Author Spotlight - Interview with Eli Allison
To kick off this year's author spotlights, I am delighted to introduce my fellow Unbounder Eli Allison.
To start with, could you introduce yourself?
2) Would you mind telling us a bit about your book?
Sour Fruit is my debut novel, so nervous ‘yays’ all round. It’s a speculative thriller set in the north of England in a not too distant future. People are separated into citizens who have things like legal rights, health care and jobs or VOIDs who have things like crippling illness, debt and bad luck. VOIDs are shoved into City hubs; massive refugee camps. My novel follows the kidnapping of a young girl called Onion and her desperate attempts to escape Kingston, one of the oldest and most horrific hubs.
3) What inspired you to write this story?
My main character, Onion. A few years ago I wrote a 1st POV short story about a woman prisoner let out for the day because of a funereal. Her voice was so clear, so aggressive that I knew I had to expand on it. Sour Fruit was born, (a four-year delivery but here now).
Onion isn’t kind or sweet, she’s vicious. I wanted to explore a character that was wasn’t to ‘type’. She’s a victim but also bigoted, emotionally dense but wicked smart, vulnerable but guarded. I love contradiction it’s what makes life interesting. I then fleshed her out and threw her to the wolves.
4) What are you working on now?
What am I not working on... I have a list as big as The British Library’s book catalogue.
Sour Fruit’s copy edit,
Sour Fruit the sequel,
Developing a story involving a Multidimensional Universe, war, an enslaved people who can share their dreams and dragons,
Getting ripped for summer.
One's already got knocked from the list... you'll never guess which one.
5) What draws you to your genre? Have you always been drawn to it?
I have a mad crush on speculative and Science Fiction; it’s the possibility of it. The scope and mad imagination of it all. The way you could be writing about how an alien corporation has enslaved the human race as lab rats by running massive cosmetics trials on us hundreds of years in the future, but what you're really doing is holding a mirror up to how the companies of today use the Developing World's desperate need for pharmaceuticals as mass human trials.
I'm really fun at parties.
6) When and how did you start writing seriously?
7) Who is your writing inspiration?
Margaret Atwood is a big one; The Handmaiden’s Tale was the first speculative novel I ever read, it changed me as a reader and writer.
8) What do you do if inspiration just won't come?
Have a lie-down. (All the best ideas come just before you fall asleep.)
No, but really, inspiration is a tricky little bugger to pin down, if I'm really stuck then I'll watch a documentary about something that interests me, or read a fantastic science article about space gold, or just get out of the house.
Inspiration comes from living.
9) Which part of the writing process is your favourite, and which part do you dread?
My favourite part of writing, hands down, is the daydreaming. Having my characters skip about willy-nilly through Swiss cheese plots and grand sweeping drama, all neatly tucked inside my head without the of the worst part.
The worst part about writing is the writing.
It’s hard on the back, riddles you with antisocial ticks and the office Christmas parties are shit, but I wouldn’t want to do anything else.
10) What is your number one distraction?
My enemy is Pinterest, she has a smug little sidekick called Facebook, but the grand battle of wills is absolutely against Pinterest.
11) Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I am going to pretend I know what pantser is and say, yes?
12) Tea or coffee?
13) What are the most important three things you've learned about writing, editing or publishing (or all of the above!) since you started your journey?
I think to some extent I always had a romantic ideal about what it was to be a writer. Imagining that after my morning tea and toast I’d wander down to my writing shed at the bottom of the garden; armed with only my imagination and HB pencil. Believing that if I wrote something beautiful they would come.
But that’s not the world.
Most writers today have to self-promote, be business minded, ballsy. You have to be semi-proficient in tech, proficient at public speaking, a social media whizz kid and on top of all that still write. Usually while holding down a job, not neglecting family and friends, remembering social cues like, ‘Hello how are you?’ rather than screaming at every person you meet, ‘Buy my book!’ oh and did I mention the trying to stay sane? I say the word ‘try’ because shit, we’re only human.
14) What's your favourite quote on writing?
15) Where can we connect with you?
If you’re a Facebook fan then I have an author page. https://www.facebook.com/eli.allison/
Ditto for Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/eliallison_author/?hl=en
I have a lovely website that turns the air blue. https://www.eli-allison.com/
And if you’re interested in my book. https://unbound.com/books/sour-fruit/
Thanks for having me.