Sunday, December 13, 2009

Interview with Author and Publisher Rida Allen

Joins us at we chat with author and publisher Rida Allen. Her books showcase women with real curves in real relationships to an audience of real women. Please join us a learn a little more about Rida and her literary journey.

***** Contest Alert*********
Author Sponsored Contest - Leave a comment on Rida Allen's interview and be entered to win a copy of The Player the second in Rida's Bandmates series. Author sponsored contest ends at 11:59PM on Jan 31, 2010. For more info on both The Players and the series read Rida's interview. She discusses the book and the series as a whole. It sounds like a winner to me. Can't wait to read it.
1. Tell us about yourself? I’m in my late thirties, married, and what I would called a retired computer geek. I started my working career in computers while I was still in high school, then continued in that vein all through college and up until I fell ill in 2000. I enjoyed computers a lot, the challenge and puzzle of how things worked intrigued me, and I like helping other people with their computers. I was never formally educated in that industry, but learned everything hands-on…and sometimes “feet to the fire.” But it was a fulfilling career, both intellectually and financially. However, when I burnt out and got sick, I left the computer field and ended up working on my writing again (my college degree is in Writing and Communications, despite working the computer field as both an amateur and a professional). I’ve been with my husband for over seventeen years, though we just celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary. I’m lucky he also has the writing bug, otherwise I think I might have driven him crazy years before now with my odd writing thoughts and the weird hours I work on my books.

2. How long have you been writing? I’ve been writing since I was about eleven, though at the time I started with poetry. I think I probably wrote my first “story” at twelve, but it was short. I spent a lot of years writing short stories, most of which never had endings. Then at some point I actually stopped writing. In 1995, I wrote a book that I felt was my best work ever, submitted it to one publisher, got rejected 18 months later, then put it away in a drawer. In late 2000, I spent about six months revising and rewriting before I sent it out to another publisher, with the result being it got published in 2001.

3. What drove you to pick up that pen for the first time? I had a somewhat lonely childhood, despite being the youngest of four children. I didn’t make friends easily, I was teased often because of my weight, and I was hella shy. I spent a lot of time reading, and I think it developed my imagination. At some point, I guess my imagination spilled over onto paper because I just couldn’t contain it in my head anymore!

4. How long have you been writing books with plus size characters? My first published book was with a plus size heroine. That was the first time I’d written about a heroine who looked like me. Prior to that, I think I spent a lot of time writing about who I thought I wanted to be…thin and popular. It never fit for me, and always felt like a lie.

5. Why did you chose to feature plus size heroines in your novels? I wanted to be able to read about women who were like me, and I couldn’t find that on the market. Since I knew I had a penchant for writing, and enjoyed writing, I decided to try writing about someone who looked like me. I found I was able to draw on a lot of my own experiences to make the heroine realistic, and I knew in doing so I would be able to touch other women like me who enjoyed romance novels. It always makes my day when I hear from readers who identify with my heroines, who tell me that they are so happy to finally see themselves in a romance novel as the heroine who gets her man!

6. You have a number of titles on the market. Can you give us a run down of your work and where readers interested in your and your work can find these titles.
At this time, I have nine books out, with a tenth to be released just after the first of the year. Several of my early books are connected (The Legacy Tree, Truth and Lies, The Fashionable PI, Lost or Found?, Model Mom), and I’ve also started a new series about a rock band, of which The Crooner is the first. Then I have several books that are standalone (Great Love, You Have Been Disconnected, Driving Adam…Crazy!). All my books are available from your regular online sources, and from bookstores (though they may have to be ordered), as well as from their respective publishers. I also sell signed copies of my books through my website, or from my publishing company, Draumr Publishing.

7. When will your next book be released? Tell us a little about your next book? My next book, The Player, will be released just after the first of the year. It is the second in my rock band series (the series title is Bandmates), and is about that guy who never gets close to anyone, and who plays the field no matter the consequences. He’s outgoing, gorgeous, and everyone loves him, but he’s hiding something deep inside. In The Player, he finally meets a woman (fabulously curvy!) who tempts him in ways he never expected, turning his life, and his heart, inside out!

8. And if being a published author is not enough your are also co-owner of Draumr publishing. Tell us a little about Draumr publishing and your work with authors of Curvy Novels seeking a place for their voice to be heard? Draumr Publishing has been in business since 2004. It came about because I was unhappy with the publishers I was dealing with, and annoyed that I couldn’t find more books with curvy heroines. I couldn’t understand why there wasn’t a publisher supporting these books when I knew from my first couple of books—and my immersion into the BBW world—that there were a lot of readers begging for these types of books. With the support of my family, we decided to open Draumr, hoping to offer BBW books a new home. Of course, we knew there were more great books out there than just romance novels, and that not every author would want to write with curvy heroines. So although Draumr does have a BBW line called Dangerous Curves, we also accept other types of fiction. But my heart is really with the Dangerous Curves books, because they are who I am. I will always write books with curvy heroines, and I will always try to support other authors who do the same.

