Getting Personal… with Author J.C. Allen

david's picture

Ladies and gentlemen, monkeys and bananas, today we welcome on stage Author J.C. Allen. 

J.C. is the son of an online friend, so it is a double pleasure to give him to the famelic hordes of interviews readers. 

Born and raised in the Charleston, WV area, this young single father started writing when unimaginable circumstances thrust him into a situation beyond his control.  As a way to stay connected to his beloved daughters, he began writing stories to entertain them – first a fantastical, magical adventure, the Edge of Knight series.

What started as entertainment for his daughters evolved into a coping mechanism to maintain his sanity as he waged a monumental battle against injustice.  The battle continues, and as his daughters have grown into teenagers, the stories have changed to more mature fiction.

Hello, J.C., and welcome to our torture chamber.

Hi Massimo!  It’s great to ‘meet’ you.  I’ve heard so much about you from my mother (mountainmama on Amazon).  As you probably know, she is my editor/publisher/promoter since I am unable to access the Internet.  Thanks so much for inviting me here today to talk about my writing.

Yes, I know everything about your mother… that your mother is willing to share with our bunch in the Amazon threads. So, J.C., I’m sure your mother has warned you; how do you feel about being interviewed, today?

A little nervous.  I’m a pretty private person and never craved any spotlights, but yet I’m finding it enjoyable to share my thoughts with you.

In another life I must have been a shrink 🙂 speaking of which, how much impact does your childhood have on your writing?

A lot!  Many of my epic (in my mind) adventures as a kid ended up in my stories.  I have slayed every monster, righted every wrong, and won every contest in my imagination.

Please, relax on my psychoanalyst’s couch… J.C., when and where do you write?

Natalie PortmanI sit on my bed, with pen and pad of paper, listening to music.  I usually have the basic outline and characters set in my mind before I start writing.  At times I will write 24/7 until a book is completed, and other times I will come back to something started years ago.  Often my characters lead me, and I’m surprised where we end up.

On your bed, huh? Do you ever write naked?

No, but if Jennifer Aniston or Natalie Portman want to co-write a novel with me, I’ll consider it.Jennifer Aniston

I suggest getting a king size and think big: Jennifer Aniston AND Natalie Portman. I can’t see how anyone could disagree; by the way, I have a king size 😉 I think it’s the right moment now to tell us about your most recent release. Don’t worry, at this point in the interview you can say anything: no male reader will care ’cause there are two things that capture all our attention. But, please, don’t mind if I and others are looking at something else…

Chronicles of Time: Book 1 and Chronicles of Time: Book 2 about a spunky family who finds a time machine, and their journey through points in time to save the world.  It was written for early teens, but is a fun read for all ages.  Lots of historical facts are woven through the story, but alternative scenarios/explanations are provided for some of the events.  My depiction of the times may be controversial, but I figure my guess is as good as any!

Uhmm, ahh, yes, were you saying…? <listening to the ear-piece and whispering: OK, I’ll ask that if you say so. > Sorry, I’m suggested to ask you what else do you have coming out? I hope it makes sense to you as my senses are in overflow now…

<J.C. keeps calm but I notice his eyes wander to the main screens on the backstage. You can’t just let eyes off some kind of upholstery and embroideries>
Possibly Edge of Knight – a teen fantasy series (currently at book 12 and counting), full of magic, monsters, and a dysfunctional set of heroes.  Or maybe the Guilty of Innocence series – a hard-hitting story involving the vindication of a falsely-convicted man, a psychologist, and the girl who put him in prison, who join forces to fight a corrupt prosecution and law enforcement team.

I heard you said phantasy, didn’t you?… I can relate in this moment. Book 12, you say? Wow, how many books have you written, and which one is your absolute favorite?

I’ve written about thirty books so far, but my all-time favorite is The Edge of Knight.  It may not be my best story, but I had the most fun writing it because it was a joint project with my daughters as they were growing up.  Many of the characters were based on them or people we knew, so it was a fabulous way to connect with them and get to know their inner feelings and thoughts about society and life in general.

What was the biggest challenge you faced writing this book and how did you overcome it?

All the research to keep it believable while tiptoeing around some of the controversial aspects.  I’m not sure if I succeeded or not – I love controversy so I didn’t tiptoe very quietly!

What’s your drive for writing?

I believe it’s my desire to entertain and educate.

Apart from that, is there anything you want to make sure potential readers know?

I try to be different, don’t follow conventions, and most of all I try to be real while still toning it down for my daughters’ sakes.  I base most of my characters on people I’ve known in order to inject believability into my stories.

