Friday, January 08, 2016


Let's Stalk Rex Jupiter!
by Allison A. Spector

Friends, today Allison Spector has agreed to let me grill…er, interview her. She’s a new author to me, but I am rushing to buy her book.  I imagine you will do the very same after you read about her here. Don't miss her giveaway at the end of the post.

Caroline: Where did you grow up? Siblings? Locale? Were you considered a “bookworm” or a jock?  Married, single? Children?

Allison: Golly, that’s a lot of questions!  Okay- let’s start from the top…

I grew up in Bayville, New Jersey.  It was in the same school district as Seaside Heights from Jersey Shore fame and until I left for college I just assumed that the NJ boardwalk and spray-tan culture was entirely normal and could be found anywhere. I was somewhat relieved to learn that wasn’t the case. 

I lived in the same location with my mom and dad throughout my entire childhood and teen years.  I did not have any siblings, although I always wanted a brother or sister.  Instead I had books, and eccentric librarians to keep me company.

To say that I was a bookworm would be an understatement. I was an early reader, and a voracious one.  I spent a great deal of time in the library and spent as much time around books as possible. I was an insufferably precocious geek who was in all ways a fish out of water.  My love of literature and obscure reference to British sitcoms and dramas did not make me the most popular kid in my school.  In fact, I was pretty much reviled by my peers. 

In retrospect, I realize how much of my childhood difficulty stemmed from me simply having been born in the wrong part of the country.  Truly my soul had been meant to be born in the Pacific Northwest.  The land of evergreens is my adopted home, filled with “my people,” – the hipsters, the quirky, the odd-balls, the pendants, and the whimsical none-of-the-aboves.  Although I’m currently having a Midwestern Adventure, my family and I will be returning to the home of my heart soon!

Oh, and speaking of family, yup—dorky book girl did get married.  I’ve got two awesome kids who are deliriously strong-willed little bohemians.  It was my greatest dream to find a like-mind and make whimsical little children I could raise unconventionally.  And I have done so. All while building castles in the sky, forging environmental policy, and writing lovely stories!

Caroline: Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

Allison: My favorite authors are Kurt Vonnegut, Francisca Lia Block, Neil Gaiman, George McDonald Fraser, Lois Lowry, Ray Bradbury, George Orwell, Ursula K. Le Guin, and many others. 

I also think that everyone should be paying attention to the following indie authors who are amazing, but undiscovered.  They are JA Waters, Laura Morrison, Ryan Watt, Eliza Knightly, and Cat Sebastian.  They all have phenomenal, engaging, ongoing serial novels that can be found on 

You will want to discover them—of that I am certain!

Finally, I want to give a shout out to my fellow Mariya Suzuki Collection authors, Dean Moses and Shannon Barnsley.   You will not regret reading their fabulous tales!

In terms of genre, I love magical realism, farce, fantasy, dark (really, really dark) comedy—the darker the better.  I also like steampunk, cyberpunk, futurist non-fiction and socio-political analysis.

Caroline: What’s your favorite way to relax and recharge? Hobbies?

Allison: Why, writing of course!  It keeps me happy, healthy, and (quasi) well-adjusted.  I’m also quite fond of camping, midnight string-band jamborees, hiking, rock-scrambling, hiding amongst the Majestic Sequoias, exploring wild, wooded places, and other Northwest Rainforest-y pursuits!

Caroline: Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?

Allison: “A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called "leaves") imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time ― proof that humans can work magic.”
― Carl Sagan

Caroline: I love, love, love that quote. How long have you been writing?

Allison: I’ve been writing in some way, in some form, since I was very young.  I wrote my first “published” poem at 11 in my school’s writing journal.  I’ve been creating maps of imaginary worlds with annotations and backstories since forever. I didn’t get into writing full-length works until about five years ago.

Caroline: Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?

Allison: I like to write in a cozy chair, laptop at the ready, with my legs stretched out and a cup of tea by my side.  A kitten doesn’t need to be on my lap, per se, but it certainly helps my process.  And yes, I definitely need quiet and solitude.  No music—no distractions!

Caroline: Are you a plotter or a panzer?

Allison: I’m an outliner.  I start with a skeleton and fill in the meat-and-flesh as I go!  Actually, that sounds somewhat creepy/awesome, come to think of it. 

Book golems?

Caroline: I plot with a skeleton also. Now that you mention it, that does sound a bit strange. Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories?

Allison: Inasmuch as we’re all made from stardust, my stories are made from actual humans and events. There are aspects of real people, but only in small degrees.  There are certainly real places and things within my book.  For instance, Bellingham, WA is a very real, and very wonderful place, and there is a genuine Bellingham Circus Guild that resides within its mossy borders.  As to whether or that they’re actually superheroes.  Ahem, well—I’m not at liberty to discuss…

Caroline: Each of us is the sum of her experiences, right? Do you set daily writing goals? Word count? Number of chapters? Do you get a chance to write every day?

Allison: I’m easy on myself.  As long as I sit down and write something every day I’m happy.  That something averages out to about 500-1500 words.

