Interview With Allie Sanders

I live in small-town Michigan with my husband who thinks he’s a child and my dog who thinks he’s a cat. This works out just fine because I’m convinced I’m a ballerina. I am older than I look, younger than I act and other than an inexplicable ability to injure myself in strange and undefinable ways I’m completely unremarkable.

I write young adult novels with drama, humor, happy endings and lots of sarcasm (from the characters, not from me). One day the world will be able to read them but until then I’ll keep writing just for the fun of it.

1.       Have you always considered yourself to be a writer, or was there a time in your life when you decided that is what you were?

I’ve been a storyteller as long as I can remember but I never identified myself as a writer until three years ago. As a kid I said once I wanted to be a writer and everyone told me I had to be practical, no one makes money as a writer, be a nurse or go into accounting. Well, blood eeks me out and I suck with numbers. My second year of college I still hadn’t declared a major and that year my little sister kicked my ass and forced me to stop listening to all of the people who told me I couldn’t do it and to go for it. Three years later, here I am.

2.       Why does your twitter profile refer to you as “The Mitten?”

The Mitten is how Michiganders refer to our state because the Lower Peninsula looks like a Mitten on the map. I live in the Middle of the Mitten.

3.       What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked on a job application or interview?

You know, I can’t think of any really strange questions. For the most part it’s all been pretty normal. Then again, I’ve only ever had one interview. I failed it on an epic scale. No one told me you were supposed to lie so here I was answering all of the questions with 100% honesty. Turns out Honest Allie isn’t a good bet. I’m not sure if it was my neuroticism, my warped sense of humor or the fact I admitted that I get bored easily and that leads to me doing strange things. *Laughs*

4.       Is some kind of mental malfunction inherent in all writers?

Yes! Think about it. Writers spend years writing, editing, reading, rewriting, editing some more, polishing, submitting only to be rejected and then starting over again all with no guarantee of ever making a dime on it. Yet every day we get up, sit down at our computers and do it all again. Add in the fact we argue with our characters, who happen to be creations of our own brains, live on coffee/chocolate/wine and usually spend an incredible amount of time talking to ourselves we really aren’t really poster images for mental health. Or maybe that’s the pajamas, unbrushed hair and three days’ worth of leg hair talking.

5.       Many writers go through a stage when they hate what they’re writing.  Do you ever feel this way? How do you get through it?

I feel this way at least three times in every story. Sometimes it’s because my writing sucks, sometimes it’s because the book has taken a turn I didn’t expect and have no clue where I’m going and sometimes it is just because I’ve been working on the book for weeks and don’t feel like it’s progressed at all. My usual methods involve a night of drinking wine with my best friend and not thinking about it at all. Then I go back over my notes again and again until I figure out where I went wrong. I get people to do writing sprints with me just to keep me writing because I always feel pathetic if I don’t get at least a thousand words. And when things get really bad I call up one of my writing buddies who for some crazy reason think I am a good writer and are always willing to be sound boards and bounce ideas around until I’m feeling more confident in myself and my story. I don’t know what I would do without those women.

6.       Do you have mad planning skilz? Can I use the word “skilz” when addressing an editor?

Oh my God! I think I just peed a little laughing so hard. I have absolutely no planning skillz, none. I am a pantser to the extreme and often don’t even know the basic information about my characters until after the first 5 thousand words or so. I am forever going back to the third chapter, 28,000 words ago, to look up the name of the girl’s aunt or the boy’s nickname that I haven’t needed since. When it comes to editing I’m so painfully organized that people cringe at my system. I accept the use of skillz but I’m fairly certain is has two L’s.

7.       How do you feel about authors who write in the first person? How about writing in the present tense?

I’m actually a fan of first-person narratives. A lot of the books I enjoy are written in first person and it’s the narrative style I usually chose. I’m even a fan of multiple people talking in first person as long as the author only does one person per chapter and each chapter is clearly labeled with the narrator. I find it interesting when done that way. Present tense is trickier. A lot of it has to do with exposure. Since most books are written in the past tense it’s what I’m used to and like. I have read a few books in the present tense that work very well but for the most part it’s not something I enjoy reading but I’m always willing to give it a chance.

8.       Do you have a blog? How do you use it?

I do have a blog! I just moved from Blogger to WordPress last month actually (AllieSandersWrites.Wordpress.Com). I’m terrible about using it though. I forget I have it or when I have an idea I’m nowhere near my computer and never remember what the idea was later. Mostly I use it to talk to myself and if someone wants to listen it, that’s okay by me. Eventually I’d like to start doing contests, host some interviews and get more interactive with it but for right now I spend most of my writing time working on my novel.

9.       What social media do you use? Do you combine your personal and professional or keep them separate?

I’m on Twitter obsessively daily with my brand of random. I do have a Facebook account under my married name but I hardly ever use it anymore and only maintain it because my family is spread across the country and it’s a way to keep in contact. There are very few cross-overs between sites and I try to keep it that way. I often post pictures of my niece and nephews on Facebook that I’m not comfortable sharing with the world and my family isn’t aware of how strange and perverted I really am and I’d like to keep them in the dark on that. Twitter is where I allow myself to be exactly who I am because I’m in good company.

