Allison D. Reid was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her love for medieval fantasy was sparked by the Narnia Chronicles by C.S. Lewis, which fed both her imagination and her spiritual development. When at the age of thirteen her family moved to Germany, her passion for medieval history and legend only increased, and she found herself captivated by the ancient towns and castles of Europe.
Allison returned to the United States to study art and writing at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. She earned her B.A. under the tutelage of the well-renowned and prolific writer Andrew Salkey, a student of her other great inspiration, and the father of fantasy, J. R. R. Tolkien. After graduating from Hampshire College, Allison moved to Connecticut. There she got the opportunity to attend seminary and further explore her faith before returning to her home state of Ohio.
Allison now lives in the Miami Valley area with her husband and children. She continues to work on her first published series while taking care of her family, editing for other independent writers, and managing a home business.
Which authors inspire you?
I still love the original fantasy writers, Lewis, Tolkien, and Alexander. Their vision and skill as writers, and thinkers, just amaze me. I have deep respect for the lives they led and they continue to inspire me. I would love to have been a fly on the wall of The Eagle and Child pub when the Inklings were meeting there. Lewis’ writings in particular have mentored me since the day I first picked up "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" and felt God reaching out to me through the pages. As a child I read that series over and over again, until the books literally fell apart in my hands and had to be replaced. I can only dream of having that kind of an effect on one reader, let alone the countless thousands that Lewis has touched with his body of work.
What inspired you to write your first book?
In a way, insomnia was my first inspiration. When I was a kid, I had a very difficult time going to sleep at night. I didn’t have a TV in my room (not that there was cable back then anyway), and cell phones and tablets didn’t exist yet. There was nothing to do but stare up at the darkened ceiling of my room, cuddle with my cat, and wait for the sand man to show up. So I started a story in my head. It was a fantasy story, with castles, swords, a tragic young prince, a brave princess, and of course, the evil nemesis one kingdom over. Every night I added on a little more to the story, picking up at whatever point I had finally fallen asleep the night before. It became quite an expansive tale, and I totally fell in love with the world and characters as though they were dear friends. Eventually I outgrew the need to put myself to sleep in this way, but the story stayed with me. I knew one day I would have to write it down.
The opportunity finally came in college. I was working on a fine arts degree, but sucking up paint fumes in the art building was starting to lose its charm. One spring break, instead of working on my art, I borrowed a friend’s computer and started working on that story. Once I started, I found that I couldn’t stop. Art was fun, in small doses, but writing was my real passion. The book turned out to be way too long, and not very polished. I think I only shared it with one kind-hearted friend in the dorms. But the process of writing it made me realize that I had to change my major—fast! I kept art in my studies, but shifted my major to writing and was incredibly glad that I did. That shift started me down a path that led to a YA book that I wrote for my senior thesis, and eventually to "Journey to Aviad," my first published work. Twenty years later, writing is still my passion and I haven’t looked back. One day I just might go back to that original story and do it right, but that probably won’t be anytime soon!