Monday, 21 May 2012

Interview with dark fantasy author NR Allen

Please welcome author NR Allen to the blog on the recent release of her book Blood of the Revenant.

Short Blurb:

As Gabriel begins to unravel the dangerous secret that surrounds the strange and dark place called Returning City, he is drawn into a very deadly mystery, one that threatens to destroy not only him but everyone he has ever cared about. 

Purchase link:

 Please tell us a bit about yourself: I'm the youngest of five children and grew up in a small town called Dooms, Va.  I write poetry and flash fiction, but recently expanded to writing novels.  In April, I published my first novel entitled Blood of the Revenant.  Everything I write always has a darker edge to it.  Last year, I published several dark poems--"Teddy Bear Heads", "That House at the End of Carver Street", and "Talking to Dead Things".

Tell us about Blood of the RevenantIn short, the novel is about vampires.  It's a new take on the old revenant legends.  In Eastern European legends, revenants are creatures that return from the dead to plague their families.  In some of the lore, they take the blood of the living.
My novel is, in a way, a coming of age story and also deals with a loss of innocence.  It is set in a dark fantasy landscape, in a place called Returning City.  The main character, Gabriel, is about to learn that he's different.  He has to struggle to survive and leave his old life behind him as, one by one, everyone he has ever cared about begins to turn against him.

What inspires/inspired you to write this particular story?: We've all had betrayals in our lives.  Sometimes we're the ones who betray our friends and sometimes we are the ones betrayed.  The story really came alive for me when I funnelled those feelings into it. Also, I think each one of us has things that we hide from those we care about and we have fears that when they find out our secrets they will either leave or hate us. 
Also, I had been wanting to write a vampire story.  When I was younger, I particularly related to vampires or rather, the older style of vampire.  The "classic" vampire has two sides--the charming side (the reason you let them in) and the monster (the reason you shouldn't).  After I had done some research into vampires, I came across folklore concerning beings referred to as "revenants", creatures who return to their families after death to cause harm.  The concept of being threatened by those we once thought of as "safe" really engaged me.

Which comes first for you – a character's looks, personality or name?:  For me, it varies.  Sometimes I'll see something and I'll instantly have a story in my mind--a tree with a peculiar shape or a sentimental necklace.  Or, a character's voice will suddenly pop into my head. 
For this novel, I had just gotten back from a walk and was sitting with my son.  I happened across a necklace.  I instantly knew I wanted my character to be named Gabriel and I knew what I wanted him to look like.  But instead of having a clear voice in mind, I started to hear the voices of all of the supporting characters, as if Gabriel was so unsure of himself that he didn't know his own voice.  He saw himself as more of a reflection of those around him, instead of who he was or who he wanted to be.

Any tips for aspiring authors?:  Know what you're good at and be willing to share ideas with friends.  Make sure that you're willing to listen to advice, but know that you don't have to take all the advice you're given.  And when you're ready, don't be afraid to take that leap and put your novel out there for others.

Questions for fun:
If you had the power of time travel, is there anything you would go back and change? Why/why not?:  I've seen too many movies about time travel to want to change anything.  I'd be too afraid that I'd sneeze and end up causing a world disaster in the future or something like that.  Good intentions don't always lead to good results.  But for fun, I think I'd want to spy on some famous figures to see what they were really like.

What super-power would you choose?:  That's a hard one.  Flight would be high on my list.  I wouldn't mind being able to become a shadow, either.  I really wouldn't mind being able to make people fall asleep.  Yeah, I think I might abuse that last one just a little.
If you could have three wishes, what would they be?:  Now, that depends.  "The Monkey's Paw" is one of my favourite stories.  Before I made any wishes, I think I'd want to hire about a dozen lawyers and have everything in writing first . . .  I'd probably save the last wish to undo the other two in case things went crazy.

Coffee, tea or wine?:  Definitely tea.  Hot green tea with a bit of honey.  Or at least that's what the professional in me says.  The other side is whispering to prepare the tea so I can look dignified and then sneak off later with some homemade hot chocolate with a bit of nutmeg and cinnamon sprinkled on top.

What is your favourite book? (aside from one of your own!):  I'm a sucker for the classics.  My absolute favourite book is A Separate PeaceI love how, in the book, there is a war going on, but the book focuses more on the boys in story who are not in the war, but are instead at school, fighting their own internal battles.  However, I also love Cycle of the Werewolf and The Stand by Stephen King and Watchers by Dean R. Koontz.
Favourite genre and why?:  Horror is my favourite genre to read.  I prefer horror movies that show very little and let your mind fill in the blanks.  I also love the tense atmosphere and intrigue that horror books create.  I want to read something that I can't put down.  I like anything that will scare me.  But as I said, I grew up the youngest of five, so that's a little hard sometimes.  As far as writing, I love horror mixed with a bit of magic or I like dark fantasy with streaks of horror and drama in it.

Favourite colour?:  Blue.  It's always been blue. 

Upcoming news and plans for the future?:  I'm still working on my poems and short fiction.  But I have started a second novel that I hope to have finished by the end of the year.  

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us!

Find her on her website here or on Facebook here.

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