We are so excited to welcome Allison Tebo to Lands Uncharted today! Allison is a fun author of fairy tale retellings whom I've had the opportunity to connect with through the Facebook group we founded together, Faith and Fairy Tales, and she is such a kind, thoughtful person. And she just released a new book, The Goblin and the Dancer - we get to be a part of her Blog Tour to celebrate! I'll include more information about the book and Blog Tour below (including a fabulous GIVEAWAY!), but first, let's hear from Allison!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a Christian author in my late twenties. I am the youngest of four children and I have a twin sister. I have a background in sales, but I now spend most of my day writing conversations between imaginary people. When I’m not writing fairy tales, I’m writing action adventure speculative fiction for T Spec Fiction, the e-zine I run with my three sisters. When I’m not creating new worlds with a keyboard, I love to create them with paint or charcoal by utilizing my certificates in cartooning and children’s illustrating from London Art college. When not dabbling in the imaginary realm, I enjoy baking, reading, and defending my title of Gif Master!
Ha, Gif Master is a title worth defending! What prompted you to start writing? Are you one of those authors who knew you were meant to write since childhood, or did it come as a discovery later in life?
I was telling stories with my Legos, dolls, and plastic dinosaurs for as long as I can remember, but I actually started writing at the age of ten, because I was imitating my big sister. My first story was a one page mystery, a very bad one. It has since been destroyed.
Even though I officially started out my writing career because I was imitating someone else, I think the career choice was rather inevitable. I grew up in a family of storytellers and was surrounded by storytelling day and night. It definitely didn’t take me long to start writing simply because I had to! The stories had to get out.
Sometimes it does feel like the stories decide to be written rather than an author deciding to write... Which fictional character (book or movie) do you most relate to, and why?
One character I relate to a lot is Joy from Inside Out. She is highly motivated, almost solely motivated, by helping others and she has a lot of enthusiasm and zest for life. She’s almost aggressive in her friendliness and helpfulness and she loves intensely. She’s very energetic and enthusiastic, but she also has a tendency to micromanage. I don’t usually relate to a lot of characters in fiction, but I saw so much of myself in Joy that it startled me.
What a great character to relate to! We’re all about exploring new worlds here at Lands Uncharted—if you could choose one place to visit, real or fictional, where would you go?
Ah, what a hard question! If I were visiting a fictional world I suppose I would have to pick Narnia: it’s the imaginary world that I’ve yearned for the longest. If it were a real world location, I would pick the Wizard of Oz theme park in Beech Mountain, NC. It looks like an amazing little place dedicated to one of the best book series in existence.
Ooh, I've never heard of that theme park! I bet it's amazing! Now, please share one of your favorite writing tips.
When you’re done writing your book, don’t immediately submit it to beta readers. I see a lot of newbie indie authors do this. Definitely have someone with strong developmental editing skills go over your draft first. Make sure your story is solid, structurally, before rushing into proof reading. Be ready to accept instructive criticism and to rewrite your book until it is truly polished work.
Completely agreed. Your newest book, The Goblin and the Dancer, released on September 10th! Congratulations!! What inspired the Villain’s Ever After series, and how did you choose The Steadfast Tin Soldier for your retelling?
The Villains Ever After collaboration was the brainchild of the brilliant Camille Peters. I saw her pitch for the series in a Facebook group and it was such a fun idea that I asked if I could participate. Ultimately, twelve fairy tale authors assembled with the goal of making cross promotion fun by collaborating on a fairy tale series with villainous twists.
As for The Steadfast Tin Soldier, I’ve had an infatuation with goblins (or any ugly little creature) for some time. I had also watched a YouTube video where a Lego orc had a crush on Arwen that, alas, didn’t work out, I found myself thinking that the ugly guy should have had a fair shot at winning the girl’s heart. I was determined to do an elf and goblin love story and was on the lookout for an opportunity to present itself. When I joined the Villains Ever After collaboration shortly thereafter, I began looking through fairy tales to retell and discovered, with delight, a reference to a villainous goblin in the story of The Steadfast Tin Soldier. Here, at last, was my opportunity to write the goblin and elf romance. The rest is history!
Aww, now I'm even more excited to read it! What are your favorite and least favorite aspects of writing fairy tale retellings?
That’s a hard question! I love so many things about the fairy tale genre. I love the allegorical elements, the strange and lighthearted oddities, the fantastic creatures and wondrous settings. But I think, ultimately, writing fairy tales is very cathartic. When the world doesn’t make sense, I can still take something weird and try to inject logic and reason into it. I’m not able to answer all the worlds’ questions, but I can provide answers for why Cinderella’s father married the wicked stepmother! Writing fairy tales is a way for me to bring answers, order, and clarity to a part of my mind that craves it. I also love stories that almost demand sweet endings. There’s enough sorrow in the world: I love making people laugh and giving readers the assurance that they will be completely satisfied and happy when they reach the final page.
My least favorite aspect of writing fairy tales? Probably all of the connotations for overly fluffy romances, instead of good, solid stories. That, or the people who tell you you’re not a ‘real’ writer because you write retellings instead of creating your ‘own’ plots. How frustrating!
Ugh, that is definitely frustrating. Can you give us any insights into your next project?
I’m plotting out several more fairy tale retellings. One is based on Jack and the Beanstalk and set in a world inspired by Vietnam/Cambodia and another is a Pied Piper set on a fictional tropical island! And, as always, I create fairy tale flash fiction and fairy-tale themed articles and games on Patreon every month!
Ooh, fun! Thank you so much for sharing with us today, Allison! Congratulations again on your new release! You can connect with Allison on her website, Instagram, Patreon, Facebook, newsletter, Amazon, and Goodreads. And here's the back cover blurb for The Goblin and the Dancer:
Grik the goblin spends his days as a janitor cleaning the Metropolitan Dance Hall, drawn to the Elvish world and tired of the darkness of his underground home. He secretly pines for the ballet company’s lead dancer, Rosanna, but his own ugliness and shyness stand in the way of confessing his love.
When a handsome soldier named Paul appears on the scene to make a bid for Rosanna's affections, Grik’s jealousy bubbles over and he commits the unthinkable, plunging all of them into the river and down into the depths of the earth.
Determined to redeem himself, Grik leads Rosanna and Paul through the place he calls home: but even a goblin can’t be prepared for everything that is found underground. Trapped in the dark, nightmares both within and without rise to the surface, threatening to destroy them all.
A magical and heartfelt retelling of The Steadfast Tin Soldier about finding your worth.
Doesn't it sound fantastic? And that cover!! You can purchase The Goblin and the Dancer on Amazon. Oh, and did we mention something about a giveaway? :) You can enter for a chance to win HERE. Good luck!
Don't miss the other stops on the Blog Tour!