Monday, February 18, 2013

Interview with Bev Allen

First, tell me a little about your book and why you wanted to write this particular story….

“Jabin and the Space Pirates” is an action adventure story set on an imagined colony world in a possible future. It is, despite the title, very much aimed at the older YA reader as it tackles some very adult themes.

There are pirates , nasty ones, and assorted villains; there are soldiers and heroes, the odd prince of the blood and a beautiful slave girl, but more than that, it is the story of one teenage boy’s journey from despair to hope.

It’s not a space opera.  One of my reviewers described it as “allegorical fiction” which delighted me, as that was very much what I was aiming at.  So if you like your scific with loads of hardware and all the clever techno stuff,  this isn’t for you. Think of it more as fantasy, but without the swords, sorcery and the really cool clothes

I wanted to write about how a lack of loving care and bullying can destroy a person’s self-worth, undermine them and take away their self-esteem. And I wanted to write about the causes - drugs, abuse, sex trafficking and neglect.  Far too many kids today are dealing with these horrors and not one of them deserves it.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated or did you always just know?

I’ve always known. Even as a very little girl I told stories and as time went on I wrote them down. After a fashion…I’m dyslexic and it wasn’t until I got my hands on a word processor that I was really able to put down on paper the stories in my head.

What inspired you to write your first book and what was it?

I collect boy’s school fiction from about 1900 to 1940 and my first full length book was one of these, but set in the future. It was enormous fun to write and it went down very well with my kids and their friends, but it wasn’t really something for publication. At least not in that form, but I may revisit the whole idea one day.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Some of it is. My own self-worth was badly undermined when I was a small child and a teenager. I understand how easy it is to convince yourself it is all your own fault and to look for reasons why you deserve what you are going through.

How do you chose when/which characters die in your books?

That’s a hard question. I think it depends on the plot. The king is assassinated for plot reasons, soldiers are killed in the fighting, but apart from that, no-one dies in this book. Although, it is implied that the main villain hangs, which I like to think he did.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

My two newest finds are Ben Aaronovitch and Alan Bradley, but they aren’t very new. I am always on the look out for someone new to read who captures my imagination.

Who do you look up to as a writer?

A lot of writers. A list of talent that fills me with awe and would, if I listed them, make you yawn. Let’s say Terry Pratchett, Georgette Heyer and George MacDonald Fraser would be leading the charge.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?

Probably the title. The addition of “ and the Space Pirates” gives the impression of a children’s book and it is most definitely not a kids book. No under 14s imo, possibly no under 16s.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

 I find difficult is scenery. I find painting a word picture of the landscape very hard. Buildings are easier, but the rest takes long hard work and sometimes I have to resort to a sketch pad and map it all out..

What book are you reading now?

I’ve not long finished Ben Aaronovitch’s “Whispers Underground”, the latest in his Rivers of London series. I adore these books, they are so original and so fantastically well written.

Who designed the cover? And do you help with them?

A lovely man called Bradley Wind designed it for me. I gave him some thoughts and he came up with the idea.

Did you learn anything from writing your books and what was it?

That is a really difficult one to answer. I think I have learnt not to be so willing to put myself down. Before, even though a dozen people had told me I could achieve something, it would take only one to sneer and they would be the one I believed. I am more inclined to listen to the others these days…not completely, but I’m prepared to give them a little more credence.

If you could be one of your characters, who would you chose?

 I think I would be RSM Jivan Singh.

Are there any books you think some of us should read, just because?

Everyone should read “To Kill a Mockingbird”.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Yes. If you are or you become parents, bring your kids up to be the sort of people you want to raise your grandchildren.

February 11 Guest blog
Lisa’s World of Books

February 12 Spotlight
Secret Southern Couture, 

February 13 Spotlight and review
My Home Away From Home – 

February 16 Review
Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf

February 17 Interview
Fang-tastic Books

February 18 Interview
Roxanne’s Realm

February 20 review
All Fantasy Worlds – 

February 21 Interview
Books & Other Spells. 

February 22 Interview
Laurie's Non-Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews  

February 24 Guest blog
The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom

February 25 Spotlight

February 25 review
Apocalypse Mama

Jabin and the Space Pirates
Bev Allen

Taylor Street Books

Amazon     Kindle 

In the space colony of New Wales, the pirate attacks are both relentless and merciless

Having lost both his parents, Jabin has been adopted by his austere and spiteful uncle and aunt who live in the space colony of New Wales which is riven with religious and political rivalry, and prey to the vicious maraudings of pirates whose cruelty and greed are beyond all imagination.

When Jabin volunteers to surrender himself to a pirate raiding party to save a friend, he does so believing that nothing can be worse than his current suffering.

 However, he is soon to discover that things can always get worse when the stakes are high, the rewards are vast and slave labour is there for the taking.

When the King of New Wales is assassinated, the colony threatens to collapse into total anarchy, leaving the pirates free reign to mutilate, kill and profit as they will, but the forces of law and order sent out from Earth are getting ready to fight back, and Jabin could have a vital part to play in the ensuing war if he can only stay alive.