Bestselling author Allison Bruning has always had a passion for the literary arts. She originally hails from Marion, Ohio but lives in Indianapolis, Indiana with her husband and their Australian Cattle Dog, Lakota Sioux. Allison is the author of four historical fiction series: Children of the Shawnee, The Secret Heritage, IrishTwist of Fate, and Cherokee Tears.
Allison’s educational background includes a BA in Theatre Arts with a minor in Anthropology from Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas. Allison received National Honor Society memberships in both Theatre Arts and Communication. She was also honored her sophomore year with admission into the All American Scholars register. She holds graduate hours in Cultural Anthropology and Education. In 2007, Allison was named Who’s Who Among America’s Educators. She is also the recipient of the Girl Scout Silver and Gold Awards. Allison received her Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Full Sail University on June 28, 2013. She is an educator, writer, speaker and screenwriter. Allison’s interests include Ohio Valley history, anthropology, travel, culture, history, camping, hiking, backpacking, spending time with her family, and genealogy.
What inspires you to write?
Most of my inspiration comes from the stories I hear while conducting family research. Sometimes one story will lead me to another and then another. I keep a journal with all my story ideas. Whenever I get an idea while I’m writing a story I just write it down so I can keep my focus on the story I am working on. If I didn’t do that I would be chasing plot bunnies all day long.
Tell us about your writing process.
When I started writing I was seat of the pants writer. I had tried my hands at outlining. While I liked it at first I found it really didn’t work that well with me. A few years ago, I pursued a MFA in Creative Writing at Full Sail University. That’s were my writing process was truly developed. I learned about Syd Field’s paradigm and how to properly lay a story out in a visual way. I loved it! Now my writing process works like this. I start with a very intense character development process. I want to know everything about my characters. That process can take a few days to a week to complete. After I have my characters I will plot the story out on the paradigm. This is a very important step for me because without order there is only chaos in my storyline. Readers don’t want to read a chaotic book. After I have my story in a paradigm I write the first draft. I like to write two chapters a day. Once I complete the first draft I send to my beta readers and get their input. When I have the notes back from them I work on the second draft. After the second draft is completed I’ll send the manuscript to my editor. My book goes through an intense editing process . Once it’s ready for publishing it’s released through Mountain Springs House.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I listen to my characters all the time. Sometimes secondary characters will want to steal the show. I just have to appease them by writing their story down and telling them they will get their own book someday. I have one character in The Children of the Shawnee series, Doctor Alexander Turner, who every time he has a scene it’s like having therapy session with him. He has so many emotional scars and it’s so hard to get him to talk about them that when he finally opens up it’s like a flood of information just washing over me. He needs his own book. LOL!
What advice would you give other writers?
You need to figure out if writing is a career or a hobby for you. If you want a career then you need to take your writing seriously. This is a tough industry to work in. Don’t be afraid to stand up for your writing career and treat it like a business because that’s what it is, a business. Be open to different forms of writing as well. When I started my writing career I was only writing novels. Now I am a screenwriter, novelist and scriptwriter. The truth of the writing world is this….you need to be open minded and flexible if you want to succeed in this career path.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I have always had one goal in mind with my books. I want my books to be carried by one of the Big 6 companies. I started my writing career querying agents but got nowhere. I learned it was harder for an unknown author to get an agent and that the best thing I could do was build up my author platform to get their attention. So I turned to the small press. I wanted a publisher to publish my books because I was new to the writing world and didn’t know anything about publishing. My first book, Calico, was picked up by a small press in 2010. Mind you, I had begun my writing career in 2008. Sometimes it just works that way. You have a finished book but it’s hard to get a house to notice you because you’re a new author. The publishing house is only there to make money. They want a guarantee that your book is going to sell. My book went through three publishing houses. Finally I decided to open up my own press, Mountain Springs House. I have released my books through my publishing house and continue to do so.
I have been using the Indie world to build my career for six years. It is working. I was picked up by a literary manager in May of 2014. The reason I was able to obtain a manager was because I had enough followers and my name is known throughout the historical fiction community. My next step is to acquire an agent for my novels, scripts and screenplays. There have been plenty of big name authors who have used the Indie world to launch their writing careers. Don’t be afraid to do that as well. The literary manager, agent and entertainment lawyers are your friends.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think we are going to see many more publishing houses become author services (aka: vanity press). Publishing houses are having a hard time financially staying afloat in this business. More and more companies are turning into vanity press. There use to be a time when I would tell people to run away from a vanity press but not anymore. There are good and bad vanity presses out there just as there are good and bad traditional publishing houses. We’re living in a time when authors need to do their research on a house but don’t relay on word of mouth through social media outlets or through your friends. Be open minded. There is a lot to learn about this industry and it is constantly changing. Authors need to stay up to date in what is going on in the industry and continue to develop their craft.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print
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