And in our final blog tour installment post, we have an inteview with Jeffrey B Allen
JA: I always thought there could be nothing worse than growing up as a boy without a father. I knew many who had. Perhaps they lost there father to divorce or maybe to an unfortunate premature death. But when I really thought about it, an even worse scenario would be to have a father whose tyrannical abusive behavior trapped a family within a prison of fear and oppression. What went on behind the closed doors of a house that was filled with such fear and loathing was beyond all my comprehension. Most of the time the neighbors, teachers, even fellow church goers failed to recognize the subtle cries for help, because those signs were so well hidden by fear.
John is twelve year old boy who lives with the fear everyday of his life. He wonders why. He sometimes thinks it is his fault. John has feeling he cannot explain; feeling of emptiness and loss that grinds away at him and causes him to be a sort of recluse.
Although his mother seems strong she is not. John senses that and forms a protective bond with his mother. He asks her why his father hates them, but she will not tell him. When the violent explosion takes place it is the perfect stepping off point for John. The story is free to explore how a twelve year old boy would deal with his horrible situation if only he could take it into his own realm and steer the events.
The strange thing about GoneAway is that John is not steering the events quite as much as the reader believes he is in the beginning. The appearance of some of the strange characters and the revelations that take place in the story make that fact very clear. The last chapter also clears up any doubt the reader may have over the medium in which John is traveling.
AJ: What made you decide writing was for you?
JA: I tried to be a painter. I was good, but I knew no matter how much practice I forced upon the years ahead of me, I would never be great. I played music, and the same thing occurred to me; I could become good, but never great. I was always good at writing; therefore, I felt with enough practice I could become great. I am still practicing, but with every word, sentence and paragraph, I find myself in concert with art and music. Words paint pictures in reader’s minds, and words well placed end to end up[on a piece of paper are like a perfectly composed score when done correctly. I am striving to get it right, and I am having fun while trying. I may never be great, but if I keep practicing, I feel I have a bit of chance.
AJ: What did you have to go through, evolution wise, to create such a strong path that moves along in the growth and survival of the characters in GoneAway Into the Land?
JA: That is a very difficult question. To answer the question properly I would have to give away quite a bit of the story. In its basic form, the story is filled with several things John must overcome and find out about himself before he will be able to return to the Great Office of the Purveyor. Candy is but a symbol for something greater. The Purveyor is much more than the one to bequeath sweet things into the world. John’s quest to kill his father is much more than just a mission to end his father’s life. All of the main characters have a purpose. For instance Mellica. He is John’s alter ego, and Sara, well everyone who has read GoneAway knows who she is. When horrible things happen in our life we naturally search for answers. I believe there is a spiritual nature to our search, and I believe our answers may not come in this life, but they will come.
AJ: Where do you find your inspiration?
JA: Inspiration is as much a mystery of the human spirit as imagination and ingenuity. I believe one of the strongest driving forces behind the rapid evolution of mankind, and now our freefall into technological advancement is nothing less that our knowledge of our own mortality. If it were not for that uniquely human quality there would be no reason to be any more creative in our techniques of survival and territorial defense than was had by all previous generations.
The simple answer to your question is that I am aware I am going to die, and I know approximately, if all goes as planned, that my heart will stop beating between the ages of seventy five and one hundred – closer to seventy five statistically, but my grandmother lived to be one hundred and two, so I have decided to write until I am one hundred years old, and then I will take two years off — retired at last, but I will have left a legacy, a book or two on the shelves and that is enough for me.
AJ: What is your favorite writing environment?
JA: Late at night, or early in the morning. Somewhere between ten o’clock at night and three in the morning. I am in front of my computer and I am sipping a glass of red wine.
AJ: Any advice for Young writers out there?
JA: Read as much as you can get your hands on. Keep reading and eventually you will be able to write better than you thought. If you want to write as a writer, then you must learn the rules. Once you learn the rules, read more and see how the best writers who ever lived bent the rules, but notice how they seldom, if ever, broke them.
Jeffrey B. Allen