Natalie Allison grew up in a house full of books. Her world---and her imagination---became infused with the wonder and mystery of places like Middle Earth, Narnia, Valdemar, and Pern. An early love of reading led to an early love of writing, and she wrote her very first novel at the tender age of eight. She's been building worlds with words ever since, and her stories have entertained readers from all over the globe. Now she lives with her adoring husband, a son who's a genius, and a dog who's determined to save the world from mushrooms, kittens, frogs, and other nefarious creatures.
What do you read for pleasure?
I'm a fantasy nerd. I grew up reading the Pern series, along with LOTR, Shannara, and many others. One of my favorites series is the Black Jewels books by Anne Bishop. I have read those books a dozen times, and they never get old. I also love Glen Cook's Black Company series (talk about anti-heroes!) Robin Hobb is another favorite; her stories are so intricate and involved, I get lost and lose track of time while I'm reading them. Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind shaped my understanding of morality, heroism, and common sense. The Redwall series by Brian Jacques was my go-to series when I was a tween, and so was Piers Anthony's Xanth series. And finally, The Death Gate Cycle by Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman helped me to understand the concept of redemption in the face of impossible odds. All of those authors affected my world-view and made me understand the framework of a "good story." I can only hope to live up to their standards!
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in several different cities in several different states. My mom liked to move a lot, so we trekked across the USA every few years. I think moving around all the time let me see the world as a whole entity, rather than just one community among many. I got to make friends in many different places, and I learned that people are people, no matter where they call home. I think that helped me understand how people think, act, and react based on personal perception, which helped me to write more realistic characters. When you can see different perspectives and also understand the "why" behind those perspectives, you can get a pretty good feel for how people will react in a given situation. Over all, it gave me a wider view of humanity, and allowed me to build stories based on the idea of fluid morality.