It is time for the May author of the month, and this is one I am excited to share with you. If you haven’t done so, you can read my review of Allison’s first book, Journey to Aviad, which is free on Kindle and Nook devices. Also, don’t forget that you can get a digital copy of King of Ages: A King Arthur Anthology for free for a limited time by signing up for my newsletter (plus some other great books and prizes for signing up to other newsletters!)
Welcome! Please tell us your name and a little bit about yourself.
My name is Allison D. Reid—home business owner by day, editor and Christian Fantasy author by night. To be honest, nothing makes me draw a blank faster than asking me this question. One of the hazards of being an introvert, I guess. I’d rather talk about anything but myself! I’ve been writing poems and stories since I could first put a string of sentences together on paper. Kind of like breathing, I just have to do it. My grandmother used to make up stories to tell me, and even though I can’t remember them anymore, their magic helped me learn how to tell my own stories at an early age. In my youth, I also got the chance to live in Europe, an experience that had a huge impact on me. My travels, my love of fantasy literature, and my faith have probably been the biggest influences on my writing. Though at this point in my life I am unable to travel as I once did, the adventures of my characters take me to incredible places. 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. And I can take other armchair adventurers along with me.
What motivates you to write?
The stories stirring in my heart and mind that just need to be told, whether anyone else reads them or not. I’m a very quiet person who isn’t great with spoken words—writing allows me to fully express myself and my faith, and provides a constructive outlet for my overactive imagination!
What is the title of your most recent book? Give us a brief overview on what the book is about.
My most recent book is the second in my Wind Rider Chronicles series, Ancient Voices: Into the Depths. It continues the journey of my main characters, Elowyn and Morganne, as they settle into the mountain village of Minhaven.
The Kinship rides victorious into the small village of Minhaven, just in time to celebrate the Winter Festival. Their leader, Glak, brings with him both hope and spoils from battle, but also some distressing news. Though Minhaven’s greatest threat has finally been defeated, a new one is emerging to take its place. The enemy Glak describes has not been seen in hundreds of years, yet somehow it has been haunting Elowyn’s dreams. Has Braeden’s cruel reach followed her from Tyroc’s troubled borders into this remote wilderness? If so, there is no place left to run, and the Kinship is preparing to fight an enemy more sinister and powerful than they can possibly imagine. Past becomes present, as prophecies long buried continue to emerge, revealing their truth to the coming generation. The Era of Peace has ended. The Era of Awakening has begun. While Morganne seeks guidance from the crumbling pages of ancient tomes, Elowyn tries to find her place within a community for the first time. Despite the impending danger, Morganne and Elowyn decide to make their stand with the people of Minhaven. As they plunge into the depths of history, prophecy, the wilderness, love, fear, hope, faith…the girls begin to learn more about who they are, and who Aviad is calling them to be.
What makes it unique from the other books out there?
My fantasy characters are grounded in reality—they aren’t fantasy half-breeds, nor do they have superhuman abilities or skills that defy nature. They are just regular people, bound by the era in which they live, facing the same personal and spiritual struggles that all of us do through the courses of our lives…only they face them through the lens of a different world, and a unique set of circumstances.
My stories are also allegorical, something not all that common in current works of fiction. Though my books can stand on their own as entertaining fantasy stories, they are also infused with the core truths of Christianity. It is my hope to reach readers in a positive and meaningful way that continues on, long after they’ve turned the last page and moved on to another book.
I understand that you chose to self-publish. What made you decide to go that route and what was your experience like?
After doing some research and talking to both traditionally published and self-published authors, I decided that going indie was the right path for me.
Changes in the publishing industry at the time I was finishing my first book would have made the traditional route extremely difficult considering I had no agent, and no industry connections or claim to fame. I understood that I was writing in a niche genre that wasn’t easily marketable on the broad scale wanted by traditional publishers.
Even if I could get someone take a chance on me for my first book, there was never going to be a guarantee of getting a second one published. And I knew from the start that I would be writing an extensive series. The last thing I wanted was to have to fight for my copyright in order to continue writing.
I also wanted to maintain control over my content. Christian publishers were likely to want to strip out some of the fantasy, and secular ones would want to tone down the Christian message. The idea of being able to write what I felt called to, without any other restrictions, really appealed to me.
I’ve found that I am enjoying the hands-on nature of the indie route, and I know that I would have trouble bringing in the big sales figures publishers are looking for these days. I’m still figuring things out as I go, but I’m OK with that. The industry just keeps getting better because indie authors are out there helping each other instead of seeing each other as rivals. It is inspiring to be a part of that community.
At the end of the day I’m writing from my heart (and hopefully the Spirit too), connecting directly with my readers, and having fun doing it. What more could I really ask for?
Are there portions of Scripture you would say have had a strong influence on your writing, either for you personally as a writer or for the stories themselves that you are weaving? Would you mind sharing some of them and how they have helped to shape your writing?
I don’t know that my writing was influenced by any specific passages of scripture, but it has definitely been influenced by the message of scripture as a whole. Throughout the books there are themes of truth vs. falsehood/deception, sin and guilt, forgiveness, redemption, prayer, righteousness, eternal hope, spiritual warfare, Godly justice, and the struggle to understand God’s will. Prophecy, scripture, and the power of truth are all important points that are touched on in various ways. Yet none of this is brandished like a weapon at the reader—these deeper biblical messages surface naturally through the telling of the story.
