Welcome my special guest, Allison M. Dickson, author of dark contemporary fiction that includes the recent horror-thriller Strings, as well as the upcoming dystopian science-fiction novel The Last Supper. She has a large variety of independently produced short fiction available on Amazon, which includes hit-sellers Dust and Under the Scotch Broom. She is also currently producing a series of pulp dieselpunk novels under her imprint Pseudonym Press, the first of which is called Colt Coltrane and the Lotus Killer due out in November of 2013. Allison lives in Dayton, Ohio with her husband and two kids and when she isn’t writing can be found co-hosting the weekly podcast, Creative Commoners.
Welcome to Blogcritics, Allison! Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Strings. When did you start writing and what got you into dark contemporary fiction?
I was writing short stories from the time I turned 12 or 13, and have more or less been writing ever since, though I spent a lot of time in the world non-fiction — movie reviews and blogs namely — before returning to my roots in 2007. Dark fiction in the vein of Stephen King has always been what gets my blood pumping. I bought my first King book at age 11 (Misery), and I guess you could say it was formative in a really big way. Horror and dark suspense/thrillers just mesh well with my brain waves.
What was your inspiration for Strings?
It originally began life as a short story called “The Good Girls,” which was up for sale on Amazon for about a year. The story is more or less Chapter 1 of the book, and it details the descent of Nina, a prostitute who ventures into a house of horrors and doesn’t emerge. Only, her story (along with that of her Madam and the driver who brought her there) continues in this book and the descent in many ways only deepens.
A very off-kilter, uncomfortable feeling followed by a night or two of poor sleep. That’s a sliver of what happened to me after I finished writing it, and I’m all about sharing the love.
What do you do when your muse refuses to collaborate?
I don’t blame the muse. I blame myself. Writers who get caught up in this whole “muse” business are avoiding the very important work of accountability. If you don’t feel like writing, then just admit it. Then make the choice of whether or not you’re going to write that day and accept that choice as your own. None of this muse business. The muse is always waiting to get to work. That’s all she does. It’s we mortals who often need a kick in the pants.
What was your publishing process like?
It’s always a little nerve-wracking, mostly because it’s slow and requires a monumental amount of patience as you wade through the necessary edits and rewrites and proofs. Publicity also makes me bit my nails a bit. But all in all I found it to be very gratifying. I loved the cover art phase the most, because it’s the one area that I feel the most collaborative, where someone takes the idea of my book and gives it their visual interpretation. I absolutely love the people at Hobbes End. We’re like a family.
How do you celebrate the completion of a book?
I take about a week off, sometimes more, and do nothing but play video games and catch up on TV. It’s my brain’s way of recharging.
What is your advice for aspiring authors?
Put away your ego and take your wallops. Then keep on writing. There is almost no obstacle I hear from new authors that can’t be overcome with lots and lots of practice.
Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?
If you like Strings, there is a second novel in the works as we speak. A planned trilogy, in fact. Thank you, as always, for your support!
Thanks for this interview, Allison.