Blake Allwood – The Interview

Alan Wild – Free Book Friday!
January 29, 2021
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Blake Allwood – The Interview

blake allwood

Blake Allwood was born in west TN, then moved to Kansas City, MO, after attending college in Iowa. He met his husband in 1995, and they officially married in 2015, once the United States legalized gay marriage.

In 2017, he and his husband sold their home, purchased an RV, and began traveling the country with their two dogs. Their travels provide the inspiration and settings for many of his novels.

Typically, Blake can be found writing in the RV or by the fire with his laptop and their Jack Russell Terrier, Buddy, curled up between his legs or demanding his attention.  Denver, their Siberian Husky mix, is often asleep at his feet or playing tug of war with Blake’s husband.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

You’ll rarely find me not working in one way or another. But, saying that, I’m totally in love with gardening. Living in an RV, I don’t get to do as much as I did when we lived on our three-acre urban farm.  Right now, we’re stationary for about a year, so you can find me hanging out in my makeshift greenhouse my husband made for me or playing with my few indoor plants I allow myself to have.

Besides that, I’m a bit of a foodie and love to cook. So, when I’m not writing, I tend to be cooking or gardening.

What inspired you to start writing?

The story for Aiden Inspired, my first book, came from driving through Eastern Washington’s insanely beautiful countryside. Suzie Empowered came from wanting to support people who were forced to face people who’d sexually assaulted them.

Maybe the most amazing inspiration came from when I first started my author FB page. I have had several men ask me for relationship advice, which I am not an expert on, but I wrote Love by Chance and Another Chance with Love to offer advice without being a Dear Abby character.

So, long story not so short, inspiration can come from any place, really.

How long have you been writing?

I started writing when I had foster children and wanted to show them how to develop healthy relationships. My older kids were much more likely to read and digest my advice in written form than listening to me harp on about it. I wrote my first story for my kids just over ten years ago but didn’t publish my first novel until April 2019.

How do you handle writer’s block?

Knock on wood; I don’t really suffer from what most people call “writer’s block.” That being said, when I start losing my inspiration, I will stop and try to read something in the same genre and troupe I’m writing.  That tends to reopen my mind, and the story starts flowing again.

In fact, reading is one of the best ways I’ve found to deal with anything. Of course, I might be a bit biased in that regard.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

So, that’s a bit of a loaded question for me. It took until I published Aiden Inspired before I could accept that I was indeed a writer. To be honest, though, I still wonder if I am.

How do you research your books?

This is my favorite part of writing. I love to learn, and doing that for a book’s character or plot is right up my alley.

I tend to be a Google researcher for the most part, but when I can’t use Google, I use books about the local history when I was researching for my Big Bend National Park series.  I also speak with people familiar with the area or region to better understand how the story should play out.

For the most part, I’m willing to do whatever is needed to ensure the stories are well researched.

On a typical day, how much time do you spend writing?

As in writing and editing, I do something almost every day. I try to spend at least five hours a day during the week working on my books, but often it’s a lot more than that, especially if my husband has to work later hours.

What was your favorite part, and your least favorite part, of the publishing journey?

I’m obsessed with writing. I’m what they call a pantser, translated, that means, for the most part, I write by the seat of my pants. As a result, I’m often as surprised as my readers at how the stories work out.

My favorite saying to people who are just starting out is that the first draft of your story is all yours. You edit your work for other people. Of course, that’s why it takes me so long to get my books published.

What’s my least favorite part? I dislike marketing. I love hanging out with my fans on Facebook, but as far as promoting the books, that’s my weakest point. I have just hired a personal assistant who loves that side of things. Hopefully, she’ll do a better job than I at getting the word out.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I have six books published in Kindle Unlimited via Amazon and a free novella available through Bookfunnel.

I also have a dozen or more that I’ve completed the first draft on and are in various forms of the editing process.

