Friday, June 25, 2010

Star Light, Star Bright...Interstellar Interview with Katherine Allred



Born in Arkansas, Katherine Allred spent her childhood learning to love books from her grandfather. At five, her mom remarried and they relocated to Michigan. Ten years later they were on the move again...back to Arkansas, and she's been there ever since. Except her jaunts as an army wife to other countries and states.

After earning a BS in journalism at Arkansas State University, she began writing. To date, she's had nine books published with CLOSE CONTACT, which hit shelves earlier this month!

Katherine is an RWA member, and has achieved many awards including the 2006 EPPIE award, the PASIC Book of Your Heart in 2002, and Best Book of the Year by Romance Reviews Today in 2005.




When did you decide that fantasy/sci-fi would be your break out sub-genre?

I think it would be easier to explain when I *didn’t* know. Science fiction was always my first love in fiction, starting with Superman comics when I was four. I didn’t actually read romances until my children were almost grown. A friend forced me to read one of Nora Robert’s books and I realized romances weren’t the bodice rippers I thought they were anymore. I literally devoured every romance I could get my hands on after that. So the Alien Affairs series was simply a combination of my two favorite genres.



Do you miss penning your contemporaries?

A part of me does and I still want to write more southern women’s fiction like THE SWEET GUM TREE. But I don’t think I’ll ever stop writing science fiction romance. I’m having too much fun doing it.


What started the idea of the Alien Affairs series and the GEPs (Genetically Engineered Persons)?

I was watching the local news one night and they did a bit on what the newscaster called “designer babies”. He seemed vaguely horrified that parents might someday be able to pick things like hair and eye color, intelligence, and athletic ability. I kept thinking, “what’s so bad about that? Don’t we all want our children to be smart, coordinated, and good looking?” Of course we do. But since genetic engineering hasn’t reached that point yet, I decided to genetically engineer my fictional children instead.




Why did you craft Eco Adams a quasi-kick ass heroine and party girl?

To tell you about Echo, I need to tell you about the heroine from the first book, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS. When I made Kiera Smith, she was the only super GEP we knew about in her world. She was pretty naive about regular people (Naturals) because she’d never been around them. She went right from the crèche when she was thirteen to living on a spaceship and dealing with aliens.

When it came to CLOSE CONTACT, the second book, I wanted a heroine who would be the complete opposite of Kiera, someone who had been created to work with Natural people. And someone who knew nothing about being an agent. So, Echo Adams was born. She’s the quintessential city girl so it was loads of fun coming up with situations to make her squirm. It also gave me a lot of room in her character arc to turn her into a semi-competent agent.



Where were you when you learned of your contract with Eos and most recently about your 4.5 stars Top Pick from Romantic Times?

Wow, this could be a long answer. LOL. I had turned the final of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS in to my agent, Laura Bradford, and when she sent it out, she told me to relax, it would probably be months before we heard anything from the publishers she sent it to. Four weeks later, I was in the kitchen cooking dinner when she called me and said we had not one, but two offers on the book! A small bidding war ensued with me bouncing around the kitchen, fork in hand, trying to cook and keep up with her at the same time. I finally threw the fork at hubby and told him he was on his own, and then sat down, in a complete daze, until it was over. I’m still not sure I believe it.

The top pick from Romantic Times wasn’t as hectic. My wonderful editor, Emily Krump, had found out at the RT convention and copied the page. She sent it to me in the snail mail. I was very surprised, and very happy, to get it. And since I’m talking about this type thing, I’m also thrilled that CLOSE ENCOUNTERS is a finalist in the FF&P chapter's Prism contest.




What kernel of authorial knowledge would you bestow on a new writer?

Never give up, and write what you love to read. Quitters will never be published, and if you don’t love what you’re writing, no one else will either.




If you'd like to learn more about Katherine or her novels, check out http://www.katherineallred.com/!




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