Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Journey to Aviad Tour: Interview w/ Allison D. Reid


Interview w/ Allison D. Reid

Author of "Journey to Aviad" 

Welcome to the Journey to Aviad Blog Tour today. I am honored to be hosting Allison D. Reid in an extensive interview. I hope to find out a bit about her process into creating her novel and about the woman behind this high fantasy novel. 

Interview provided by: Kathryn Jenkins

Hi Allison, let’s open this interview up with getting to know you a bit more. Can you tell us about yourself?

I’m going to skip past the information in my author biography, because it is already out there for everyone to read and I don’t want to be repetitive. Like many other writers, I’m a quiet introvert, so this particular question is always a difficult one!  I’d rather talk about anything but myself.

In my youth I traveled extensively through Europe, which had a huge impact on me.  My perspective and creative vision were forever changed.  Though at this point in my life I am unable to travel as I once did, the adventures of my characters live on.  That’s one of the joys of being a writer; I can go anywhere, anytime—even to places that don’t really exist—all from the comfort of my imagination!  My greatest joys are in writing, studying, and spending time with my family. 

What inspired you to become a self-published author? Did you ever try to go the traditional route? Why?

As I was finishing the writing for Journey to Aviad, my first impulse was to find a traditional publisher.  But the more I looked into that process, talked to other authors, and researched my options, the less appealing that idea became.  I realized that many of the benefits of traditional publishing that I assumed would be there, such as comprehensive editing and marketing services, were actually a thing of the past. 

Additionally, more than one traditionally published author I spoke to had run into copyright issues.  Some were even involved in lawsuits against their publishers just so that they could keep writing more books.  Since I knew that Journey to Aviad would be the first book in a series, I did not want to run into the same problems others had experienced.  Despite the stigma that is sometimes associated with self-publishing, for me it meant freedom.  Freedom with my creativity and message, and the ability to maintain control over my own work, for better or worse.  I believed at the time that self-publishing was the future of publishing, and as I watch the industry grow, I still believe this is the case. 

The characters in your novel Journey to Aviad are well-rounded. Can you tell us about the process you took to create each one of them? Also, how did you go about your world building?

Morganne and Elowyn started out as characters in an online roleplaying game.  Their histories and personalities developed over time as I interacted with other players and created an in-game storyline for my gaming guild. 

Roleplaying is actually a very good writing exercise that I highly recommend.  I had to learn to speak, think, and react the way my characters would in any given situation.  To do that on the fly, you have to know your characters pretty intimately.  They grow beyond the confines of the flat page and become real, three-dimensional people with needs and feelings all their own.

Most of the other characters in Journey to Aviad I had to create as brand new personalities, mostly to fill specific roles in my plotline.  I was pleasantly surprised by Einar, who more than any of the others took on a life of his own and changed the course of the story.  I am still considering bringing him back in the future, but am not yet sure how or where.  He may just surprise me yet again! 

My world had to be created from scratch since obviously I could not use the game world I had originally been in.  However, there are aspects of it that are reminiscent of the places I once knew there.  I’ve preserved some of the essence of those online experiences while still making them fully mine.  I also called upon memories of my time living in Europe, and did a lot of medieval history research to bring that era alive for my readers. 

Many authors struggle with grammar and creating a manuscript without errors. I noticed with some background research you offer editing services on the side. Did you have to go through an editor for your novel? Or did you do it all yourself? Why did or didn’t you?

I’ve always been pretty good at grammar, and so has my husband.  Initially we both pored over the book looking for problems.  Countless friends, colleagues, and other writers helped me as well.  I did have an editor look over it once.  She helped the most with formatting and technical issues related to printing that I as of yet had no clue about.  But I did not have the money to get a full-blown edit done.  So I had to work that much harder to make sure my manuscript was clean.  After going through this difficult process, I decided that I wanted to be better prepared for my next book, and also be able to help other self-publishing writers.  I took an editing course and received my certification just after Journey to Aviad was published. 

Every author is inspired in different ways when it comes to their creative muse. What sets your brain off and makes your head scream for your pen and paper to begin your writing?

Characters inspire me.  Sometimes my best ideas start with a “person” who comes alive in my imagination and deserves a place to live and breathe.  Worlds also inspire me, and as a fantasy writer, the confines of my own imagination are the only limit.  Certain places and eras of history tend to draw me too.  The Middle Ages has been a particular favorite.  Dry as they might seem to others, my research books often spark fresh ideas for me when I am stuck in a rut.  Nature speaks to my creative muse as well.  Beautiful places refresh my spirit and help me get re-focused.  Some of the amazing things I’ve seen in my travels have made their way into my writing, even if in a different form.

