Interview with Wesley Allison

When did you first start writing?
I started writing stories and poetry in high school. I began many book length stories but didn't finish any. In my thirties, after settling down in my profession and starting a family, I decided to go back and take one of these stories to the end. This first book took me almost ten years to complete.
What is your writing process?
When I have an idea for a story, I jot it down. I may go back and look at it for months before I get a feel for what the whole story is going to be. Eventually I wrap my head around what the conflict and resolution of the plot will be. Then I sit down and write a very loose outline. This is when I usually start thinking about the characters-- who they are and what motivates them. Then I start writing. I usually write from beginning to end, but have on occasion, written chapters out of order. When the draft is done, I usually do three or four revision passes through it before the story is where I want it.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I write the stories that I want to read, and I do go back and read them from time to time. There is just something so special though, when a reader tells you that your writing connected with them. My single most exciting moment so far was when my books were profiled by Patrick L. McGuire in The New York Journal of Science Fiction. When he compared my writing to James White, it literally brought tears to my eyes remembering all those hours reading White when I was growing up.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
As a kid, I wrote a comic strip called "In the Cosmos" set seven years in the future which I think at the time (1972) was 1979. My first real prose story was "New Tales of Tarzan." I never finished more than two chapters, and I had Tarzan and Jane running around in a contemporary Africa, but I think those two chapters fit stylistically very well with Burroughs' many Tarzan books.
What do your fans mean to you?
I love hearing that someone has read and enjoyed one of my books. It really is the ultimate validation for a writer. I enjoy hearing from readers in other parts of the world. I suppose there are some who are no longer amazed at how technology has connected us all, but I'm not one of them. Wherever readers are, I want to hear from them.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Shashwords has been vital to my success. I started here very early. My first book published through Smashwords was His Robot Girlfriend in 2009. It was Smashwords book number 1864. Since then more than 75% of my book sales have come through the Smashwords distribution network. Equally important has been the ability to publish free ebooks and get them out to the same booksellers. His Robot Girlfriend is distributed as a free ebook and has brought me a great deal of positive recognition and many connections with readers.
Describe your desk
I have a large corner-unit computer desk with a shiny and very sexy new iMac. All around it is clutter. To the right I have my keys, wallet, and glasses, extra cables, my mail, and my iPad. To the left is a cup full of pens and pencils, a stack of comic books my son wants me to read, and stacks of CDs. Above on a shelf are a row of computer games, small figures of Shakespeare, Wonder Woman, and the dog from the original Battlestar Galactic, a complete set of Dark Knight Returns action figures, and a globe. Between my keyboard and my screen is my phone, a calculator, and my writing notebook. The desk is always pretty messy, but inside the computer there is no clutter and everything is stored in just the right folder.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
After I finished my first novel, Princess of Amathar, I spent years sending it out to agents and publishers. I know now that it would never have found a publisher. It's the type of science-fiction story I liked to read a boy, but it's not the type being published today. I set it aside and started working on something completely different-- what would eventually become Senta and the Steel Dragon. While I was doing that, a friend suggested self-publishing my first book just for myself and family. I did, first as a paper book and then an ebook. Lo and behold, people bought my book and told me they liked it. I decided then that going directly to readers was far more fulfilling than trying to write for the gatekeepers of the publishing industry that might never like the types of stories that I wanted to write.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book is The Price of Magic. It is the seventh volume of Senta and the Steel Dragon (or eighth if you count book 0). This series is my personal favorite of all the books I've written. They take place in a fantasy world that is very much like our own Victorian age, so they have a steampunk quality to them, but I think you'll find them different from anything you've read. The stories follow a girl as she grows up, starting out as a sorceress's apprentice and finally becoming a sorceress herself. In the Price of Magic, she is a grown woman and a very powerful magic user. There is a great emphasis on change in the series and characters come and go, become less and more important, and carry on their lives.
What are you working on next?
