Today I am interviewing John F. Allen, author of the new urban fantasy, science-fiction, horror short story collection, The Best is Yet to Come.
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DJ: Hi John! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
John F. Allen: Thanks for having me here DJ! I’m an American author who resides in Indianapolis, Indiana and is a life-long resident. My writing primarily focuses on genre fiction such as: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and Mystery. Besides being an author, I’m also a visual artist, comic book historian, podcaster/YouTube personality and jazz/blues/r&b/old school pop music aficionado.
DJ: What is The Best is Yet to Come about?
John: The Best is Yet to Come is a short story collection of work accumulated over the past 9 years of my writing career. It features stories from a variety of genres to showcase my versatility as a writer. A few of the stories were republished from earlier anthologies and others are newly published in this volume. All of the stories occur in the Ivoryverse, my literary universe named for the protagonist in my Ivory Blaque series, who also happens to the central figure of my literary universe, hence the name.
DJ: What were some of your influences for The Best is Yet to Come?
John: Well, with this collection there were as large of a variety of influences as there were stories. Generally speaking, I draw influence from my life experiences first and foremost. That, coupled with the people with whom I meet, interact with and those who are permanent fixtures in my life, help to flesh out the characters I create. From a literary standpoint, several of my heroes include: Walter Mosley, Chester Himes, Robert B. Parker, Don Pendleton, Marv Wolfman, Chris Claremont, Christopher Priest, Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman, Piers Anthony, Robert Jordan, Laurel K. Hamilton, L.A. Banks, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Samuel Delany, Octivia Butler and Charles Saunders.
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?
John: In the story, An Ivory Christmas, the main character is Ivory Blaque. She is the heroine from my novel, The God Killers and a fierce, femme fatale who is brash, bold, speaks her mind with snarky sarcasm, but has a heart of gold. She acknowledges her flaws, knows her self worth and yet has a vulnerability which speaks to the nature of what being human means. She’s very much in touch with her femininity, yet rises to the challenges of living on her own terms in a society which often refuses to recognize her as a strong and independent force, based on prejudices against her race and gender. Her life has not been an easy one, as she must face the demons of her past and forge her way through the monster-laden present and into an uncertain and complicated future, while maintaining a sense of hope.
DJ: Aside from the main characters in the story, who is a favorite side character or a character with a smaller role in the story? Why?
John: I’d have to say that honor belongs to Booster, the cat-like alien from the short story titled, The Adventures of Star Blazer. In writing Booster’s character, I envisioned a less non-poetic Yoda, with the voice and mannerisms of comedian Gilbert Godfrey, who views the world through a very cynical and sarcastic, no-nonsense lens. Booster views the world from a unique vantage point compared to the other characters in the story, because of his physical size, feline attributes and his extremely jaded perception of others. There are quite a few elements of comic relief and hidden wisdom from this character, more of which I intend to explore in upcoming exploits.
DJ: What is the world The Ivoryverse and setting of The Best is Yet to Come like?
John: The Ivoryverse is a universe which in many ways mirrors reality, with the exception that gods, fantasy creatures, aliens and superheroes exist. The technological history of the Ivoryverse is very similar to our reality with subtle differences in certain historical periods. Despite these differences, the outcome of history remains pretty much on the same course of historical reality. For example, during the Victorian era in the Ivoryverse, there was a Steampunk revolution which lasted for a short time before the Dieselpunk revolution, etc. I did this so that I could tell a variety of stories, of various genres within the same literary universe, without doing a lot of world hopping. However, it is worth mentioning that the Ivoryverse is also a multiverse with several alternate realities and timelines. This also allows for crossovers and alternate world discoveries and keeps the core continuities separated with the possibility of interaction between them.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing The Best is Yet to Come?
John: The compilation of this short story collection was an opportunity for me to expose my readers to the versatility of my writing style throughout multiple genres and to give new readers a sampling of this. I would like to think that this collection has a story for everyone, from the science fiction fan, to the mystery lover to the literary fiction reader.
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?
John: I hope that the reader can take away a sense of connection with the characters and the events in the stories, which can somehow resonate with them and their own life experiences. I also hope that they find the stories themselves to be inspiring, as well as entertaining and perhaps they will be introduced to a genre of fiction they normally wouldn’t read, and find that they’re intrigued enough to explore them further.
DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from The Best is Yet to Come that you can share with us?
John: From The Sweetest Autumn, “Autumn, sweet autumn. A time for ending and sowing the seeds of new beginnings. At the setting of the sun, when my harvest is done and labor has taken its toll, I live through the winter and look forward to the spring when the fruits of my labor unfold. It is then that I sing my praises to you, O Sweetest Autumn.”
