Allison Maruska has been a blogger since March, 2012 and a started writing novels a year later. She is the author of The Fourth Descendant, an Amazon best-selling historical mystery. She’s a mom, a teacher, an avid coffee and wine consumer, and an owl enthusiast.
What was the funniest mistake you’ve made as a writer?
I have an author friend who does a final read through of my stuff, kind of as the last eyes to check for typos before I hit ‘publish’. When he read The Fourth Descendant, he noticed a place where I’d meant to say “the drought-covered land”, I’d typed “the draught-covered land”. It went from no rain to being covered in beer.
Who’s your favorite character you’ve written so far and why?
This is a tough question because I become best friends with whichever character I’m writing at the moment. I really enjoyed writing Jonah in The Fourth Descendant because of his connection to family and his musicality.
What’s the craziest story idea you’ve ever had? And did you write it?
A virus wipes out 99% of humanity, sparing a handful of teenagers who develop the ability to shapeshift into various flying creatures. My MC shifts to a dragon. They have to figure out their new world and how to adapt to it and each other. I’m in the final revision stages of that YA novel.
What about your most recently published/upcoming work?
I published The Fourth Descendant on February 4th, and it has been on Amazon’s historical mystery bestseller list since April 10 (currently #12). It features four diverse characters who come together to discover a secret buried in a Virginia courthouse a century ago, a secret much more serious than they could have imagined.
Next up will likely be my Young Adult mystery called Project Renovatio, which is about a brother and sister who learn they were genetically engineered to survive a global disaster, and the organization that created them wants to control their lives. It’s going through the publishing process with a small traditional house.
What project are you looking forward to next?
I’ve started writing a new suspense novel that fans of The Fourth Descendant will especially enjoy. It takes place twenty-five years into the future, and a couple characters make appearances as secondary characters. I’m gonna make you guys wait to discover which ones. 🙂
Do you have any revision tips to share?
Figure out your crutch words – those you overuse – and do an MS search for those. Critique partners are great at helping you discover crutch words.
How much do you structure your novel when you write?
I call myself a tent poleplanner. I have the major points that need to occur in mind, but I develop the rest as I write.
What’s the best part about being a writer?
Getting sucked into your own story and then getting to decide which way to take it. I imagine that’s what lucid dreaming must be like.
Do you have a favorite line or two that you’d like to share?
These are both from The Fourth Descendant:
“It kinda feels like a bad joke, ya know? ‘An Irish guy, a Chinese guy, a black guy, and a colonist dude walk into a courthouse …’”
The sounds of the emergency room – a cable network on TV, a man talking on a phone, a crying child – blended into a distasteful auditory stew.
What is the single most important quality in a novel; what must an author do to win you over?
The story must be compelling and original, and for me, the dialogue must be authentic. Inauthentic dialogue is the #1 reason I’ll stop reading a book.
Do you have a favorite quote you’d like to share?
Creativity is intelligence having fun. – Albert Einstein
What a terrific interview. I enjoyed reading Allison’s book very much and so did my wife (she listened to the audiobook). There is no doubt that her next story will be even better. Mark it down: bestseller in progress. You read it here first!
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I’ll look forward to it!