When did you first realize you wanted to become a Writer/author?
Since childhood, I’ve loved to write and pretend. I used to play a story game with my parents where they’d prompt me with a sentence or two. Sometimes it was as simple as “once upon a time, a little girl…” and we’d go around and around making up the story, doing funny voices and trying to come up with the most interesting or outrageous things we could. Actually turning that into a career never occurred to me until I realized the other creative world I’d entered wasn’t always good to people of color-so I started writing stage and screen plays that featured these characters in less stereotypical roles. Soon, people were paying me to do write. Last year was the first time I’d ventured into novels. I quickly learned my penchant for realistic dialogue that revealed much about the character serves me well.
Where do you get your ideas for your book?
I love to people watch! I often find myself watching the subtle interactions between people and ideas pop into my head-much like that childhood game. I also read a great deal of nonfiction and the discoveries lead to more ideas. That’s how one of the two works I’m crafting now came into being. I read a horrific account of King Leopold II of Belgium and his atrocities in the Congo against a tribal nation. The people have a cosmological belief that’s quite fascinating where a god actually inhabits a human body to move among her people. I thought, what if the deity is swept away to save her from Leopold’s forces while in that form? That’s how Asiri Rising was conceived.
What kind of things do you enjoy when not writing?
I am a museum geek! It doesn’t matter what kind! They are places of discovery and I’ve loved them since childhood.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve written four books in the past 18 months. That’s tough! At the risk of sounding trite, it’s like asking about your favourite child. I love my Lover’s Trilogy (Her Love and Regrets; His Pleasures and Pain; Their Now and Forever) with each one, I created something that stands on its own whether you read all three or not. I also had an opportunity to deeply research the worlds the main characters inhabit to ensure accuracy and authenticity. My latest work is Darling Nikita. She was a pivotal secondary character in books 2 and 3 of the trilogy, but this book is in no way a continuation of the trilogy at all. It stands completely on its own.
Do you have any suggestions to help others who have a passion for writing?
Just write. Whether its five minutes a day or five hours-write. Hone your craft, be open to criticism, and read others to find your own voice.
What do you think makes a great story?
I enjoy character driven works where the drama is derived from the choices made by those characters. I love things that make me think and challenge me to rethink my worldviews.
Which Writer/Authors inspire you?
I lean towards the classics and favorites in several genres… Chaucer, Shakespeare, Voltaire, Angelou, Giovanni, King, the list goes on… I’m also discovering a number of wonderful writers both indie and major publishers. I’ve been impressed by the skill and creativity of the indie crowd… some great folks out there who also happen to be great people!
What are you working on at the moment?(optional)
In addition to Asiri Rising, I’m working on The Shadow of His Smile- a love story that explores the impact of mental illness and suicide. What I believe sets it apart is the main characters are African American. There is a horrid stigma that exists that “black people don’t kill themselves,” which is patently untrue. Even those in loving, caring relationships can have this happen. The question becomes how do people recover when it does happen?
Both books are taking a bit of time because each requires a great deal of research to make sure I get it right…every, single, detail. I’m a stickler about that and nothing is more maddening than reading or seeing a film about subject that I know intimately butchered by inaccuracies. It makes me crazy-so I swore I’d never make that mistake.
What genre are your books?
My first four (Her Love and Regrets; His Pleasures and Pain; Their Now and Foreve and Darling Nikita) are erotic romance with rich, relatable characters and vivid narratives with a BDSM twist. However, the next two diverge significantly from that. Asiring Rising (which I hope to finish by September) is a paranormal/mythological and The Shadow of His Smile is a romance.
What drew you to the genre you write?
I didn’t really set out to be in the erotica world-as far as I was concerned it was a loving romance about a couple exploring unconventional sex together. But I soon learned that because the books depict sexuality…shall we say graphically, that was the label placed on them. I guess you can’t describe sexual acts by actually using the names of our genitalia without a R or NC=17 rating! LOL
Which Actor/Actress would you like to see portraying the lead character from your most recent book? (any book you like)
Ooh! That’s a good question that I’m really hesitant to answer. My hesitancy is part of the reason why I’ve been adamant that no images of people are on the covers of my books to date. I want the reader to craft images for themselves.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
I do this part time now… but I have written for Emmy-Award winning television in my career.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Dealing with writer’s block.
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded Writer’s block?
What I tend to do is just step away from the work. Instead I can spend hours searching for music that captures the emotional space I’m trying to create in the scene or arc that has me stumped. It may take a few days, but I come back stronger when I do that.
Do you read much, and if so who are your favorite Authors or genres?
I love to read… and I read everything! But truthfully, my all time favourite author is Shakespeare… his characters are amazing, his prototypes for what makes good comedy or drama are unmatched. The Bard has inspired writers for over 450 years! You can’t beat that!
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
I just want to thank you and your fans for having me here!
How can Readers discovery more about you and your work?(please provide proper links)
They can come to my website www.chevelleallen.com or my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/AuthorChevelleAllen
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview 😊