9. How do you manage holding the dual roles of author and publisher? What is a typical day for you like when you with both writing and publishing deadlines to meet? It’s an interesting question, and one I get asked a lot. Fortunately for me, my creative brain seems to wake up later in the day, so I’m able to partition off when I work for Draumr and when I write for myself. However, there is some crossover in that, because when I’m really busy for Draumr, my hours will spill over into the evening. But like many authors, I’ve learned to balance my writing life with my working life…it just so happens that my work life still involves books and publishing. Meanwhile, I enjoy the publishing company so much because even when I’m not knee deep in my own work, I’m living the writing and publishing life with another author. Even when my book isn’t ready for cover art, I get to live the process over and over again with our authors…I get to experience the joy and excitement with them as they see their books coming to life. It’s so much fun. Don’t get me wrong, running and working at a publishing company is work, and it can be difficult, but I do enjoy the challenges involved. Also, the fact that I’m (mostly) my own boss doesn’t suck. And unlike many other publishing companies, we accept and publish very few books a year. So I’m able to give our authors individual attention during every step of the publishing process…and still give myself time to breathe, to write, and to live.

10. What BBW Books will be released in the near future by Draumr Publishing?
My book is due out after the first of the year (The Player), and I know that Misty Simon will also have a book out with us next year in the same series. Misty is participating in the Bandmates series with me, which is an exciting venture for us. Both of us have written BBW series books, but we’ve never shared a series with another author. Should be fun!
Otherwise, we don’t have anything solid on our schedule. We’re always open to submissions for our BBW line, as well as for our regular fiction line. Since we don’t publish a ton of books a year, we don’t schedule our books out too far ahead of time.

11. How can authors interested in submitting their work to Draumr Publishing get more information on the submission process? We have submission guidelines on our website at http://www.draumrpublishing.com/submissions.php. We also have FAQs for authors on our website, which may answer questions authors have. Authors can also check out my blog, where I offer some tips about submitting, as well as talk about new releases, the publishing process, and my own writing (http://www.draumrpublishing.com/forums/blog/ridaallen/index.php). If they can’t find their answers in any of those places, they can always email me at rida@draumrpublishing.com.

12. What are you reading now? Who are your favorite authors? At the moment, I’m not actually reading anything for pleasure. I’ve taken a short hiatus from reading, simply because I’m not finding things that interest me in the stores. It seems like many of the print romance publishing houses are putting out reissues, which don’t interest me, for obvious reasons. And despite the lure of technology, I do not have an e-reader, and I do not prefer to read ebooks . My reading enjoyment includes the physicality of books, their feel in my hands, their smell, the visual of the words on the pages… This is also the reason why we put all our books out in print as well as in ebook format at Draumr Publishing. For Draumr, if the book is good enough to be accepted, then it’s good enough to be in print. If it isn’t good enough to be in print, we won’t accept it.

13. How can readers get in contact with you? Do you have a website? I have a personal author website at http://www.ridaallen.com/. There’s a contact me link there if readers want to email me to tell me how fantastic my books are and how much they love my writing.  I can also be reached via Draumr email at rida@draumrpublishing.com (website is http://www.draumrpublishing.com/)

14. What is the one thing you would like all of your readers to know about you? I write because I love to write. Writing is a part of my heart and a part of my soul. I hope that comes through in my books.

15. If you could tell one thing to every aspiring writer what would it be? Write what you know, and what you love to read. Readers will know if you’re forcing it, and likewise will know when what you write is what you know.

About Rida Allen: Born in suburban Maryland, I have lived here all my life, moving only three times and even then, less than half an hour away each time. Growing up, I was the youngest and only girl in a family of four siblings, suffering mightily and for many long years under the hands of my three older brothers. To escape, I locked myself away in my bedroom with books, books, and more books! I am and have been a voracious reader of romance novels for as long as I can remember…even before I was writing my own stories as a pre-teen. At 11 years old, I started my writing hobby with poetry, then began writing “short” romantic stories at about 12. Although I always wanted to be a writer, I found myself instead working with computers. I was in the computer industry for more years than I want to remember, first as an amateur and then as an expert (of sorts). My husband and I met online (before online dating was even a glimmer in some Internet boomer’s eye), and we knew each other for eight years before we got engaged and married. Even now, after sixteen years together, we are best friends, and he is one of my biggest supporters. We live close to both our families and spend as much time with them as possible. We have spent recent years in our single family home, purchased partially for the large yard that our dog thinks is her own personal park.

1 comment:

Venus said...

I'm a huge fan of Rida's work both as an author and a publisher. I have a full library of Dangerous Curves novels and I've been counting down to read The Player since reading The Crooner. If you haven't read any of her novels I suggest you pick one up, you won't be sorry.