This week’s interview is with C.E.Allan, author of The Ancient Ones: Prophecy of the Ilat. He was born on September 20, 1974 in London, England but for the time being lives in New Jersey, USA. His passion for stories started at the age of three. He was transfixed with books like James and the Giant Peach and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Television programs like Batman with Adam West. And was completely mesmerized by movies like Clash of the Titans, Jason and the Argonauts. However, C.E.Allan’s all time favourite hands down is Star Wars.
Apart from a talented writer, C.E.Allan is also a devoted husband and father to three princesses and two princes.
His favourite quote is, follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there are only walls, because it makes me believe I can achieve anything I put my mind to and enjoy doing.
#1. Describe yourself as a person with a few words.
Ebullient, laconic, pragmatic.
#2. What does your writing process look like?
I have a scrapbook which I use to write the outline of each chapter. This process helps me to write a lot faster. The story it self I write on a software called Scrivener. I take my time on each chapter, constantly throwing out stuff I don’t like and replacing it with stuff I do.
#3. Does writing energise or exhaust you?
In the morning yes, at night no.
#4. Do you have any strange writing habits no one know about?
No, none that I can think of. I do scrap half of what I write. I’m not sure if that is strange.
#5. Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?
Stephen King, Charlaine Harris, Donna Tartt, John Grisham and Vince Flynn.
#6. What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
I try to be as original as possible, so I will create buildings or worlds which are really complex. An example was in the Ancient Ones, I created a prison where the cells suspend in the air. The wall is a force field. The only chance of escaping is having the ability to fly, which my character can’t. Once I designed the prison, then I had to figure out how they could escape. This was difficult.
#7. What is the first book that made you cry?
Probably one of John Grisham’s books. The tears would’ve been for joy.
#8. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
Not yet,may be in the future
#9. How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?
The names in my book have special meanings. For example, the protagonist’s name is Tianna, which means Princess. But also my daughters name is Tia. Other names in the book are from Sumerian Mythology, as the story involves the Sumerian Gods. Other random characters I pick their names according to the meaning of it.
#10. Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
For The Ancient Ones there will be three or four books, but there are many other books I would like to write.
#11. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Without question, my editor.
#12. If you didn’t like writing books, what would you do for a living?
I run my own business and write. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
#13. If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?
I only started to write as an adult. I wouldn’t change anything.
#14. What is your least favourite part of the publishing / writing process?
Re-reading the same chapters over and over again and editing it.
#15. Characters often find themselves in situations they aren’t sure they can get themselves out of. When was the last time you found yourself in a situation that was hard to get out of and what did you do?
The last situation I can think of was in January 2016 last year. My father, who my siblings and I are not remotely close with, had taken ill in Guyana, South America. I hadn’t spoken to him or seen him in years. He tried to take a plane back home to the UK, which stopped off in Barbados. He became so ill that he was taken off the plane and was stuck in Barbados. Things became worse when the hospital discovered he had no insurance and he hadn’t the money to pay for his bills. The hospital discharged him. He didn’t have the strength to walk, much less look after himself. Luckily a family member whose name is Mertalene took him in. I had days to get him back to the UK so he could get treatment. This meant getting paperwork from the hospital saying he can fly, and me flying over to Barbados to accompany him as the airline wouldn’t allow him to fly by himself. Mertalene was going to take care of the paperwork, while I sent over money to pay for all of his drugs and the hospital bills.
After a couple of days, the paperwork to allow him to fly back wasn’t completed. Time was running out. I flew out to Barbados on a Wednesday with the goal to get him on the plane Friday evening. On my arrival I spoke to the airline. What they wanted was a letter from the doctor saying he was able to fly, they wanted to know what was wrong with him, and the results of his blood test. They confirmed that once they got the paperwork, it would take about an hour to process.
