Hello! Welcome to the Author of the Week Page, where I interview Indie Authors, This week's Author of the Week is the interesting and wonderful Brook Allen.
Hi Brook, welcome, let's start with what books you've written.
Tell me a little about yourself, see we're all nosey here!
First off, thanks so much for having me, Elizabeth. I’m a professional musician in my day-job and with rehearsals and performances, it takes up a lot of my time. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, there haven’t been many concerts or music lessons lately. Hopefully, things will be back to normal soon. My husband and I live with our two black Labradors in a rural community in Virginia’s beautiful, Blue Ridge Mountains.
I had to look those up Brook, they are really beautiful. What got you into writing?
I’ve been writing off and on since high school. However, after I focused on Roman Studies while going to grad school, I started the Antonius Trilogy. It’s been a labour of love now for over fifteen years and it’s hard to believe I’ll be done by the end of October. That means new projects, though. I’m looking forward to that!
A long time but when you love something, it flies by. What’s the main thing you love and hate about writing?
For me, writing—real writing—is growth. With every draft, edit, and review, I am able to see what I need to strive toward and focus on. Life should be like that, right? Probably the thing I hate the most is the way some retailers/review sites don’t require an actual “review”, but allow people to give random “ratings”. Random ratings don’t help grow as a writer. I want to know what people liked or WHY they didn’t like something.
That's true Brook, who is the worst villain you’ve ever written, and why?
Octavian’s not really a “villain”. I mean, the guy was a brilliant politician and became Rome’s first and possibly most illustrious Emperor. That being said, he was also ruthless, hypocritical, cruel-spirited, and all about propaganda. Not necessarily what I’d want on my job evaluation! Ha! What he did to Marc Antony, after the fact—damnatio memoriae—was the damning of his name. He outlawed any other man from being named “Marcus Antonius”, he declared Antony’s birthday an official state-day of bad luck, he destroyed his statuary, struck through any of his inscriptions, and pretty much-made life difficult for those of us trying to LEARN about Antony’s history.
What is next on your list to write/publish?
After I finish the Antonius Trilogy, I’m hoping to work on a novel on a time-slice of American History. I’ll be focusing on just a few years… around 1803-1806, when the Lewis & Clark Corps of Discovery was taking place. It’ll be a fascinating period to explore and I hope to incorporate the life of Julia Hancock, who was Clark’s first wife, into the story. The setting will be Fincastle, Virginia… not far from where I live. It’s a place jam-packed with intriguing people.
That sounds interesting, who is your favourite author, and why?
Margaret George is my favourite author. She is truly the grande-dame of historical fiction in the US, and her characters are so varied. What a career this lady has had, from reaching the acclaim of being a NYT Bestselling Author to appearing live on a celebration honouring Garth Brooks. Her book, The Memoirs of Cleopatra led me to write my Antonius Trilogy. Best of all, she’s been my mentor along the way.
She sounds like a wonderful mentor, who encouraged you the most to write?
My parents encouraged me first. I won some awards in high school for my writing. Then came my husband who has slipped into their shoes of being my cheerleader. Lastly, Margaret George’s encouragement, advice, and endorsement have been a great honour and joy to have.
How wonderful you've had so much support Brook. Are you as avid a reader as a writer?
I try to be. It’s been an easy role to slip into during these months of the pandemic. However, when I’m working full-time in my day-job, it’s pretty much impossible to both read a lot and WRITE novels. I look forward to retiring so I can focus on writing like I’ve been able to do these months of the pandemic.
What’s your favourite genre?
Hands down, historical fiction! I’m a member of the Historical Novel Society.
I think I walked into that one lol. Do you listen to music when you write?
Because I’m a professional musician, it’s really difficult to write and have music in the background. It’s simply because my ear is so trained to LISTEN to music, I can’t focus on my work. I’m afraid as much as I love music, I have to have total quiet while writing.
That does make sense, if you could interview any famous author who would it be and why?
Actually, I’d love interviewing Kate Quinn and am thinking of approaching her to do so! I’ve met her briefly at conferences and she’s very warm and friendly. Who knows… maybe she’d say YES!
Give it a try Brook! Tell me a secret that none of your fans know!
Long, long ago… I once did pre-training for the Olympics. I was into equestrian arts… dressage, cross-country. I rode a LOT. I was doing well, riding well, and then I graduated from high school and went to college. That ended that!
I'm impressed, tell me what your main character would say about you!
He’d probably be irritated that it’s taken me so long to finish his story, but also appreciative. People are still very polarized when it comes to Antony. There’s seldom any middle-ground where he’s concerned, in scholarly circles. So he’d probably thank me for trying to curb some of the injustices done to him and his family in the course of my research.
I think people forget there is always a backstory to someone, a reason why! Finally, any words of advice?
If you really want to be a writer, and your heart loves words, your mind is always constructing stories… don’t WAIT! DO IT! I waited thirty years or more before I was published and I regret not starting sooner.
Thank you, Brook, for talking with me today, I hope everyone enjoyed the interview as much as I did, now if you want more Brook, find her at:
Author Website: brookallenauthor.com
Author Email: firstname.lastname@example.org