Interview with Paul B Allen III

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
What gets me excited is when I create a great new character. I love watching him or her evolve with each word and action. Before I know it, that character is saying things I would never say, and doing things I would never dream of doing! And when they start to interact with other characters in their world, all I can do is sit back and watch and listen and wonder where all this came from.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything! For most writers, we write in a vacuum. And if we were the only people on planet earth, we would still have to write. But the truth is, as we write every word, we are visualizing that moment when we get to share our great new story with our friends, and our friends are our fans. At least that's how I look at them. They are all friends, and the ones who are encouraging and wish to support our endeavors one day become family. It's really nice when that happens.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Another opportunity to create. Some mornings it is writing books. Some mornings it is writing screenplays. Some morning it is writing music. Every morning, it is writing.
What are you working on next?
I love writing screenplays, and I am in the process of having two of mine optioned as we speak. What I would like to do is to take my screenplays and put them in book form, still maintaining screenplay format as much as possible. When people read a screenplay, they "see" a movie playing in their head, and I think that is very cool. This style of writing is done in much broader strokes, and allows the reader to fill in information from their own imagination, which I think gives them some ownership of that story, makes them feel more vested in the characters and story line. Normally in books every little thing is detailed, and the reader doesn't get to participate as much. Compare those who used to listen to the old radio programs, to those who grew up watching TV. Those who listened to radio programs had to pretty much create in their heads, the world that they were listening to as it was being described. And that could be a much better, more vivid and exciting world than anyone could have manufactured for them. In TV, the world is set in stone. In books, the world is set in stone. In screenplays, the reader's imagination gets to have a fun workout as they create their own world view.
Who are your favorite authors?
Arthur Golden, James Clavell, Oscar Wilde, Alex Haley, Richard Vasquez, Graham Greene, Ernestine Gilbreth Carey & Frank Bunker Gilbreth, Jr., Mark Twain, Jules Verne,
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Watching TV or movies with an eye to improving my craft, reading or studying something new with an eye to improving my craft, or playing no limit holdem poker on-line.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I am usually researching a subject for my writing and find books through general search engines when I put in the subject. Also, when I go to certain sites on the Internet, a lot of recommendations pop up and sometimes I find just the kind of book I am looking for.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, it was called "Visitor From Another Planet." It was written in 7th grade and won an award in the city-wide schools competition. It was printed, so that all the kids from all the schools in our city could read it. I never thought about it until now, but, I have been a published author since 7th grade! Lol. Unfortunately, I have been on hiatus for the past 55 years, but Baby, I'm back! :-)
What is your writing process?
I have never had writer's block. I write quickly and often. Here's my secret. Sit down and write. Even if it is unconscious stream of thought just to get you going, WRITE. After a minute or two, the ideas start to pop. And, here is why I never have writer's block. I stop BEFORE I complete my last idea. I make a short note on what the idea is, and the next morning, I start at that last idea, write for the time I wish to write, and leave a fragment of the last idea to begin again the next morning. That's the system that works for me.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I was a comic book fanatic when I was a kid. I have read thousands of comic books over the years. I can't tell you what the first story was I read, but I am certain it was from a comic.
How do you approach cover design?
I have a pretty good eye. But I have learned that a pretty good eye, is no where as good as a highly trained eye and a person who is naturally gifted to boot. So, I now have my covers done professionally. I have found some awesome people on Fiverr who will knock you out an awesome cover for like $50 - $75 bucks. My gift is writing, not designing. But one lesson I learned from being a songwriter, is that you do what you do best, then let other people do what they do best, and you will come out with a hit!
What are your five favorite books, and why?
"Memoirs of a Geisha" by Arthur Golden. The protagonist is a young girl. I was half way through the book, marveling at everything, before I realized the author was a man! He voiced this young woman so well that I was stunned at the realization that it was really a guy telling this story. Also, he is a master at creating his world. When I read the book, I was there with the young protagonist every step of the way, and when I would close the book and go outside, I had to re-orient myself. I had to literally be brought back to my own county and my own century!
"Tai-Pan" by James Clavell. Again, he creates worlds that you can lose yourself in, and I love "period pieces." I also loved how he dealt with cultural differences in this book, teaching us that beauty is in the eye of the beholder..
