like for you all to help me welcome romance author Allie McCormack. She’s written
some fascinating and entertaining stories I think you might love. But let’s
find out more about her and then about her writing process and the stories she
loves to share with readers. Let’s start with her bio and brief statement about
McCormack is a disabled U.S. military veteran, now pursuing her lifelong dream
of being a writer. A long-time member of Romance Writers of America, she has
lived all around the U.S., as well as a year in Cairo, Egypt as an exchange
student and a year working in a hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. After a
somewhat nomadic life, she settled in Tucson, Arizona with her two rescue cats.
You can visit Allie’s website at http://www.AllieMcCormack.com.
Allie says: “A
writer is who and what I am…a romance writer. I write what I know, and what I
know is romance. Dozens of story lines and literally hundreds of characters
live and breathe within the not-so-narrow confines of my imagination, and it is
my joy and privilege to bring them to life, to share them with others by
writing their stories.”
Find out more
at her website http://alliemccormack.com/j,
and follow her on Twitter or Facebook.
needed a miracle. What he got was a genie…
Veterinarian Douglas McCandliss
considered himself an ordinary kinda guy with an ordinary kinda life. He had no
idea why he’d bought the old silver teapot, and when a young woman appeared
before him claiming to be a genie, he almost wished he hadn’t. If only she wasn’t
so damned cute.
cheerful, Jacinth loved granting wishes and helping people. So she was thrilled
when her teapot’s new owner, a single father with custody of two young
children, asked her to stay until he could find a nanny. The problem was, the
longer she stayed, the more she was attracted to Douglas, and she was certainly
not willing to turn over care of Ben and little Molly to just anybody. But she
was a 900-year-old genie, and had no intention of falling in love with a
mortal. None whatsoever.
This is the
second book in my Wishes & Dreams paranormal romance series.
Amazon Amazon AU Amazon CA Amazon DE Amazon FR Amazon IN Amazon UK
Betty: How many books have you written and published?
Allie: 6 written, 4 published (so far!)
Betty: What genre(s) do you write in and why?
Allie: I write in romance genre only, mostly because I’m a
die-hard romantic, and the stories that come to me are *always* romance! I
can’t imagine writing anything else. I write both multicultural and paranormal
Betty: What themes or motifs did you use in your recent release
and why were they important to your story?
Allie: I have the recurring Djinn (genie) theme with some Arabic
overtones, since Djinn originated in pre-Islamic folklore, and I used both
Islamic and pre-Islamic accounts of Djinn, as well as the Arabian Nights tales,
as the basis for my world-building. Also, I lived in the Middle East and had
some experience with the culture and I enjoy recounting that; I feel like it
adds touches of exotic flare and interest to the stories.
Betty: Do you have a specific place that you write? Revise?
Allie: Absolutely! My L-shaped desk sits in the center of a bay
window looking out over the Sonora Desert and the Catalina Mountains. It’s a
spectacular view, and 3 days a month, the full moon rises straight up the
middle of the center bay window, directly above my monitor. I’m a career
typist, so after more years than I want to admit to, sitting at a computer desk
(with good posture) typing is far more natural to me than anything else, and I
do my best work here. I do have a laptop that I take out to restaurants for a
prolonged writing session over a meal, which is fun too!
Betty: Do you have any writing rituals while you write? Did you
have a special drink, or music, or time of day that you gravitated toward?
Allie: Absolutely. I have to have a full glass of iced tea at my
side when I get started. I have a writing playlist…I need music to write, I
can’t have silence, but also it has to be mostly instrumental only, because
vocals tend to pull my out of my head. I also have specific snacks just for
writing; high-energy/protein, low on carbs and sugar and anything that’s going
to make me sleepy.
Betty: What helped you move from unpublished to published? A
mentor or organization or something else?
Allie: I’ve been writing and writing and writing, and had all
these manuscripts in more or less finished state. I was still querying agents
and publishers like mad, when one day I realized that my judgement was clouded;
I was still in the mindset of 2000, when I first started writing for
publication. Indie publishing wasn’t even really much of a thing back then,
small presses and ebooks on CD (as pdf’s) were just beginning to proliferate,
and Kindle wasn’t invented yet. Being traditionally published was THE way to
go, if you wanted any respect for being an author. But here we are, with…well,
everything!…available to authors who want to self-publish. This enlightenment
kind of rocked me off balance, and I came to the conclusion that there wasn’t
all that much incentive for me to continue to hold out for traditional
publishing; I could do everything myself! Now… this isn’t to say that I
wouldn’t LOVE to be discovered by Berkley (who, by the way, has never heard of
me), but at this point, a publisher would have to offer some pretty good
inducement (Marketing!!! Promotion!) to change my mind. One last thing that
really tipped the scales is that, if I self-published, I wouldn’t be required
to write explicit sex scenes if I didn’t want to, which, mostly, I don’t. So I
found a terrific professional cover artist, someone to do professional
formatting, and I never looked back!
Betty: What do you think is your greatest strength in your
Allie: My ability to get lost in the story I’m telling. I immerse
myself in the story/world, and bring it to life.
Betty: What comes first when you’re brainstorming a new story:
setting, situation, characters?
Allie: Characters, absolutely.
They show up in my head and make their story known, and I delve deeper
to find out the setting, the situation. I’m not so much creating as I am
Betty: Do you have a structured time to write or is it more
fluid/flexible? Do you have to write between family obligations or do you set
aside a block of time?
