Name Kayelle Allen
Age I’m 65 this year.
Where are you from?
I was born in Idaho, but traveled the world even before I started school. I’ve lived in many places, including most of the United States. For the past 36 years I’ve lived in the southeast.
Tell us a little about your self, i.e., your education, family life, etc.
I’ve been married forty-two years to the same person, have three grown children and five grandchildren. I met my husband while we were both on active duty in the US Navy. We were stationed together and happened to have joined the same day. We are three days apart in age.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
My latest book came out just about one month ago. I’ve been working on its sequel and also on outlining the series it’s in. The book is Bringer of Chaos: the Origin of Pietas. It’s scifi and not a romance. However, readers have been calling it a bromance. The book is about two enemy warriors: one human, one immortal. They are different in belief, but alike in spirit. When they’re marooned together on an alien world, they must depend on one another for survival. After centuries of war against humans, Pietas detests the loathsome creatures and kills them on sight, but he is too damaged to continue on his own. Though he despises needing help, he allows the reanimated special ops soldier, Six, to nurture and restore him to full strength, and then accompany him. As they cross the planet together on foot, the immortal begins to wonder if he has found his first human friend, or if Six is loyal only because Pietas could keep other immortals from tearing him to shreds. This human will either be his closest living friend, or the one whose betrayal will trigger all-out vengeance by the most powerful immortal ever born.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve loved words since I learned to talk. Even more when I learned to write. Writing stories was something I could not avoid. I had to write.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Long before I was published. It’s a state of mind.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I created an entire scifi universe to play in. At the Mercy of Her Pleasure was the first book set there. It’s a sweet scifi romance about a by-the-book female captain in the rebellion who hires a playful half-human thief to help her steal back a prototype taken from her scientist parents. Writing that was the fulfillment of a life-goal. I had a blast with it. The book is full of humor, even though it’s not a comedy. In fact, all my books have humor. It’s part of life itself.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Yes. I’m brilliant. Also modest. LOL Seriously, I work hard to be a lyrical and elegant writer who uses rhythm to tell a story. I am not satisfied until a piece has a smooth sound that flows on the tongue of your mind.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Pietas is called “Bringer” by his followers. It’s short for Bringer of Chaos — a name he earned by being a warlord. He is not what you’d call a “nice guy.” There will be others in the series with this beginning. This one’s full title is Bringer of Chaos: the Origin of Pietas. Next in line is Bringer of Chaos: Harvest of Blood.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
We judge based on what we know and what we see. Stepping into the other person’s shoes will open your eyes to a different truth from the one you know.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Bringer of Chaos is scifi set in the far future, but it involves every day events and situations people face right now. Perhaps no one we know is about to be exiled to an alien planet, but we know people who are ostracized for being different. We know people who have a bad name but are not bad people. The story is fiction, but the truth is real.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? A mentor?
In Scifi, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clarke, John Vance. Elsewhere, Mary Renault and Anne Rice. Plus a good friend who introduced me to my first publisher, Barbara Karmazin. She has since passed due to cancer, but her impact on my writing life was profound.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Wow – so many come to mind. I love to read. Even though they are not all that new, I’m going to say Barbara White Daille, Livia Quinn, and Lauren Linwood. All three have unique voices and stories. Not what I’d usually read, but when I decided to try them, I was hooked.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Only one? My critique group, Canton Writer’s Circle. The members there are one of my greatest assets. Having a good critique partner is vital. I have a good friend with whom I share excerpts and scenes as well, Houston Havens. She has an incredible voice when she writes and she creates with dynamic imagery and a strong sense of action. If you haven’t read her work, you should. And Barb Caffrey, my editor. She’s a brilliant writer in her own right, but she sees details that I would have missed. She suggests slight changes that make all the difference in a scene. Often, simply the change of structure in a sentence can put an all new slant on a scene. I recommend her as both author and editor.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
It has been my full time job since 2008. I love it.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No. I’d just trust myself and write it faster.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
My mother loved to write, and because she always had such a fascination, it rubbed off on me. I began writing stories as a child. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Here’s an excerpt from Bringer of Chaos: the Origin of Pietas. In this scene, Pietas has just thrown the months-long plans for peace talks into disarray by asking for thirty hostages instead of ten. His parents, both former leaders and still on the council, trail Pietas back toward his private quarters, furious.
“Pietas,” his mother called. “Wait!”
For her, he stopped, and turned around.
Small compared to most Ultras, and delicate of face, Helia ap Lorectic was as tough as any soldier. Like him and his father, she possessed an eidetic memory, and a fine scientific mind. If anyone was the hope of their people, it was she.
“Pietas, you know this is wrong. We agreed to those terms before we arrived.”
“It is not wrong, Mother, and the terms were made by the previous council head, not by me.” He opened the door to his quarters, and turned back to Helia. “They’ll agree to my terms or they’ll die.”
Mahikos stepped in front of his wife. “You will destroy these talks, you inflexible, intractable narcissist!”
“Why, Father. I’m impressed you know words that big. Thank you.”
The man lurched toward him.
