Tuesday, October 21, 2014

20 Questions: Meet Christine Allen-Riley

Getting to Know Your Favorite (or soon to be Favorite!) Writer

When I look back at times spent with author Christine Allen-Riley, I see moments of fun and frenzy. Always on the move, always in full blown chaotic humor (even when fighting with the turn-style in a New York subway where we were trying to catch a ride for the sake of research. Who said New Yorkers weren’t friendly?). When I saw her post that her first young adult paranormal was coming out, I’ll admit it, I fangirled in anticipation of that same rollicking energy spilling onto the pages that I remembered from the snippets of her work she used to read during open critique. I love an engaging story. In fact, I’m writing this post early because EVENTIDE comes out the day before it goes live, and I’ll be too consumed with fantasy to dutifully tend to social media at that point.

To give you a glimpse of the author in the wild and crazy, she’s answered my 20 Questions. Enjoy them then buy EVENTIDE! You won’t regret it.

Getting to know you:

Party dress or blue jeans? Neither – bare feet and long hippie skirts.

Spa day or gym workout? Spa day…I could use a foot and head massage right about now. Oooh, and a hot stone massage, too. 

Broadway or museum? Broadway, baby! I love live theatre – particularly musicals.

Five words you use to describe yourself? Distractible, Quirky, Creative, Nerdy, Late

Other creative outlets? All of them. Okay, not really, but sometimes, it seems like it. I love sewing, knitting, cross stitching, pottery (both the wheel and hand building) watercolor painting, making greeting cards, and other assorted geek crafting like making Weeping Angels and cosplay items. My friends and cousins and I even have Pinterest Parties once a month where we make some of the stuff we’ve pinned on Pinterest.

What music are you listening to? (While you write?) While I’m writing, I really prefer instrumentals (unless I have a specific playlist for a specific book) so there’s a lot of Circa Paleo and Clocks and Clouds. When I’m not writing and I want to get my sing-a-long on, I listen to Walk Off the Earth, Mumford and Sons, Rusted Root, Counting Crows, Damien Rice and a ton of others.

What’s on your Bucket List? Going to Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland. Seeing the Pacific Northwest. Going to Burning Man. Completing my concert bucket list (I love live music, and there are a ton of performers I’d like to see, yet.), have my aunt teach me to make silver jewelry.

Gourmet cook or take out? I can cook…but I don’t enjoy it. But we don’t do a lot of take out because it can be pricey and often unhealthy.

Something quirky about you that no one knows (we won’t tell anyone!) I only recently started wearing nail polish again. I stopped during my senior year in college because I was working on a cadaver that had on the same color I did and it weirded me out. But my niece insisted on painting my nails last summer, and now I’m addicted to nail polish.

The Written word:

Favorite genre to read? (Is it what you write?) Young Adult. I really love the genre, and I’m branching into writing it from my previous genre of steamy romance under a pen name.

What are you reading right now? Right now, I’m reading Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater, The Bride by Abigail Barnette aka Jenny Trout, Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig and re-reading Crossing to Avalon by Jean Shinoda Bolen. 

Paperback or e-book? E-book all the way. I always have several books on the go – a couple fiction, some non-fiction, research, etc. and e-books make my life so much easier because everything is right in my purse on my iPad. I still love holding physical books and having them on my shelf, but as far as reading goes, bring on the e-books! 

Favorite books you can read over and over? I don’t do a ton of re-reading, but I’d go with The Wild Wood by Charles deLint, The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Prachett.

A Writer’s Life:

OCD plotter or free range pantser? I’m as free range as they come. I have elaborate fantasies about being a plotter with an actual outline, but I don’t think it’ll ever happen. 

Live to write or write to live? Day job? My day job is freelance editing which dovetails nicely with writing.

Do you have a set writing schedule? Nothing in my life is really on a schedule (despite many valiant efforts) but I do try to get it out of the way in the morning after my kids go to school. That way, there are fewer distractions, but that doesn’t always work, so I try to squeeze it in wherever I can.

Solo muse or critique partner(s)? I have some amazing critique partners that I wouldn’t trade for the world. We exchange chapters via email, and we will occasionally brainstorm together, too.

Biggest hurdle to getting words on the page and how you overcome it? Mostly, it’s all about time. My house is what could be described as controlled chaos. Even though there are only four of us, we’ve all got a lot going on, so I’ve had to learn to tune out distractions and also write whenever I can squeeze it in – even if it’s only 20 minutes or so.

What’s on your desk? A cat or three, rocks, books, candles, a couple small sculptures, more rocks, my laptop and either hot or iced tea.

When can we get your next book and what’s it all about? You can get my book right now. This very minute, in fact. 

It’s a paranormal YA about homicidal, soul-sucking faeries set in the wilds of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, called Eventide (Iron Falls, Book One)

About the Book

The driver in a tragic car accident that killed her best friend, Devon Greer is consumed by guilt. When powerful hallucinations convince her that she’s seeing Rachael everywhere, Devon thinks she’s going crazy. But her friend isn’t truly gone.

