Allison Martine is a contemporary romance writer and author of two novels, Dibs and Since September. I had the pleasure of reviewing Dibs a little while ago, thoroughly enjoying the light easy romance that often made me chuckle.
Living in Orange County, California, Allison is married with three children. Like many authors Allison has been a prolific writer all her life, in elementary school she was even chastised for writing book reports on her own stories, which to me is seriously cute. Throughout her school life she continued to write short stories and occasionally poetry and then went on to university with a small stipend from a creative writing scholarship.
Allison recalls that being an author was thought of as an untenable career path and so she was encouraged to plan for a future with a ‘real job’ and continue to write as a hobby. With that in mind she went to law school and became an attorney, practicing for nearly a decade. Finding that she had limited time to write in the ‘margins’ of her working life, she eventually left her career, that she ‘hated every minute’ of, when she was pregnant with her first child.
After having three children Allison realised that she had even less time to write than when she was working full-time and so it wasn’t until her youngest started preschool in the autumn of last year that she was able to devote time to write again. Now she was able to find consistent daylight hours in which to dedicate time to uninterrupted writing sessions. What may be of a surprise to you is that it wasn’t a romance novel that Allison was working on. Instead it was a genre that Allison is passionate about; literary science fiction. With her first draft about half done she was able to devote herself to finishing it and managed this by Thanksgiving.
Up until then Allison had had little to no exposure to the writing community. She began exploring the process of getting published and connected with like minded literary folk around the globe, finding ‘kindred spirits’ from Suffolk, England to Peru. Through connecting with others Allison happened upon beta reading for genres that she wouldn’t ordinarily read by other aspiring authors. It was through this experience that Allison decided to try her hand at writing a genre she had previously avoided: romance. The result was ‘Dibs’, her debut novel, that was released in July this year and followed quick as a flash by ‘Since September’ on the 1st September. These are the first two books in Allison’s ‘The Bourbon Books’ series and I am very happy to say that Dibs has just been named as a semifinalist in the Kindle Book Awards 2020 in the Romance Category.
Initially Allison planned to round Dibs up with an epilogue and move on to writing something else. However, her early readers were not happy with this line of action and demanded more. I’m happy that Allison is the type of author who likes to keep her readers happy. Her original idea was to bring secondary characters from Dibs to the forefront in the sequel, however when she started writing it she found that the love story that started in Dibs was continuing instead. She has assured me that those secondary characters that her readers, myself included, loved so much will feature more prominently in a third instalment of The Bourbon Books. Hopefully we will be seeing that around Christmas time, whereas Since September, out now, ‘examines different issues including what lifelong commitment means, jealousy, and doing what you think is “expected” of you.’
Through conversations with Allison on Twitter I was aware that she wrote under two different names. I asked her if she could explain why that was. She told me that she had always planned to use a pseudonym, thinking she would be writing science fiction. She stated that, ‘there are still some readers in that genre who won’t read books written by a woman.’ So she opted to write under A.M. Hubbard, her initials and surname, feeling this would be gender neutral. She shares her name with another science fiction heavyweight, yet they are not in any way related.
When it came to writing romance Allison felt that she wanted a distinct writing identity for this genre. This way she hopes that people would know she writes with a distinct and clear branding and style for the different genres. So she uses her French middle name, which happens to be her grandmother’s name for romance.
Allison admitted to me that as her free time is extremely limited, especially now during Covid restrictions, with family life, homeschooling and trying to find time to write, that she has become a huge fan of audio books, as she has limited time to focus on reading from a screen or page. She is a science fiction, fantasy girl at heart. The authors she loves that have helped to influence her as an author include Neil Gaiman, Sir Terry Pratchett, John Irving, Cory Doctorow, and Anne Rice.
More recently, I’ve particularly enjoyed works by James S.A. Corey, John Scalzi, China Mieville, Ann Leckie, and Marina Dyachenko. My own writing is character-driven, and usually with a touch of humour, and some of the protagonists brought to life by those authors have shown me that no matter how engaging a story concept, without a fully fleshed-out main character, I can’t connect to the story.Allison Martine speaking about the authors that influence her writing.
In regards to the literary science fiction draft that Allison spoke of at the beginning of my interview, she is delighted to say that it is in submission with her agent, Naomi Davis with BookEnds Literary. I’m keen to read how different Allison’s style is in the science fiction genre.
If she is not locked in her master bedroom (not as scandalous as it sounds), the only place she can find peace and quiet to write, Allison is an avid reader. Or should I say listener, she wanted me to reiterate that she loves Audible. She enjoys escaping into a good television series or movie and for outdoor recreation she is keen to slap on the sunscreen and head back to the ocean. She also likes donning her hiking boots or settling into a kayak, although she admits it’s been quite sometime since she’s been able to participate in that particular hobby.
Allison does have a weekly commitment where you may have seen her live on your screen. Every Wednesday she joins fellow authors Jennifer Anne Gordon, who writes gothic horror and Trisha Ridinger McKee, a domestic drama author, for their weekly live video podcast ‘Vox Vomitus’ on Facebook. You can watch them ‘as they take on bestselling authors and other creatives, dredging up discarded drafts and talking about things that go wrong when we write.’ It gives Allison a chance to chat face to face with two of her author friends or ‘Vox Vomitus Vixens’ as they call themselves, who live on the opposite side of the continent to herself. They take questions live from their viewers which she explains is something other podcasts don’t tend to do and then the replays are uploaded to different platforms a few days later. I have had a sneak peek into one of their broadcasts and would definitely suggest you pop in for a listen/watch when they are live.
I would like to thank Allison for taking time away from her family and writing to speak with me. If you haven’t yet picked up a copy of Dibs then I highly recommend you do, and I am very much looking forward to reading Since September when I get to it on my very long TBR list. I would encourage you to get both, they are available through Amazon. Allison also has a website where you can also find links to her books.
Thanks for popping by.