An Interview with Allie Hawkins

Please help me welcome Allie Hawkins to my blog today. Allie will be giving away a $5 Starbucks card to one lucky winner, so be sure and leave a comment to be entered.

Unraveled_w6728_750_2What genre(s) do you write in and why?

I write across genres. Hey, I read across genres. I figure if I’m passionate enough about a story to write 400-pages, I think I can decide on the genre. (This is borderline heresy, BTW. Not for established writers so much. For unpubbed writers, oh my). Just so I don’t sound so snippy, there are lots of genres I don’t attempt—sci fi, no. (But apocalyptic dystopian books, yes). Inspirational romances, no. (Bbut books with themes I hope readers find inspiring, oh, yes). Eerotica, no. (But sizzling romances, absolutely).

What is your favorite part of writing?

The sheer fun of putting words on a page that hook readers and keep them hooked. I love the magic of storyweaving—bringing characters to the page in situations that border on the outrageous speaking like ‘real people’ and overcoming problems that make me believe I can slog through the grind after all. I like creating mysteries that stump readers and writing humor that brings tears of laughter. Truthfully, there is no part of writing I don’t like. I especially love reVISIONING books/stories because I am always so surprised at how much better subsequent drafts are from that first sh**tty one—which I was in love with even though I knew it wasn’t the final version.

How much time do you spend promoting your books? What works best for you?

Not enough. At the same time, more than I want and more than I like. Promotion takes away from what I love: writing. But whining doesn’t help. Shakespeare and Dickens and Jane Austen and every great writer out there had to promote. Some modern mega-authors like Stephen King and Nora Roberts don’t have to do their own promotions so much now. Their readers will buy anything with their name on the cover. As to what works for me, I don’t know. What doesn’t work for me is to whine about how much time I have to spend. Promotion goes with writing for publication. The clue is finding a balance. Have I found the key to that balance? I wish.

Where do you get the ideas for your stories?

From people I meet. From people I’d like to meet. From stories in the newspaper. From movies. From gossip. From stories I read as a kid which I marry with some off-the-wall idea that sparks my interest. From traveling (I’ve written a cross-genre humorous, women’s fiction/romance about a “psycho mom” who chases after her rebellious daughter, off on a marathon motorcycle trip riding behind her smokin’ hot boyfriend. The idea came to me years ago during a cross-country car trip when I met lots of bikers headed for the Sturgis Harley Rally). From wishes. I mean, don’t we all sometimes create a character who embodies everything we dislike about a person we wish got her just desserts. My problem is: there are stories everywhere—in the ether, in my head, in my cat’s head . . . will I live long enough to write them all?

How likely are people you meet to end up in your next book?

Very likely. I write with lots of secondary characters. They have stories I want to tell. In my first published books, PRINCE OF FROGS and QUEEN OF THE UNIVERSE, the two heroines are best friends, deeply enmeshed in each other’s lives. Just as the heroine in FROGS meets her prince, her friend discovers her life’s disintegrating. Her story required another book to see how she figured out she’d survive only if she learned her best friend couldn’t save her.

What genres are you drawn to as a reader?

Dark, dark, dark stuff laced with humor. I can read blood, gore, guts. I cannot watch anything more graphic than a torn hangnail on TV or at the movies. Give me a dark and stormy night to read the scary stuff (paranormal, gothic, noir, dark psychological suspense, true crime) and I stay up all night enjoying being scared and maybe even surprised.

Do you write under a pen name? Why or why not?

I do. My dark alter ego is Allie Hawkins. My light, funny persona is Barbara Plum. I chose a pen name for a couple of reasons which now seem a little whacky. I wanted to proclaim to the world that knew and to the husband who’d supported my long, lean years that I’d published two romantic comedies. There are some hot scenes, but I didn’t think I’d embarrass anyone. The romantic suspense novles, UNRAVELED and PRESUMED GUILTY have far more sex, more violence and more far-out scenes. Ironically, I chose a pen name that is blending of my mother’s and maternal aunt’s first name. (Yep, my mom would blush about twenty pages into PRESUMED GUILTY).

Did you have several manuscripts finished before you sold? If so, did you send them out yourself?

I had five or six manuscripts finished before I sold. I wrote to learn so I finished whatever I started. Often that meant rewriting, rewriting, rewriting. I got an agent right away, but that relationship went bad quickly (because she was dishonest about submitting my work). So, I sent out some manuscripts on my own, entered contests, kept writing. I sold PRINCE OF FROGS after pitching it to an editor who came to visit my local RWA chapter.

Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract?

Keep writing. Finish the book. If you can’t finish the book, figure out WHY it’s not salvageable. Not liking it is NOT a reason to give up on it. Sometimes, in the middle of my nth revision, I HATE every character, every scene, every word. But if the story is sound, I finish. That’s what I would suggest: make sure you understand what stories are all about. I don’t think it matters if you write with a detailed outline or if you sit down and write one word after the other as they come to you from cyberspace. (Lots of controversy on this topic). But understanding story and its essence makes the difference, IMO. Also, start word lists with strong verbs and nouns and phrases from other authors you love. As a coach and contest judge, I find too many unpublished writers don’t love words. Words are all we writers have. Words matter.

And because words matter, we writers often listen to the negative ones our Girls in the Attic throw at us when the writing gets tough (no word back on that MS you sent to an agent months ago; a rejection from the agent you really, really, really wanted; the conviction you can’t write—even with a gun in your head). Learn to disregard those stories from the Girls. Wanting to write is a sign of insanity, I am sure. No one gives us enough encouragement. We must find the willpower to keep going—no matter what anyone says or implies. Writing is an excuse to be crazy. Go for it!

What’s next for you?

I’ve finished the first draft of a YA romantic gothic in which a lonely teenage girl risks her sanity for the horse she adores and rediscovers the childhood love who betrayed her. When I say she risks her sanity, I should add that she sees ghosts. Not something she’s willing to admit—not even to herself. I’m drawn to the story because I think most of us remember times we felt on the outside—rejected and misunderstood by others. Family secrets and our insecurities and our deepest fears can alienate us from those we love most. As with all my books/stories, family interactions play an important role in this book. The working title is FOR LOVE OF A HORSE. So . . . stay tuned for a publication date.


Allie Hawkins writes about mayhem, murder, sex and love in books featuring cats who teach alpha heroes how to win a heroine’s heart. Her alter ego, Barbara Plum, writes romantic comedies set in Silicon Valley, where both writers live—just off the fast lane. Careers in teaching adolescent boys, developing public library programs and creating marketing materials for emerging technologies still fuel her imagination and storytelling. Zumba keeps increasing her gray cells and giving her pleasure away from her computer and cats.


Snow slithered down Quinn’s expensive, silk-lined boots, but she laughed, her heartbeat slowing.

“Remember that fragile ego, Buster.”

“That a challenge?”

The heat in Pierce’s whisper promised a hint of what she could expect after he undressed her. Anticipation shook her. “I’d throw down my glove but my fingers would freeze.”
“Imagine them tripping down my spine a few times. They’ll feel like—

“There you go. Being eager again.”

Ahead, blue lights flashed, police radios crackled. Three whistle-blasts stopped her at a red light. Pierce’s voice faded in the crunch of tires. She yelped and jumped sideways. Her bum ankle buckled, collapsed.

Flat on her back, dazed, she groaned. A savage grinding of gears released the metallic taste of adrenaline deep in her throat. She rolled onto her side, flailed to get to her feet, put distance between her and the car she imagined fishtailing on the ice.

Her hands slipped. Her feet slid. Blood roared in her ears. She scrabbled backwards, twisting her head toward the street, toward the car she couldn’t see.

Stand up. She had to stand. Had to…get…away.

Instinct warned trying to stand promised disaster. Ice demanded crawling. Crawling offered a small hope of survival. She flopped onto her stomach. Her wrists wobbled. On the second try, they supported her weight.

Her heart beat too hard.

Too fast. Unable to catch her breath, she tucked her head and crabbed across the icy sidewalk. Too late, panic shocked her like electricity. The wrong way. She was going the wrong way.

Turn around. Turn…

A blur of black rolled toward her. Closer and closer. Headlights blinded her. She opened her mouth. Wind swallowed her scream.

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5 thoughts on “An Interview with Allie Hawkins

  1. Hi, I love that plot with the mom chasing after her dd on the motorcycle. Sadly, I’d be the mom and not the one with the smokin’ bf. lol I also love zumba! Good interview (don’t put me in the contest because – gasp – I don’t drink coffee!)

  2. Great interview! The YA book sounds intriguing! I’m sorry to say that I haven’t read any of Allie’s books but this review has me clicking on B&N or Amazon! Thanks again and have a good day!

  3. Enjoyed reading the comments. i am always looking for new authors to read. Your book sounds like the ones I like to read.

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