While at Authors After Dark 2012 (New Orleans) I had the most awesome fortune (yep you can tell I grew up in the 80s heh) of interviewing Allison Pang, author of the Abby Sinclair trilogy. I’m a huge fan of the series and Allison has been so kind and gracious and endured my fangirling…not only in the interview but via twitter and emails, too. In the interview we talk about the series, which is coming to an end (or is it?!) with A Trace of Moonlight, which releases Oct. 30, 2012, what she hopes to do next now that Abby’s story is finished and of course everyone’s favorite unicorn, Phin. Make sure to read it all because at the end there is a giveaway!! Without further ado… (just a warning, this is somewhat edited to try and limit spoilers…oh and my incessant fangirl squeeing he he)..
Drinking from the waters of lethe and offering herself up as Faerie’s sacrificial Tithe . . . these just might be the least of Abby Sinclair’s problems.
Abby’s pact with a daemon—whether or not she remembers making it—is binding, so she’d better count herself lucky that (in the words of a daemon who knows better) there’s nearly always a loophole. But her friends’ reckless attempts to free her, well intentioned though they may be, set off a disastrous chain of events. In no time at all, Abby turns her incubus lover mortal, then gets herself killed, cursed, and married to an elven prince whose mother wants her dead. On top of everything else, she’s lost the Key to the CrossRoads to her mortal enemy, who promptly uses his restored power to wreak havoc on the OtherWorld and put its very existence in jeopardy. Only one person can make things right again, but to find her, Abby must place her trust in allies of mixed loyalties, and conquer her nightmares once and for all.
Make sure you stick around to the end. We’ll be giving away a signed copy of A Brush of Darkness along with some swag….trading cards, bookmarks, etc to giveaway to one lucky reader.
LE: What can you tell us about what happens in A Trace of Moonlight with Abby and Co?
Allison: There is a big life changing event that will happen. And no, I’m not giving spoilers.
LE: Tease! But is there a resolution with the Taliver/Ion/Abby triangle?
Allison: We do. I was tempted to just leave them all together as one big happy group,. but there is a resolution for the most part. Readers shouldn’t have any doubt who Abby chooses.
LE: Any hint? (She knew I *had* to try and get this!)
Allison: Ummmm…no. *evil grin/laughter*
LE: Well Abby always told Ion he would have a place in her Heart (of the Dreaming).
Allison: Ion does have a much bigger part to play (in A Trace of Moonlight) and he has a pretty big change. In fact, A Trace of Moonlight could be construed as a book of change. Phin and Abby have several large issues to work through and even Melanie has some things going on. The story arc will be wrapped up BUT the story itself may not be finished…there’s enough there to continue on (with the world and storyline).
LE: Are you pitching this idea to your editor or are you taking time off?
Allison: I am in the process of writing up a pitch for a spin-off. It will probably feature Melanie. Abby kind of needs a break after everything Abby’s been through IF I pick up her story again. There will be a Melanie short story in an anthology that comes out in 2013. You’ll find out how she gets her violin. There will be cameos. It will be pre-Abby. You’ll see Ion…even more obnoxious. Nobu will be there as well. But Melanie’s story is not very resolved by the end of A Trace of Moonlight, so her story is wide open….there is a plot there to tell.
Allison: If I get to write it, you’d see Abby in a secondary role. She’ll get some “happy” time.
Allison: Yes. The specific reason will be revealed. :) Let’s just say that the person who sent him knew something was more than likely going to happen and this was their way of trying to ensure it wouldn’t.
LE: Do we find out why Abby’s father never revealed himself for so long?
Allison: No. Most of it was political in nature. He was the Queen’s lover and she is not a particularly nice person. It was more him protecting Abby. He did care for and love Abby’s mother but he has a complex relationship with the Queen. After being with her for as long as he has…he may not be all that nice of a person. But he is her father…
LE: Back to the spin-off with Melanie, especially the pre-quel to Abby’s story. I can’t help but to think of “Devil Went Down to Georgia” by Charlie Daniels Band…was that song inspiration?
Allison: Yeah, that’s where I’m going with it. It may not take place in Georgia, haven’t decided that yet. There is a reference in A Trace of Moonlight, and that was intentional. In A Sliver of Shadows, you learn that it wasn’t that Melanie outplayed the Devil, but she got stuck playing his Touchstone, which was more of an audition than a contest to win something. The draft of the short story is done…but since the world building rules were set in A Sliver of Shadows, I am bound by those and I can’t go back and tweak/change them at this point.
