Thursday, September 4, 2014

Alison Pensy on writing #amwriting

Thank you, Carlyle, for inviting me to guest on your blog today, it's great to be here.

My name is Alison Pensy and I am the author of the Custodian Novels series, a young adult urban fantasy series set in England (and several other realms). I also write New Adult romance under the pen name of Adrianna Blakeley. I chose to use a pen name for my adult books because I didn't want my younger readers accidentally downloading a book that was inappropriate for them. I'm originally from England but now live in the Mid West United States with my hubby and various four-legged friends.
I started my writing journey back in 2006, although, the idea that I wanted to write a book stemmed all the way back to 1989 after I had backpacked around Australia for nine months at the age of twenty. I wanted to write a book about my adventures in Oz but didn't want it to be a memoir, who would want to read that? So, the idea was shelved for a long time until I had a light bulb moment and realized I could write a romance novel using my adventures as a back drop…which I did.
I self-pubbed that book back in 2006 and sold a few paper copies (it was just before the e-book revolution) but soon after, I took the book off sale and filed it in the back of a draw. In 2012, I re-wrote it, gave it a new title and published it as an e-book. By this time, I had been bitten by the writing bug. In 2009, I had the idea to write a fantasy novel, drawing the inspiration from an urban legend surrounding an old church in the village where I grew up. From this blossomed four books, so far, and another is in the works.
From what I have read, I'm not your typical author. I have read so many articles and blogs by authors and 'professionals' who say you have to write every day. At first I tried to do this, feeling incredibly guilty and lazy if I didn't, but after a while I realized that this way of writing just wasn't working for me. If I tried to force it, nothing came and what did transfer to the page sounded forced. Also, I was writing as a hobby, something to get me out of the real world, not put me under even more pressure…running my own tax & accounting business was capable of doing that all by itself.

I decided to give myself permission to write when I wanted to write and not force myself to put words on a page every day. There have been times when I've gone months without writing a word in my WIP, then I will get a spark of inspiration and my fingers will fly across the keyboard for days. As with a lot of authors, my writing is helped along by music. I have a huge playlist of songs I've downloaded over the years to help me write various scenes, everything from light pop to heavy classical depending on what I'm writing.
One of the craziest things that has happened on my author journey is that the characters I created have taken on lives of their own. If I weren't an author, I'm sure the men in white coats would have taken me away by now. I find myself thinking about them as if they are real people. They talk to each other in my head, so much so, I sometimes feel bad for eavesdropping. Mostly though, I just grab a pad and pencil and jot it all down to be used in a scene later.

Another thing I have learned in my journey is to create a series bible. I didn't realize how important this was until book 3. It gets complicated after adding more characters as the story progressed and then trying to remember what eye color a certain character had or whether a certain character had facial hair or not. I found myself having to read through my own books to figure out who did what and when so I could keep everything consistent. This was not something I'd thought to do in the beginning and I paid the price by book 3.
This is just a glimpse into my writing world. Every author has a slightly different way that works for them and I have to admit to being a tad envious of the author who can sit her bum in a chair and write every day. Maybe, one day, that will be me, too.

If you would like to know more about me and my books, please check out my website

My books are available at most e-book retailers including these: