JQM PRESENTS A BLOG POST INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR Christiane Joy Allison
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF:
I am a multi-award-winning author, public speaker, and activist. My first book “Where is Uncle?,” the first children’s picture book for children experiencing the wrongful conviction of a loved one, won five Honorable Mentions in the 2018 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards. In 2018 I was also honored to be awarded a Rasmuson Foundation Individual Artist Project Award as well as a Lin Halterman Memorial Grant from the Alaska Writers Guild. I now serve as President of the Alaska Writers Guild while writing and publishing my current dystopian cyberpunk novel series, The Infinitus Saga. The memorable characters of the saga include a disabled family inspired by my life-long battle with chronic illness, hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hEDS). Infinitus, the first full-length novel in the series was published this year. Sometimes I walk with a cane, sometimes I ride in a wheelchair, and sometimes I need neither. My disability is as unpredictable as my life. After years of heartbreaking struggle, my husband was wrongfully convicted in 2015, and endured four and a half years of wrongful imprisonment before his conviction was overturned in 2019. These events launched me and my family into the battle against injustice, and inspired my award-winning series of children’s picture books for kids impacted by the adverse childhood experience (ACE) of the incarceration of a loved one. So as an activist, I fight for criminal justice and prison reform and aspire to give prisoner families a voice. In addition to writing, I also enjoy cooking, canning, home brewing and other DIY food projects. I also love reading, watching movies and television, and crocheting blankets and toys for my numerous nieces and nephews.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO WRITE?
I love to observe how the world works in a social and systemic way. For The Infinitus Saga, much of the inspiration from my books comes from looking at various aspects of society today (technology, independence, genetic experimentation, etc.) and pushing those aspects as far to the limit as I can see to create a take on the evolving global society. I also found inspiration through various science magazines, articles, and documentaries that came across my path as I was writing. Then I threaded my genetic illness, hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hEDS), into a couple of main characters to allow the reader to explore the adventure from a body that’s not up to the challenge. I have also written children’s books that have grown out of my family’s experiences, particularly the children’s experiences, with the injustice of the American justice system.
WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE AUTHORS? WHY?
Stephenie Meyer, Suzanne Collins, Suzanne Brockman, Linda Howard, and Steve Alten. I love authors that write good relationships, action and suspense.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE BOOKS? WHY?
The Host by Stephenie Meyer. I love the relationship dynamics in this book and the analysis of what is human based on the connections between people and their emotions. The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins. After my experiences with the criminal system in America, I sympathize with the characters of this series very strongly and the adversity they’re trying to overcome. The Meg series by Steve Alten. This was the first major novel series I ever became hooked on. I love the details woven in about the Megalodon, and the theories put into the book. This series developed my life-long love of sharks. Fig Pudding by Ralph Fletcher. This chapter book had a profound impact on me. It’s written from the perspective of the oldest of five children, and I also happen to be the oldest of five. I loved the family dynamics and the book gave me a solid perspective on overcoming grief, which served me well later in life.
WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE LITERARY CHARACTERS? WHY?
I don’t have any favorites among what most people would consider the classical literary characters. In popular fiction, I tend to have favorite relationships more than favorite characters. I love the relationship between Katniss and Peta in The Hunger Games. I love the relationship between Wanda and Ian in The Host. I am a pushover for romance and love stories, but I love them all the more if they give me more to read and explore in the relationship as it evolves.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR FELLOW AUTHORS AND/OR ASPIRING AUTHORS?
Join a local writers group! I started out attending the annual conference for the Alaska Writers Guild and I am now President of that organization. I’ve also been a member of the local chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the national Independent Book Publishers Association. These organizations have provided me with a wealth of information on the craft of writing, traditional and self-publishing, marketing, and other important topics. They also provide a means of connecting with other writers and authors in your area, and networking with a group of support people who will help you through your writing journey.
IMAGINE ONE OF YOUR BOOKS IS ABOUT TO BECOME A FILM OR TV SHOW. WHO IS YOUR “DREAM CAST?” AND WHO DO YOU ASK TO CREATE THE SOUNDTRACK?
I don’t have a lot of specific people in mind for my “dream cast,” but I have a couple. I would love for Benedict Cumberbatch to play the role of the arrogant, intelligent Dr. Alexander Reginald Pennington in The Infinitus Saga. I’m also torn on whether Hawk Warrenson would be best played by someone like Oh Ji-Ho (South Korean actor) or someone like Markiplier (Youtuber). As far as the soundtrack, I would have to request it from STARSET or Les Friction. My current author playlists include “Who Will Save You Now” and “Firewall” from Les Friction, and “TRIALS” and “Carnivore” by STARSET.
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WANT TO SHARE WITH POTENTIAL READERS? *
The world of The Infinitus Saga mixes many of my favorite themes into a single story. First, the main characters from the Mallorey family have my genetic condition, hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hEDS). Their story is drawn from real life experiences of struggling with disability and persevering. The story gives the reader the perspective of what it’s like to live in a body like that and connects with those of us who live with the condition. The story also takes place in a society where such people are put away or hidden by the government, putting the characters at additional risk. Secondly, I love stories with characters that are a mix of human and animal. The world of Infinitus is full of a colorful cast of chimera characters that are human-animal hybrids born from reemerging genetics from Old World super soldier experiments. You get to see both their advantages and disadvantages. Thirdly, the world explores the relationship between people and technology. In the world of Infinitus, people are literally wetwired to the world’s computers and their brains are used as temporary servers. Think about what it would be like to close your eyes and dim the lights or turn up the temperature in your apartment. What would it be like to have an AI that was attuned to your every whim? What happens when there’s no tactile form of money? All of these amazing things and more are explored in the story. Finally, even though this is not a romance novel, there is romance, and other significant relationships. The story explores the draw and connection between these characters in a world where all long-term relationships are feared as mental illness.
WHERE CAN WE GO TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOU AND YOUR LITERARY WORKS?
You can learn more about me and all of my books on my website at http://www.AllisonPublishing.com. You can also connect with me through social media through: Facebook – @ChristianeJoyAllison (https://www.facebook.com/ChristianeJoyAllison/) Instagram – @ChristianeJoyAllison (https://www.instagram.com/ChristianeJoyAllison) Twitter – @CJAllison7 (https://twitter.com/cjallison7) LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/christianejoyallison YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfhZFmh7GBUzkNTqVbA8w2w