What are your top favorite books/authors?
- Romance – Nora Roberts, Mary Stewart (from back in the day,) Lily Morton, Lucy Lenox, Bryan T. Clark, Tal Bauer… well the list is never-ending I’m afraid.
- Fantasy/UF – Jeff Jackson, Terry Brooks, M.D. Neu, Seb Carter, again, I could go on and on…
- Historical Fiction: Glenn Quigley, Edward Rutherford…
What book do you think everyone should read?
Depends on the genre. Nora Robert’s Three Sisters is one of my all time favorite series in romance. Edward Rutherford’s Sarum is one of the best historical fiction ever written, Terry Brooks Shannara series is amazing… My take is just read a lot and hopefully, you’ll get most of the great ones in the process. 😊
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
It depends on the story. Most of the time, my characters show up as the book is progressing. Occasionally, like in Emerald Earth, most of the characters show up in the beginning.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
Lots, and lots, and lots… I have never minded the research, so I do it before, during and even sometimes after I finish a book’s draft. I try to look at all the angles to make sure I represented the characters the best way possible. I will say, the Witch Brothers was one of the most difficult books I’ve written because I had to do extensive amounts of research to represent the magical community appropriately. And yes, there is a magical community that exists in the real world!
Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, this is what I do. Do I make enough money to live off of it? Well, let’s just say, I’m lucky my hubby has a good job! 😊
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
A good writer has to be a great reader. That’s always been my philosophy. My favorite genres are romance and fantasy. If they mix as with paranormal romance or romantic fantasy, then I’m a happy camper!
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
I’m ADHD, so any distraction will completely halt the creative writing process. I write when the dogs are asleep, and the hubby is at work or asleep (if he works nights.) I can edit anytime though, so when they are all around me making noise, that’s what I’m doing. 😊
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
I have found that when a book isn’t ready to be written, it doesn’t matter how hard I push it, the dang thing won’t move. So, I’ve learned that when one book is sticking its heels into the sand refusing to budge, I can simple move over to another project that is choosing to be a bit more… accommodating.
I have over twenty ideas, we call them plot bunnies, swimming around in my head. Some are close to being written (drafted,) while others might only have a few pages done. There is no shortage of project I can be working on at any given time.
Pen or type writer or computer?
I write on my laptop. The hubby has tried to get me to do dictation writing, and I hated it. I’ve got a strange brain condition called dysgraphia (just learned about that in the past 10 years) that keeps me from being able to write well by hand, but even in high school, I found I was a fast typist, so that’s my go to.
Thank you to whomever came up with the idea of creating the laptop!
A day in the life of the author?
Boring as all heck… I get up, I have coffee, I FB, I answer emails, I FB some more, I argue with my beloved PA before he goes to bed (he lives in India,) then sometime around one in the afternoon, I start to write… I may write up until time to go to bed but if not, I tend to either watch TV (if I’ve been writing all day,) or if I’ve been editing, I might curl up to a book, which always has to be the complete opposite than the one I’m editing…
See told you, boring.
Do you have any advice to offer for new authors?
Yeah, I have offered this more than a few times. When you sit down to pen (type) your first novel, remember the first draft is for you. Don’t worry about what your English teachers would’ve said, don’t worry about your spelling or grammar, in fact, move any and all things out of your head that might stop you from getting the words on paper.
This is important to remember because the moment your draft is done, the moment you begin to read it and clean up the grammar, plot holes, spelling mistakes, and all the other things that you’ll have to fix, the book belongs to others.
You write the first draft for yourself; you edit it for others.
Describe your writing style.
Eclectic… I write what I love, so it’s a mix of happy and sad, frustrating and endearing… I almost always have a moral (although I don’t like to admit that about my writing,) and ultimately, it’s about giving the reader a fun journey.
What makes a good story?
A good story takes you on a journey, and a great story causes you to lose track of time, get lost in the story, or have a hard time putting it down.
What are you currently reading?
I’ve got a long list. Today, I’m reading Never Stay Gone by Tal Bauer, because it’s set in the same part of the world as my (Blake Allwood’s) ghost story, The Big Bend Series.
What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?
If it’s a stand alone book, I always pants it. However, for a series I have to continue to plan and outline the story since my characters are always pulling a fast one on me. I have to keep notes to keep them from completely leaving the ballpark.
Unfortunately, I’ve found I simply can’t pants (write by the seat of my pants) a fantasy or urban fantasy series. There are just too many moving parts.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Trying to do it right. You can’t do a creative project right. You just have to go with the flow. Get your story down in print then worry about all the “doing it right” stuff later.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
My bleeding family. LOL My husband, who is like an emotional stoneman most of the time, wants to chat when I’m writing, or the dogs love to take walks or need snacks, or… well you get my drift. Luckily, hubby has to work, and dogs get tired and sleep so I’ve found my way around them.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
A bit of both. I let the stories go where they go, so sometimes that’s not exactly what the readers want. However, I do read a lot and do try to read popular books as much as I can, so I know what readers are reading.
Ultimately though, I’m a rebel at heart, so there’s only so much conformity I’m able to provide.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Don’t wait to try. The water isn’t nearly as deep nor as full of sharks as you thought it would be.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from other genders?
I have zero problem writing characters from other genders. Why? Well, cause most of my friends are women and they have NEVER hesitated to fill me in on all the intricacies of their lives… even when I would’ve really preferred they not!
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
I write roughly a thousand words per hour. A typical novel can be between 50k to 100k. So, you can do the math. It’s a lot more time consuming than people realize. I like to tell my friends who ask this question that I’m basically writing a thesis, but without a degree or student loans…
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I think it’s real for some writers. I don’t really relate to writers block personally. If a book is being a jerk, (yes I think of them as people, and yes some of them are jerks,) I just set it aside and go on to the next project.
There’ve been times when I’ve gotten up against a wall with my writing. Sometimes it’s been like if I have to write or edit another word, I might just start killing off every character in the book… in those instances, reading a few books or watching a nice movie seems to fix the problem.
For me, writing is something I love to do. Even when it’s hard, even when I’m fighting my characters, so, my attitude is if it’s not working, give it a break and see what happens. At least up until now, I can only resist the process for a week or so before I’m itching to get back into it.
**New Release – Aug 5th 2022!!**
Adam J. Ridley is the pen name used by Blake Allwood for his urban fantasy and fantasy novels. I travel full time with my husband and two dogs in a forty-foot motor home, constantly looking for inspiration in the towns we find ourselves in.
I’ve loved fantasy all my life, and after several years of writing romance, finally took the time to try my hand at a romantic urban fantasy.
The Witch Brothers Saga is my debut series. Next year, I’ll release a Selkie series and possible my first science fiction, superhero novel as well.
Thanks for joining me on this journey and I look forward to reading your reviews on the Witch Brothers Saga.
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!