On my blog today I have an off the wall, insane nutter (her words). Consequently we really get along as Bev is almost as crazy as me. No one is crazier that me, take my word for it.
So then here she is. Take it away Bev Allen
“Bev is married and mother of two adult children….”
Or, Bev is a crazy old woman who writes weird short stories about things like a bloke having sex with his garden pond and, when she has remembered her medication, sci-fic/fantasy adventures liberally laced with soldiers. She has a fondness for soldiers which should not be taken to mean she stands on street corners in garrison towns.
Where do you live?
Slap bang in the middle of the English Sires, in a town with a bleeding castle for god’s sake!. Me, a died in the wool South London working class girl with the sort of accent that makes the middle classes check their wallet and count the cutlery. How the hell did that happen? I think I wasn’t paying attention one day and someone kidnapped me.
I make patchwork quilts and before you get any ideas about sewing bees, Laura Ashley hexagons and dear old ladies sitting around peering over their glasses and silver thimbles twinkling in the candle light, you need to understand todays quilters have moved on are, by and large half way around the bend with a fabric addition which makes crack cocaine look like mild sedative.
Pets – furry or human
Furry. Very, very furry. An old git of a Birman called Fitzwilliam Darcy Big Chief Paddy Paws Our Cat Allen. He hates my husband just as much as my husband hates him and I think he plans to live forever just to annoy the old man.
What you do to chill out
I like a sauna. I think I might have been a lizard in a former life, an iguana perhaps, or maybe a kormdo dragon. (BTW, the spell checker wanted that to be a condom dragon)
TEE Dontcha just love spellcheck
It’s been a while since anyone paid me, but should anyone ever do so, it will probably be for some research work, usually military. The last lot was for work on Delhi Durbars…I only mention it because it isn’t often you get the chance to slip “Delhi Durbar” into the conversation without people giving you a funny look.
Tell me about your books. When you first started writing. How many completed. Work in progress?
As I said, I write two sorts of things, the long stuff is the sci-fic/fantasy adventure stuff and the shorter fiction is the weird, thrill or chill, take your pick.
I can’t remember when I started writing, but I do know it was a defence mechanism. I have all these people in my head and they all have stories and if I leave them in there they cause problems, mainly by making me what I like to call absent minded, but my family refer to as “crazy as a box of biscuits”. If I write them down, they aren’t in my head and I can go to the shops for bread and milk and not come back with a tin of smoked oysters and an avocado.
What really got me started was being one of the winners of SFX magazine’s short story competition. On the strength of this I got a commission from Big Finish.
I got to write a DR. WHO story! And I got paid for it and it is in a HARDBACK book! AND…Tom Baker himself signed my copy.
(Pause for dealing with family who are groaning and saying “is she doing the Dr. Who happy dance again?”).
TEE Blimey!! Go Bev!!
My first book “Jabin” is the story of an unwanted, unloved kid searching for security and a place to call home. His struggles are set against a world dealing with terrorism, religious fundamentalism and political unrest. Yeah, yeah, I was making a point, but I mixed in loads of action and some sex and some violence and a positive ending (sort of), so what is not to like? And lots of soldiers, as I said before, I like soldiers.
Book two is also me on one of hobby horses, the environment. This time my young hero is not a victim, in fact being one for five minutes would probably do him a lot of good. “The Tattooed Tribes” is an adventure story set on a forest world; a tribal maiden has been kidnapped on her wedding day and if there is not going to be a blood bath something is going to have to be done about it. Enter my heroes. Less violence, less sex, no soldiers, but lots and lots of trees and bushcraft.
“Solemn Curfew” is a novella I wrote for a big anthology which disappeared when the company publishing it did the same. It’s about cooking and greed and thwarted ambition. If you like your mushrooms blue and your cooking done by naked men, this is for you.
WIP is a sort of fantasy adventure book (but no magic, I can’t do magic, it feels like cheating) about a bastard prince who rebels against his king and is defeated in battle. Rather than being chopped as the little bugger deserves he is given a second chance by the mercenary commander ( woo hoo…soldiers) who helped beat him. What follows is a rite of passage story with muskets.
I like muskets, they go bang and black powder smells SO pretty.
I’m also working a couple of short stories for the horror/dark fantasy market, one is about slugs and a stick blender, the other is about a werewolves and the perfumery trade.
If you could have any animal from time immemorial as a pet for long freezing days and nights, what would you choose and why?
I like orangutans. They’re orange. And if you’re lucky they turn out to be librarians.
TEE Note to self.... double check medication given to the victims in cave. I wonder if there is a gas leak in there somewhere?
Do you prefer heat OR cold?
Either, so long as its dry heat or cold. Sogginess in all forms is repellant.
Fantasy holiday… Where would you choose to go if someone else was picking up the tab?
Obviously I want to go to Vulcan, but in the absence of warp drive I suppose I’d settle for Tahiti or Tonga or even Fiji. Hell…why be picky if someone else is picking up the bill, I’ll have an extended tour of Polynesia taking in Hawaii.
Are you with a traditional publisher or self published?
The books are currently published by Wild Wolf, but the novella “A Solemn Curfew” is self-published. The short stories are either with various publishers or on my web site.
Favourite meal (hot and cold)?
Hot …Shellfish linguine with loads of shellfish. I love shellfish, in fact I have never met a marine mollusc I didn’t like.
Cold… Caviar. You can muck it about with chopped egg and sour cream and blinis if you really feel the need, but all I need is a spoon.
Favourite drink (hot and cold)?
I like gin. I like it with tonic, ice and a slice of cucumber (not lemon or lime, the acid upsets the gin).
And I like coffee, using like as in “I like to breathe”.
How hard do you find book promotion?
Like shoving a red hot boulder up a steep slope well-greased with melting lard
Any tips or hints you’ve found that were successful for you in promotion?
None, but if you know some I’m prepared to offer you my first born. He’s tall enough to be very useful when it comes to high cupboards and he can fry chicken a treat. I will deliver him free if you can come up with something.
TEE Can I have him anyway Bev? He sounds perfect.
Favourite genres to read and write?
I read fantasy and cosy crime mainly, but I have some odd tastes in non-fiction stuff which I won’t list because it tends to confirm everyone’s suspicions about me. If I tell you the last book I bought was on ritual sacrifices, you’ll get the picture.
To write, I think I like the weird best, I can’t seem to sustain it over a whole novel, but I can turn your stomach in about 5,000 words on a good day, but I like writing the longer stuff as well because it gives me time and space to explore people and their darker side.
Try being the fat, bespectacled kid of an abusive bully of a father and you really understand the dark side.
You’ve set up your own publishing house using FB writer friends to help run it. What would you name it? Who would you choose to run the different departments? As the owner, how would you ensure the FB staff achieved success
LOL, now we really are pumping the depths of fantasy.
Name….”Prospero Publishing”. ( Because …”we are such things as dreams are made of….)
I’ve no idea who to get to do the work, I don’t think I’d be mean enough to ask any of them. Cruel and unusual punishment. (Mmm…there’s an idea for a shortie, I must work on it)
As owner I would have no idea how to make it work, I can’t get my own stuff to sell, so how the hell I would sell other people’s I do not know.
If you push me for a sensible answer (you’re mean and I may stamp my foot at you) I think it would have to be a co-operative with everyone fronting up money for publicity which would be shared equally with all authors and I think every penny earned in royalties would have to be ploughed back into more publicity for at least five years. Tough on anyone who suddenly becomes the next JKR, but probably the only way.
Phew...there you have it folks.