off a new week with an interview with memoirist Allen Long. We’re chatting
about his book, Less than Human: A Memoir.
virtual book tour Allen will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift
card 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
his other tour stops and enter there, too!
Allen Long was born in New York City and
grew up in Arlington, Virginia. He holds a B.A. in journalism from Virginia
Tech, an M.A. in fiction writing from Hollins University, and an M.F.A. in
fiction writing from the University of Arizona. He has been an assistant editor
at Narrative Magazine since 2007, and his fiction and memoirs have appeared in
a wide variety of literary magazines. He lives with his wife near San
Welcome, Allen. Please share a little
bit about your current release.
child abuse, PTSD, and a nightmarish marriage to find true love with my second
wife, Elizabeth. We’ve been married twenty years. The book also includes all of
the most dramatic highs and lows in my life. Some of the other subjects covered
include the corrupt business world, teenage love, a nervous breakdown, and
What inspired you to write this book?
published several short stories in literary magazines, I decided to write in a
different form for a change of pace. I ended up writing a magazine-length
memoir about my anger and disgust with the dishonesty and corruption I
witnessed when I worked in the management consulting sector of the business
world. A writer/editor friend praised the piece and suggested I write
additional memoirs. So I wrote magazine-length memoirs about the most dramatic
highs and lows in my life until I realized I’d written a book.
Excerpt from Less than Human: A Memoir:
is about how I met my wife Elizabeth.
who used to work at the textile design firm where Elizabeth was employed,
brought up the name of a colleague who was agonizing about whether he was gay.
“If he can’t make up his mind, I’ll make it up for him—he’s definitely gay.” There
was absolutely no malice or derision in her voice; she simply stated what
seemed an obvious fact.
humor. Also, a few weeks later, the co-worker in question came out of the
closet and has seemed contentedly gay ever since.
getaway and Elizabeth and I stood in the parking garage near her black cherry
Dodge Shadow and talked for another hour and a half. Again, I remember only one
snippet of this conversation.
daughter Stephanie is to me,” she said. “We’re best friends, I love her dearly,
and she’s my number one priority.”
about my boys,” I said.
she didn’t cry. I felt such a strong connection to her I trembled.
hugged and fell in love.
What exciting story are you working on
I’m writing magazine-length memoirs and short stories on various subjects. This
activity may lead to another memoir collection, a short story collection, or
When did you first consider yourself a
telling stories when I was a small child. In sixth grade, my teacher let me
write a short story a week instead of doing regular English assignments. The
summer before college, I attended a writing workshop at Michigan State
University. In college, I excelled at all of my creative writing classes. Then
I sent several short stories to Hollins College (now Hollins University) which
has a fabled creative writing program—William Golding was the first or one of
the first writers teaching there, and that’s where he wrote Lord of the Flies. When I was accepted
into the M.A. fiction writing program with a scholarship, I realized my dreams
of becoming a writer were finally coming true.
Do you write 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?
time as a hospital nurse. I get one weekday off per week, and I have every
other weekend off, so that’s when I write. When I had a lot of momentum going
with my book, I wrote in the evenings as well.
What would you say is your interesting
often contains an undercurrent of fairy tale images or themes. I’m guessing the
reason is that I was physically abused as a child. Fairy tales were a great
escape from reality. Also, I realize now that I also probably enjoyed fairy
tales because good almost always triumphs over evil.
As a child, what did you want to be when
you grew up?
always wanted to be a writer. After a brief flirtation as a forestry major in
college, I switched to journalism and also took a slew of English and creative
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
on the cover of my book is an alligator. This was my suggestion. When my
brother and I were in elementary school, our neglectful parents encouraged us
to swim in a Florida lake inhabited by an adult alligator while they visited
inside with our grandparents.
guest on my blog!
pleasure. Thank you.