“Stop it!” Helia positioned herself between the two. “Pietas, please. It took–”
“No, Mother. I never negotiate with humans from a position of fear.”
Mahikos jabbed a finger toward him. “You never negotiate at all.”
“Your precious humans have five minutes.” He shut the door in the man’s face.
His father’s shout of anger followed, and then his mother’s calmer tones, soothing. The thud of a fist rattled the door before his father gave way to whatever it was she was saying to him.
“Just like old times.” The message board lit up. Furious texts and outraged faces filled the screen. “It seems I made every council member angry at the same time. How efficient of me.”
The device on his wrist let Pietas portal anywhere on the ship, or to the side of whichever member he wanted. He could use it to communicate. He kept his on private mode, always. No one entered his presence or spoke to him unless he wished it.
His empathic senses, however, he left open. Politicians lied as a matter of policy. Emotions did not.
“Better the enemy you know, than the enemy you do not.”
He stroked a fingertip over the bracelet’s smooth black surface, and then gave it one tap. “Security! Keep the guns hot.”
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Getting out of my own way and giving myself the time I need to sit and think. Not all writing is spent in front of the computer or with pen in hand. Sometimes you have to dream, daydream, or get away and go for a walk.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I’ll say. I crossed the galaxy on a regular basis. *wink*
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I did. It’s a benefit to be a graphic designer and own your own company to do so (The Author’s Secret).
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Letting the hero into my head. In previous books, Pietas has been a villain and written as a psychotic jerk. I wasn’t sure I wanted to get to know him. Was I surprised to discover he was not only NOT a jerk, but one of the most noble people in my series galaxy.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned that you can change the way you write and ramp up the emotional quotient by focusing less on the inside the character and more on the external presumption showed by the character. For example, in one scene in Bringer of Chaos, Pietas meets Six, who begins the story as his enemy but becomes a close friend. I could have focused on the thoughts of Pietas and revealed what he was thinking. Instead, on the advice of two different mentors, I wrote the scenes with a deeper point of view. In the scene, Pietas must decide whether to take out Six, or surrender. If he does not surrender, Six will kill Pietas’ mother — even if Pietas succeeds. It’s nothing personal — it’s war and she is a hostage. Instead of writing the thoughts of Pietas as dialogue, I wrote the information as narrative. I know it sounds counterintuitive for the effect you need, but it worked. I could have written: For no reason will I grovel. Not even for my mother. Instead, I wrote it as For no reason would he grovel. Not even for his mother. That small difference takes us a bit outside Pietas, and shows him from a slightly different viewpoint, enough to let us see his determination and pride, but not make him sound like he prized himself above his mother. In the rest of the scene, we can clearly see he is aware if he surrenders, he will save his mother, but lose his kingdom and let his people see him fail. They have never seen Pietas fail. This will be a first. The fact that he chooses to save his mother tells us far more about him than anything that came prior to this point in the book.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead?
I’d love to see Bringer of Chaos: the Origin of Pietas as a film. Pietas would be played by Lee Pace, who played Thranduil in the Hobbit films by Peter Jackson.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Learn the craft of writing. Don’t be content with praise — study and always strive to improve. When you quit trying, you fail.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for reading my books! I promise to keep writing.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m about to start in on a new Michael Connelly book.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Other than for school, it would have been The Languages of Pao by Jack Vance. It made me want to write scifi. I was about 8 at the time.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Laugh: ironic humor – pets – people who don’t realize they are being funny. Cry: injustice, others in pain.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
Alexander the Great. He fascinates me. Here’s a man who walked across the earth with a favorite dog and a favorite horse, his best friends, a small army, and conquered the known world before he was 33 years old. What drive he must have had!
Fiona: What do you want written on your headstone and why?
I would prefer to live forever, thank you. I have no immediate plans for the hereafter.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Writing is not a hobby – it’s my full time job. But I like to read and watch films.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
My favorite will-not-miss TV shows are Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, The Flash, and Big Bang Theory. Very different, but big faves. I favor action/adventure and scifi movies.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Anything chocolate, especially dark! My favorite color is hot pink, but I’m also very partial to teal. You won’t catch me listening to country or classical. I like rock with a solid beat such as Audioslave, Stone Sour, or Rammstein. However, I also enjoy music that belongs in movie trailers, like Unstoppable by ES Posthumous, or Requiem of the Gods by The Critical Mass.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I spent a number of years as an administrative assistant. I enjoyed the work. I like helping others. That’s probably why I’ve had so much fun with my business, The Author’s Secret, my mentoring group Marketing for Romance Writers, and my guest blog, Romance Lives Forever. I created them to use my own abilities to help other authors.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
My site is https://kayelleallen.com and while there you can read the blog, check out the first chapters of my books, and pick up three full books at no cost.
http://www.kayelleallen.com ~ www.kayelleallen.com/bro
www.twitter.com/kayelleallen ~ www.facebook.com/kayelleallen.author
Marketing for Romance Writers www.bit.ly/mfrwgroup ~ The Author’s Secret www.theauthorssecret.com