Which is my favorite? That’s tough. They are all different, and all of them reflect something important to me. Easily, my most popular titles are Aiden Inspired, a painter who lives in New York and yearns for country life, and Another Chance With Love, my contemporary romance with a suspenseful plot twist at the end.

So, if I am forced to say, I would have to point to Another Chance with Love. From the moment I started writing that story, I was in love with it. Peter and Trevor’s story just flowed out of me like they were both happy someone was finally telling it. I also loved Peter’s mom Matilda the Hun (you have to read to learn more about her,) and baby Luka. It’s a roller coaster ride, and I can tell you it was a roller coaster to write it too. In the end, I truly enjoyed writing that one.

What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your books?

I was completely surprised that I can actually write books. I didn’t start writing until I was in my forties. Up until then, I would’ve told you I’m no good at writing. Then I started writing short stories for my foster children and caught the bug.

Who is your favorite character?

Honestly? I usually love my sub-characters the most. Clair from Aiden Inspired made me chuckle. I loved Suzie from Suzie Empowered too. Like Peter in Another Chance with Love, I have a love-hate relationship with his mother, who was arguably the antagonist in Love by Chance.

Main characters? I’d say I have a real thing for bad boys, so Devin floats my boat. I also really have a boyfriend crush on my character Leslie Cooper from Romantic Renovations. He’s hot in all the right ways.

I also can’t not mention Elian in Love by Chance. He’s so suave and patient. Martin is a bit of a spaz, understandably after having his heart stomped on, but Elian was so understanding, he melted my and many other reader’s hearts.

Tell us about your first published book? What was the journey like?

So, I’m self-published. I did have a chance to go the traditional route and backed out at the last moment.

Aiden Inspired was my first self-published book, and it was tricky and challenging on so many levels. If it hadn’t been for my very sweet and supportive husband, I could’ve never pulled it off.

As you can imagine, things are easier now, but that’s because the hubby still helps me, and we have the self-publishing thing down to a science.

Can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?

Humm… Aiden was doing what he thought he should when he moved to the big city instead of into a more rural environment that he wanted and craved. I think we do that as gay people all the time. We think we have to live in urban areas or follow other social pressures.

In a way that I didn’t think about this until after Aiden was published, I believe Aiden represented that struggle for me. In the end, he followed his heart, and of course, he got his man and his happily ever after as well.

Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?

Like I said earlier, all my characters represent something important to me, and at some point, each of them touched my heart in one way or another. However, for me, Bennett in Romantic Renovations is the most endearing.

Bennett is the product of a broken home. His father was abusive, and his mom is codependent, allowing much of the abuse to happen. Bennett and his mom were homeless for a good period of his life.

I was a foster parent for many years, and I’ve seen people who deal with their abuse in real life. For me, Bennett represented the people who society has knocked down and beaten so severely no one expects them to get back up.

When he did, it’s something I cheered for. Bennett’s happily ever after is very deserved and hard-earned.

Tell us about the process for coming up with the cover.

Ha, so this is a bit of an easy one. I reach out to one of three designers I work with and give them details of the story, and then I harass them. I love the process, and I’m almost one hundred percent sure they celebrate when the projects are done! Luckily, they still work with me, though.

What were the key challenges you faced when writing your books?

Editing. I’m a powerful storyteller, but not as strong of a writer. So, it’s easy for me to get buried in the editing process. Luckily, I’ve acquired a fantastic team of editors who work with me to ensure the story flows better than I could do independently. Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t have a few toddler temper tantrum meltdowns along the way. Thank GOODNESS my editors tolerate me!

What was the highlight of writing this book?

The creative process is like a drug for me. I love watching my storyline unfold, and the characters develop as the story happens. I don’t love all my characters, especially the evil ones, but even the antagonists are fun to make really naughty.

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers?

I have a couple I’ll mention.

I have a paranormal romance series that will be coming out soon, which was a lot of fun and even more work to write. It’s set in the Big Bend National Park area in Texas. The park is larger than one of our states, requiring a great deal of research to write.

