Monday, January 14, 2013

Guest Blogger: Allison Rios

Welcome my guest today Allison Rios.


Please tell us about your latest book.
 
My latest book, The Touch, deals with what I feel is one of the biggest questions of human nature: Why? Imagine being able to cure any illness in the world with the touch of a finger - yet looking into the eyes of a young cancer patient and not being allowed to because of the good that will come to the world through the work her family will do in her name. These are the struggles that our hero, AJ, struggles with.
  
What can we expect from you in the future?
Right now I am nearly done with the second book of this series. I'm also pitching a suspense/thriller novel to agents that I am really excited about. Within a few months, I will be self publishing a book about my mom's journey and death from brain cancer, and how we dealt with the journey - and all the funds raised from this particular book will go to benefit the American Brain Tumor Association.
 
How do we find out about you and your books?
My Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/HealersAndGrims, is where I'm keeping followers updated until the redesign of my website.
 
Why did you decide to write romance novels?
I love a good love story! I daydream about romance all the time - the white knight, the sunset. Luckily I found a husband who can be pretty romantic. So I began to turn my daydreams into a book. And to really challenge myself with this book, I wanted to write it from a male perspective. It was a struggle to put myself in a man's shoes.
 
How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
The hero is based off a couple of my male friends, who have these amazing strengths that sometimes they forget they possess. I always find myself including certain life experiences and personalities of those closest to me in my writing, because they make for stronger topics. Plus, I like making stories personable. This hero in particular was based off of someone who doesn't always see what a great person he is, but whose friends see him as this man who would be there through thick and thin, doing everything he can to help others.
 
When did you first think about writing and what prompted you to submit your first ms?
I have written short stories and poetry since the age of twelve, but it wasn't until I finished this first novel-length story that I became serious about publishing. I sent it to a couple friends just as a, "Here is something to read in your off-time." When they came back and said they really liked it and should look into publishing, I did. I like the idea of sharing my daydreams with others.
 
Generally, how long does it take you to write a book?
Anywhere from a few months to a year. The Touch took me two weeks, writing every single night after I had created an outline. It usually takes more time though since I also have a full-time job and two little cuties at home who need my attention!
 
Do you have a set schedule for writing or do you just go with the flow?
I just go with the flow. I think the story is always better if I'm not forcing it. If I don't feel inspired, I take a break - either for the night, or for a month. Whatever it takes for me to have that ah-ha moment and know what's going to happen next.
 
What is your writing routine once you start a book?
I usually have an outline, but I do not always follow it. Sometimes I'll think of something completely different in the midst of typing and change the course of the book.
 
What about your family, do they know not to bother you when you are writing - or are there constant interruptions?
Actually, I'm pretty lucky - I am a night owl, and I like to write usually after everyone has gone to bed. That way, the house is quiet, my head is clear, and I have a few hours at least of uninterrupted time!
 
What do you do to relax and recharge your batteries?
Read! Reading the work of others is truly relaxing and inspiring - there are so many brilliant people out there. I especially try and read self-published or up-and-coming authors to show support.
 
What truly motivates you in general?  In your writing?
It isn't about money for me. It's about being able to bring a smile to someone's face through the work that I've done. I love writing out these daydreams, and it's always a thrill when someone enjoys what I've written. Kind words posted either to Facebook or on reviews or sent via email are always so appreciated and inspire me to write more.
 
What does your husband think of your writing?
He's so supportive! He encouraged me to go for it, and was there every step of the way.
 
Do you ever ask him/her for advice?
I do -- he was a great help for the book I have out to agents right now, helping me with outline. It was a genre I am completely unfamiliar with writing, so having him there to say "Wait, this might make more sense," was a great experience. He has so much smarts and imagination.
 
Please tell us about yourself (family, hobbies, education, etc.)
I am in the communications field full-time, and spend all of my extra free time as a mom, wife, and chauffer to sports games and practices! I love photography and always have a camera in my purse, and I also love learning. I am constantly reading and watching educational programs, along with the occasional comedy and sitcom on primetime. 
 