The blood test was scheduled for Thursday morning at 9am. We arrived at 8:30am. I saw a doctor who said that when I receive the blood test results, that I must bring it to him and he would write the letter. At 12pm the person who took the blood hadn’t arrived. I asked the Mertalene what our options were. She said there was a clinic around the corner, but I would have to pay. I didn’t care how much it cost, so I asked her to make the call. The cost was only $200, so we left the hospital, went to the clinic, and a nurse walked out to the car and took my dad’s blood. The nurse said she will call Mertalene at 4pm for me to pick up the results. I dropped off my dad and Mertalene to her home, and went back to my hotel to wait. At 4:30pm I hadn’t heard anything, so I called Mertalene. The clinic hadn’t called her. I waited for fifteen minutes and called back. Mertalene still hadn’t heard back from the clinic, so I decided to drive to the clinic, which was five to ten minutes away. When I arrived, the gates to the car park was locked. The clinic had closed. I parked up, climbed over the wall, looked for the first door and tried to open it. Thankfully it was open. I made my way to the reception area. There was a woman behind the desk. I asked her for my father’s blood test results. She asked for his name and looked through a pile of envelopes. She looked a second time and a third and found nothing. She went out to the back and came back with another lady who checked the computer system. She found the results and printed them off for me. I took the results, drove back to the hospital and found the doctor. He reviewed the results and said that my dad blood test results were negative, but with the right medication he can fly. He said, my dad would have to return to the hospital in the morning so that the medical team could review his results and recommend the right medication. He kept the blood test results and wrote the letter saying my father can fly. That evening I scanned the letter on my iPhone and faxed to the airline offices, hoping that the letter should be enough.
Friday morning we arrived at the hospital at 8:30am. The offices to the airline were based in the uk. The UK time was five hours ahead, which meant it was 1:30pm. The airline offices close at 5pm for the weekend. If I didn’t get the paperwork and the blood test results in the next three and a half hours, my father and I would be stuck in Barbados. I called the airline offices to confirm if they received the letter. A female representative told me they had, but the airline medical team wanted to know what the blood test results were. Also the letter I sent didn’t state what was wrong with my father. Originally it was believed he had a mini stroke. What had happened was he had blood clot in his leg. The airline now needed a new letter stating that he has a blood clot, and his blood levels are fine to fly. The representative asked me what his blood levels were. The scale is from one to six. One to three is fine. Four to six is bad. I told the lady his blood level was three, when in fact it was five. The representative asked for me to send the actual blood test to confirm this, with the letter.
After ending that phone call I panicked and cursed myself for lying. The medical team finished their final evaluation and said that even though my dads blood levels were bad that with the medication he would be able to fly back to the UK. They gave me back the blood test results, with their review and I went to the other end of the hospital to find the doctor who could write me another letter. The next hour had to be the longest of my life. The doctor was in surgery. Mertalene eventually joined me and asked if I had seen the doctor. When I told her no, she walked into the hospital, found the doctor in surgery and miraculously got her to come and meet me to write the letter. The doctor confirmed with the medication he’s fine to fly. I scanned the letter and the blood results and drove back to Mertalene’s home to wait for the results.
About two hours later I got a call from the a British number. I knew it was the airline. I answered the call preparing for the worse. When the representative told me my father and I are booked for the flight that evening I wanted to cry.
This situation happened a year ago and my dad still isn’t able to walk without assistance. The doctors in the UK told him that he’s lucky to be alive flying with a blood clot and that he will not be back to full health until 2018.
#16. What literary character is most like you?
Probably the protagonist of my own book, Tianna Collins. But I don’t have half of her intelligence, strength, or any of her power or wealth.
#17. If you could have any accents from anywhere in the world, what would you choose?
I was born in London. I now live in the USA. I still have my British accent and wouldn’t change it for anything.
#18. Do you have any future projects? If yes, could you tell us more about them?
This year I will be publishing the next two books to The Ancient Ones.
#19. Have you ever gotten readers’s block?
Yes, always after reading books that are really good. If a book is average I struggle to read it.
#20. What would you wish to the readers of Books Reviewer?
I hope they enjoy your blog and continue to follow and support you.