Jul 11, 2013

Writing with Marian Allen

Today on dream... write... publish, I have the talented author Marian Allen, sharing her writing routine, promotional tip and her trilogy, SAGE.

Marian has many publications (just check out her author page on Amazon!), and is one of my favourite authors of short stories. Seriously, when asked about writing short story writing, I recommend Ray Bradbury and Marian Allen. So, let's get on with the interview!

Marian, what is your writing routine, and how do you entice those words to flow?
I don't have a routine; I have to grab the minutes whenever I can get them. National Novel Writing Month and Story A Day in May taught me to overcome my natural laziness and do the hard bit first: plotting. My inclination is just to write, write, write and let the plot unfold as it pleases ... until I get to the part where I have to start making decisions. Then it isn't FUN anymore. It's HARD, and I don't LIKE it! I've learned that, if I just take the time to choose a general plot arc right at the beginning, I can play the whole way through. If the plot changes, it changes, but I don't have to stop and whine just when things are starting to get interesting.

You've released quite a few books now, what do you consider an author's best promotional tool or strategy?
What sells me on an author's work is a literate blurb with at least one hooky element. If the blurb is badly worded and/or boring, I probably won't buy the book. I like to interact with writers and read at least some of their blog posts; it indicates something about the quality of their minds and their prose.
*That's so cool, I just realised  you can read minds on blogs! Wait... oh oh.

Your latest series making a splash on the internet is SAGE, please tell us a little about this series.
SAGE is really one BFF (Big Fat Fantasy) divided into three 'acts'. It took me nearly twenty years from conception to publication, in part because I kept finding agents who were interested in it. The manner of its telling is peculiar though, and they kept suggesting changes they then didn't like and dropping me. I think I went through three or four agents before I realized I'd rewritten the life out of the book and went back and rewrote it to suit my peculiar self. In the meantime, indie publishing took off, and I was lucky enough to find Hydra Publications (NOT the Random House subsidiary!), which handed me to Martha Swanson, QUEEN OF ALL EDITORS, who helped me say what I wanted to say the best way I could say it, rather than trying to 'fix' the peculiarities.
* Getting dropped by your team makes you a great candidate for Prime Minister in Australia.
SAGE: Usurper. Lost heir. Runaway bride. Land on the brink of civil war. All so familiar, until Tortoise -- the Divine Creature who ignores the rules of right and wrong -- challenges his fellow divinities to meddle. Suddenly, children targeted for murder are adopted, swordsmen turn into blacksmiths, and none are reliably who or what they seem.

The four Divine Animals are afoot: Tortoise, Dragon, Unicorn and Phoenix. Hold on tight.

The Fall of Onagros, SAGE Book 1.
In the first book of the SAGE trilogy, a legacy is lost, a woman vanishes into thin air, wisdom is found in unexpected places, and a man hopes to defeat a tyrant with tall tales and gossip.

Bargain with Fate, SAGE Book 2.
The mighty are helpless, the weak are strong, and a little girl clutches creatures of terror to her ragged heart.

Silver and Iron, SAGE Book 3.
The contention over the throne of Layounna is fought on strange battlegrounds: an island, a henyard, a scrivenry, a pocket, and the heart of the chief claimant.

Wow. You've got me hooked! Show us where to grab this BFF series!

The Fall of Onagros
*The Fall of Onagros is FREE on July 16-17!

Bargain With Fate

Silver and Iron
That's awesome, thanks so much for sharing with us today Marian! If you'd like to find Marian to learn more about her books and become a fan (but not one of those creepy ones... although, she'd probably have fun turning that into a story!), here's some links:
Blog:  www.marianallen.com
Twitter:  @marianallen
Facebook:  Marian Allen Author
Google+:  Marian Allen Author


  1. Interesting interview Charmaine and Marian. I love that you believed in your story, Marian, and made good choices re its eventual publication. It's a matter of keeping on keeping on, isn't it?


  2. very interesting interview. Cheers.


  3. Thanks, Denise and mooderino!

    Denise, yes, we need to learn when advice is good and when it's not so good. I was helped by our #4 daughter, who grew up listening to SAGE rewrites. She let me know my instinct was right when I suspected I had ruined the book. She also helped me figure out what to do to bring it back, and encouraged me to trust myself. She's an author, too, now, and has nobody to blame but herself: she SAW the frustration and heartbreak! lol!

  4. Marian-- nice to meet you and learn more about your writing style and your books. Yay! I love meeting new authors and absorbing their inspiration to keep on writing.

  5. Nice to meet you, too, Julie! Inspiration R Us. :D

    My two writing mottoes:

    "Never give up! NEVER surrender!"
    "Just keep writing. Just keep writing. What do we do? WE WRITE!"

  6. Love the series title. We named our dog Sage. :)