I’m currently writing a five-book series set in Tennessee, where I grew up. I’ve not lived in Tennessee since I was a teenager, so I’m calling this series “Coming Home.” This work in progress is pulling on my emotions and memories. Mostly it’s been a cathartic experience.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

Literally, I draw inspiration from everywhere. The creative process for me is a bit different from other authors I’ve spoken with. Stories are always in my head. Usually, when I lie down, they come rushing into my consciousness, but when we are out traveling or visiting different parts of the country, I can imagine what it’d be like to live there or to work in a job.

In a way I hadn’t really anticipated, my stories reflect aspects of my life as well. Aiden Inspired represents my love of country life. Romantic Renovations reflects how much I enjoyed rehabbing homes with my husband in my twenties and so forth and so on.

I also get a lot of inspiration from reading. It’s interesting to me, how just reading a few books can spur a story that is in no way reflective of the ones I’ve read. It’s like the author’s own creative process somehow invades my consciousness. Now, how’s that for getting too deep?

Who is your favorite author and why?

Wow, that’s really too hard to say. I love a plethora of authors for a variety of different reasons. I learned to love romance by reading Mary Stewart’s novels way back when I was in High School.

Nora Roberts’s books just solidified that love of romance.

I also fell head over heels in love with Marion Zimmer Bradley, primarily her Mists of Avalon novel.

I’ve also found a love for Lucy Lennox, Lily Morton, Brian T. Clark, and many others in the Gay/MM romance world, way too many to mention here.

What are you reading now?

I have a very long to be read list. I want to read more of Brian T. Clark’s books. Lucy Lennox has a new one out that I’ve not gotten to yet. AND I’ve downloaded your Hope and Despair book, Alan Wild.

What books or authors have most influenced your writing?

Mary Stewart for sure since she was my first romance author. Nora Roberts mostly influences me, if I’m honest. I love that she plays in and out of a lot of subgenres and troupes.

Who is the author you most admire in your genre?

In the romance genre as a whole, I’m beyond impressed with Nora Roberts. She clearly loves what she does, and her love for it pours out of her writing.

In the subgenre of MM/Gay romance, I’d have to shine a special light on Lucy Lennox, who has done a fantastic job of balancing the romance and the sexual elements with the characters.

Favorite quote (doesn’t matter the source)

Well, you know what they say: if you don’t have anything nice to say about anybody, come sit by me!

Clairee Belcher

Pick something from Robert Harling’s Steel Magnolias; I love them all but this one especially:

FYI, the historian in me can’t resist this nugget of trivia… Did you know that Teddy Roosevelt’s daughter Alice Roosevelt Longworth was credited with saying that twisted naughty little phrase first? Shame I didn’t get to know her; I’m sure we’d have been great friends!

www.blakeallwood.com

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19055696.Blake_Allwood

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/blakeallwoodnovels

Facebook Groups:

Blake Allwood Book Club: https://www.facebook.com/groups/804728813350964/

Gay Men Loving Gay Romance: https://www.facebook.com/groups/318719385955692/

Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/blake.allwood.5/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BlakeAllwood

Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/blake-allwood-6411421b4/

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Alan Wild
Alan Wild
Alan Wild writes LGBTQ romantic mysteries. His passion for writing began when he was a young boy. Writing provided an escape from reality. He draws inspiration for his stories from the people and places around him. Besides his passion for writing, he is a skilled portrait and studio photographer. A native of Colorado, he is surrounded by beauty people from all walks of life and majestic landscapes. An avid reader of mysteries and romances, the onetime call center manager said goodbye to the corporate world to pursue his passions and publish the stories that have swum around in his head for decades. When Alan isn’t writing, reading, taking photos or exploring his beloved home state, he can be found surrounded by the people he loves the most, his husband, children, two dogs, a grumpy Macaw, and a tank full of goldfish in his Denver, Colorado home. For more information about him, visit his website here: www.AlanWild.us

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