Interview with Wesley Allison

Published 2015-10-04.
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.
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Latest books by This Author

The Destroyer Returns
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 55,190. Language: English. Published: September 30, 2022. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic, Fiction » Adventure » Action
Suddenly awakened in a new world, with no memories of his own, Rath negotiates a primitive, post-apocalyptic world terrorized by The Grey Marauders. The denizens of this strange land await with resignation The Destroyer, destined to remake and enslave the world. Rath must prove, and discover for himself, if he is The Hero promised to stop this Destroyer, or if he actually is The Destroyer.
His Robot Wife: Extreme Patience
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 31,510. Language: English. Published: July 13, 2022. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Romance » Sci-fi
The final book in the Robot Wife series follows the Smith family as they make their way through the aftermath of a worldwide war. While Lucas struggles with making a future after the army, his sister picks up the pieces of her love life. And robots Patience, Wanda and Charity adapt to a major change in their operating systems.
Eaglethorpe Buxton and... Something about Frost Giants
Price: Free! Words: 20,940. Language: English. Published: September 3, 2021. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Parody
Has Eaglethorpe’s daughter been replaced by a vile doppelganger? Wait... Eaglethorpe has a daughter? Who is her mother? And why is he on the outs with his best friend Ellwood Cyrene? And I assume there are frost giants somewhere in this book. It’s another improbable tale from the wandering storyteller and scoundrel Eaglethorpe Buxton.
Astrid Maxxim and Her High-Rise Air Purifier
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 33,240. Language: English. Published: March 21, 2021. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Adventure, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
The world’s climate is in crisis and Astrid Maxxim is determined to help by building a device to remove carbon from the atmosphere. A journey to the Beijing Auto Show might provide her with a way to get her invention into production faster, but sinister forces are out to get her. What’s a girl genius to do?
For King and Country
Series: The Sorceress and the Dragon, Book 10. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 136,650. Language: English. Published: May 1, 2020. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Fantasy » Historical
In For King and Country, the final installment of The Sorceress and the Dragon saga (Senta and the Steel Dragon) Birmisia Colony is threatened by a new pantheon of dragon gods. As it continues under the threat of destruction, the citizens of Port Dechantagne must deal with a royal visit, assassination attempts, and an upcoming election.
His Robot Wife: Patience Under Fire
Series: His Robot Patience. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 47,230. Language: English. Published: January 31, 2020. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
Patience Under Fire is the second book of the trilogy that began with A Great Deal of Patience. Lucas Smith must lead his robot soldiers through the radiation-strewn battlefields of eastern Russia, as his wife makes her way to America, and the rest of his family, including Mike and Patience must try to carry on their lives in an America that is changing as a result of the worldwide conflict.
Nova Dancer
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 29,990. Language: English. Published: June 7, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera
In a universe so far in the future that Earth is considered a myth, Captain Rann Starr and his small crew fly through the galaxy in their starship Nova Dancer, negotiating primitive settlements and vast space stations alike, carrying freight, as well as the occasional passenger who might belong to one of a thousand alien species.
Astrid Maxxim and the Mystery of Dolphin Island
Series: Astrid Maxxim - Girl Inventor. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 32,430. Language: English. Published: March 9, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Science Fiction, Fiction » Science fiction » General
Genius girl inventor Astrid Maxxim is back! Called to the aid of her friend Océane Feuillée, Astrid leaves her friends and family to journey to an uncharted tropical paradise. Here she must use every ounce of her ingenuity to solve the mystery of Dolphin Island.
The Dragon's Choice
Series: The Sorceress and the Dragon, Book 9. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 99,530. Language: English. Published: December 29, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
The dragons seemingly have returned to the world and are once again in vying for power. Zoantheria, the coral dragon, feels pulled in all directions. Wanted both by Bessemer and Voindrazius, she is called to a world she has never known. Her heart, however, is pulling her in a different direction, toward the young viscount Augustus Dechantagne. Which will prove stronger-- love or destiny?
His Robot Wife: A Great Deal of Patience
Series: His Robot Patience. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 64,860. Language: English. Published: September 9, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General
Mike Smith and his robot wife Patience have overcome a great many obstacles in their life together. No obstacle is quite as great as a world war. As the United States, China, Europe and India mobilize against the shadowy Anarchists, who have carved vast swaths across Africa, the Middle East, and Russia, Mike and Patience deal with the fallout at home.
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