Saturday, 25 April 2015


Title: Tattooed Tribes
Author: Bev Allen
Publisher: Thorstruck Press
Release Date: 15th January 2015

BLURB from Goodreads
From war they came, from violence they became. Now on a faraway world our settlers see war looming once more. The settlers had to adapt to survive, once again living off the land like our ancestors of old. The Tribal Liaison Guild is formed to distill tension between the tribes, as the smallest issue could now lead to war. John Harabin is the senior Liaison Officer and he needs an apprentice to train for the future. 

A lad from town, sixteen year old Lucien Devlin, becomes John's perfect protégé. He loves the wild jungle and his curiosity craves to see the tribes above the cataracts, except he doesn't follow rules, yet rules are all that will keep him alive in that treacherous territory. Criminals kidnap a young girl to stir up unrest, whilst exploitation threatens domestic peace. Tensions rise when John Harabin liaises to distill the volatile situation, but standing in his path is the rebellious Lucien. 

Tense action and adventure ensue, Lucien's quest becomes a path of destiny, and it's now up to Lucien and his friends to find a solution that will lead to peace.



What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
My name is Bev (short for Beverley) Allen, I was born in England and I live in a small market town on the edge of The Shires.

When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?
 Probably the day Big Finish commissioned me to write a Dr Who story for one of their Short Trip anthologies.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
“The Tattooed Tribes” Eco-warriors battle to save planet and rescue a tribal maiden from the hands of some really nasty people.

Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
I’m published by Thorstruck Press, you can find them here . There is no way I could or would self-publish, I am hopelessly and completely defeated by things like “formatting” and I have an alarming tendency to always press the wrong button, especially the ones marked “do NOT press this button.” A simple blog post can take me two hours, a lot of swearing and sometimes a tantrum J

Do you have a "lucky charm" or "lucky routine" you follow when waiting for your book to be accepted by a publisher?
Most definitely NOT.

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
About a year, sometimes longer depending on how long editing takes.. The current WIP is taking quite a while because I suddenly realised I had got the main character wrong, not completely wrong, but his motivation was off and needed correcting to make sense of the narrative. I am now going back and rewriting. I had gather lost heart with the story and I now realise it was because I had not really understood what the character was trying to tell me, but now I’m on fire again.

Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?
As you can see from above, the current one was being a bit of a pain.

Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
 The new book is now well under way. I’ve gone away from sci-fi towards fantasy with this one, but not all the way, I’m afraid I can’t cope with magic, it feels too much like cheating to me. This one will tell the story of Aulay Fitzgellis, the illegitimate son of a king who rebels against his little (legitimate) brother when he has inherited the throne.
He is defeated by an army of mercenaries and would have lost his head if the leader of that army hadn’t taken him away captive. The story deals with Aulay coming to terms with never being able to go home, finding a new way to live and learning how a revolutionary weapon will affect the way the mercenaries fight and change their world forever. It won’t be part of a series, I don’t write series, I’m not even sure if I can write sequels, despite a lot of people being kind enough to say they would like one.  

 What genre would you place your books into?
 I say sci-fi/YA (emphasise very strongly on the Adult part of YA, I write for big grown up kids like me, not little ones), but it’s not the high tech hard core stuff. I do set my stories in a “future”, but it is more an alternative, so I can be free from cultural and social and political boundaries. I also love a bit of pulp fiction, so I create my own worlds where I can play.

Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite?
I am very, very fond of Jabin, the young hero and title of my first book. He’s my favourite because despite everything he went through he never gave up hope. What he wanted most and needed the most was a good, kind and honourable man to be a father to him. It was something I always wanted but I never got, but I was able to give one to Jabin.

Where do you get your book plot ideas from?What/Who is your inspiration?
I have no idea, I wish I did, it would make life SO much easier J. Sometimes it can be the smallest thing, “The Tattooed Tribes” was born from one line from Stan Rogers song “Northwest Passage” ( (Preview) ) where he sings of “…brave Kelso where his sea of flowers began…”, I heard this and a light bulb went off in my head and I had to write a story about the sort of man who would go looking for that sea.
Sometimes I play the “what if” game, as in “what if Cinderella had really liked her step mother, but the two of them hated the prince”. That can be good fun to explore.