At any one time, I usually have six or eight stories that I have partially written. I'm trying to discipline myself to stay focused on one at a time, but so far I haven't had any luck with that. I also have a huge pile of story ideas that I hope to get to eventually. You can check out what's in the pipeline at WesleyAllison.com.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
As a kid, I had read many children's books given by my aunt who was a teacher, and I mostly enjoyed reading them. Then one summer when I was nine, I was staying with my grandparents. I was looking through the bedroom of my uncle who had just died in service in Viet Nam when I found a box full of Tom Swift books. I read them and I suddenly had to read more. I searched bookstores until I found the whole series. While there, I discovered Edgar Rice Burroughs, Ray Bradbury, Heinlein and others. Tom Swift really turned me into a reader, and I never stopped being one. Thinking about these events a few years ago led me to try and recreate that feeling I had reading those first books. That's when I created my own young inventor/adventurer Astrid Maxxim.
Who are your favorite authors?
As a kid, I loved the pulp writers-- Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E. Howard. I enjoy J.R.R. Tolkien, Stephen King, and J.K. Rowling, and science-fiction author James White. I think my favorite author of all time is Richard Adams, author of Watership Down. I think his book Shardik may be one of the best novels ever written.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My first ereader was a Sony and I really liked it. I read a lot on it. Then I tried out one of the first iPads and just had to have one-- it was like holding magic. I bought an iPad and to help pay for it, sold my Sony. Later I found that the iPad is a little too heavy for reading one-handed in bed, so I bought a nook Simple Reader. It's very nice, but I end up doing 90% of my reading on my iPad (now a new model) because it's always nearby since I use it for so many other things.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I like to call teaching my day job. I've been teaching middle school for the past twenty-two years. It is both rewarding and trying in ways that you can never understand if you are not a teacher. Being a teacher makes writing incredibly easy for three months a year and incredibly hard for nine months a year. When not writing or teaching, I spend time with my family, usually playing games, watching movies, or just hanging out.
Published 2015-10-04.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Astrid Maxxim and the Electric Racecar Challenge
Series: Astrid Maxxim - Girl Inventor. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 32,980. Language: English. Published: January 29, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy
Astrid Maxxim, brilliant teenage inventor returns. Astrid is looking forward to racing against a professional driving team to prove her electric racecar can take on the gas-guzzlers. Then without warning, she wakes up in the hospital with partial amnesia. What could have happened to her? Now everyone treats her like she’s brain-damaged! What if her IQ really did drop to 184?
The Price of Magic
Series: Senta and the Steel Dragon, Book 7. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 89,220. Language: English. Published: December 4, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
New powers are rising in Birmisia. Far to the south, the strange lizardmen of Xiatooq are making themselves known. Closer to home, the new lizzie city Yessonarah finds itself rich in gold—gold the humans covet. As tensions rise, many in Port Dechantagne seem eager to teach the lizzies a lesson in humility. Fourteen year old Iolana Staff finds herself in the center of it all.
His Robot Girlfriend: Charity
Series: His Robot Patience. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 29,010. Language: English. Published: January 16, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General
(4.00)
Robotics engineer Dakota Hawk has problems. His life is falling apart. And even he doesn’t know why he bought a used, and seemingly non-functional, Daffodil Nonne. When your life turns to crap, which should you worry about more– your past or your future? How easy is it really to remake yourself and start over? And will having your own robot girlfriend help or make things even more difficult?
Astrid Maxxim and her Hypersonic Space Plane
Series: Astrid Maxxim - Girl Inventor. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 31,370. Language: American English. Published: October 24, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy
Everyone’s favorite girl inventor is back. The Maxxim space program is in full swing, ferrying supplies to the International Space Station, as Astrid perfects her ground-launched rocket plane. To finish it, she must first deal with Maxxim’s new automotive division, a terrifying vision of the future, and an English class essay, and her cousin Gloria coming for Thanksgiving.
Astrid Maxxim and the Antarctic Expedition
Series: Astrid Maxxim - Girl Inventor. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 30,110. Language: American English. Published: September 18, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
Teen inventor Astrid Maxxim makes a journey to the bottom of the planet on an expedition to uncover the secrets of a mysterious lost expedition. Meanwhile, troubles plague her friends and family as a hostile takeover threatens Maxxim Industries.
Desperate Poems
Price: Free! Words: 13,010. Language: American English. Published: July 22, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Contemporary Poetry
A collection of seventy poems (some more desperate than others) about life, love, desire, being young, and growing old.
The Sorceress and her Lovers
Series: Senta and the Steel Dragon, Book 6. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 83,880. Language: English. Published: May 23, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
It’s been three years since the Kingdom of Greater Brechalon, with the help of Zurfina the Magnificent, defeated their hereditary enemies, the Freedonians. Port Dechantagne, once a distant outpost of civilization, has grown to be a large city, the center of prosperous Birmisia Colony. The Sorceress and her Lovers continues the story of Senta and the Steel Dragon.