LE: Do we see more of Moira and her son in A Trace of Moonlight?
Allison: The baby thing is complicated due to the mixed family…with Robert and Charlie’s relationship and the issues with Robert’s cheating. Robert wasn’t really in love with Moira. Moira was probably more “instrumental” in setting up Robert. She is Fae and she is her mother’s daughter and she can be calculating…more so than her brother. Certain things happen in A Trace of Moonlight and I can’t give away the spoilers, but it becomes a bit of an issue (Moira and the baby etc). What happens when a mom basically abandons their child to a step-parent. That is dealt with, a little…
LE: You sure you can’t give us spoilers?
LE: Can you talk about any new projects that you may be working on? I know we’d talked earlier in the year about an idea you’d been tossing around and playing with.
Allison: The epic fantasy thing? Yes. I wrote about 20-30k but trashed it. The world building is more complex than Abby series…I didn’t do a lot of research for those,but this new one kind of takes place in a different world and I’m having to build that. But since I’ve been writing Abby for the last 4 years, I’m having a hard time shaking her voice since that’s all I have written due to being under contract. I want to make sure that this new story/world isn’t Abby’s voice. Even with Melanie’s story I’m having to make sure it isn’t Abby. And part of this may just be my writing style, but there is a part of me that thinks it just doesn’t sound the way I want it to sound. But yes, I’m writing a story in the fantasy subgenre. I don’t want to say it’s epic or high fantasy because each person defines those a bit differently, but it is fantasy.
LE: What does epic fantasy mean to you…LE does do fantasy on the site :).
Allison: (I don’t think I even answered this question? LOL – But I see epic fantasy as stories that take place over a great deal of time or with earth-shattering repercussions ) It’ll probably be 500-600 pages in length. Will have 2 main acts. Not sure if that will be 2 books or all in one. It may be up to the publisher if it sells. It has steampunk elements as well, though it’s not an actual SteamPunk story.
LE: Will it be another adult novel?
Allison: The main character is a bit younger…16 or 17. I haven’t written YA before and the voice in the first draft was too old for that age. Abby was 26/27 which is what I was used to writing. This new story needs a younger voice. What I started with was was too refined, too educated.
LE: Anything else you can tell us?
Allison: The character lives on the streets and is rough around the edges. During edits I’ll need to make the dialogue less grammatically correct.
LE: How did you come up with the idea for Abby’s story?
Allison: There are 2 parts. I started this world about 10-15 years ago. Charlie was the original main characterin a a very short story. (I make references to her being a Ghost Whisperer in various places in BoD and SoS – that’s what I was referring to.) The story was on a disk…and right before I finished it, the disk got eaten up and there was no back up. So it was lost. I didn’t have the heart to go back to it and I put it all away. But that original story is why Charlie is in the books. I didn’t write anything for about 10 years after I lost that story! When I joined RWA I had been working on a project with a co-author, which for a variety of reasons just didn’t pan out. But I needed something to work with when I was taking all these writing workshops. As cliched as it sounds, I did have this dream after working on all these snippets. In the dream I was walking through this house looking for someone. At the end of A Brush of Darkness when she’s going around looking for this incubus, that is the scene that everything else kind of stems from. That is the pivotal scene.
Allison: You know some people really like him and some people really hate him. But unicorn wise, I loved unicorns growing up.
LE: did you have the Lisa Frank stuff…
Allison: laughs yes I had some). I had unicorn tee-shirts and watched the movie “The Last Unicorn” and read the book. It is this beautiful, lyrical fairy tale. I knew I could never re-create that expectation so I did the reverse with it *grin*. Phin is based on a character I wrote for some RPG games I’ve played online.
I’ve often created characters when playing these games and just thrown them in there and see what would happen. Actually several characters from the books started out in these RPGs, including Ion. There’s something cool that happens when you’re playing with other people and you’re forced to play off them.
You have no control over the other player reactions and it’s a great way to see how your own characters react in certain situations. Phin was originally the size of a goat or something…and was twice as obnoxious and gross in the RPGs than he is in the books! But, when I wrote the Abby series, I wanted to give her a side-kick/familiar or something. Originally I thought of making it a cat, but decided against it. Abby lives in this crazy world and I wanted to do something different. Talking cats…they’ve been done. I liked the idea of this raunchy unicorn, but the original version I’d created was too big. Abby needed something small she could tote around in a backpack or something. Also, he wasn’t supposed to even talk. When he first talks in A Brush of Darkness that is also the first time I knew he talked. He was just supposed to be comedic relief. I just ran with the whole talking thing. Initially he wasn’t there for any specific purpose, but as we learn in A Sliver of Shadows, Phin really did have a reason for being there.
