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Interview with:

Allyson B Campbell [allyson] 

What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?
My very first story was of a King who had to decide between good and evil and the well-being of his people. I can not remember the exact date, but I knew i must have been 8 years old because my second story I remembered dating it - 1988. I don't remember exactly how I began writing, but my mother mentioned recently at a TV interview I did, that I was always writing and crumpling the papers and throwing them on the floor. My room was constantly messy with papers and books. The very first time I believed sharing my writings was when my aunt visited from Canada and I remembered reading a story to her. I don't know if she was too impressed, but then again, I was still very, very young. I knew I wanted to be a writer, but I believed what deterred me was when my father told me I couldn't make a living just writing novels. He said that "Bill Cosby was a doctor and a writer." It may have made sense now, but when you are around the age of 8 years old, that can crush a child. I didn't give up writing totally but I think that if I weren't told that, it would have set the course of my life and I would have published my books earlier.
What is your favorite genre? Can you provide a link to a site where we can read some of your work or learn something about it?
My favourite genre is romance. My website is www.abcdwb.com You can also read a synopsis of my novel, Chained and Bound on http://www.editred.com/Allyson_C I don't only write, I also do photography.
What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
Sometimes I brainstorm my ideas, but if I have a free time, I can get something written. I've even tried writing a page a day, just to get something started. But recently I dedicated my self to finishing a story and I think what helped me was that I prayed to God to help me write something and thanked Him after for completing it. At that time, I did one scene each day. That will more than likely be my third novel for novel for publication since I am trying to finish one I started eight years ago.
What type of reading inspires you to write?
I read different types of novels and I love talking to people. I recently spoke to a couple of gentlemen who told me how their life was back in Trinidad and Tobago in the forties. I had an idea of a novel I wanted to write and after listening to them, I knew in what direction the story would drift to. This novel however won't be completed for years to come because I need to take time to research, but it was excited finally having a story line to do. My love of the arts really inspires me. I love music and movies; I love to paint, draw and take pictures; I also write poetry and I love, love, love to travel. I will be moving to Heidelberg, Germany in May (2009) and I'm looking forward to all the creative ideas I will acquire. My novels are mostly about love, but I make the situations real. I write about things that I like and depict that into the characters. My writings will show that people fall in and out of love with any situation given to them. They overcome these situations and they share their trials and joys with the ones they love. I like to emphasis on black love because it is not always depicted in the movies of now-a-days. Hopefully my novels with turn into movies someday.
What do you think are the basic ingredients of a story?
These are just a few that I thought of, but I think they are key in how I write my novels and poetry. ~ The characters and their lifestyle ~ Asking a question and getting an answer in the end ~ That turn around or point in the story that will attract the reader to return ~ Connection between what you write and how the reader interprets it ~ Giving the reader a twist of a particular outcome
What voice do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?
Lately I've been writing in first person.
What well known writers do you admire most?
I like Pearl Buck.
What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours?
I try to put myself in my characters 'shoes'. I think things through and I try to remember conversations that I have with others and how things were expressed. I love arguments because I create intense scenes and dialogues that bring you into the story. Lets you feel like you are right there.
Are you equally good at telling stories orally?
Of course! I used to act in high school and did a play four years ago and there were times when I had to perform in a short notice. I love to talk and share my ideas with folks. Recently I did a TV interview (my very first) and I was very glad that it went well. My parents were there and they were surprised to see the expressive side of me. They never knew their daughter was that creative.
Deep down inside, who do you write for?
I write for myself. It is my 'freedom of expression'.
Is writing a form of personal therapy? Are internal conflicts a creative force?
Yes there are internal conflicts that I let out. Like I said, i tend to love intense moments, like two people fighting or a couple making love or the admiration of once character to another. I write when I have feelings inside that I want to express. I still write to penpals, something I also started when I was seven, eight years old. And I use to write in my diary a lot. Right now, I don't have as much time to write in my diary anymore, but this is something I hope to start again once I get to Germany. I believe I will have enough ideas and thoughts that I want to 'let out of my system'.
Does reader feed-back help you?
Definitely. I love the connection and I want people to feel connected to me by telling me what they think of my 'thoughts'. If I am able to write my 'thoughts' out into stories and get feed-back from other authors, readers and reviewers, it helps me to write better.
Do you believe you have already found "your voice" or is that something one is always searching for?