10.   What is your favorite electronic or digital writing tool?

My laptop. *hugs laptop close* It’s purple with shiny silver circles. I call it Lilly.

11.   What is your favorite non-electronic writing tool?

Uni Super Ink pens in black. I love the way they write and that fact they dry immediately so my lefthandedness doesn’t smudge the ink or get it all over my hand as I write.

12.   What is the most persistent distraction from writing?

The internet, specifically Twitter. I often have to run away from internet access to get anything done. I have no self-discipline.

13.   What are you working on now?

I’m working on a contemporary YA about a recent high school graduate who ends up being the fake girlfriend of a movie star after photographs of what looks like an intimate moment leak into the media. But being the girlfriend of a movie star isn’t what a Taylor thought it would be and relationships, all kinds, aren’t as easy as she thought. It’s a lot of fun, kind of angsty, and has some kissing too.

14.   What is your stance on the traditional vs. self-publishing debate?

I think both forms have their purpose and are valid ways to get the story out. I don’t believe that traditional publishing is filled with elitist “Gatekeepers” as a lot of self-published authors believe. I think it’s a highly competitive business with a lot of challenges right now that has to be selective. I also believe that they do their best for their authors because people in the business are there because they love books and they love stories. With self-publishing more writers who might not be able to publish traditionally because of what they write now have a chance to get their stories out there when they didn’t before because they lacked commercial appeal. It allows more stories, more options, and that’s a good thing. Well, it’s a good thing if the self-published authors hire editors and don’t just publish their first draft making all self-pubbed authors look crazy.

15.   What genres do you write? Would you consider writing others?

I write Contemporary Young Adult. I tried my hand at paranormal once and it wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great either. I even wrote an adult romance but it was kind of terrible. Turns out I relate to teen problems better than adult ones. I never rule out writing other things but for right now I’m playing to my strengths. I’ve got a lifetime to experiment with other genres.

16.   What is “Felt Tips” and why does that somehow sound kinda dirty?

Kinda dirty was kind of the point. Felt Tips is the first ever Office Supply themed Erotica Anthology for charity. It was a wacky idea one day by Harlequin/Mira author Tiffany Reisz that I’m pretty sure was a joke. But then the submissions started coming in and it became a real thing. We have over forty stories from incredibly talented writers that range from romance to BDSM and the talented Andrew Shaffer has volunteered to do some sketches based on the stories.

The book will be published in print and ebook formats in December. All proceeds are going to a charity that gets school supplies into classrooms that need them and another that helps women get back into jobs. Questions can be directed to Tiffany Reisz and I will also be giving updates on Twitter as more details are sorted out.

17.   Who is this Tiffany person everyone keeps talking about?

Tiffany Reisz (pronounced Rice like Weisz, as in Rachel) is an erotica writer published through Harlequin/Mira and Spice Briefs. I met her after a blog post she did about using Cock in books rather than the more flowery language that romance writers prefer. I began following her on Twitter and the rest is history.

She is the evil mastermind behind Felt Tips. She’s the lead editor and she’s the creator of the small, independent publisher that we’re going through. She’s the creator of some of the hottest, scariest characters I’ve ever read and part Gypsy and sometimes causes earthquakes and other disasters. She can also cause people to have sex with her at will. It’s a great power.

The five-foot-nothing bombshell’s first book in the Original Sinners series, The Siren, will be out in ebook on May 1st and everyone should preorder it now. Mistress Nora is an amazing character that I can’t wait to read more about.

18.   How are you involved with the anthology?

I wrote a short story called Love Letters that will be published in the anthology, it’s more romance than erotica but this was my first attempt at writing sex and I nearly didn’t submit it at all. I’m still afraid to tell my Grandma that the first story I got published is in a book of sex.

I am also the Assistant Editor (more often referred to as the Ass Ed). It was my job to make all of the stories pretty and logical. Mostly I just get to gloat that I’ve read all of the awesome stories and everyone else has to wait until December.

19.   Is it OK that for my bio in “Felt Tips” I said that aluminum foil is my favorite office supply? It does count as an office supply, doesn’t it?

Hey, if that’s your favorite office supply then that’s your favorite office supply but I’ve got to admit, I’ve never had use for aluminum foil in my office. But I believe I’ve mentioned that writers are crazy and who am I to judge someone else’s crazy?

This is my way of proving to Allie that aluminum foil is indeed an office supply.

20.   Who shot first, Han or Greedo?

I have to admit I had to ask my husband what this question referred to. Obviously I knew who Han Solo is—I’m young but I don’t live under a rock—but wasn’t sure about Greedo but after long examination we decided that Han shot first. We doubt that Greedo even managed to get a shot off at all. Which kind of makes Han a badass if you think about it.

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About AmyBeth Inverness

A writer by birth, a redhead by choice.
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1 Response to Interview With Allie Sanders

  1. Yay for first person! I’ve always loved it and never understood why people don’t. Sure, when it’s done poorly, it sucks, but that is true for 3rd person as well. I figured if they get to use it in YA, women’s fiction and even literary, then I could use it in erotic romance, so that’s just what I did 🙂

    Oh, and also yay for Felt Tips! I wrote in third-person for my submission though. Depends on the story.

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