His Robot Wife: Patience is a Virtue
Series: His Robot Patience, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 49,510. Language: English. Published: July 17, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General
(4.50)
It is the year 2037, when men are men and robots are cute. Patience, the robot wife, is back, this time mentoring her new friend-- Wanda. But even Patience isn’t prepared for what happens when they take a joint vacation cruise to Antarctica. His Robot Wife: Patience is a Virtue is a science fiction story in a world where technology is more than just a pretty face.
Astrid Maxxim and her Undersea Dome
Series: Astrid Maxxim - Girl Inventor, Book 2. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 30,760. Language: English. Published: May 10, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fiction
Girl inventor Astrid Maxxim and her friends are back. This time Astrid is building an observation dome beneath the sea. Will she complete her amazing construction project, or will she be sidetracked by underwater monsters, the evil organization known as the Black Hand, or her snotty cousin Gloria?
The Many Adventures of Eaglethorpe Buxton
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 103,860. Language: English. Published: November 5, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Parody, Fiction » Fantasy » General
Eaglethorpe Buxton, famed adventurer and story-teller, friend to those in need of a friend and guardian to those in need of a guardian. He is a liar and braggart, not to be trusted, especially around pies. Who are we to believe? Buxton himself leads us through his world in The Many Adventures of Eaglethorpe Buxton, which include the two previously published tales and three all new adventures.
The Two Dragons
Series: Senta and the Steel Dragon, Book 5. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 105,980. Language: English. Published: April 15, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Historical
Since its founding more than nine years before, Port Dechantagne has become a thriving colony for Brechalon. Seventeen year old Sorceress Senta Bly, despite being feared for her magical power, is a part of colonial society. Now war threatens the colony and the rest of the world. Can Senta save her friends and her home, in the epic conclusion to Senta and the Steel Dragon.
The Young Sorceress
Series: Senta and the Steel Dragon, Book 4. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 66,570. Language: English. Published: April 2, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
Everyone in Port Dechantagne seems to have an agenda of their own, from mysterious sorceress Zurfina, to agents from the enemy nation of Freedonia, to the kings and witchdoctors of the mysterious lizardmen. On the eve of her fifteenth birthday, sorceress’s apprentice Senta Bly finds herself being pulled first one way and then the other. Will she actually have to split herself into four?
Astrid Maxxim and her Amazing Hoverbike
Series: Astrid Maxxim - Girl Inventor, Book 1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 31,480. Language: English. Published: November 6, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Adventure
From the 180,000 acre campus of Maxxim Industries, fourteen year old girl genius and inventor Astrid Maxxim works alongside her father, Dr. Roger Maxxim, on projects to make the world a better place. Her latest invention is a flying scooter—the hoverbike. Is it the target of an international spy ring, or are they after secret Project RG-7, or Astrid herself?
Blood Trade
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 49,570. Language: English. Published: September 5, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban
(2.00)
Vegas is going to hell-- literally. Werewolves run through the streets and the vampires are taking over. Former army ranger/Goth tattoo model/private eye Xochitl McKenna doesn't like it either, especially when it comes between her and her clients. But are the vampires and werewolves the greatest threat, or is it something or someone much closer to her? Warning: Adult Content.
Women of Power
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 35,920. Language: English. Published: August 16, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
(5.00)
The life of a superhero is tough. All American Girl fights supervillains, alien invaders, and terrorists as she tries to get product endorsements and a magazine deal. That's nothing compared to her private life though. She's only just broken up with her super boyfriend Perihelion when he's scooped up by Omega Woman, and now rival Skygirl has moved into her territory.
His Robot Wife
Series: His Robot Patience, Book 2. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 28,980. Language: English. Published: February 13, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » High tech, Fiction » Romance » Fantasy
(4.46)
In His Robot Wife, the novella-length sequel to His Robot Girlfriend, it is the year 2037 and Mike has been married to his robot wife, Patience, for five years. Troubles are on the horizon though. Prop 22 promises to annul marriages between humans and robots. And Patience hasn’t quite been herself. Is there something wrong, or does she just need a software upgrade?
