J. C. ALLEN
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.
Tell us a little about your book.
Novel Ideas is about a famous author and his disenchantment with the way society had changed. He had withdrawn from a world gone mad and had become a recluse on his man-made tropical island. Then he discovered he had a granddaughter who wanted to drag him back into the fray. It’s a story of courage and fighting for what you believe.
How did you come up with the title?
Novel Ideas is the theme of the book – it’s a commentary on a world where everyone follows the leader instead of thinking for themselves.
How much of the book is realistic?
Although I try to keep my stories plausible, I stretch reality quite a bit sometimes. I like to imagine what would happen in a perfect world and love to have the ‘good guy’ win over insurmountable odds. In reality, my characters would probably be in jail for trying to right an injustice. In one of my previous novels, M.O.D., the fact that the protagonist built a utopian society under a mountain in Wyoming is certainly far-fetched, but viable nonetheless. In my Chronicles of Time series, I don’t really believe time travel is possible, but the premise itself is so intriguing that it’s worth suspending disbelief to follow the story. And even if the circumstances are improbable, I try to keep my characters and their actions/consequences as realistic as possible. I feel if you believe the characters, the impossibilities become irrelevant
How long did it take to write your latest release?
I had the idea in my head for about a year, but from the moment I started writing it down until I turned it over for editing/proofing, was about two weeks.
What have you learned during your self-publishing journey?
Marketing is the most difficult aspect of writing a book. I had no idea how hard it is, and have absolutely no desire to be responsible for that facet of publishing. I am simply no good at it, and do not have access to most of the required outlets to do even the most rudimentary marketing. And to make the process even harder for my promoter (my long-suffering mother – thanks Mom), I write in several completely different genres.
How have sales been? Where have you had the most success?
Sales have been steadily increasing over the past year as word-of-mouth spreads. I feel lucky to have achieved some small success – especially when you consider the overwhelming odds of being noticed among the MILLIONS of books available out there. Although the book is published on several e-book sites, Amazon remains the frontrunner in sales for that format.
How are readers/reviewers reacting to your book?
I am stunned and overjoyed every time I read a good review of my work! I suppose every author has that self-doubt and cringes to think someone will expose their stupidity and complete ineptitude. I always accepted the fact that there will be many people who do not agree with my ideology and political leanings, but for the most part, reviews have been positive and very gratifying to me. Even the few critical reviews have been thoughtful, and I totally understand their views and appreciate the time they took to express their opinion.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I started writing as a way to deal with my situation. For the past several years, my life (and that of my family as well) has been systematically destroyed by a horrible injustice in the court system. I started writing to tell the truth behind the events leading up to those circumstances – as a reminder to all citizens that it could happen to them too. As others read the account, they encouraged me to write other stories. I had never considered writing fiction – I hated writing classes in school – but found myself constantly wishing for more books that told the type stories I wanted to read. So I started writing. And enjoyed it. And evidently, there is an audience who also enjoys what I have written!
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope you enjoy my books (and tell 1000 of your closest friends about them), and would love to hear from you. I even like to hear the criticism – it makes me try harder to make it better.
Any advice for other writers/indie authors out there?
Be happy with your writing, not your sales figures. If you do make money, that’s great, but if not, you have a rewarding hobby.