I think that if you have a creative mind, "your voice" is always something you are searching for. I have a lot of friends who are trying to find their niche, but because they are creative, they search different avenues, which is what happened to me as well. I think it is something that people who have logical minds don't understand, and that is my husband, but he is very supportive and I think that is also something that creative thinkers need in their life. My voice was hidden for a long time, but I've gained it now and I am 'running' with it. I am a published author, who has three more books lined up to finish and I am also a photographer and blogger. My Blogs: http://abcdwb.blogspot.com/
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
I usually give myself a deadline within the end of each month. Whether if it is to finish a chapter or re-tweak it, it helps me to accomplish something within that time. I have even started at one point, writing a page a day, and it worked. Now my goal is to strive to finish each novel I've started. I've started and developed 5 different stories, so now I need to finish them all. Finishing my first novel, Chained and Bound, started my quest and I am four chapters from finishing In Good Company, which will be published in Spring 2010. All of this was done within two years so I am progressing strongly. Just making my goals HAPPEN.
What do you surround yourself with in your work area in order to help your concentrate?
I like to have a dictionary or thesaurus book, mellow music in the background and something to drink. I sometimes turn off my phone because I don't like to be in the moment and I'm interrupted.
Do you write on a computer? Do you print frequently? Do you correct on paper? What is your process?
Right now it is strictly on computer where I write, but I also write on paper and then retype. Once the story is developed, I send it for print and there is where I do more corrections. I guess as a writer, you are always correcting your work because there were times when I wanted to change a scene in Chained and Bound. I've stopped printing because I wasted a lot of paper, but I can say it is my 'poor man's copyright'.
What sites do you frequent on-line to share experiences or information?
I am always on Facebook, BlogHer, my own blog page, Editred and Author's Den. I just got the Twitter bug too.
What are you working on now?
I am working on a novel based in Trinidad and Tobago (my home country) of two lovers meeting and falling in love under different circumstances. (Typical, but wait until it's completed to really find out what happens). There are some funny scenes that I am excited about too.
What do you recommend I do with all those things I wrote years ago but have never been able to bring myself to show anyone?
Do what someone told me? 'Never light a candle, then out the fire.' That stuck with me last year when a fellow told me that he heard I published a novel, and never told him. I got a scolding (LOL). I always encourage people to write, write, write. Even if it is as simple as blogging because it helps. There are also self-publishing companies and book-on-demand publishers and I suggest using that because you can print just a few copies of your writing to share with family and friends and get your own personal critique. You may never know what you have hidden within the fire.
What is your specialty? What subjects do you deal with?
I love and I mean, love writing romance novels, but I always talk about issues that couples and families face in every day life.
Please list a web address where where one can view an example of your work.
What do you currently have in your MP3 player?
Calypso, Reggae, African, Alternative, Neo Soul, Latin, Heavy Metal, and Modern Jazz.
What books are you currently reading?
New Moon by Stephenie Meyer and soon I will start on Peony by Pearl Buck and The Pillow Book of Lady Wisteria by Laura Joh Rowland. I also have a slew of books on the way from America on Photography and novels from Trinidadian authors. I am always reading something which helps with my writing as well.
Places in the world that you have visited recently.
I have traveled to a lot of countries in the Caribbean: St. Thomas, Barbados, St. Lucia, Jamaica, Antigua, The Bahamas to name a few. Currently living in Germany and I've been to Luxembourg, France and Switzerland and I am planning a trip to Czech Republic right now.
What is that special film you never tire of watching?
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and A Christmas Story.
What do you use: Mac or PC and why?
This is a never ending battle with what should rule in our home. My husband LOVES PC, but thinks I should get Mac because of my photography.
Have you ever bought works of art? What type of art? What compels you to purchase art?
I love art and just purchased an original from an artist from London. The piece is on it's way to the house right now and the artist is excited. It's a work with an Asian theme and I love all things Asia.
Do you defend urban graffiti?
Yes I do. I love art in all forms. I've seen art shown in the form of limestone housing (Florida), Skateboards on trees (North Carolina), a house made of soda cans in Maryland. Would I ever do it? I'm not that artistic (LOL).
What magazines do you frequently read?
I was an avid reader of Domino Magazine until they wrote their last publication this year. I also read O, Nat'l Geographic, Nat'l Geographic Traveler and The Economist.
What sports do you play and how often?
I don't play sports but I love football. You call it soccer, I call it football.
Where have you thought of going for your next holiday?
It is up in the air now because we just moved to Germany - there are many places to go in Europe (LOL).

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Allyson B Campbell
Heidelberg, Germany

[allyson] Allyson B Campbell
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