My first completed novel was a paranormal suspense, SOME DISPUTED BARRICADE. An agent took it under her wing, but couldn't sell it. I've rewritten it extensively since then, and it's currently under consideration by a small press publisher.
How many rejections have you received?
So many, I don't have time to count them! They range from stock rejections (with postage due!) to three-page, single-spaced diatribes. On the other hand, some were very helpful, some were very kind, some invited me to send them something else or to rewrite and resubmit.
What was the best writing advice someone gave you?
The late mystery writer, Dick Stodghill, said, "Don't take yourself too seriously, but always take your writing seriously. Gently insist that everybody around you take your writing seriously. This isn't some toy you're playing with; this is your work." That advice changed my life.
Describe your book.
SAGE is a sort of Taoist fairy tale. It combines fairy tale elements (lost heirs, unimportant turns out to be important, talismans, magic) with mythology (the Four Divine Animals of Chinese mythology, the smith who forges objects of power, stories of origins) and a bit of sword and sorcery. I drew from many, many sources, and gave it all my own spin.
What do you consider your strengths in terms of your writing?
I've been told I'm strong in characterization and dialog. I know I enjoy those elements.
What do you consider your weakness and what strategies do you use to overcome it?
A Swiss Army Knife, an unending roll of duct tape, and a waterproof copy of HOW TO SURVIVE ON A DESERT ISLAND.
What would you like to learn to do that you haven’t?
To yodel and to dance the can-can. Seriously.
What is your favorite writing reference book and why?
That's a tough one. Maybe Moder Zglaria edges everybody else out by a hair's breadth. She has tremendous personal power, just by virtue of knowing exactly who she is. Some people find her frightening, some people find her comforting, but nobody in the story finds her dull.
Marian Allen writes science fiction, fantasy, mystery, humor, horror, mainstream, and anything else she can wrestle into fixed form.
Allen has had stories in on-line and print publications, on coffee cans and the wall of an Indian restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky. She has a novel, FORCE OF HABIT, available through Echelon Press, and a fantasy trilogy, SAGE, coming soon from Hydra Publications.
Yes, yes. Unrightful ruler. Lost heir. Runaway bride. But plots go astray when the Four Divine Animals get involved: Unicorn, Phoenix, Dragon, and ... Tortoise? The land of Layounna is in disorder. Rumors are growing that the regent murdered his wife, the true ruler. Elsie, the girl he demands as his second wife, vanishes from the castle, and no mystical arts can find her. Elsie's daring escape into the wilderness sets off interlocking events that lead directly to Kinnan, who claims Layounna as the illegitimate son of the dead ruler. And they say a unicorn has been sighted.