Allie: Definitely fluid. I don’t have any obligations (except to
feed the cats 3 times a day!), so I can write whenever. The only set block of
time is Saturdays from 1-5 pm, when I co-hostess a write-in. All that aside… my
best writing time is after 10 pm. I have no idea why, but that’s when the ideas
come, the words flow, when my focus/concentration is best.
Betty: What is one recent struggle you’ve experienced in your
Allie: Ugh. My back went out in early January, and I’m still
having problems with it now (end of March at the time of this writing). It’s
limiting the amount of time I can spend at my desk writing. While I can take
the laptop to the recliner, writing like that doesn’t feel natural, it’s
awkward and odd, and that stifles the creative flow. If I have to do that, I
usually focus more on editing. It’s slowed me way down; I’m still on the final
read-through/polish of A Gift of Jacinth, although I’ll be done with that by the
time this interview goes live! J
Betty: Do you participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing
Month)? Why or why not?
Allie: Absolutely!!! This will be my 12th year, and
I’ve “won” 4 of those. I actually plan my entire year (and publishing schedule)
around NaNoWriMo. I make it a HUGE event in my life, where I work on something
new and really let the ideas come flying. It’s not for everyone, because
everyone writes differently, but for me it’s a huge motivation, and I look
forward to it with excitement and anticipation. It’d be fair to say that NaNo
is the highlight of my entire year!
Betty: What are you reading right now?
Allie: I’ve been re-reading old favorites lately: Georgette
Heyer, Nora Roberts, Christine Feehan, Dick Francis.
Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?
Betty: What are your keeper books? How often might you reread
Allie: WAY too many to list here…I can re-read my really old
favorites (Georgette Heyer & Nora Roberts) as often as 2-3 times a year,
others such as Christine Feehan, Anne McCaffrey, Lord of the Rings, about once
Betty: When you’re writing, do you read in the same genre as your
work in progress or something else?
Allie: Definitely something else. If I stay in the same genre, my
mind is busy making comparisons. Or at least subgenre; for instance, I can read
Georgette Heyer any time since those are Regency romances. I can read Christine
Feehan while I’m writing my multicultural romances, but not while I’m working
on the paranormal romances.
Betty: Do you have a “day job” or do you write full time?
Allie: I’m disabled, so I don’t have a day job; however, I deal a
lot with chronic pain (and the associated depression), and I find ways to work
around those issues. Which is the main reason I don’t have a writing schedule
or a specific time of day that I write; I write when I am able!
Betty: What do you wish readers knew about the publishing
Allie: That reviews COUNT! That writing is not easy… it’s hard
work, emotionally draining as we pour out our hearts and soul into the written
word. Then editing, editing, editing, editing, editing to polish it into
perfection. There’s the nightmare that is marketing and promotion, even for
traditionally published authors. And finally, releasing your book out to the
reading public. If you read and like a book, please, please, please! Write a
review and let us know!
Betty: What advice do you have for new writers?
Allie: Just keep writing! That’s how you improve your craft and
skills, how you develop your “voice” and it’s how you gain confidence.
anyone who says you “have to…” do this, that or the other. No, you don’t.
Writing is an individual experience. Some very famous authors are “pantsers”
(write “by the seat of their pants” with no plotting ahead of time), and it’s
just as legitimate as plotting/outlining. Writing by pen and paper is just as
valid as typing on the computer or dictating into your phone’s recorder app.
Love adverbs? Go for it (within reason, but ignore those who claim adverbs are
bad). There’s a lot of BAD advice floating around out there, claiming to be the
One and Only True Way to (insert activity of choice). RUN from these people!
Learn to be
able to judge critique impartially as you can; if a comment isn’t positive, is
there still merit to it? Are you hearing the same comment from several readers?
You have to learn when to shrug it off, and when there might be something in
there you can use. And never take it personally!
to run into a lot of people who belittle your dream of being a writer, and from
some of the most surprising sources: family, close friends, people you
otherwise count on for support. It’s going to happen. Accept that, and start
trying to figure out how you’re going to deal with it. Believe me, when someone
close to you makes fun of you or tells you you’re wasting your time or asks
when you’re going to write a “real” book…it hurts!
Betty: Any hints of what you’re next writing project might be?
Allie: Absolutely! I have a 16th-century paranormal
(vampire) romance in an Arabian-Nights type setting; it’s a trilogy, with one
primary story arc (the romance) spread across three books. I’m totally, totally
excited about it! In fact, I’m so excited about it that I’m not allowing myself
to work on it until after my last book being released this year has been sent
for formatting, because I know that once I get into that world, it’ll be hard
to pull myself out, and I don’t want to have to be having the tug-of-war of
*having* to be doing something else when I want to be writing on my trilogy.
Betty: What kind of writing would you like to experiment with? Or
what’s a different genre you’ve considered writing but haven’t yet?
Allie: Honestly, none. This is where I belong, where I’m happy,
and I have no desire to expand into other areas.
Thank you for
your service, Allie! And wow, what great advice and cool stories you have to
tell! Thanks for sharing with us about your writing process and upcoming
stories. Working and writing through pain and discomfort I know can be a huge
challenge, but I’m glad you’re finding a way to tell your stories. Wishing you
all the best with your career!
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