Believability and plausibility are pillars of good stories. What’s the most blatant lie you’ve ever told? Mine would be that I followed anything you said in the last five minutes, but we’re here to talk about you… so?

“You look great,” to an emotional eight-month-pregnant woman who had gained about 80 pounds.  I backed up enough to be out of range before I said it.  My mother taught me to be kind, but she never told me I had to be stupid.

Well, “great” is an adjective that also means of an extent, amount, or intensity considerably above the normal or average. I’d say you said the truth nonetheless. Instead, what is the most demeaning thing said about you as a writer?

I was called a ‘Mary Sue Libertarian’ by someone who evidently didn’t agree with my characters’ political beliefs.  My name is not Mary Sue!

I’d say so, and not even Jary Cue, but some people have no clues. How do you react to a bad review of one of your books?

I analyze it to see if they’re right.  If they are, I smack myself upside the head and try to fix the problem.  I love constructive criticism, and have learned sooooo much in this process from critics.  If I think they’re wrong, I shrug it off as a difference of opinion.  I figure they’ve got as much right to an opinion as I do (even if they are all ridiculous uninformed idiots).

I agree with that, definitely uninformed… Apart Chronicles of Time, which sounds like a standard title, you mentioned two others that sound interesting. How do you choose the titles of your novels?

Some stories grew from a title, and others named themselves after they were written.  I’m still searching for the ‘perfect’ title for a few works in progress.

And who are you going to co-write again with? <what?—pushes on the ear piece—not pertinent at this point? But we have two great pictures still on… OK!> No, don’t answer, though it was a fantastic question that would added perspective to unconfessed recesses of the minds of every male present in the audience, I’ve received another question for you. Tell us about your most recent release.http://www.dreamstime.com/-image11934433

Novel Ideas is a semi-dystopian future (2040) story about a retiring author who was believed to have penned the last original works of fiction.  He has become fed up with the increasingly socialist political climate and escapes to a tropical island.  His quiet world is turned upside down when a granddaughter he didn’t know existed shows up on his doorstep begging for sanctuary.

What are books for?

Holding up the corner of your couch, throwing at the cat when she wakes you up in the middle of the night…  Seriously, I usually read for pure escapism from reality.  If a book can make me forget my troubles for a little while, it’s a great book!

Well, it’s our role and the promise we make to our readers, escape with us to a different place and in a different time. Do you have any favorite books or authors?

Too many to name – The Pillars of the Earth, The Da Vinci Code: A Novel (Robert Langdon), A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book One…  I love Greg Iles, Ken Follet, Timothy Zahn, Stephen King, Michael Crichton…

Do you read reviews of your books? How do they affect you, whether positive or negative?

Yes, I’ve read every single review and find it very humbling that someone cared enough about the story to express their opinion.  Whether they agreed with me or not, it’s a fantastic feeling to know you made someone THINK!

Sometimes, only sometimes. Whether it’s a 5-star or a 1-star, sometimes one wonders whether any act of thinking went into some reviews, but let’s turn page on those and move on to the next phase of the interview, when we reaaallly GET PERSONAL!

<monkeys tremble with excitement, ladies clap but they feel the sting of both Natalie and Jennifer: tough competition>

J.C. an easy one to start with. What’s your favorite fruit?

Elton John… oh wait, you said ‘what’ not ‘who’.  Guess it’ll have to be cherries then.  I love anything cherry-flavored – cookies, ice cream, cake, candy, etc.  My family always made AWESOME chocolate-covered cherry cookies at Christmas time and my grandmother would make an extra batch just for me.

Ahahaha juicy one that one … 😉 We know some of those chocolate delis from your mama 🙂 So, when were you last involved in a real-life punch-up? Don’t worry, we won’t tell Mom.

Years ago, as a kid.  I warned my sister not to pick on me!

I hope she’s recovered since, or you’d be in trouble, still. No chocolate-covered cherry for years! Have you ever been in trouble with the police?

No comment.  My lawyer advises me to remain silent.

We take that as a yes 😉 How many people have you done away with over the course of your career?

I’m not telling, and no one will ever find the bodies.

Ahhh, the mark of a professional! Ever dispatched someone and then regretted it?

No, but there are a few people I’ve regretted NOT dispatching.

I bet they are part of the uninformed idi… err, readers we mentioned before. If you were going to commit the perfect murder, how would you go about it?

Hah!  I’m not gonna tell you that!  I may want to use it in a story some day.