The decision to become an indie author is a hard one without your family to support you. Can you tell us how your family helps you with your journey as an author?

My husband was a huge help to me when I was writing Journey to Aviad.  He was always someone I could bounce new ideas off of.  I counted on him to grasp the underlying theology in my story and make sure that it stayed sound.  Additionally, he worked with me to make sure the final version was well-edited before it went to print.  He has been both my best supporter and greatest critic, and I have needed both.

When you do find yourself not writing and living a normal, everyday life, what kinds of things do you find yourself doing in your free time?

I run a home business full time, have two young children, and three cats and a dog.  There really isn’t any such thing as “free time” in my every day schedule!  When I am not working, and am too tired to write or research, I do things with my family.  We watch TV or movies together, or sometimes play Minecraft.  My husband likes to fight the monsters, but I just like to build.  I’ve made a number of castles, and surrounded villages with defensive walls so that my daughters and I can have our own, beautiful, monster-free zone!  One of these days, I just might be ambitious enough to try to re-create some of the places in my books.

There is always that goal for every indie author to one day be able to write full time. Can you tell us a bit about what you do in your professional life that gives you the bread and butter while you work towards this goal?

Professionally I am a virtual assistant working from a home office.  My biggest client is an organization of art quilters, so even while I’m doing traditional computer work, I also get to look at (and even handle) lots of beautiful artwork as part of my job.  I’ve also done some limited web design work, and of course, editing for other writers. 

Each author finds themselves struggling with one aspect of this career. What do you think is your weakness and what is your strength?

My admitted weakness is marketing.  I am not very good at promoting myself, and I don’t have a lot of connections in the business.  Part of my issue is time—I simply don’t have enough of it!  This is something I am trying to ramp up gradually, especially as I approach the release of the second book in my series.

My greatest strength, I hope, is my writing.  I want to challenge the assumption of many that self-published means low quality.  It takes a lot of time and hard work to produce the best books I possibly can, but I think the end result is worth it.  My hope is that my series will stand the test of time…and the scrutiny of generations of readers.

Journey to Aviad is the first book in your Windrider Series. Can you tell us how many books we should expect? And when we should expect book two to be published?

Book two is scheduled for release in 2015, which is very exciting for me!  I think the second book is even better than the first and can’t wait to share what happens with everyone. 

I have a general idea of what I want to do with the rest of the series, but I haven’t outlined the whole thing yet.  My guess is that there will be at least 5 books.  However, that could change once I get into the details.




Synopsis

Threatening clouds and fierce storms besiege the city of Tyroc. More frequent and powerful than ordinary storms, young Elowyn, a weaver’s daughter living in the outskirts of the city, senses something disturbing and unnatural about them. She soon realizes that the storms are but a warning sign of much more frightening things yet to come.

Terrifying wolf-like creatures emerge from the depths of the wilderness at the bidding of a dark master. His name found only among the crumbling pages of ancient texts, the re-appearance of Alazoth and his Hounds is a dark omen for the people of Tyroc and beyond. Only legends remain of the heroes and prophets whose blood was shed ages ago to banish him into the abyss, which should have remained his prison for all time. How he has been released is a mystery, but all the old stories agree that death and destruction are sure to follow.

With the Hounds inching closer each day, the city of Tyroc caught up in religious and political turmoil, and her home life no less turbulent, Elowyn has nothing left to rely on but her meager courage and a budding faith in Aviad, the Creator. She and her sister, Morganne, set out on a remarkable journey that challenges everything they have ever known about themselves, the world, and the path that Aviad has laid out for them.

Available @: Amazon, Kindle, & BN


About Allison D. Reid

Allison D. Reid was born in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Her love for medieval fantasy was sparked by the Narnia Chronicles by C.S. Lewis, which fed both her imagination and her spiritual development.  When at the age of thirteen her family moved to Germany, her passion for medieval history and legend only increased, and she found herself captivated by the ancient towns and castles of Europe.  Allison returned to the United States to study art and writing at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA.  She earned her B.A. under the tutelage of the well-renowned and prolific writer Andrew Salkey, a student of her other great inspiration, and the father of fantasy, J. R. R. Tolkien.  After graduating from Hampshire College, Allison moved to Connecticut.  There she got the opportunity to attend seminary and further explore her faith before returning to her home state of Ohio.  Allison now lives in the Miami Valley area with her husband and children.  She continues to work on her first published series while taking care of her family, editing for other independent writers, and managing a home business. 
How to Connect w/ Allison: Website, Blog, & Facebook Page

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