The Drache Girl
Series: Senta and the Steel Dragon, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 105,670. Language: English. Published: July 19, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Historical, Fiction » Science fiction » General
(5.00)
More than three years have passed since the colonists arrived in Birmisia, and Port Dechantagne is a thriving colony, with the railway line almost complete. Twelve year old sorceress's apprentice Senta Bly, Police Constable Saba Colbshallow, and former maid Yuah Dechantagne must deal with wizards, prejudice, steam carriages, boys riding dinosaurs, and the mysterious activities of the lizardmen.
The Dark and Forbidding Land
Series: Senta and the Steel Dragon, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 70,960. Language: English. Published: July 13, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Fantasy » Historical
(5.00)
Two years have passed since Senta, the sorceress Zurfina, and Bessemer the steel dragon arrived in the strange land of Birmisia. Now it is up to the settlers to build a home in this dark and forbidding land, ruled by terrifying dinosaurs and strange lizardmen. Ten year old Senta must discover which is the greater threat, a would-be wizard or the ever-increasing presence of the tyrannosaurus.
Tesla's Stepdaughters
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 56,490. Language: English. Published: May 2, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
(4.00)
In a world where men are almost extinct, someone is trying to kill history's greatest rock & roll band. Science Police Agent John Andrews must negotiate a complicated relationship with Ep!phanee, the band's lead singer; drummer Ruth De Molay, bassist Steffie Sin, and the redheaded clone lead guitarist Penny Dreadful, as he protects them and tries to discover who wants to kill the Ladybugs.
Brechalon
Series: Senta and the Steel Dragon, Book 0. Price: Free! Words: 50,940. Language: English. Published: March 24, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Historical, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
(3.50)
Brechalon is the novella-length prequel to The Voyage of the Minotaur and the books which follow in the story of Senta and the Steel Dragon. Meet the people who will change a world-- the Dechantagnes, wealthy siblings from a disgraced aristocratic family who plot their revenge; the imprisoned sorceress Zurfina; and Senta, the orphan girl who will one day rise to great fame and power.
The Voyage of the Minotaur
Series: Senta and the Steel Dragon, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 110,760. Language: English. Published: March 24, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Historical, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
(3.25)
In a world of steam power and rifles, where magic has not yet been forgotten, an expedition sets out to establish a colony in a lost world. The Voyage of the Minotaur is a story of adventure and magic, religion and prejudice, steam engines and dinosaurs, angels and lizardmen, machine guns and wizards, sorceresses, bustles and corsets, steam-powered computers, hot air balloons, and dragons.
Eaglethorpe Buxton and the Sorceress
Price: Free! Words: 17,860. Language: English. Published: October 7, 2009. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(4.00)
Eaglethorpe Buxton, famed adventurer and story-teller is back, this time to put on a play about a sorceress. When the sorceress, subject of his play arrives with fire in her eyes, Eaglethorpe must pretend to be his good friend Ellwood. Will he pull off this charade and survive? And what happens when the real Ellwood shows up? One can never tell, especially when Eaglethorpe tells the story.
Princess of Amathar
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 94,070. Language: English. Published: June 9, 2009. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Adventure » General
(3.67)
Transported to the artificial world of Ecos, Earth man Alexander Ashton struggles to understand the society of his new friends the Amatharians. As he does so, he finds himself falling in love with their princess and being thrust into a millennium-long war with their mortal foes the reptilian Zoasians. Princess of Amathar is a sword-swinging novel of high adventure.
Eaglethorpe Buxton and the Elven Princess
Price: Free! Words: 20,940. Language: English. Published: June 3, 2009. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General
(5.00)
Eaglethorpe Buxton, famed adventurer and story-teller, friend to those in need of a friend and guardian to those in need of a guardian. He is a liar and braggart, not to be trusted, especially around pies. Who are we to believe? Buxton himself leads us through his world as he comes to the aid of… a poor orphan? An elven princess? Who can guess with Eaglethorpe himself telling the tale?
His Robot Girlfriend
Series: His Robot Patience, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 40,480. Language: English. Published: May 11, 2009. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General
(3.83)
Mike Smith's life was crap, living all alone, years after his wife had died and his children had grown up and moved away. Then he saw the commercial for the Daffodil. Far more than other robots, the Daffodil could become anything and everything he wanted it to be. Mike's life is about to change.