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 writer friends who take a look before I send anything of to my editor. One is brilliant at content editing, she unhesitatingly spots the places where the writing gets clumsy, she is ruthless with a blue pencil. I can never make up my mind if I love her or hate her (love her of course).
The other one is good for giving me an overall impression of the story, he will also not hesitate to tell me if he doesn’t think it is working.

Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
 My publisher will allow me to gift a few books to readers in exchange for a review.

Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
No, not all of them.

What was the toughest/best review you have ever had?
Not sure if this counts, but one of the worse and the one which amused me most of all was from a young woman who confidently said “Jabin” was unbelievable because 13 year old boys are not interested in girls. She based this on the fact that no boy of that age had ever openly expressed his admiration for her. J

Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
No, never.

How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books?Who designed the Cover of your books?
Titles and I are a source of amusement at Thorstruck. I am famous for never knowing what to call a book, prevaricating for weeks over different suggestion and finally having to toss a coin. I am ashamed to say it took me six months to come up with “Jabin” and even I got bored with the saga of “The Tattooed Tribes”.
All Thorstruck covers are designed in house by a very talented lady called Poppet.

How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
I find they name themselves and don’t really happen until they tell me what they want to be called. In this new book I tried a dozen different ideas for Stacey, until she told me her name.
When I need something more unusual, like all the tribal names in “The Tattooed Tribes”, I go and look at some old language. I chose Friesian this time, I liked the sound of the women’s names, strong, but lilting.

Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
Avoiding the stereotype is something I try very, very hard to do. People, real people, hardly ever have only one side to their nature. I like to allow my characters to develop and to react to situations as they arise.

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’ve always wanted to be the sort of writer who has a plan. I know some wonderfully organised people who start with a chapter by chapter synopsise and write to it. I’m afraid I know where I am starting and I have a vague idea where I’m ending, but the journey in between is one of discovery. This, of course means I often have to go back and rewrite chunks

What do you do to unwind and relax?Do you have a hobby?
I’m a quilter and I have recently discovered zentangling, so if I’m not writing I’m sewing or drawing.

What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)
I am currently re-reading Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series.

Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
Ebooks are excellent for novels and I love my kindle, but they will never replace books which need illustrations.

Did you read a lot at school and write lots of stories or is being a writer something newer in your life?
I think I survived school by reading. And by writing, I had two good friends, I still have them, and we spent a great deal of time filling books designed for class notes with the serial adventures of a cast of extraordinary and improbable characters.

Did you have a favourite author as a child?
I had loads, but one which stands out is an author called Cynthia Harnett. I don’t think she is much read these days which is a pity, because she was a wonderful story teller and made history come alive.

Do you have a treasured book from your childhood? If yes, what is it?
“Susan, Bosker and the Piskies” by Anne de Witt-Lewes. It’s the beautifully illustrated story of a little girl, her boxer dog (Bosker) and some Cornish piskies. It was given to me on holiday in Cornwall when I was about three and it is signed by the author. It lost its wrapper long ago and is now held together by little more than faith and hope, but I love that little book.

If you could invite three favourite writers to dinner, who would you invite and enjoy chatting with?
Does it have to be only three? Couldn’t we open out the leaves and extend the table? Someone might have to sit on the kitchen stool, but….okay, okay…if it has to be only three ( mutter)  J Terry Pratchett, Gail Carriger and Ben Aaronovitch.

Where can readers follow you?

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Jeanz for letting me a part of your blog today.
    Sadly since we did this interview Thorstruck have closed, but I am proud to say I have a new home with Wild Wolf Publishing
    Everything else is the same and you can still find me on Amazon, but not with the old links.
    Thanks again
    Bev xx