DJ: Now that The Best is Yet to Come is released, what is next for you?
John: In 2020, I’ve got a podcast and YouTube channel titled The Two Towers Talk Show, which I co-host with my friend and fellow author, RJ. Sullivan. The podcast and YouTube channel will feature discussion and review of genre movies, TV shows, comics/novels and video games. A series of blog posts featuring prominent and up and coming black authors, artists and entertainers will be appearing on my blog for the entire month of February in honor of Black History Month. Also coming out, Book II in the Ivory Blaque series, the third novella in the Knight Ranger series, a full-length science fiction space opera novel (first in a series), a novella collection featuring the protagonist, Prince Jaziri, in the short story, Forest of Shadows (which appeared in TBIYTC), and a book of poetry.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
Amazon Author Page: https://amzn.to/2Nl3ehb
Author Newsletter: http://bit.ly/35ofnIM
DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about The Best is Yet to Come that we haven’t talked about yet?
John: Well, I’ve planned for The Best is Yet to Come to be the first volume in a series of short story collections I plan on compiling and publishing every 3-5 years. This will continue the tradition of a collection of multi-genre short stories to showcase my versatility as a writer. However, some single short stories, short story collections and novellas I’m planning will serve as a bridge between full-length novels I publish over the course of the upcoming years.
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
John: You’re welcome and thank you DJ, it’s been an honor and my pleasure!
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***The Best is Yet to Come is available TODAY!!!***
Buy the Book:
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About the Book:
Featuring ten stories collected for the first time ever, The Best Is Yet to Come, presents nine years of creativity spun from the mind of John F. Allen. Action and adventure are ever present in these stories, but be prepared for some drama, horror, fantasy and science fiction as well.
This volume includes a holiday story, “An Ivory Christmas,” featuring Ivory Blaque, Allen’s bold heroine from his acclaimed urban fantasy series The God Killers, and the center of his literary universe, The Ivoryverse.
Also included are:
“Forest of Shadows” the debut of a fabled, ancient warrior named, Jaziri, Prince of Kimbogo Province.
You may want to think twice before venturing out into the dark woods of rural Indiana in “The Legend of Matchemonedo.”
A young, set assistant of a 50’s science fiction serial gets to embark on the journey of a lifetime in “The Adventures of Star Blazer.”
A young woman in late 1970’s Indianapolis, learns to be careful what you wish for in “HoodRatz.”
When a woman struggles to care for her ailing father, she discovers the truth behind her troubled past in “The Sweetest Autumn.”
Long ago, a noble samurai finds forbidden love with a beautiful, ebony skinned princess in “The African Princess.”
A mysterious, military operative is sent on a covert mission in Egypt, when he encounters an alien monster bent on revenge in “Lazarus.”
Forty years ago, a young boy discovers that family means everything in “The Chocolate Malt.”
The Best is Yet to Come also features the special bonus short story, “Witch Way is Up.”
Explore the words of John F. Allen today!
About the Author:
John F. Allen is an American writer born in Indianapolis, IN. He is a founding member of the Speculative Fiction Guild and a member the Indiana Writers Center. He began writing stories as early as the second grade and has pursued various forms of writing throughout his career. John studied Liberal Arts at IUPUI with a focus in Creative Writing and Literature, received an honorable discharge from the United States Air Force and is a current member of the American Legion. John’s debut novel, The God Killers was published in 2013 by Seventh Star Press, and he has had several novellas, short stories and articles published since. He is also an avid reader, accomplished visual artist and Jazz music aficionado.
John currently resides in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Tour Schedule and Activities
1/13 MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape https://mylifemybooksmyescape.wordpress.com Author Interview
1/14 Jazzy Book Reviews https://bookreviewsbyjasmine.blogspot.com/ Author Interview
1/15 Sheila’s Guests and Reviews http://sheiladeeth.blogspot.com Guest Post
1/16 I Smell Sheep http://www.ismellsheep.com/ Top Ten’s List
1/17 Beauty in Ruins – She Leads he Reads https://femledfantasy.home.blog Guest Post
1/18 The Literary Underworld http://www.literaryunderworld.com Guest Post
1/19 The Seventh Star Blog http://www.theseventhstarblog.com Guest Post
1/20 The Book Junkie Reads . . . https://thebookjunkiereadspromos.blogspot.com Author Interview
1/20 Willow’s Thoughts and Book Obsessions http://wssthoughtsandbookobsessions.blogspot.com/ Review