About E. A. Allen:
E. A. Allen is a Writer, History Professor, and former CIA Intelligence Officer. He brings all three together in his series of Edwardian mysteries, following the exploits of France’s most formidable detective of the Belle Epoque, Gerard de Montclaire. The Montclaire Mysteries feature engaging tales of intrigue, revenge, jealousy, espionage, political corruption, and international conspiracy, embedded within the actual historical texture of the Victorian-Edwardian Era. Real historical actors mix with fictional characters in plots and situations that are plausible, and in which both speak with voices that are authentic to the era.
E.A.Allen served during Bush and Clinton Administrations as the CIA’s Senior Analyst for European Security Affairs, and as Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Europe. He has lectured widely on International Relations and has published more than a score of historical articles in scholarly journals–notably The Journal of British Studies and French Historical Studies. He now lives in his native Northwest Arkansas, where he raises cattle, promotes Historic Preservation, continues to lecture on International Relations, and teaches Modern European History and World Civilizations.
What inspires you to write?
In a word, Fun. I write for the enjoyment of concocting a good yarn, and I hope people who read it will come away saying, “That was a corker!” If readers try one of my stories and are thoroughly entertained from beginning to end, I am pleased. Beyond the fun, I am encouraged by the challenge of being part of a tradition of Edwardian Mystery Writers, reaching back to the era of Conan Doyle and Wilkie Collins. It inspires me constantly to live up to the standards of that tradition and to try each time I write a story to surpass them.
Tell us about your writing process.
Writing is a discipline and not even the best, most talented who have ever done it have achieved anything without submitting to the discipline. I write every day, in the mornings, and I generally put in a bit of time in the evening reviewing what I have done that day. I follow this discipline through successive revisions, editing, proofing and finally the mechanics of publication. The other element of the writing process for me is Plotting. Once I have the idea of the mystery, I plot the story, beginning to end, through a structure that says, every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end and every chapter in the story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. My preliminary process ends with a pretty full outline that I can use to guide my writing. My plot outlines are not as full as some – Dorothy L. Sayers, for example, who spends a year to produce an outline – but they are more robust than those writers who make a quick sketch and get on with it.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I see my characters in my mind’s eye. I know what all my characters – principals and minor – look like, before I start to write. And, I hear them as they deliver their narrative and engage in dialogue. I do that to get the Edwardian Voice absolutely right. However, I do not talk to them, or they to me. I know it is said that some mystery writers have gone so far as to develop a personal relationship with their protagonists, hauling them into their own lives as real characters. So far, I have not felt the need to do that.
What advice would you give other writers?
When asked, I tell new writers to make writing your work. Your main job. Honor it and yourself by working hard at it and keep working. Writing is much more the discipline of work than it is the fruit of inspiration.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I suppose I have always thought in terms of traditional publishing, both as an academic, publishing scholarly studies, and then as a mystery writer, hoping to publish my first novel. I wanted the assurance of gatekeepers that my work was worthy of readers – the sort of assurance that comes from the acceptance of a knowledgeable agent, editors and publishers. I think if you are a novice, it is especially important to hear from those with experience that your stories are worth telling.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Digital books are a burgeoning part of publishing and it is easy to think that they are the way of the future. There is no doubt eBooks are the cutting-edge of story publishing and things are likely to remain that way for a long time. However, those who see in digital publishing “the death of the book,” are a bit premature, in my opinion. Hardcopy books have shown they have staying power, and the traditional publishers – big and small – who produce them are learning to compete with digital producers. The future will be rich with the greater variety and number of self-published, digital book by indie writers and with a substantial number of traditionally published books in all sorts of formats. Readers have never had a greater or more confusing choice. And writers have never had greater opportunity to get their work before prospective readers. Those are both good.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Edwarsdian Mysteries, Historical Mysteries, Young Adult Mysteries/Suspense, French Detectives
What formats are your books in?: eBook, Both eBook and Print, Audiobook
Your Social Media Links
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.