in a different scene, I can easily take it off my current progress and save it to come back to later.  Also, my hand cramps up when I hand-write for too long.

Jo: Me too! The advent of the computer is an awesome thing. Just so my readers get a good grasp of exactly who you are (I know the answer to this, but want to stun people haha), could you tell the readers your age, please?
Allyson: *laughs* I am seventeen years old.  Do I look it?

Jo: Yes you do. (Are you readers impressed yet?) I know I get annoyed when people ask me how old I am (then give me “the look”) when I tell them I have five kids and the oldest one is eighteen.  What’s your standard answer when someone asks you about being published so young?  Do you find it irritating?
Allyson: I’ve been pretty lucky so far, that most of the adults I’ve met since publishing (who aren’t family, friends, or teachers and predisposed just to be happy for me from the start) have been really, really nice.  I’ve never come across someone whose questions about publishing at my age irritated me—though I’m sure I will eventually.  I’d like to think I’d tell them what’s become something of a motto for me: “I’m going after my dreams.  Since when is that a bad thing?”

Jo: Amen. Favorite snack food?
Allyson: Anything with chocolate.  I’m actually not a huge fan of chips, pretzels, etc (which is good considering the size of my sweet tooth, if not I’d be 200 pounds!).

Jo: I’m with you there. I make myself indulge rarely. haha! Okay, we all have them.  Mine are mostly grammar-related.  But would you mind sharing your pet peeves?
Allyson: I have quite a few grammar-related ones; ever since I decided to self-publish, it takes every ounce of restraint not to correct my friends—or heaven forbid, my teachers—when they make a grammatical mistake.  Another big one is when people spell my name wrong, even though I know this is really stupid since I have such a unique spelling.

Jo: I can identify. I shortened my name to Jo because people always butcher my real name. What’s your favorite alien movie?
Allyson: I haven’t seen too many, honestly.  I think I’d have to go with the new classic: James Cameron’s Avatar.

Jo: LOVE that movie! Great choice. And it matches your alien photo! Ever had soda spew out of your nose?  In your best writerly voice, tell us how that happened and how it felt.  If it never happened, tell us a story about a pet you’ve had.
Allyson: My sister and I adore our cat (her name is Chloe).  But she’s been having problems lately.  Problems that mean we have to clean up a lot of gross stuff.  In the last month alone, Chloe has vomited on my sister’s new bedspread three times.  We think she’s trying to mark her territory.  And that is why I leave my door closed at all times.

Jo: Ew. Vomit. haha! I had a little dog with a sensitive tummy; pet vomit is no fun. Anything you wish I’d asked that I didn’t?
Allyson: Why is my name spelled the way it is?  My dad always wanted to call me Ally, spelled like that, but my mom argued that just Ally wasn’t “formal” enough for a full name.  So they agreed to call me Allyson, but spell it with the two l’s and a y like my dad wanted—and then just call me Ally.  I started introducing myself as Allyson when I was about twelve, though my family and some close friends still call me Ally because that’s what they knew me as originally.  (There are also people who I introduce myself to as Allyson that then decide to start calling me Ally, and that sometimes bothers me unless it’s someone who I think of as a super close friend.)

Jo: That’s all the time we have for today.  Is there anything you’d like to add?
Allyson: I’m honored to be a part of this feature, and looking forward to seeing the rest of the author interviews.  Hope you all enjoyed this little peek inside my head!

Jo: I know I did. You’re one impressive young lady! Thanks for stopping by and chatting with us today, Allyson!  I look forward to meeting you at UtopYA Con next June.

Guys, give this awesome little lady a follow on her social media profiles!  Show the love as only Indies can!
Twitter: Tell her to join! LOL
Pinterest: Meh, many have and don't use (like me).

And don’t forget to pick up a copy of her book!
Title: Darkest Legacy
Author: Allyson Gottlieb
Genre: YA Paranormal
Length: Approx 51 Printed Pages
Amazon Link: Kindle $0.99

Description:
A fast-paced, high-stakes novella

Everyone has secrets they'd prefer stayed buried.  But information wants to be free... and so does Tamara Kingsley's ex-lover, incarcerated on the maximum-security prison planet, Alpha.

Tamara has done things she's not proud of, but that was years ago.  Now the headmistress of the Silvermist School of Magic, she has an honest life, one that makes her happy.  For the last twenty years she's fought like hell to keep it that way, and she thought she had succeeded.

She's about to find out just how wrong she was to think her past was dead and gone.
 
Since it's part of KDP Select, the link above is the only link you can grab it at. What are you waiting for? Get going!
Remember, Darkest Legacy will be the featured book on the sidebar for the next two weeks!

Do you recall the review I was talking about last week? It's of Allyson's book! Be sure you come back tomorrow to read it!

Pop in a comment and tell Allyson hi or ask her a question!
Well, that’s all for today, folks.  Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

6 comments:

  1. What a cool premise for a book! Congrats on publishing Allyson!

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    Replies
    1. She did an amazing job :) Thanks for the interview/blog love, Heather!

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  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, Nicole! She was a lot of fun to interview :)

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  3. Replies
    1. Thanks, Amy :) I was hoping she'd put her $0.02 here, but I'm all about the blog love.

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