To save Rachael from the faeries who stole her, Devon must pit herself against the Court of the Sidhe. Once she witnesses the true form of the fey, Devon’s life is in danger—and so are the lives of everyone she loves.

Now, Devon must not only protect herself, but also Jonah Seafort, Rachael’s cousin and the only person Devon can trust to help her. While the Sidhe walk among them, no one is safe.

“That Abbott woman’s crazy as a bag of squirrels,” my dad muttered, shaking his head as I tightened my grip on the steering wheel and maneuvered around the older woman screaming obscenities into the forest on the edge of town.

I hadn’t driven since the accident, and I didn’t want to be driving now, but my dad had insisted that the longer I avoided it, the harder it would be later. So here I was, chauffeuring him around town and trying not to run over the resident whack-job. 

As I approached one of the only three stoplights in the bustling metropolis of Iron Falls, my dad said, “Turn right. I want you to take Twenty-Eight home.”

I glanced at him as I braked, grateful that I had a red light’s worth of time to try to convince him that I wasn’t ready for that stretch of road. 

Before I could even speak, he said, “Devon, I know you’re scared, but you need to do this.”

No, what I really needed was to go home and just pretend that the last few months had been a dream. But the light changed, and the honking horn behind me prodded me into motion. Almost on autopilot, I turned right, onto Highway Twenty-Eight. Calling it a highway seemed far too generous. It was a two-lane road through nothing but trees and the occasional mailbox that belonged to a house hidden from sight by the endless forest.

My hands slick on the wheel, I took the curves far slower than I ever would have four months ago. The truck behind me rode my bumper, making me even more nervous as I approached the accident site. I tapped my brakes, hoping whoever it was would back off. Instead, the truck whipped around me, passing with its horn blaring. I was pretty sure it was one of the guys from school. Great. 

“Don’t let them get to you,” my dad said. 

I thought of the people I went to school with and shrugged. It wasn’t like anyone’s opinion of me could get any lower. I rounded another curve and tried not to stare at the angry-looking skid marks on the pavement where the semi-truck had attempted to stop. For some reason, I hadn’t expected them to be so dark. 

“You’re doing fine,” my dad murmured. He had the same tone he used on my little sister when she got hurt and was crying uncontrollably—weirdly sympathetic and exasperated at the same time. 

I didn’t bother responding. There was nothing to say. I wasn’t doing fine. I was barely holding it together. A flash of pink on the side of the road caught my attention, and I glanced to the right. My stomach dropped to the floor, and jerking the car to the gravel shoulder, I slammed on the brakes. 

“What the hell?” my dad snapped.

Rachael ran through the woods on the side of the road, her long, black hair flying like streamers in the wind. She wore the same pink tank top and jean shorts she’d had on the night of the accident. But the blood I couldn’t forget—even in my dreams—was gone. She kept glancing over her shoulder as if something was chasing her, terror etched on her face. 

Ignoring my dad’s questions that were growing louder by the moment, I unbuckled my seatbelt and climbed out of the car to run after her. For a minute, I thought she looked at me. I thought she saw me. But by the time I rounded the hood, she’d vanished as if she’d never been there.

About Christine Allen-Riley

Christine Allen-Riley is easily distracted by shiny things - especially good stories. She loves the hint of a faery tale in the midst of everyday life, and she loves reading and writing YA fiction. She lives in Michigan with her wonderful husband, two amazing sons and three psychotic cats where she compulsively crafts, binge watches Netflix and plots to do terrible things to her characters.


  1. Nancy, so happy to see Chris here on your page. Loved the interview!
    Chris, I wish you much success with this new series. Can't wait to read Eventide. Your creative talent is amazing.

  2. Christine, looking forward to meeting you. Your paperback book will be owned by an Ann Arborite, me as soon as Amazon gets it here. Great answers to Nancy's questions. You sound like a writer.

  3. My young-adult books are on Amazon, too.

  4. Wonderful interview. The book sounds wonderful, Chris. May it become a bestseller.

  5. Thank you so much for having me, Nancy! And thank you too, to Loralee, Rohn and Maris! :D

  6. And thank you for saying such lovely things! :)

    1. It was my pleasure . . . And they were all true!! Off to clear my schedule so I can start reading!!!

  7. What a beautiful cover and it's great to get to know a new to me author!!

  8. Great interview! So excited about your new venture. It's going to be a hit.

  9. Terrifc interview! I loved getting to know you better, Chris. I remember the turnstyle. LOL Love your cover and the excerpt is fantastic. I HAVE to read this book. Sounds like a winner! Best wishes.

  10. That's one gorgeous book cover & an intriguing excerpt. Great interview!

  11. What a fun interview! I just participated in a Bucket List blog hop and going to Ireland is on my blist. It was great "meeting" you, Christine! :)