What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
I write under the name Allison Kraft. Allison is my real name, but Kraft is a family name I chose for privacy’s sake (not to mention my real surname is a little hard to remember/spell/pronounce). I was born in a suburb of Chicago, IL, lived there until high school, then moved to a suburb of Tampa, FL. I spent a few years in Miami for college (and a few more after), but now I’m back in the Tampa area.
Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
No, writing had never been on my radar in school. When I was young, I wanted to work with animals, then as I got older, my interest turned to music. For a while I wanted to be a professional musician (I played clarinet and piano), then I became more interested in the business end of it, and went to college for that. I worked in music copyright for a little while, then moved back home for financial reasons. Around that time I started writing fanfiction for fun and got a lot of great feedback on it. Somewhere along the line I decided to try my hand at original fiction and now here I am.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
Destined. Let’s see, only 20 words? I’m not good at limiting my words, but here goes: Vampire hunter travels back in time to the Titanic and falls in love.
Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
I self-published. I wrote the book 10 years ago, spent many years writing other things and periodically going back to polish it before I finally started trying the traditional agent route a year or so ago. I queried a few, but didn’t have any luck. I would have stuck with it if it weren’t for two things: one, agents seemed to be sick of vampires, thanks to the popularity of Twilight, and two, I was running out of time. I wanted Destined to be out before the centennial of the Titanic’s sinking, to make the most of the hoopla that’s sure to come from the big anniversary, but publishers can take a year or more to get a book on the shelves, and 2011 was half over at that point. I have the graphic design background to do cover art and the web design background to do the ebook formatting, so I figured I might as well give self-publishing a try.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I read a lot of different genres, so my writing reflects that. However, I love the paranormal, so I tend to include elements of that in everything I do. Vampires have always been a favorite, so of all my finished projects, all but one involve them. The one that doesn’t is a light mystery romance with a heroine who sees ghosts (think Janet Evanovich meets Medium). That and an urban fantasy series are the two I’m working on getting ready to release next. If all goes well, I hope to have one or both out by early 2012.
Where do you get your book plot ideas from?
I get a lot of ideas in the shower: probably because there’s not much to do in there but think. I read a lot, so it’s natural to be inspired by that, but generally my ideas come from “what if?” questions. In the case of Destined, I wanted to try writing a time travel story, and I have been obsessed with the Titanic for most of my life, so I thought to myself “what would I do if I found myself on the ship, knowing what I know about it? Would I try to stop the collision? Should I try?” And it grew from there.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
Of course! I’m a new author so I can be a little obsessive about checking book sales and reviews. So far I’ve been lucky and they’ve all been pretty positive.
How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books?Who designed the Cover of your books?
I’m terrible at titles. Unless a title comes to me immediately as I’m writing, I agonize for what feels like years over it. In the case of Destined, it was originally called Ship of Dreams, until I did some Amazon searching and found too many other books with the same name. I went through a lot of ideas until one night Destined popped into my head and stuck. Even though there are other books with that title, that’s the one that “fit” the best, so it stuck. As for cover art, I design it myself. I have graphic design training, and I’m kind of a control freak when it comes to design, so I like that self-publishing allows me to do everything myself. Rather than use images of the ship, I chose to use a shot taken of the actual debris field of the Titanic for the cover. The boots gave it a spookier tone that way, and referenced something that happens toward the end of the book so nicely, it was almost like I’d written it to fit the photo, rather than finding the image afterwards.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
I read every night before bed to help wind down from the day, and usually get through over 100 books a year. But when I’m not reading or writing, my other hobbies include photography, genealogy, TV (I’m addicted, especially to reality shows), the Internet (my iPad is practically attached to me) and playing with my four cats. I’m a future crazy cat lady and not ashamed to admit it.
Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
No, because I’d be too afraid they’d figure it out. ;) Though my mystery novel is inspired by where I live, so locations are sometimes based loosely on my life. For example, the heroine lives in a retirement community that was inspired by a combination of the places both of my grandparents lived, so while her neighbors are all fictional, things they say or do came from stories I would hear.
Where to follow me:
Buy links for Destined:
Amazon: http://amzn.com/B005IZRO24 (available in Kindle and paperback)
Other links (iBooks, Sony, Smashwords, etc.): http://www.allisonkraft.com/books.html
Thankyou so much Allison for taking part in this Interview, I loved your book as I too am a little Titanic obsessed, and love reading novels about it as well as factual stuff too!