Readers and learners are warned. Wait for the lesson to come 🙂 What do you want to be when you grow up?

A kid!

Excellent, we share one more common trait. I found it took me years to learn how to be young, and I think many will agree that kids are wasting their time trying to act like adults. Really wasting their time.  What is your favorite bedtime drink?

Bacardi 151 and Sierra Mist.

See, another good duo. I already told you about getting a king size, didn’t I? 😉 Do you ever wish that you had an entirely uncreative job, like data entry or working in a factory?

That would be exciting to me!

Oh boy, we’re going to scratch the question “Tell us about your average day” as this is supposed to be a fun interview 😀 Who would play you in a film of your life? apart Charlie Chaplin, that is…Ryan Goslin

I’ve always seen myself as Mr. Mom, so probably Michael Keaton although I probably look more like Ian Somerhalder or Ryan Gosling (LOL!!).

Well, there’s a resemblance, don’t you agree ladies?
<twists and shouts from the female part of the audience. Unclear if for what I said or from the giant picture of Ryan on stage>

Now a question shooting squad. You have to answer on the spot without thinking, almost like writing 😉

What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?

Being surrounded by people who are more insane.

Have you ever read or seen yourself as a character in a book or a movie?

Val Kilmer in Real Genius.  I’m such a nerd.

What is the single most powerful challenge when it comes to writing a novel?

Keeping all my papers together!

What do you consider your biggest failure?

My marriage.  I barely escaped with my life, but I’m still paying for it.

Oh, this last one hurts. I’m with my high-school Valentine, an old couple, together for 34 years now. She’s not even 49, yet, so make the count 😉

Do you research your novels?

Heavily!  I’m constantly looking for details others missed or angles not explored.  All I need is a tiny space to squeeze in my version of reality.

That’s important. Real life can be unbelievable, a novel couldn’t. The difference between reality and a novel is that this last has to make sense. What was the greatest thing you learned at school?

How to communicate and solve problems.

That’s a joke, right? Right? Do you laugh at your own jokes?

Of course – I’m hilarious and I crack myself up.  (I’m very humble too.)

Hehehe Do you admire your own work?

I like my stories because they’re the type stories I want to read.  Once in a while I’ll read something I wrote years ago and think, “Wow!  Did I write that?”

That’s cool, isn’t it. Oh wait, you mean it was that bad? Joking of course, but it happens, to me at least 😀 Are you fun to go on vacation with?

Judging from the constant giggles from my kids when we traveled, I’d say yes.  I loved having fun, and was usually a bigger kid than they were.  And they tolerated my attempts to teach them lessons from every situation, so it must not have been too terrible for them.

In a sense, I believe, you have found true love…

Romantic love – apparently not.  But I have a deep boundless love for my children, and consider them my greatest accomplishment.

Are you jealous of other writers?

I wish I could write as well as some, and would certainly never turn down financial success, but celebrate their achievements.

Yeah, likewise. I think, especially as an Indie, we should always be happy for others’ successes because it adds to the credibility of the work of everyone. What makes you cry?

Running out of ice cream!  All kidding aside, any mistreatment of vulnerable people/animals makes me incredibly sad.  Injustice breaks my heart.

<nodding> And what makes you laugh?

I love slapstick, sarcasm, and over-the-top ridiculous comedy.  Monty Python slays me, Weird Al Yankovic has an awesome talent, and George Carlin was a genius in my eyes.

And they provide us with good lessons for living good lives. Entertaining ones at least 🙂 What are you ashamed of?

That I have failed in my attempts to cure all human ills.

That’s a shame shared by everyone in this, the past, and the future times. I guess you’re in good company. What’s the loveliest thing you have ever seen?

My daughters.  They are truly the light of my life.

Well said. No, no, NO! Girls. Wait for the end of the show to pay me the fee for that question… uhhhh. Sorry for the interruption, J.C., it’s not about you, it’s just business 😉 as they say. What was the biggest challenge you faced writing your books and how did you overcome it?

All the research to keep it believable while tiptoeing around some of the controversial aspects.  I’m not sure if I succeeded or not – I love controversy so I didn’t tiptoe very quietly!

It looks like you have mistaken tiptoe for tip-tap dance. See the power of a single vowel 😉 What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write what you enjoy!  If someone else enjoys it, that’s a bonus.

A last question. Do you believe in a deity?

Only if he believes in me.

I believe He believes in all of us.

What? one more last question? The… ahhh. Yes, but remember—you too—to pay the question fee before leaving…
So, J.C., ‘Who killed JFK?’ 

