I've got to apologize to you all, as I have been so busy with puppy mommyhood that I forgot to get the intro to this post done. And apologies to our guest poster, Allison Pang, author of the awesome new release, A Brush of Darkness, an urban fantasy. Allison will graciously show up here and there to answer questions posed in the comment trail. No telling when, so stop back and check. :)
Q: One of the best things about your worldbuilding in the novel is the premise of Touchstones as anchors to the fey, and the sacred Contracts that make the system work like a form of currency. Can you share a bit about your thought process in coming up with that paradigm that is the basis for the story?
A: It was mostly just to keep the immortals from getting a little too powerful in the “real” world. I’m a big believer in that things should have a price, but I also liked the idea of there being a bit of “buyer beware” when it comes to the humans who make these deals. Some of them are simple transactions, but others can definitely seem a bit too good to be true.
Q: Is this your very first novel, or do you have a trunk novel(s) stashed away? If you have a trunk novel, what do you think that experience taught you, and how did you approach the creation of "A Brush of Darkness" differently?
A: This was my first solo novel. I have a trunk novel that was co-written with someone else before that that will never see the light of day. The mechanics of writing with someone else are different than solo writing, but I guess the biggest difference is that I could pretty much take the story (BoD) in whatever direction I wanted.
Q: What did you learn from the process of this first published novel?
A: The world of publishing can be very slow at times. Writers have to be patient and try to remain as professional as possible. There’s an excellent saying out there about being nice to the people you meet on the way up…because you’re going to meet them on the way down. I firmly believe this.
Q: Do you have any embarrassing, excuse me, amusing tales to share?
A: Not really. Maybe pitching my book a little earlier than it should have been pitched, but overall I’d say things have been pretty normal.
Q: Any advice to those who are shopping for agents or publishers?
A: Make sure your book is really ready – get feedback from people you can trust to be honest. Lip service is a nice ego stroke, but it’s not going to help you in the long run. Keep things professional between you and the agent/publisher (make sure you follow query guidelines, etc.) If you get a rejection, don’t take it personally. File it away, learn what you can from it and move on to the next on.
Q: How much of Allison Pang is portrayed in Abby Sinclair? I know from my own writing that it's fun to take something that's part of me (or anyone else for that matter) and take that trait to extremes for humor or pathos. Did you find yourself doing that with Abby or any of the other characters?
A: Heh. Probably more than there should be. All the characters have some facet of me, but Abby has quite a bit of my personality. I didn’t intend for it to come out that way, but there it is.
Q: Phineas is an hilarious take on unicorns. I was spitting beverage when we are introduced to his un-unicornlike behavior. It was amusing and refreshing to see a bawdy take on the creatures, but what made you pick this particular flavor of sidekick?
A: Because I could? LOL. I don’t know. I ran a variation of him in an online game for a little while, but he was a bit more obnoxious (and larger) there than he was in the book. When it came to BoD I knew I wanted to give Abby some sort of little sidekick, so I shrunk him down. He wasn’t even supposed to talk in the book, but about half way through he opened his mouth and that was that – he went from being comic relief to actually having a real part in the series. J
Q: Allison, I notice a lot of bacon mentions in your novel, including in your acknowledgement. How much does bacon enter your real world life? And (thinking of John Scalzi's Canonical Bacon Page) have you ever had some of the more outré bacon items out there, such as bacon chewing gum, bacon vodka, or a bacon ice cream? Any recommendations or warnings for the rest of us?
A: Honestly – I just like plain bacon the best. I’ve had some of the bacon chocolate and it’s okay. I don’t eat it as much as I might indicate, but I don’t ever turn it down if I come across it either. LOL.
Q: Hello Kitty is obviously something you love, given the mentions in the book and in the header of your blog. So...does your real world underwear drawer have nothing but Hello Kitty in it? And is there a miniature unicorn?
A: LOL. I actually don’t have any HK underwear at the moment – but my daughter does. Her entire room is pretty much done up in HK, actually. And we both have stuffed unicorns of different sizes. (I have a few from when I was her age still kicking around…)
Q: Anything you'd like to share about the submission, editing or publishing process? How were you pleasantly surprised or disappointed on your journey to publication?
A: Overall it’s been pretty good. I’ve been very fortunate at the way things have turned out. I’d say the only thing I’ve been a little sad about is losing a few friendships over the process. Of course, I’ve gained some too, but there’s always a bit of regret there.
John Scalzi's Canonical Bacon Page: http://whatever.scalzi.com/about/the-canonical-bacon-page/
Allison's blog: http://mynfel.blogspot.com/
Allison's Website: http://www.heartofthedreaming.com