kicking off the week with novelist Allison Spector. I’m chatting with her about
the humorous, literary fiction with elements of
magical realism novel, Let’s Stalk
During her virtual book tour, Allison will be
awarding a signed copy of book with original plot outline notes (loose sheets
of paper) inside and additional notes at the end or in margins of the story
(US/Canada only) to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance
to win, use the form below. To
increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and
enter there, too!
of the Jersey Shore, but finds herself oddly allergic to spray tan. She is a
proud graduate of Goucher College, and started her environmentally-focused
career in Washington DC in 2005. She moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2008,
and fell in love with its beauty and people. Allison is currently on a
Midwestern Adventure and is determined to live as much life as possible—to
accomplish her dreams one at a time—and to nurture her loving family, and blaze
a trail of wit, whimsy, and eccentricity wherever she goes.
Welcome, Allison. Please tell us about
your current release.
Let’s Stalk Rex Jupiter is a
lighthearted farce about the perils of the Internet Age. It’s chock full of
extremism, jumping to false conclusions, identity thieves, and group-think. But
you won’t be bored by heavy handed morality, because I’m pretty sure there’s
very little in there. It’s more of a stream of consciousness about our modern
state of madness, a stream that induced a lot of manic giggles as I wrote it.
What inspired you to write this book?
few things inspired me…but mainly homesickness. I’ve spent the last year and a
half in the Midwest for work but before that I had lived in the Pacific
Northwest since 2008. The majestic sequoias, sparkling waterfalls, and
mustachioed hipsters were my life’s breath—the ambient magic of the home in my
heart. So lamenting my departure from my fairyland, I walled myself away and
began to write a story that took place in Bellingham, Washington, the City of
Subdued Excitement where my youngest child was born.
general concept of a trainspotting detective investigating her own death and a
book thief had been in my head since I was about 19—but the story never came to
life because I didn’t have the location. Once I had the location, the story
pretty much wrote itself. And it was perfect because this story couldn’t work
anywhere else but Bellingham. The
other bits and baubles in there were drawn from my current hopes, concerns, and
Excerpt from Let’s Stalk Rex Jupiter:
in disbelief. His head reeled with delirium as he stared at the wiry, tanned,
vaguely mustachioed, brown-haired girl with the interconnected eyebrows, and he
immediately thought of a young Frida Kahlo. Which was kind of awesome because
Frida Kahlo was his favorite twentieth-century Mexican artist.
some kind of acrobatic superhero. One who swooped to the rescue on a rope!
existed make Phil’s brain fog over with awe. Or maybe it was the blood that had
rushed to his head during his rescue. Also, there was the adrenaline of the
attempted-suicide-turned-love-at-first-sight. Or maybe it was just his seasonal
allergies. Whatever it was, Phil just couldn’t stop wheezing.
overwhelmed. She fought back the temptation to mutter some too-cool-for-school
rejoinder like “you’re welcome, kid”
or “you can let go of me now.” But
none of these suited the occasion. Thus, she simply lay on the rocky riverbank
in the arms of the stranger she had just saved from imminent death. They were
both soaking wet and grinning—happy to be alive.
from a harness and travel to shore with a rather large male in tow. She was
glad for the lifeguard training she had taken during her Aquatic Superhero
Phase. Phil had helped, too, with his half-hearted doggy paddle.
What exciting story
are you working on next?
Right now, I’m working on a novel called The Fringers which takes place in a
dystopian New Jersey and post-apocalyptic Seaside Heights. It’s a world where
reality stars are indentured servants and North America is carved up between
corporate fascists (with awesome fashion sense) and a Totalitarian Fear-State. Our
protagonist has to choose which particular misery she wants to subject herself
to as she navigates her early 20’s as a major celebrity with 0 control over her
cheery stuff, right?
those of you that can’t wait till I finish/publish my troubling tale, I’m
posting my story one chapter at a time to JukePop.com, which is an awesome
place for writers to discover an audience, and for readers to provide ongoing
feedback and love for lots of amazing (and free) stories.
you want to check out Fringers, you can find it at
http://www.jukepop.com/home/read/6366?chapter=1 . Just a heads-up that it’s
dark, and definitely not for kids.
When did you first consider yourself a
Pretty much since I could first write, did I consider myself a writer— although
first and foremost I identify as a poet. I’ve been writing poems for many
years, although I never bothered trying to get them published.
first poem that I can fully recall was written when I was 11. I still have it
memorized, so I’ve posted it below:
is this dreamer in the sky
That sheds and spreads its knowledge high
and strives on joy and spirits true
and makes me, me
and makes you, you?
Could it be fate or faith combined, or just the love of being alive that makes
me wonder so?
is heaven what is earth and where do they collide and mix to make this thing
is pleasure, what is pain and what makes either dissolve?
it some unseen force so unforeseen?
Are we all here or is this just a dream?
dream and a dreamer’s question—so simple, yet a lack of words.
I guess it was my nascent attempt at being profound…it’s really kinda cliché,
but hey—I hadn’t even hit puberty yet so I can’t be too harsh on myself.
full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than
write and how do you find time to write?
Actually, by day, I’m an energy industry/environmental professional who
designs, develops, and implements energy efficiency and some renewable efforts.
I just love to build things, write things, and advocate for things I believe
in. It’s something I’m passionate about.
write after work, usually sometime between 7pm and 1am during the week, and
catch-as-catch-can on the weekends. There’s time for writing because I have no
other choice. I exorcise my fears and feed the good of my spirit through
written words. Not writing would be the same as not dreaming, a slow death of
What would you say is your interesting
I giggle a lot. Sometimes I act out my scenes to gauge the realism (which is a
bad idea because I am a TERRIBLE actor).
you want to be when you grew up?
I was about seven or eight wanted to be a doctor, but my mom told me I was too
sensitive to handle the potential loss of a patient. To her defense I did
associate losing my baby teeth with mortality at age 3 and had a mini-existential
crisis, so yeah—I was kinda intense.
then I considered being a journalist until I was about twelve, but I feared it
was a dying medium.
I wanted to be a psychologist because I found I was very good at handling
people, but people in my life thought it was a tough road in the current
economy, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go for my master’s degree anyhow.
then I decided to get into politics which was an absolute blast. I discovered
energy policy and that I was really good a building programs, so I think I made
a good choice.
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
I have immense appreciation for readers and writers of all stages and
backgrounds. I think there are a lot of amazing books out there that are left to
be discovered. Try to explore genres that are outside your comfort zone. And
look for authors that do not match your own demographic profile. It’s just
amazing the different angles you can approach the world from if you step into
the mind of someone new.
be sure to check out Black Hill Press / 1888 for other awesome novellas!
so much for interviewing me!