Fill in the blank favorites - Dessert - Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. City - Chicago, of course!  Season - Summer, because nothing is better than spending time relaxing in the warmth and watching the kids splash in the pool. Type of hero - quiet and valiant. Type of heroine - strong and brave.
 
Do you have a favorite author? Favorite book?
My favorite author is actually a poet, Robert Frost.
 
Who are some of your other favorite authors to read? JR Ward, Nora Roberts, Agatha Christie, Anne Rice, Michael Crichton.
 
What do you think of critique groups in general?
I personally enjoy them. I attend a group in the area where we share our work and offer suggestions or ideas. Everyone in the group is very nice, but also very intelligent and while sometimes I hate to see red marks on the paper (who doesn't?), I truly appreciate their honesty and input. I feel it has made me a stronger writer.
 
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I hope that I am still writing with a well-known book out there in the world. That would be my dream.
 
After you've written your book and it's been published, do you ever buy it and/or read it?
I do - and then I critique myself saying I should have done this or corrected that. Maybe I should stop... ;)
 
Among your own books, have you a favorite book?  Favorite hero or heroine?
Although I only have one published right now, AJ is still my favorite hero out of all the writing I've done. He's strong and brave, he's kind and good-hearted. He makes you feel like no matter what, he will stop the world to protect you.
 
Which comes first, the story, the characters or the setting?
The characters - I always imagine them in my head as if they are real people. I develop their looks, personalities, and let those play out - then I figure out where they would live.
 
What are the elements of a great romance for you?
When a book makes you want to be in it, I think a writer has hit the mark. It has to not just be a love story where they find each other right away and everything goes perfectly - there has to be this separation where they want each other but can't quite find their way. To me, the suspense is what makes it magical.
 
What is the hardest part of writing/the easiest for you?
The hardest part is the outline - the rest is easy!
 
Have you experienced writer's block---> If so, how did you work through it?
Definitely! I normally take a break, step away from the project for awhile. Sometimes it will be a day, or sometimes a month. Then I will have an ah-ha moment, and the next step in the story will pop into my head.
 
What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?
The most rewarding part is knowing that something I've written is being read. I even enjoy reviews that don't like the book - because that means people are being honest and sharing their thoughts to help me build a better second book. I really do love writing!
 
Are there any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?
Have faith. Keep writing. Don't give up. There are lots of people who won't like your work or will think it is not the right fit for them - and then there will be people who love it. And those are the moments that make every struggle worth it.

Where else can we find you?
Twitter: @WriterAllieR
 




Where can we fin your book?
Right now, Amazon and Kindle are 99 cents through the end of January
 

Blurb:
While the world debates the how and why of diseases, natural disasters, modern medicine and miracles, the simplest truth has always been a much less complicated – yet unimaginable - explanation: two covert groups of souls known as the Healers and the Grims that control with a touch of their fingers the process and order of life and death.
Told from the story of lost soul AJ McAllister, we find a hero in the young man born from a long-line of Healers onto earth to save the lives of those acquainted with tragedy. As AJ navigates his path in life under the guidance of friend and fellow Healer Max, he discovers the journey is not easy but rather one filled with guilt and struggle – and one that he cannot share with a mortal for risk of losing his gift. Not every sick or injured person can and should be healed; sometimes those as innocent as a child must be left untouched in order for the humanity to follow along the destined path. To look into the eyes of someone and not be able to erase their pain has proven unbearable for the young man.
As he travels to a new town for a respite from the emotional rollercoaster of healing, AJ encounters young mother Addie Jenko, who has been through a lifetime of calamity already. Abandoned by a psychotic mother and raised by her Gram, she gave birth as a teenager and watched as her baby’s father left town. Struggling to make it on her own and build a life for the little family she has left, she finds the stranger in town vastly different than the people she is used to. As AJ grows close to someone for the first time since his mother passed, he finds himself in a different role. A Grim known as Devin arrives in town with a purpose of inflicting pain and disease on humanity. The Healer must sacrifice the opportunity to be loved in order to keep Addie and the town from falling victim to the latest threat to their humanity, all while keeping his secret intact and preparing for a battle he is sure he won't emerge from. As the town becomes more than another faceless crowd needing protection to AJ, he learns the lengths he will go to in order to protect the people he has come to see as family.

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