GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Interview: UF Author Allison Pang | I Smell Sheep

Paranormal reviews of books, movies, comics with author interviews and giveaways we love urban fantasy, romance, science fiction, horror, fantasy, mysteries

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Interview: UF Author Allison Pang

Why you should read this interview:
-fangirling over Yuri On Ice
-cool horror anthology
-cute dogo talking video
-"So, at that point, I decided to start looking at markets that were more receptive to unapologetic child-eating main characters..."
-sexy radish pillow
-Raggy Maggy

Sharon: Hello! Welcome to I Smell Sheep. This is your first time here…but I've been friends on FB with you for a long time and we have a few things in common *cough, YOI, cough* but we should probably talk about the short story you have in the next Crystal Lake Publishing Tales From the Lake Volume 5. What can you tell us about “A Dream Most Ancient and Alone.”
Allison: This little story was rattled off in the span of a few hours while waiting for my son to be judged in the local science fair (and parents weren’t allowed inside.) I’d actually conceived the idea back when I was in high school (so, yeah, like 20 years ago, *sobs*) but I’d never sat down and written it. I knew I wanted a mermaid story, but one with a bit more of a visceral twist than what I’ve written in the past – and more specifically dealing with faerie mythology: namely lake mermaids/faeries - the sort parents would warn their children about to keep them from lingering too close to the water. (Jenny Greenteeth, for the purposes of this story)

In this case, I wanted a modern spin on it – what would such a creature be like in today’s world, essentially trapped in a place outside of time – with no way to evolve and no contact with others of her kind. It has to be a terribly isolating and lonely existence.
Sharon: Sounds like an interesting read…but you can’t bring up the science fair project and not mention what his project was about!
Allison: Ha ha, I suppose not. He had built a battery with some fruit and was testing which fruit allowed for the best electrical current – bananas, lemons, apples. Etc. It was actually quite a lot of fun!

Sharon: Have you written horror before? Is this something readers might see more of from you?

Allison: In some ways, I’d actually categorize this story as more of a dark fantasy as opposed to straight out horror. Like everything I write, I just can’t seem to fit into a genre box – when I was trying to sell this piece previously, I had a number of rejections that usually ran along the line of “We love your writing, but we can’t really publish a story where the protagonist eats children.” *cough* So, at that point, I decided to start looking at markets that were more receptive to unapologetic child-eating main characters and that led me into horror. When Tales of the Lake had their open call, it seemed like a no-brainer to sub to it and I’m super excited to be a part of it. 😊
As far as if I will write more – I’m really intrigued by the concept, because there seems to be a bit more freedom to take your story down darker paths that wouldn’t fly in more standard fantasy. I see myself as writing more short stories as opposed to full-on novels, though – I enjoy writing these darker pieces in small doses.

Sharon: You also have an urban fantasy series, The Abby Sinclair series and your newest series The IronHeart Chronicles (Magpie’s Song Book 1). It is a coming-of-age steampunk. Tell us about the world you’ve built and the main character Raggy Maggy.
Allison: It’s definitely very different than the Abby Sinclair books – it takes place in a much darker world and while you’ll find snippets of humor here and there, it’s got a more serious tone overall. (No obnoxious unicorns in this one, folks!)

As a character, Raggy Maggy is a half-breed known as a Moon Child, caught between two worlds – the run-down city of BrightStone and the floating city of Meridion (which is filled with a technologically advanced race of people). A plague known as the Rot is running rampant through BrightStone and Maggy’s Meridian blood gives her immunity to it. When she’s framed for a crime she didn’t commit, she’s forced to combine forces with an exiled Meridian doctor and a clanless Moon Child named Ghost to try to discover the cause of the Rot and the secret behind her own lineage.

