Sunday, 10 March 2013


What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
My name is Bev Allen and I was born in London, but I now live out in the country, in one of the English Shires.

Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I never really thought I could be a writer when I was younger, it seemed an unattainable goal, a dream, nothing more. As to what I wanted to be…I never did make up my mind.

When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?
It was when I got the commission from Big Finish to write an original Dr. Who short  story for one of their anthologies

Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
A long time and a great many submissions. 

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
 My next book is “Lucien and the Tattooed Tribes” 20 words.. eco-warriors, tattooed tribesmen, tribal maidens, bad politicians, pearls, gold, drugs, forest, rivers, totem hunts, battles, adventure, action, redemption and friendship.

Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
I am published by Taylor Street in San Francisco. They are a rising Indie publisher and I am very proud to be a part of their stable of authors.

Do you have a "lucky charm" or "lucky routine" you follow when waiting for your book to be accepted by a publisher?
 LOL. No.

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
 “Jabin” took a couple of years, but “Lucien” was about a year. This does not include editing time, just writing and rewriting.

Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?
The first one, “Jabin” was probably the hardest to write because I wanted to deal with some emotional baggage I was carrying as well as write an entertaining adventure story.

What can we expect from you in the future?  ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
 More of the same, YA action/adventure with a scific feel to them. I am experimenting with a heroine instead of a hero at the moment. It’s hard work, because a very appealing male character who I had no intention of being anything but a secondary is trying to muscle his way to the front.

What genre would you place your books into?
Scific action/adventure. Although one of my reviewers called them “allegorical fiction” which I quite like, because the scific elements are really only there so I can play in imaginary worlds of my own making.

Do you have a favourite out of the books you have written? If so why is it your favourite?
Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite?
I love my young heroes very much, but Colonel Mike is a firm favourite. He is a totally decent man, a good soldier, a good father and an honourable man.

Where do you get your book plot ideas from?What/Who is your inspiration?
 I think like most writers  get ideas from reading. As you read you start to wonder about what might have happened if the story had taken place somewhere else, if a character had made a different decision and in no time, you have created another world and that person becomes someone very different  there. Then you have to come up with the reasons why and hey presto, an idea. I call it “What if…” as in what if Prince Charming had taken one look at Sleeping Beauty and remembered everything his mother had told him about not kissing strange girls without asking first.

Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them?ie. Your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know?
I have a couple of alpha readers, both of whom feel they are allowed to shout at me if they think my work is not up to standard.

Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
 Absolutely NOT. I would be most offended if anyone questioned my right to my own opinion and I certainly would never question another person’s right. I might grind my teeth a bit, but I will do it very, very quietly.

Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
I am utterly, totally and completely hopeless when it comes to titles. I end up with dozens and dozens to increasingly dreadful ones and in the end I have to be rescued by a saner head.

How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
I cheat. I pick a minority European language and use that. For “Jabin” it was Welsh and for “Lucien” it was Friesian.

Are character names and place names decided after there creation? or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
 I can’t get a grip on a character until they have the right name. And I don’t know what they name is until it appears in my head. I find names define character.

Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
I have to know my people before I can write their story, so yes, I have a good idea of what they are before I begin.

Do you basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?
I really admire people who sit down and carefully plan a book chapter by chapter. I wish I was that disciplined, but I am afraid I know how the book starts and I have a rough idea where it will end; there are a couple of miles stones along the way, but the journey between is a bit of a mystery. For me, that is half the fun.

How do you market/promote your books?
I put my short fiction on my Goodreads blog. I feel if people can read some of my work for free, they will get an idea of my style and be better able to decide if they want to read me when I have a bigger word pool to splash around in.

What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller? 
How I wish I knew.

What do you do to unwind and relax?Do you have a hobby?
 I’m a quilter and like most quilters I have a very bad fabric addiction. I can’t walk passed a quilt shop without going in and once in I can’t leave empty handed, even if it is just a fat quarter.

Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
I’ve based characters on people I have met.

Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
“And the moral of the story is…all children need to grow up in a safe home knowing they are loved and wanted.”

Which format of book do you prefer, ebook,hardback, or paperback?
 I don’t mind, each has their place.

Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
I don’t think so. Not unless they can sort out the pictures. I love illustrated books and I collect children’s ones. Until they can give me beautiful big images on an e-reader I think there will always be a place for “real” books.

Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish?
 Gibbon’s “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”. I fought my way grimly through volume one and wild horses will not get me to read the others.

Are there any New Authors you are interested in for us to watch out for? and Why should we watch out for them?
 If you’ve not discovered Ben Aaronovitch yet, you are in for a real treat.

What do you think about book trailers?
 To be honest I’ve no experience of them.

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Read, read and then read some more.

Do you or would you ever use a pen name?
 No, it took me a long time to get here and I want people to know I made it.

If you could invite three favourite writers to dinner, who would you invite and enjoy chatting with?
Terry Pratchett, George MacDonald Fraser and Will Shakespeare.

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