LE: Each author has a different way they write…some organize and plot out everything, others kind of wing it as they go and everything in between. How do you write/plot out a story?
Allison: I don’t plot. I have a vague idea where I’ll end it. I knew where A Brush of Darkness and A Trace of Moonlight were going. But, with A Sliver of Shadows, I wasn’t entirely sure because a lot of what occurs in A Trace of Moonlight was originally supposed to happen in A Sliver of Shadows. But as I was writing A Sliver of Shadows, it just exploded and if I’d tried to wrap it up cleanly I felt it would have cheapened it. Which is why I left off at that cliffhanger. I couldn’t have her do this sacrificial thing and then a few chapters later just have everything all tidied up and that sacrifice just glazed over.
LE: Yeah I wasn’t too amused with that cliffhanger. *wink* I don’t hate you for it. Authors love to torture us readers as much as they torture their characters. But as a reader, I get it. These plot points make it entertaining and make us want to the read the books. They make the books. A boring book is when nothing is going on
Allison: I knew it had to end at that spot…the publisher wouldn’t have been too happy if the word count had gotten much higher…
LE: So, Phin’s penchant for bacon…is that from you? *G*
Allison: Yep, that’s me. There’s a lot of me in the books. Abby’s snark is from me. There are some inside jokes aimed at specific people. And yeah, they know it when they read it :). The gaming references in (all the books, really) come from me. I never say what the game is (with the exception of World of Warcraft in BoD), despite urging from my editor. But if you’re a gamer, you’ll know what it is. Naming it wouldn’t have really changed anything in the storyline and if you don’t game you won’t get it even if I named it.
LE: What about the magical iPod…where does this come from? Is it one of the inside jokes?
Allison: Oh that’s all me. I have an iPod with about 20,000 songs on it
Allison: I’m a music hoarder…I have about 120G of music on my computer and it can all fit on my iPod. I usually just put it on shuffle and let it play.
LE: So with all that music, do you use playlists when writing?
Allison: No. There are some specific songs, which you see in the books. Sometimes when I’m writing and hear a song, I think that could fit so I’ll toss it into a scene. But a lot of the songs I refer to are specifically chosen. Example is the Tom Jones reference in A Brush of Darkness. There are definitely certain songs or themes of songs, but no specific playlists I use.
LE: A big thanks to Allison for stopping by LE for an interview. I had a lot of fun and you wouldn’t believe all the laughing and giggling I couldn’t put in here! Allison was super gracious and I probably shouldn’t admit that I did finally wear her down and got a roundabout answer on a spoiler I was dying to know. But she also knew that I had the ARC on its way to me from Jackie and thus would be devouring it once I had it in my hot little hands *G*.
A marine biologist in a former life, Allison Pang turned to a life of crime to finance her wild spending habits and need to collect Faberge eggs. A cat thief of notable repute, she spends her days sleeping and nights scaling walls and wooing dancing boys….Well, at least the marine biology part is true. But she was taloned by a hawk once. She also loves Hello Kitty, sparkly shoes, and gorgeous violinists. She spends her days in Northern Virginia working as a cube grunt and her nights waiting on her kids and cats, punctuated by the occasional husbandly serenade. Sometimes she even manages to write. Mostly she just makes it up as she goes.
Want to purchase Allison’s novels?
- A Brush of Darkness at Amazon or the Book Depository
- A Sliver of Shadows at Amazon or the Book Depository
- A Trace of MoonlightAmazon or the Book Depository
Thank you Allison for taking the time to stop by Literary Escapism!
Allison has been super sweet and kind enough to donate a signed copy of A Brush of Darkness along with some swag….trading cards, bookmarks, etc to giveaway to one lucky reader. To enter, all you have to do is answer this one question: Have you had a chance to read about Abby yet? What do you love about her and company? If you haven’t read it yet, what has made you so interested in this series? Remember, you must answer the question in order to be entered.
Even though I’m not giving the additional entries any more, you can still help support the author by sharing their article, and this contest, on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere you can. After all, the more people who are aware of this fabulous author ensures we get more fabulous stories.
The winner must post a review of the novel someplace. Whether it is on their own blog, Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing or wherever, it doesn’t matter. Just help get the word out.
The contest will stay open until October 31st at which time I’ll determine the winner with help from this snazzy plug-in that I have.