What is the title of your current work-in-progress or the most recent manuscript you’ve completed? Would you mind sharing what it is about?
My current work in progress is Into the Shadow Wood, a novella that relates to my Wind Rider Chronicles series. It follows they journey of Einar, who parts ways with my main characters in Journey to Aviad. Readers have been hoping he’ll come back, and asking me what happened to him, so this book should settle that lingering question. While best read after Journey to Aviad, this novella can also stand on its own. Next year it will be included in a charity anthology to raise money for cancer awareness.
Once a proud member of the Circle, the Sovereign’s prestigious personal guard, Einar has lost everything. The Sovereign has been murdered, the Circle exiled by the realm’s evil Chief Steward, and his closest friends have either been killed in battle or executed. Before he died, Einar’s friend Nevon made an oath…one that Einar disagreed with, but now feels obligated to fulfill. The quest is a dangerous one that takes Einar into the depths of the infamous Shadow Wood. What he finds there turns out to be far more ominous than anything he had expected. If he’s not careful, Nevon’s fate might end up being his own.
I understand you have a bit of an interest in the Medieval time period. What is it about that time period that draws your interest and are there any literary works from that era that you think people should check out?
I’ve been drawn to the medieval era since I was a little girl—I’m not sure that I can really explain why. As a writer, I have found plenty of richness there for the imagination to draw on. So much beauty remains in the way of music, literature, thought, art, and brilliant, amazing architecture. Yet by contrast, that time in history was also full of uncertainty, hard work, and suffering. For all the things that the medieval mind understood well, there was also plenty of mystery and superstition in everyday life. The medieval adult was able to believe in things like fairies and dragons, curses and miracles, often blending the lines between myth and reality in a way I find fascinating. Perhaps that is one reason why this era lends itself so well to the fantasy genre, which requires a child-like belief that our post-enlightenment perspective doesn’t typically allow us to enjoy.
While there are plenty of great literary works to choose from, my favorite readings from that time are tied to mythology. Tales of people’s supposed encounters with brownies, mermaids, hell hounds and such always seem so real and compelling, that the writer in me can’t help but wonder if such things really once existed…or may still exist, except that we’re too blind to see them.
How often do you write?
I try to write a little every day, though that doesn’t always happen with my busy schedule. The bulk of my writing tends to happen in spurts, when I am feeling really inspired. It is hard for me to force myself to create, so I tend to wait until it happens naturally on its own.
Who are five of your favorite authors?
I tend to like the older authors. Cliché or not, I can’t help but love C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Lloyd Alexander. I also love L.M. Montgomery who wrote Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon, and Mary Norton who wrote The Borrowers and Bed-Knob and Broomstick.
What are you currently reading?
Right now I’m reading the King of Ages anthology, after which I will probably read But Kisses Never Hurt Me: A Retelling of Sleeping Beauty by Andrea Lundgren.
Time for some quick questions:
- Favorite Quote? “I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia.” – Puddleglum, The Silver Chair
- Favorite Book? The Dawn Treader and The Silver Chair are probably tied.
- Favorite Movie? The Lord of the Rings (see how I actually snuck three movies in there?) Incredibly done and unforgettable in all respects. Peter Jackson outdid himself. Wish he had been in charge of the Narnia movies, but don’t get me started on that.
- Favorite TV Show? My favorite show with a plot is Once Upon a Time. But I’m also a big Deadliest Catch fan. Who would have thought watching a bunch of crab fishermen could be so compelling? I confess to crying the year Phil Harris died. I’m sure I’m not the only one.
- Coffee or Tea? No question, tea—I get really cranky without my daily cup of decaf. My grandmother and I always drank tea together while I was growing up. She has passed on now, but I suspect she’ll be waiting for me in heaven with a warm cup and a fresh pot.
- Favorite Book of the Bible? John is my favorite of the gospels, and Romans beyond that.
Romans 8:35-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- Narnia or Middle-Earth? Not a fair question! How could I possibly choose between two perfect worlds? Can I live in Narnia but keep a summer home in the Shire? Or maybe Rivendell?
If you could be one character from your own writing, who would it be and why?
A lot of who I am is already embedded in both Elowyn and Morganne. Morganne is a reflection of my intellectual side; she has a strong sense of responsibility, and is grounded by what she can understand with her mind, but sometimes has difficulty feeling God’s presence in her heart. Elowyn is more a reflection of my spiritual side; the part of me that craves intimacy with the Holy Spirit, who can get lost in God’s glory when surrounded by the beauty of His creation, and who has a strong sense of empathy. Both characters are flecked with some of my best qualities, some of my worst, and with those I aspire to develop through my walk with God.
Finally, what advice would you give to other writers?
Forget trying to imitate other writers or follow canned formulas—you’re not producing a “product,” you’re creating a work of art. Dig down and figure out what you really care about. Write your heart, your inspiration, and with a voice that is uniquely yours, and over time the rest will naturally fall into place. Amazon sales shouldn’t be your only measure of success; don’t let them define who you are as a writer.