Welcome to Mystery Monday!
Welcome to author Allie Marie!
Award-winning author Allie Marie grew up in Virginia, where her favorite childhood pastime was reading Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden mysteries. She never expected to grow up to be a real-life police officer herself. Eventually working her way up through the ranks, Allie then retired—four times—as her experiences kept leading her to other law enforcement adventures in the US as well as overseas.
After her final “retirement,” Allie embarked on a quest to fulfill a long-time dream—to write mysteries and crime thrillers. She was derailed from those mystery plans, however, when she began researching her family tree. Inspired by ancestors she discovered, she began The True Colors Series, a paranormal mystery series with modern local settings and colonial history, which has garnered multiple awards and led to a spinoff collection, The True Spirits Trilogy. The first book in the trilogy, Barley and Lace, releases on March 15, 2022, and has already garnered a 2nd Place Award from the FILNE Founders Contest.
Her standalone historical, Return to Afton Square, again has modern local settings, but this time with a WW1 historical mystery. Not only does this story introduce the central character of the “True Spirits Trilogy, it includes familiar characters from the original series.
She has contributed short stories to the ’Tis the Season Sweet Romance Novelettes and the bestselling Feisty Heroines Romance Collection of Short Stories. She has penned her first murder mystery for the anthology Murder by the Glass Cocktail Mysteries. She will be presenting a story in the Heroes with Heat and Heart Volume 2, releasing June 28, 2022, and has two other novels planned for the end of 2022.
Writing Process Questions
Do you have a favorite time or place to write?
When I’m in the writing mood, I can write just about anywhere, any time. I have a small studio out back of my house where I am set up to write, but I haven’t used it lately. I can use a spare bedroom, or the dining room table when I need to change walls to stare at. My favorite place is the enclosed patio. I can write out there, watch the wildlife, enjoy the flowers and the forest behind us. I don’t always get a lot of writing done, but I always feel good.
What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?
An empty desk is the only way I can stay focused. If I have too much stuff on my desk (and I always do) something will catch my eye and distract me.
What is your writing process like? Are you more of a plotter or pantser? I am more of a panster, writing what comes to mind and fleshing it out later, especially for standalone books. It requires more plotting for my series. As I’m starting a new series that may spin off from my True Spirits Trilogy, I have had to plot more.
Have you ever traveled as research for your book?
Yes, I’ve made specific trips to New York City, Yorktown, Williamsburg, many areas in Hampton Roads, Ireland, and Kosovo. Each location plays a specific role in the next works in progress that I’m outlining. I have a book for the future that will require a trip to England! I just hope I get to finish them all!
Fun Author Questions
What’s your favorite writing snack or drink?
Usually hot tea or iced tea, depending on the weather and where I am working from. I rarely eat while I am in writing mode, and often my husband brings me lunch because I haven’t even noticed time has passed. Do you play music while you write – and if so, what’s your favorite?
Sometimes I do like background noise. I can’t stand anything with jarring commercials or annoying beats, though. I have a number of favorites, but my go-to favorites are albums by Journey, Alabama, the Eagles, and Glenn Campbell! I can blast their songs to my heart’s content and never leave my writing zone.
When was the last time you Googled yourself and what did you find?
Oh, my. Well, I just did because of this question! My name came up first on this search but unfortunately, there are other authors with the same names, and people can become confused, especially if they don’t know enough about the person they are searching for. It’s a pain, but not much can be done. I always give people my Amazon link so that they can be sure they get taken to my books.
How do you celebrate when you finish your book?
I don’t think I have a particular ritual, but I think I most often raise my hands like a referee calling “Goal!” except I shout “Finished!” And then catch up on my sleep for the next few days.
Questions about Writing
What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given about writing?
Write something every day. I don’t always follow it, but when I do, I get a lot accomplished. And not all writing is for my stories. I count blogs, newsletters, etc. as still building writing skills.
Are there any books or authors that inspired you to become a writer?
As a child, I loved Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew mysteries, and they definitely inspired my childhood ambition to write. As I grew older, my tastes changed, but I would say Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart fired up my gothic ideas (that may still come to fruition.) I admired Maeve Binchy’s books and writing. Nora Roberts probably influenced me the most for my current style and series.
How do you come up with character names for your book?
That gets harder and harder. It has to have the right ring to it when I am ready to proceed. I often use a place marker in the draft like XXX or YYY until I find the name I like. I had a hard time deciding on a name for the female lead in my recent Barley and Lace. I had early on decided my brewer’s name was Scott. I had XXX for the woman for two-thirds of the story, when the perfect name hit me. Lacey!
I also have five small baggies with names written on slips of paper, marked Good Guy, Good Gal, Bad Guy, Bad Gal first names, and then one with surnames. I pull from the first names and the surname until a combination suits my story. Sometimes I just Google names and see if something suits me. And sometimes, my first names represent someone I know. And I’ve held contests to allow someone to name a character, usually secondary to the main characters, although one became a more prominent second character than first thought!
What book (or books) are you currently reading?
I have a TBR list longer than I’ve ever had.
Who has been the biggest supporter of your writing?
That honor goes to my husband. He picks up the slack when I am in editing mode, because hardly anything gets done in the two weeks I usually need to edit. When we go to book signings, he is the one that lugs my books, table, etc, and often helps other authors with their paraphernalia. All my family is supportive, and I can call on anyone if I need them. And my street team, the AllieKats, are there to cheer me on whenever they can attend events.
Besides family, her passions are traveling anywhere, anytime, and camping with her husband Jack.
What is your next work in progress?
This is a busy year for me! I have several works-in-progress going on right now. I’m currently working on the second book in my new trilogy, The True Spirits Trilogy, which is the distiller’s story and will be fun to research, and I’m plotting the third book as well so I can conclude this trilogy and move on.
I also have a short story that will be part of a charity anthology releasing in June, which I’ve decided will be a prequel to a brand-new series planned for mid-to-late 2023.
I’m drafting the outline for a short story in the new Mutt Mysteries Series with three other authors, which we hope to release this fall.
Links to Allie Marie’s books
Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Teresa. Here’s a little more about me and how readers can find my books.