Jul 28, 2016

Interview with Allen

What was the inspiration for your book? 
I was riding the subway home from work and the train ground to a halt between stations. The lights flickered and went out for a few seconds. Right before we were engulfed in darkness I caught a glimpse of a Goth girl listening to her headphones in the doorway across from me. An image formed in my mind of a college student on a stalled train as monsters poured into the car. That idea lingered and I built the character of Evelyn and the first chapter of the book from that beginning.

I’ve also lived in New York City for a long time and wanted to capture the flavor and the diversity of this city. I tried to make sure as much as possible was based on real locations or that it touched on some of the changes the city has gone through in the last 20 years.

How much of your characters are based on your traits or someone you know personally? 
The characters all have a little of my personality in them. Redmond Carter is an aging punk rocker and he shares my memories of New York City from the 1990’s when it was a dirty, grittier place. Evelyn chafes at the pressure her family is placing on her. Neil is a fish out water at an elite private school. Pharrell is struggling to do well in a world where the odds are stacked against him. Monk has a tendency to want to bite the hand that feeds him.

A lot of those characters are created whole cloth from my imagination. I carried a notebook around on the subway and jotted down details when I would see someone who was interesting looking. Later I went through my notes and they helped spark ideas as I built the history of each of the characters.

What scene was the hardest for you to write? 
There is a scene toward the end of the book where something horrible happens and I could see it coming from a mile off and I thought ‘Well this will be interesting’. The scene itself wasn’t hard to write, it was just emotional. If anyone wants to take a guess which one it is, they can email me after they read the book and I’ll let them know if they are right or not.

What are you working on now? 
I have a pair of horror short stories set in Texas and Mexico that will come out in the fall. I’m also finishing the second book in the Elyuum series. At some point I’d like to return to Nightfall Gardens and write a short story that I’ve been wanting to get too. There is an unreleased album of fantastic songs based on the series recorded by musicians from the U.S., the U.K. and Mexico that I’d like to put out with the short story.

Are there any authors or books you recommend? 
I’m always ready to talk about books. Right now I’m finishing The City of Mirrors, the last book in The Passage series by Justin Cronin. At the same time I’m reading The Season of the Witch by David Talbot about San Francisco between 1968 and the early 80’s. Each chapter focuses on a bizarre episode from that tumultuous period. One book that I’ve probably given out four or five times is a dark coming of age story called The Peculiar Memories of Thomas Penman by Bruce Robinson. For some reason that book never got the attention I thought it deserved.

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