I actually wrote the series for my daughter – Raggy Maggy is based on her a bit, in appearance and also in attitude. On a more personal note, I married into an Asian family – both my children are part Chinese, though my son apparently got all the Irish, and my daughter is much more mixed - something she was very sensitive to, especially when she was younger. So, when I wrote Magpie’s Song, I wanted to write a heroine she could identify with, particularly the part of not necessarily fitting in one place or the other.
Sharon: wow, that sounds like an awesome book and an even more awesome reason for writing it 😊

Sharon: On top of all that, you have a webcomic, Fox and Willow, which can be read for free on Tapastic. What are the challenges of writing a graphic novel vs a novel?
Allison: Well, in some ways it is easier – I tend to write the script for each chapter all in one go, though I certainly can make changes as we produce the graphic pages, but it’s not a day-to-day exercise for me. On the other hand, we’ve been working on Fox & Willow for six years now and while each chapter has its own story arc, there is a much large one that runs through all of them, so I need to make sure that each chapter is cohesive and complete by itself without sacrificing the overall plot. And frankly, I’m a panster I know where we’re going to end up and how many chapters it’s going to be, but I don’t always know how we’re going to get there until I flesh it out.

As far as challenges go – one of the biggest is that my artist, Aimo, is in Malaysia, so there is always a 12 -13 hour time difference, which can make things harder communication-wise, although at this point, we’re old hat at it. She storyboards each page based on the script and then I approve it and she draws the page. But it really is a team effort – I don’t script out each page like you might do in a standard comic book script. Because it’s a webcomic, we’re not limited to a particular page count, so what I write are scenes – and I let her determine how many pages that scene should be. Obviously, we discuss it and make changes as we go, but I trust her completely to capture our vision and that is something I’m very grateful for.

Sharon: Got any plans for another webcomic?
Allison: Hmm. Well, I *always* have ideas. It’s really more about timing – right now Fox & Willow takes up a lot of time between maintaining the websites and the Patreon and all that, and while I absolutely love the medium, I would want to make sure the story is the best we can make it – I’m not sure we could commit to a second project and do it justice. (But yes, I absolutely would love to write more!)

Sharon: Now, let’s talk about Yuri on Ice! I am such a fan girl and I am jealous of your YOI connection in Japan! Can we see some of your favorite fandom things? Who is your favorite character? Favorite skating costume?
Allison: Oh god. I have a LOT of things. A LOT. I will say I tend to collect clear files the most, since they are practical and I can use them, as opposed to acrylic stands since those take up room, etc. I also have a lot of pillows, all the Nendoroids released so far, the statues, etc. It is really pretty bad. (I will get you some pictures – this is just a sample and doesn’t cover the books, magazines, keychains, clearfiles, tapestries…etc.)
My favorite character? It’s going to be Victor from a collector standpoint, though I actually appreciate Victuuri as a whole more. And from a storytelling standpoint, it’s Yuuri all the way – he’s a completely unreliable narrator and between his insecurities/depression and his drive to succeed (which so many creative types have), I felt a definite connection - so many of us are down on ourselves and our creative endeavors. We’re plagued with doubts about our abilities, we have imposter syndrome, even with each success. And really, aren’t we all unreliable narrators when it comes to looking at ourselves honestly? LOL
Sharon: Wow, you nailed it perfectly. I think any creator can identify with Yuuri. I can’t wait for the upcoming movie. Do you think it will be Victor’s origin story? The series didn’t touch on it too much, but his success at such a young age took an emotional toll on him.
Allison: Yes, I do think it will definitely touch on Victor’s origin story – he’s really the one unknown as far as the three main characters go – we know next to nothing except that he’s been skating for 20 years and that the pressure of the last year (before becoming a coach) was becoming suffocating. That said, I don’t think it will ONLY be his origin story – I can’t imagine why the YOI Museum would have made a new costume for Yuuri if we weren’t going to see it in some fashion, so perhaps it will be told via flashbacks. (And going forward, maybe it opens the doors to a second season?? We can but hope!)

Favorite costume? I’ll tell you what – I went to the YOI museum in Tokyo in July and they have the REAL costumes there – made by an actual figure skating costume company. They are so, so amazing in real life, it would be very hard to pick one. (Though again, the Victuuri costumes are probably it – I don’t have a picture to show, as it was forbidden to photograph those particular ones, but yeah, they were jaw-dropping.)
Sharon: So amazing that an anime like YOI has a museum about it after only one season!