"Chicano" by Richard Vasquez, Ruben Martinez. I get excited when I get to read stories about one family that spans generations, and this is a great one that also gives deep insights into Hispanic culture.
"Roots" by Alex Haley. This book enlightened the world, and spawned one of the greatest mini-series in the history of television. It brought great pride to African Americans, and showed the world a slice of the Black experience in America. Again, I love stories that focus on one family over several generations, and no book ever did that any better than "Roots."
"Cheaper by the Dozen" by the brother and sister team of Frank Bunker Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey. I guess I am a nut about family. And this family was huge with 12 children and an "efficiency expert" as a father. A totally unique look at family life in this book there is filled with humor and love.
What do you read for pleasure?
Instructional E-books mainly, and I have subscriptions to print versions of several magazines including: Time - Sports Illustrated - GQ - Vogue - Decor - Architectural Digest - Entertainment Weekly - Essence - Car & Driver - Digital PhotoPro - Variety - Wine Spectator - Travel & Leisure - Autoweek - Motor Trend - Art In America - Better Homes and Gardens - Family Circle - Wired - Popular Mechanics - and finally W
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I do everything on my laptop so I added the Kindle app and Adobe Digital Editions. I like the Adobe best.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Social media
Describe your desk
It's a TV tray.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Omaha, NE for the first 10 years, then San Bernardino, CA for the rest of it up until age 43. Having lived in the Mid-West and then on the West Coast I could see major differences even as a child. People and mentalities were just as different as was the landscape between the two places. I think this taught me to be respectful of everyone, and to recognize that people have different ideologies, but this does not make them better of worse than anyone else. I think this also helped me become a person who loves all people and all cultures. I never realized until this interview how even in the books I have read, diversity is present in a huge way.
When did you first start writing?
I don't remember writing anything until that city wide school competition when I was in 7th grade, around 1965.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book, which will be released on October 5, 2017, is "Benjamin Franklin: Time Tripper." I have always been a huge Ben Franklin fan. I have read several biographies of the man throughout my life. It hit me one day that taking Ben out of his time period BEFORE he did all the things that helped to bring about America, and then placing him in a pivotal time in America's history, the mid-1960's, could make for a very interesting story. Give him a hip, young Black descendant, fast food (he didn't have that pot belly because he didn't like food!), great music, and an America headed more closely to non-existence every second that Ben is in the future, and we may have a pretty good story. At least, I felt so. I hope my fans will agree.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
My first book, "From Karaoke to the Platters" is a non-fiction autobiographical, how-to, tell all book that was initially written in order to document for my family and posterity, how I became the lead vocalist of one of the greatest vocal groups of all time, The Platters. I was going to have a few copies printed and distribute them among the family. But, the project became much bigger when I realized I had a platform for teaching music, and for inspiring other would be artists with my experiences. Many people have purchased the book and precious few of them were relatives! So, I'm glad I expanded the format and made it something that my fans would love, and that anyone interested in making it in the world of music could quickly benefit from reading.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I am new to Smashwords, but I joined because of the different distribution lines they offer. My first book about music could very easily be used in a school music classes, and also be placed in libraries throughout the USA. Only Smashwords has the ability to make that happen.
Published 2017-09-15.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Benjamin Franklin: Time Tripper
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 13,740. Language: English. Published: October 5, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Historical, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
Benjamin Franklin eating at McDonald’s, “expanding his mind” with help from Dr. Timothy Leary, and jamming with Stevie Wonder? Why would he ever want to go back to the 1700s? Because if he doesn’t find his way back home, and soon, his entire family line, and the United States of America itself, will cease to exist! History, fantasy, comedy and time travel. It doesn't get any better. Enjoy!
From Karaoke to the Platters
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 43,930. Language: English. Published: September 13, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Celebrity biography, Nonfiction » Music » Voice
The incredible and inspirational tale of how Paul B Allen III went from singing in karaoke establishments, to become the lead singer of one of the greatest vocal groups of all time, The Platters (Only You; Smoke Gets in Your Eyes; The Great Pretender, etc.). Paul documents step by step the things he did to make it happen, giving anecdotal experiences from his life that will entertain and delight.