Author Interview by Ellen Harger

While I have been known to review a book or two, I’m not a reviewer by practice. I enjoy featuring other authors, hosting them to share their words with the world. Interviews are a great opportunity to showcase the work and the writer. My escape genre is mystery thriller, so when a novel promotion request came my way, I offered my space.









Allen, give me the elevator pitch of your novel. Twenty-six words or less, why will we read?
Wow! This is one tough question to answer off the top of my head but here goes: “A self-righteous mad man with a gun intent on cleansing the world of sinners may have been brain-washed to cover up a bigger mystery.”

How did you come up with the story for Ambiguity? Was it a kernel that unfurled, or did you get lost in the possibilities?
I honestly believe the story found me. I wanted a platform to explore the story that makes up Ambiguity and a novel seemed like a really good way to do this. I wanted to have characters debate such hot-topic issues as guns, religion and gay rights while at the same time having a deeper mystery for the reader to unravel. It’s a very timely novel and the story encompasses a debate that I think, in my opinion, we’re finally having in the United States. Where do we draw the line when it comes to what are religious rights and individual rights? With Ambiguity I wanted to take this complex question and stir in a very tragic event to be the impetus to debate. I decided to take characters from my novel Bridge Water and combine them with new characters to broaden the debate while at the same time using Detectives Will Jones and Kyle Edgeworth to be a part of the investigation. Their goal is to try to figure out what the suspect’s intentions were and was he influenced by someone else. Is he a fanatic? Is he mentally disabled? I really wanted to show the repercussions of the tragedy from all aspects. In its most basic sense Ambiguity is a story of secrets that will be revealed as the novel comes to a close. I guess you could say that the story of Ambiguity is like a kernel that unfurls. The story starts really hot and with the growing heat the kernel explodes. To me it’s the same as dropping a stone in a pond and watching the ripple expand from the center. I always get lost in the possibilities of a story and thanks to my characters I never knew exactly where the story is going. It makes it even more fun for me, the writer, as it does the reader.

Does your life history influence your writing?
Yes, definitely. I think it helps a story to tap into one’s own personal experiences, to take an emotional experience and express it. I guess, in a way, it’s its own version of therapy. Born and raised in the south I take all of those experiences as well and weave them into my novels. I’ve never taken something from my life and wrote it directly into my novels. I wouldn’t write about a relationship in specific terms but I definitely pull the emotional aspects of my life and use them to write my stories. If the stories in my novels like Snap and Bridge Water were based on my life I would definitely have one eventful and some would say disturbing history! For Ambiguity the comments made by religious characters are actual quotes from people I’ve known over my life. I’m from Ten Mile, Tennessee, which is backwoods country and it shouldn’t be a surprise to many that such opinions remain even today. Ironically most of the things said are things we hear virtually every day on news programs and talk shows.

Any characters based on people you know? Will they recognize themselves?

Well, personality-wise yes, they are based on people I know, but very loosely. Only one character is truly based on someone I know and he knows it as well. I actually discussed the character with him before Bridge Water was published. The character of Erik Layton  is based on a real life person. He has a personality and a quick, dry wit that is just like one of my best friends. But in Ambiguity Erik expresses opinions that are completely mine. It was fun blending my opinions in with a character that will probably be the funniest person that will ever appear in my novels.

What genres would you like to write that you haven’t written in yet?
I definitely want to write in the young adult genre! I think it’s an exciting genre and I would look at it like walking down memory lane. I wouldn’t be opposed to writing a romantic novel though the notion terrifies me. It would be a challenge for me and I love challenges! And to be quite honest the notion of writing a novel in the erotica genre is tempting for the same reasons as other genres would be. It would be challenging and terrifying! One of those areas where I’d hope I could write it and not bore everyone to death! I would have to take it personally if I wrote an erotic novel and people found it boring!

Thank you to Allen for answering my questions.


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