*looks at the people reading this. Looks back at Allison.*
Sharon: We should probably move on… 
*gazes longingly at Allison’s YOI collection*

Sharon: You also have a fur baby named Maggie. I’ve seen some of the videos on FB. Do you have a funny Maggie story? (Would love a pic of video to share)
Allison: Not a particular story exactly. As a Northern breed dog, she’s very opinionated and not shy to let you know. Malamutes, like huskies, tend to be very “talky” and she absolutely is – from howling for hours to literal Chewbacca-like conversations. It’s uncanny how smart she is.
Sharon: What is the nerdiest thing you own?
Allison: More like the most Otaku thing I own: a full body pillow of Victor. (Also a sexy daikon radish pillow.) Both of which reside in our spare bedroom with the rest of my pillow collection. >_<
Sharon: *looks at readers* Okay, she *points at Allison* brought it back around to YOI…as an interviewer I am obligated to engage in this conversation… OMG, I WANT A FULL BODY PILLOW OF VICTOR…

Sharon: Does your family dress up for Halloween? What was your last costume?
Allison: Not so much anymore – when the kids were younger, they certainly did, but last year neither of them wanted to go out, so we just handed out candy.

Sharon: Out of all the worlds you’ve created which one would you like to visit most?
Allison: Probably Abby’s world – it seems like it would be a lot of fun, even with the dangerous side – and I mean, Phin. Really. I don’t think there’s really much of a decision process there. A Brush of Darkness link 

Sharon: Coke or Pepsi?
Allison: Coke
Sharon: *sigh* Well, I’ll let it slide since you are a fellow YOI Otaku.

Sharon: Georgi Popovich or Jean-Jacques Leroy?
Allison: JJ

Sharon: moonlight or sunlight?
Allison: Both

Sharon: Family Feud or Price is Right?
Allison: Family Feud
Steve Harvey: The top answer is on the board… What is the best anime?

Allison: Ha ha – I know where you’re going with this, but I’m actually gonna say…Cowboy Bebop. As YOI-infatuated as I am for now, I still think CB is one of the best anime out there in terms of story, music and just sheer originality. I’m collect a fair amount of CB art as well, and in fact, we’re in the process of redoing our basement and it’s going to have a CB theme.

Sharon: Bow and arrow or sword?
Allison: Bow

Edited by Kenneth W. Cain and represented by Crystal Lake Publishing – Tales from The Darkest Depths.
Authors: Allison Pang, Lucy A. Snyder, Stephanie M. Wytovich, Samuel Marzioli, Robert Stahl, Paul Michael Anderson, Michelle Ann King, Lucy Taylor, Laura Blackwell, Cory Cone, Lane Waldman, Jonah Buck, Joanna Parypinski, Jason Sizemore, Gemma Files, Craig Wallwork, Tim Waggoner
November 2, 2018
259 pages
Publisher: Crystal Lake Publishing
Series: Tales from the Lake
Genre: Anthology
The Legend Continues…

In the spirit of popular Dark Fiction and Horror anthologies such as Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories and Behold: Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders, and the best of Stephen King’s short fiction, comes the Tales from The Lake anthologies.

This 5th volume includes:
“Always After Three” by Gemma Files
“In the Family” by Lucy A. Snyder
“Voices Like Barbed Wire” by Tim Waggoner
“The Flutter of Silent Wings” by Gene O’Neill
“Guardian” by Paul Michael Anderson
“Farewell Valencia” by Craig Wallwork
“A Dream Most Ancient and Alone” by Allison Pang
“The Monster Told Me To” by Stephanie M. Wytovich
“Dead Bodies Don’t Scream” by Michelle Ann King
“The Boy” by Cory Cone
“Starve a Fever” by Jonah Buck
“Umbilicus” by Lucy Taylor
“Nonpareil” by Laura Blackwell
“The Weeds and the Wildness Yet”
“The Color of Loss and Love” 
“A Bathtub at the End of the World” by Lane Waldman
“Twelve by Noon” by Joanna Parypinski
“Hollow Skulls” by Samuel Marzioli
And much more.

About the Author:
Allison is the author of the Urban Fantasy Abby Sinclair series, as well as the writer for the webcomic Fox & Willow. She likes LEGOS, elves, LEGO elves…and bacon.

She spends her days in Northern Virginia working as a cube grunt and her nights waiting on her kids, cat, and an obnoxious northern breed dog, punctuated by the occasional husbandly serenade. Sometimes she even manages to write. Mostly she just makes it up as she goes.

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