I don’t generally watch reality television, but I definitely don’t watch reality dating shows. Besides the fact that it’s completely staged, it’s a horrible depiction of people — women especially.
Women are pitted against each other to compete for the affection of a man they “fall in love” with after a week or two.
I call B.S.
It is complete crap.
So when my best friend, Koko, was hired as a makeup artist o the set of the most popular reality dating show, The One, I teased her mercilessly.
She told me that if I didn’t stop teasing her, she would get me back.
And she did…
Which is how I ended up as a contestant on The One.
The One Links:
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29325610-the-one
Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1RkPnp3
Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Danielle Allen
Hi Danielle, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Hi! Thanks for having me J I am an author and a professor at a local college. I’ve been creative my entire life, but it wasn’t until 2013 that I realized that there was a void in the contemporary romance realm that I needed to fill.
What were you like at school?
I was outgoing, but studious. I had a lot of friends and we got in trouble for talking (A LOT), but we were all very focused on excelling.
Were you good at English?
English was my best subject. I started taking college English courses in high school.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I would love to see one of my novels made into a screen play. When I write, I always envision the action like a movie so seeing one of my novels on the big screen would be amazing.
Which writers inspire you?
In general, Maya Angelou. But Indie Author specific, I am inspired by what Colleen Hoover has done with her career.
What genre are your books?
What draws you to this genre?
I love the real life high of falling in love. I enjoy relatable romances about real people in real world scenarios.
So, what have you written?
Back to Life (Back to Life #1)
Back to Reality (Back to Life #2)
Autumn and Summer
Love Discovered in New York
Heartache (Heartache #1)
Heartfelt (Heartache #2)
Where can we buy or see them?
Let’s talk about writing….
How much research do you do?
I do a lot of research depending upon the subject. In Heartache and Heartfelt, it features an artist by the name of Roman Harper. I did extensive research on art, artists and even paint brushes. The little details matter to me so I try to do what I can to make it right and make it authentic.
When did you decide to become a writer?
I’d been thinking about it for a long time, but after I put it on my 30 things to do before I turn 30 list, I actually sat down and did it.
Why do you write?
My first novel was inspired by the fact that I was reading book after book that featured a marked lack of diversity. I love reading love stories—specifically, contemporary romances—but I was finding it odd that so many stories lacked any kind of diversity. So when I looked around, I noticed that there were hardly any contemporary romance novels that featured African American women with natural hair as heroines. So I felt moved to tell stories to fill that void.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
When I’m not on a deadline, I write during the day. On deadline, I write ALL DAY/ALL NIGHT
Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?
I write every day; however, when it gets close to release, I spend a lot of time trying to get the word out.
Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
It varies. Now that I’m not on a deadline, 3k a day is what my goal is.
Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
Where do your ideas come from?
My ideas come out of the blue. Usually it starts with a random thought and then I figure out a love story that could surround it. For instance, with The One, I was thinking about why I don’t watch shows like The Bachelor and then I thought about how interesting it would be for a contestant to feel the same way I do.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I like to see where the idea takes me. Outlining makes me feel boxed in because I try too hard to adhere to that outline.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
My deadline was ridiculous
Do you use Beta readers? Do you think they add to your books?
I use betas and I only use a few. They are all people who tell me the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Because of that, they give me their honest feedback and that definitely adds to my books.
What is the easiest thing about writing?
Coming up with the storyline
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
It took about 5 weeks to write The One. On average I would say 8 weeks.
Do you ever get writer’s Block?
If I’m stressed, it can happen.
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
Do something—ANYTHING—else that sparks your creativity. Watch a movie, go people watching, go out and have fun, read (if you can read while writing).
Publishing & Promoting books is something each author has to do tell us about your process…..
Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
I self-edit before sending it out to have a professional look at it.
Would you or do you use a PR agency?
Geisha Indie Services is the best. Hands down. I recommend them for EVERYTHING.
Let’s talk about your interests…
Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors.
Unfortunately I don’t read as much as I used to before I started writing. I can’t read while I’m writing. It’s too distracting. But when I take a break between books, I usually beta read for my friends. I haven’t read a book just to read a book in a long time. Fortunately, my author friends are all so talented that I just keep getting great book after great book.
For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
I prefer ebooks because I can take them anywhere
What book/s are you reading at present?
I just finished The Fire Between High and Lo by Brittainy C. Cherry. LOVED IT!!!
How do you relax?
Writing, journaling, reading poetry, or watching slam poetry.
What is your favourite motivational phrase.
The struggle is real…but so is God.
What is your favourite book and why?
My favorite fiction book is probably Sula by Toni Morrison. Sula was a strong character that refused to be put in a box. She challenged societal roles and constructs to the fullest and she was such an empowering and impactful character.
What is your favourite quote?
The most important relationship you have is with yourself.
What is your favourite film and why?
Love and Basketball, The Notebook, Love Jones… I’m a romantic.
Place you would love to visit?
Where can you see yourself in 5 years time?
I can see myself being at peace and totally happy with where I am in my career.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Take more risks.
Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
There are WAY too many so I will stick with literary and go with Maya Angelou because she’s always been an inspiration.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
Fifty Shades of Grey. Not necessary because of the story but because of the impact. Fifty Shades of Grey and its sequels went on to make a ridiculous amount of money, but more than that, they revitalized romance. Say what you will…love it or hate it, but E.L. James inspired so many people. Even people who didn’t like the book were talking about it. But more than that, she inspired so many people to read romance. As an author, I am very thankful that people were searching for more (or less) Christian Grey and turning to unknown authors to get their fix of romance.
Now let’s have some Fun!
Upcoming or books in the works? Any you want to share titles?
The One (release date: March 20, 2016)
Evermore (release date: Early Summer)
Heartless (release date: Late 2016)
What kind of man do you like? We all have a type..what’s yours?
I love a man with a really nice smile, a great sense of humor, strong arms, and who balances the line between being strong and sensitive, badass and sweet.
One thing that would surprise people about you?
I love karaoke!
Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?
If so, Why did you do decide to collaborate and did that affect your sales?
Work Song is a standalone but Tatiana Green’s best friend Amelia Fiore has a book called Seeing You written by Michelle Lynn. We decided to write it because we are friends and we were talking about the lack of plus size women in contemporary romance. We didn’t want to write a series, but we took two different storylines, two different love stories, two different women and built a world around them. The only thing that binds the stories is that the two women are best friends. You don’t have to read one to read the other. But they are both lovely stories so you should!! J
Also, Love Discovered in New York is part of the Washington Triplets Series. The Washington Triplets focused on three triplets living in a different city than her sisters. I wrote New York, Michelle Lynn wrote Alaska and Melissa Rolka wrote California.
Who would you choose to play 7 minutes of Heaven with?
Secret place you like to be kissed?
Juncture where my neck and shoulder meet.
Danielle Allen is a lover of football, fashion, film and fiction. Married to the yin to her yang, Danielle spends most of her time with her husband, family and friends. From karaoke nights to vacationing and everything in between, she enjoys making the most out of the life in which she’s been blessed. Danielle spends her days teaching and event planning and her nights writing.
Danielle Allen is the author of the Back to Life Series (Back to Life, Back to Reality, Back to December*), Love Discovered in New York, Autumn & Summer, the Heartache Series (Heartache, Heartfelt, Heartless*) and Work Song.
Social Media Links: