Interview with Maurice Allen

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born in northern NSW and raised in Sydney, At high school I hated English, but I had been encouraged by my mother from an early age to read, and developed a voracious appetite for all sorts of books, magazines, just about anything with printing on a page.
All through my life I have filed away, in my memory bank of useless trivia, life experiences, and these I draw upon for inspiration. The Dancing Man came from an idea from my plumbing days. Promi$e$ has been influenced by my experiences with the Christian Church. The idea for Rogue Element began in the late 60's with some 'heavy shit' hitting the streets of Sydney. The incidents surrounding the Hilton Hotel bombing raised questions in my mind that have never been fully answered.
When did you first start writing?
I was first encouraged to write by my Adult Ed English teacher in the late 1970's. She paid me the compliment by telling me that when she sat down to mark the 50 or so essays each week, she set mine aside, and when she got sick of reading the same stuff, she read mine, knowing that my different perspective and writing style would motivate her to complete the task. It wasn't until the 80's that I began writing seriously, initially as therapy following my marriage breakdown. The initial draft of my first novel took 10 days for 60,000 words. since then I have written 5 novels and a couple of novellas along with well over a hundred short stories.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The Dancing Man came about when I was pumping out a septic tank following the connection of a house to the sewer. In the bottom of the tank were bones, and I thought to myself (as one would) that this would be the perfect place to dispose of a body. This was the raisin d'etre for a story about relationships. Here again I have drawn on life experiences.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I got sick of rejection slips from Literary Agents who wouldn't know a good story if it bit them on the arse. It is almost impossible in Australia for first time authors to get their work appreciated.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
This is my first crack at this indie publishing scenario so who knows. What it has done is to give me the confidence to have a go at it.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Seeing the germ of an idea flow onto the page (screen) and form itself into a cohesive work.
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans are important to any writer, but not those obsequious little toadies that tell you that something you consider to be crap is the greatest thing since War and Peace. With my short stories I have developed a substantial fan base of readers who will offer considered criticism when they think necessary. The main benefit for me has been the continued encouragement of my writing style, entertaining is a word often used, as well as encouraging me to seek publication of my work.
What are you working on next?
I will be revising one of my filed away novels with the view to future publication. I have sat on this for some time because of the controversial subject matter. I know that I will cop a fair amount of abuse from one particular group, but that's life.
Who are your favorite authors?
Leslie Thomas. He has a way of creating heroes from ordinary people and doing it with humour.
I am a fan of mystery novels, and my favourite authors of this genre are Mickey Spillane, William Diehl, James Patterson and Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I first check my vital signs and discover that I am still alive, albeit on bonus time, and decide that I really have to make the most of the time that I have left. I lead an active life and have a wide range of interests to keep body and mind active.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Walking my dogs on the beach for at least an hour each day. I also ride a bike, go body boarding, fishing (drowning bait), drive my fast car as fast as legally possible, and reading..
What is your writing process?
There is no fixed method. Some of my works begin with an idea while others start with the conclusion and work up to it. My book Promi$e$ came from a statement made to me thirty million years ago when I was 12. I was told that if I looked closely enough in the Bible, it would tell me what brand of instant coffee to drink. The answer was irrelevant but the process of reaching that answer, was what was important. It got me thinking.
As for the writing process, when the words flow my output is prodigious, but as soon as they dry up I usually put it to one side and let ideas rattle around in my head until I'm ready to go again.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
No, but it would have been a kids book when I was 4, probably Snugglepot and Cuddlepie by May Gibbs
What do you read for pleasure?
That very much depends on my mood, a good mystery novel when I want my brain to function (William Diehl), a good story line told with humour to lift my spirits (Leslie Thomas), adventure books (Wilbur Smith).
Describe your desk
In one word, cluttered. I tend to work on several projects at a time and these are pushed to one side when I move on to another. I also have research material on my desk as well as two printers and a scanner. Every now and then I tidy this mess up and find that I can't find things.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. It was a science fiction story called 'Tempus Fugitives' about two people from a boring future where people are cloned for specific functions, and no personal interaction is possible, come back to the present to try to prevent the war that destroyed the world as we know it. During the course of the story they come to realise that when man is involved, war is inevitable. One day I might publish it.
How do you approach cover design?
My first course is to look for a point in the storyline or a purpose for the story and then go search for images that best illustrate this. Then I look at the title and other information that I need to convey this message, the best font style, size and colour. Then it's a matter of moving these elements around to achieve a cohesive design. Maybe one day I'll come up with the perfect cover design.
Published 2014-06-21.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Fashionably Late - For My Own Funeral.
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 82,290. Language: English. Published: July 15, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
My transformation from writer geek to a superstar writer of realistic crime fiction is down to Melissa Blanchette, my wife. My transformation from superstar writer to the Avenger is also down to her, and to my financial advisor. He because he invested my money on a drug importation scheme, she because she was having an affair with him. With the help of Sendi Soren I set out to clear my name.
Life On The Road
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 165,120. Language: English. Published: July 4, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Literary collections » Australian & Oceanian, Fiction » Romance » Short stories
Life on the Road is a collection of short, and sometimes erotic, romance stories set in a distinctive Australian environment.
Rogue Element
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 107,530. Language: English. Published: June 6, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » General
Russell French, an Australian journalist, receives files from a whistle blower in the US. In it is information, that he had been ordered not to publish at the time. surrounding the bombing of the Sydney Hilton Hotel in 1978. This is the story of his investigation, a story that began in 1969 and involves a shipment of hashish laced with heroin.
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 122,400. Language: English. Published: May 18, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Christian » Contemporary
What would you do if you believed that your church was more interested in profits than prophet? Would you walk away as so many had done before, or would you take the church on? Frank did the latter, and with the help of Lawyer Michael Henderson, he took the church on for failing to honour the dangled carrot of a seven-fold increase in his finances.
The Dancing Man
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 68,390. Language: English. Published: May 15, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
The discovery of a body brings back memories for Cynthia Swain. Memories of her childhood in this place, of her parents, of her first love. Detective Sergeant Brownlow is determined to find out who it was, how and why he died, and his investigations lead to Cynthia. What is she hiding? Who is she protecting?