Caroline: What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

Allison: My hope is to bring joy, whimsy, laughter, and thoughtful discussion to my readers.  I also hope that every once in awhile a spark ignites in someone’s mind and they’re like, “aha! I get it—I get what she’s trying to say.  And I can relate to this strange story and the person who wrote it!”

Caroline: That’s what all writers dream, isn’t it—that readers “get” what we seek to convey? What long-term plans do you have for your career?

Allison: Well, I’m going to keep on keeping on in the energy and environmental sector with my program development, policy-work and creative problem solving.  And in the meantime, every evening I’m going to weave more and more of my magical word-net until I catch my dreams one-by-one. The way I see it, every story I write gains me a little author XP until one day I’ll level up into sometime of Magic Girl Super-Writer!  With laser eyes!

Caroline: Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?

Allison: I have an ongoing serial on called The Fringers.  It takes place in a dystopian Jersey shore where reality stars are indentured servants, Seaside is sinking, and privacy is sooo last year!  You can read it one chapter at a time on Juke Pop.  I’m also working on oodles of short stories and essays and the like.  One of them will be featured in an anthology at we kick off the new year.

Caroline: What advice would you give to unpublished authors?

(1)  Write for yourself.  No one else.
(2)  Fill your gut with passion.  Use it.
(3)  Pursue every opportunity.  Live for the challenge, not the reward.
(4)  Build a network of colleagues and friends to help you along the way.

Caroline: Excellent advice. Share a fun fact readers wouldn’t know about you.

Alllison: Much like Phil Kowsky, the lovely Bearded Virgin in my story, I too spent the greater part of my childhood hacking small electronic toys (Furbies) for fun!  I ended up getting featured in the San Jose Mercury news at 14 for doing so and posting about it on a blog.

Caroline: Share something about you that would surprise or shock readers.

Allison: Well, now you make me want to be more interesting than I am.  There’s that temptation to shout “I’m a cylon!” or “I’m a wizard!” or something.   Alas, I would that it were so.  But all I got is this— I was reading since I was 2 ½, which is almost like being a cylon-wizard. 

Does that count?

Caroline: It so counts! Is your book a series?

Allison: Nope.  It’s not a series—yet.  But if you give my book lots of love and positive feedback, I bet they’d let me do a sequel!  And believe me; I have an awesome idea for a sequel!

Caroline: I love series and I think other reader do too. Where can readers find your books?


Caroline: Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you?

Allison: Only that I am immensely grateful to 1888 / Black Hill Press and JukePop for enabling me to bring my story to print!  I am still fluttering with happiness to be able to share my words with the world!  

And thank you kindly, Caroline Clemmons, for hosting me today!


GENRE: Humor, literary fiction, with elements of magical realism


Trouble’s brewing in the Evergreen Jungle. When controversial author Rex Jupiter plans a visit to a Bellingham bookstore, news of his arrival attracts the attention of the mysterious Paladin, who plans on leading a mob of rioting housewives against him. But the Paladin has competition. Sleuth-extraordinaire Marian Krause has her own bone to pick with Jupiter as she scrambles to solve the death of a woman who has stolen her identity. Rex may think he has the situation under control, but when the wrath of the local Druids is incurred, pitchforks and torches may be the least of his concerns.



Marian’s lungs shuddered against the fumes of the organic, locally sourced, native-friendly tobacco as it passed from the long-stemmed cigarette holder through her lips and into her body. It was a dirty, messy habit. And it was hers. The smoke floated in the air, letting forth a wave of guilty pleasure. She carefully measured out her puffs, since told her that for every cigarette she smoked she would lose 5.5 minutes of her life.

Thus, she made sure that she only sacrificed 1.375 minutes at a time. She found the pleasure-to-life-lost ratio to be acceptable as everyone knew that all detectives smoked. And they did so in darkened rooms, with shades drawn, and only the light of a low-watt desk-lamp to illuminate the wisp of airborne tobacco trailing off like a faded dream.

Also, it made her feel badass. So, there.

Of course, there were disadvantages to sitting in a darkened room, the greatest of which was that it made her extremely susceptible to her husband’s Tokens of Affection, which usually fell into three categories:

(A) Crimes Scenes: composed of stolen police tape, ketchup, and teddy bears

(B) Fan Fiction: of a most Adult variety, written about Marian, and cleverly slipped in between her meticulously organized case files and resumes

(C) Brazen Thievery: which meant that her Second-Most Favorite Fedora would be missing, and she could only retrieve it following an Elaborate Series of Clues

The very thought of his categorical attentions made her want to climb down from her attic office and pay him a Conjugal Visit that instant. She would bring the Special Trench Coat and the magnifying glass and…

She slapped herself on the cheek. Love would have to wait.

Author Allison A. Spector
Allison Spector was born and raised in the hedonistic playground 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.


Allison Spector will be awarding a signed copy of book with original plot outline notes (loose sheets of paper) inside and additional notes at end or in margins of story (US/Canada only) to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour, and a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn host.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for hosting me this morning!

Caroline Clemmons said...

This sounds like a fun read. Thanks for sharing with readers today.