Meet Craig Allen
When my previous editor was unavailable, I did some research on Kboards forum and found out about Red Adept. I’ve been using them ever since.
You’ve worked with several editors and proofreaders at Red Adept. What part of the process do you find most helpful to your writing style?
I’ve worked with many different editors at Red Adept, and I’ve had a great experience with all of them. Everyone has been professional, and their efforts have improved my books. One thing that has really impressed me with Red Adept editors is how they will always point out a problem regardless of the type of editing they do. I’ve had content editors, who are looking at the overall story and structure, point out spelling errors. And I once had a proofreader, who was looking at spelling and grammar, point out a plot hole.
Often, I’ll have a content editor explain what certain scenes mean to them. This helps gauge whether I’ve created the right impression or not. I also like it when editors suggest how to improve a specific scene. I’ve even had editors suggest ideas that could be used in future books. All of this has been extremely helpful.
Who is your favorite author? How did his or her style influence yours?
No single author has influenced me really. It’s been a collection of authors, and sometimes just individual books that I find influential.
I enjoy reading Raymond Chandler as he is a healthy reminder that I have a lot to learn about the craft. The same goes for Dan Simmons, but mostly, it’s his world building I find intriguing. Everyone likes his Hyperion Cantos, which is good, but I prefer Illium and Olympos because of the unique setting.
John Steakley was great at conveying themes in his books (I highly recommend his book Armor), and that’s something I try to do in my own work.
E.E. “Doc” Smith wrote science fiction featuring epic conflicts. He thought big when it came to his action scenes, and I try to do the same. The Lensmen saga is a must-read for any science fiction fan.
I love the characters John Varley creates. They feel as real as anyone I’ve known. His earlier stuff is the best (the collection Blue Champagne is a must read).
And I’m a big fan of Robert E. Howard. Red Nails is one of the best fantasy stories I’ve read.
Are your books standalones, or do they need to be read in order?
My books are all standalones. I like the idea of a reader picking up a book in the middle of a series and being able to follow along. After which they may ask, “Well, what happened before this?” And then they go buy the other books in the series.
Do you have anything interesting in the works right now?
I’m working on a sequel to Beyond the Sky titled Within the Soul, which should be out very soon. I also have a rough draft for a sequel to Kali’s Children titled Kali’s Fire. And I’m in the planning stages for a sequel to Hole in the Heart. Not sure what the title is going be on that one yet. And I’ve got ideas for another ten books at least. I’m going to be busy for a while.
You have some great covers. Who does your cover work?
I’ve worked with Damon Za to do a lot of my covers. And I’ve also worked with Renu Sharma. So far, I’ve been happy with all of them. The cover for Kali’s Children was done by Red Swallow design, who unfortunately closed their doors.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
One of the great things about living in Colorado are all the hiking trails. I’m also a sucker for computer games, which have been known to cut into my writing time. I’ve been collecting old time radio shows for twenty-five years or so, too, along with any other audio dramas I can find.
I tend to write whenever I have time. Usually, I’ll write after work. On weekends, I write in the afternoons. I find that my best writing happens when I have nothing else to do for the day, so I try to get any important things done first before hitting the keyboard.
What advice would you give to a new author?
Learn as much about the craft as you can. In my opinion, there’s no such thing as too much knowledge when it comes to writing. I follow a writer who has written some thirty books, and she still tries to learn as much about the craft as possible. I don’t think there is a point where a writer decides he or she has learned all they need to know. There’s always room for improvement.
On the other hand, there’s a point where you have to set aside learning and researching in order write your story. It may not be perfect, but no book is. I look at it this way: I may not be the best writer in the world, but no one else can tell my stories. If I don’t do it, no one will.
In terms of style, I think simpler is better. George Orwell said, “Good prose should be transparent, like a windowpane.” When you look through the window, you don’t look at the glass unless there’s something wrong with it. You want to see the view outside. I try to do the same with my writing.
Where can readers find you?