Q&A With Allison Brennan

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Q&A With Allison Brennan

There’s nothing like ending the old year with doing Q&A’s. On December 15th I emailed Allison Brennan asking if she’d be interested in doing a Q&A and on the same day she responded that she would. Allison Brennan is the New York Times Bestselling Author of Romantic Suspense. Some of Allison’s novels are “Missing,” “The Wrong Victim,” “The Sorority Murder,” “Tell No Lies,” “A Deeper Fear,” and coming January 24th “Don’t Open The Door”. 

 Q: So Allison what made you want to write romantic suspense? 

A: My first 12 books were romantic suspense. I loved reading it, I loved writing it. I love stories where there is a strong suspense/thriller element and two people fall in love while working together to save someone … or the world! 

I shifted to writing more straight-up thrillers, but usually incorporate a relationship that takes a back-seat to the mystery. Human connection is as important in fiction as it is in real-life.

 Q: What advice do you give to anyone wanting to write in the romantic suspense genre? What do you tell anyone struggling with writers block?

 A: In romantic suspense, for me the most important thing is making sure the relationship is believable and compliments the suspense storyline. For me, the suspense has always come first, and the relationship between the hero and heroine needs to develop organically. If I am every stuck, almost always it’s because I’m forcing my characters to do something for the story that they wouldn’t do – I re-read what I’ve written and nine times out of ten can see where the story went off the rails. I revise – sometimes cutting chapters and going in a completely different direction.   


Q: Where do you get your ideas to write your romantic suspense novels? 

A: Ideas come from everywhere. Usually, it’s a combination of different ideas that come together to form a story. For example, in my upcoming SEVEN GIRLS GONE, because it’s a series I knew the characters. Also, because it’s a series that focuses on mysteries in small towns, I knew a bit about the setting. Book Three (THE WRONG VICTIM) was set in the Pacific Northwest, in the San Juan Islands. I was looking at a map and wanted to set this story somewhere completely different. My eye settled to the south, and I remembered an unsolved real-life serial killer case known as the Jeff Davis 8. I decided to create a fictional town in the Bayou and “solve” this unsolved crime. The victim profile (prostitutes) is the same as real-life, but everything else is different. I also remembered a conversation with a friend of mine who had been a cop in Louisiana talking about graft and corruption in small towns, and this all came together into this book. Sometimes the best ideas are an amalgam of multiple ideas. I love playing the “what if” game.

Q: When in your life did you realize that your calling was to be an author?

A: I’ve wanted to be a writer as long as I can remember, far back into my childhood. I loved books, loved reading, loved stories. I didn’t get serious about my writing until I was 30, shortly after the birth of my third child. That’s when I committed myself to writing every day as I sought to finish a book and seek publication.

Q: What advice would you give to anyone who’s aspiring to be an author dealing with negative feedback whether that be doubters, negative reviews or just people who find a sick enjoyment bringing someone down? In a perfect world we’d all be kinder to one another but since we don’t we need to have thick skin something I’ve developed by not responding back to every negative nelly. 

A: Negativity doesn’t stop once you are published. There will always be people who don’t like your books and leave bad reviews. While you’re aspiring to be published, I can offer two pieces of advice that helped me: First, you have to love writing. If you love what you’re doing, if it brings you joy even with all the ups and downs in the publication journey, then that will help sustain you when negativity reigns. Second, learn how to discern constructive criticism from negativity. You’ll be rejected by agents, editors, readers. That is part of the business. But there is a difference from someone offering constructive criticism with the goal of helping you to be a better storyteller, and someone who just wants to tear you down. Discerning this can be difficult. If the advice HELPS you, then listen. If it doesn’t help, ignore it.

Q: If you were to write in a different genre which genre would it be and why?

A: I don’t see myself writing anything other than mystery/thrillers. But I would love to someday write a children’s/YA mystery series. 

Q: Are you writing a new novel now? If you are, are you able to reveal any details? 

A: I’m currently writing the fifth book in the Quinn & Costa thriller series, currently untitled. It comes after SEVEN GIRLS GONE and takes my Mobile Response Team to Los Angeles where Kara is set to testify against a human trafficker she’d previously arrested, when the lead prosecutor is murdered on his way to the courthouse. After this, I’ll be starting the first book in the Angelhart PI series set near where I live in Phoenix, Arizona.

Q: If you were to collaborate with another author, who would it be with and why?

A: I doubt I would collaborate with anyone. I don’t plot, so that would make it difficult to work with anyone else. My process – my bursts of creativity followed by days of next to nothing – also isn’t conducive to working with someone. I don’t think that anyone would put up with me!

Q: Does Hollywood have the rights to all of your novels?

A:  My film agent works on selling my rights; as of now, all my rights are still available.