I answered it in Chronicles of Time: Book 2 Go read it to find out my version of the truth!

 

And this was J.C. Allen. Thank you, J.C.

Folks, don’t forget to pay a visit to J.C. on his webpage, too.

  • Mountainmama

    LOL! Great interview, Massimo! (I might be a little prejudiced though)

    • Massim0Marin0

      Just a little, but we condone close supporters’ enthusiasm 🙂

  • Mountainmama

    LOL! Great interview, Massimo! (I might be a little prejudiced though)

    • Massim0Marin0

      Just a little, but we condone close supporters’ enthusiasm 🙂

  • Margaret Tanner

    Hi Massimo,
    Great interview, Lovley to find out more about J.C. Allen. I feel that I know his mum very well.
    Regards
    Margaret

    • Massim0Marin0

      Thank you, Margaret. 🙂

  • Margaret Tanner

    Hi Massimo,
    Great interview, Lovley to find out more about J.C. Allen. I feel that I know his mum very well.
    Regards
    Margaret

    • Massim0Marin0

      Thank you, Margaret. 🙂

  • Maggie Plummer

    Massimo, another hilarious interview! I love it, and I love J.C.’s mama, too. What a treat, to learn more about J.C. Rock on, Massimo!

    • Massim0Marin0

      Thanks, Maggie. But Kudos to all Authors who’ve provided me with great answers to my questions 🙂 You included 😉

  • Maggie Plummer

    Massimo, another hilarious interview! I love it, and I love J.C.’s mama, too. What a treat, to learn more about J.C. Rock on, Massimo!

    • Massim0Marin0

      Thanks, Maggie. But Kudos to all Authors who’ve provided me with great answers to my questions 🙂 You included 😉

  • “Doctor Barbara” Barbara Ebel

    You two are a riot! And we all love J.C.’s mom! Thanks for putting Ryan Gosling’s picture, too! Continued success with your books, J.C.

    • Massim0Marin0

      Well, I put on Jennifer and Natalie (Oh my goodness), had to try to be on par with the Ladies, too 🙂

    • Massim0Marin0

      BTW, isn’t Jennifer just adorable (apart all of the other adjectives that are burning up my neurons one by one, that is 😀 )

  • “Doctor Barbara” Barbara Ebel

    You two are a riot! And we all love J.C.’s mom! Thanks for putting Ryan Gosling’s picture, too! Continued success with your books, J.C.

    • Massim0Marin0

      Well, I put on Jennifer and Natalie (Oh my goodness), had to try to be on par with the Ladies, too 🙂

    • Massim0Marin0

      BTW, isn’t Jennifer just adorable (apart all of the other adjectives that are burning up my neurons one by one, that is 😀 )

  • James A. Anderson

    Great interview, Massimo and J.C. You two are a riot. I’d take Jennifer Aniston too anytime..

    • Massim0Marin0

      Gorgeous!

  • James A. Anderson

    Great interview, Massimo and J.C. You two are a riot. I’d take Jennifer Aniston too anytime..

    • Massim0Marin0

      Gorgeous!

  • Lyn Horner

    You two are hilarious! You should take your show on the road. Well, I guess you did, the internet road that is. Seriously, a great interview, guys.
    J.C, I know your mama is so proud of you, as are your beautiful daughters, I’m sure. Keeping writing and stay sane, my friend.
    Massimo, you devil! Can’t wait to get you on my grill. That’s coming up soon, don’t forget, on Monday November 4th for all your fans. See you later, alligator.

    • Massim0Marin0

      Trembling and shivering with delight.

  • Lyn Horner

    You two are hilarious! You should take your show on the road. Well, I guess you did, the internet road that is. Seriously, a great interview, guys.
    J.C, I know your mama is so proud of you, as are your beautiful daughters, I’m sure. Keeping writing and stay sane, my friend.
    Massimo, you devil! Can’t wait to get you on my grill. That’s coming up soon, don’t forget, on Monday November 4th for all your fans. See you later, alligator.

    • Massim0Marin0

      Trembling and shivering with delight.

  • Kellie

    Awesome interview as always.

  • Kellie

    Awesome interview as always.

  • June Collins

    Good one guys!

    • Massim0Marin0

      Thank you, June.

  • June Collins

    Good one guys!

    • Massim0Marin0

      Thank you, June.

  • Joanna Mazzotta

    Wonderful interview! I enjoyed that. Like mother, like son .Talented family!

Translate »