Are you interested in learning more about Speculative Fiction and supporting your local libraries? If so, IMCPL & Indiana Writers Center have collaborated to present IMCPL’s 2021 Summer Reading Program!
I will be teaching a Basics of Writing Speculative Fiction course at various library branches throughout the month of July!
Discover an Imaginary World through Speculative Fiction Instructor: John F. Allen
Get ready to explore the fantastical in your writing. This introduction to writing speculative fiction will cover aspects of futurism, slip-stream, sci-fi, fantasy, supernatural, and horror stories. Learn how to plot, create settings and characters, and build an imaginary world.
See the schedule below:
Monday, July 19, 6:30-8:00 PM, Spades Park Branch
Saturday, July 24, 2:00-3:30 PM, Wayne Branch
Monday, July 26, 5:30-7:00 PM, East 38th Street Branch
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what does it mean to you to be a black writer in this society?
I dabbled in writing for a long time, since I was in the fifth grade. I didn’t decide to get serious about it until I turned 45. I feel it’s very important for us to have a voice in all aspects of this society. We have to tell our own stories in order for there to be some semblance of truth in this society, culture and world.
Do you write full time, or do you have another full-time job? What is your educational background?
I write part-time. My full time job is as a technical director for a small chemical company. I have a Bachelors in Chemistry.
How do you best meet the challenge of juggling your day job (if applicable) and/or your family, against your writing career?
I block off at least one hour a day for writing and another hour for editing and other writing related work. My children are grown and gone, so I have a good amount of time to spend with the art. And I make sure I give my wife priority when it comes to my schedule and events.
What genre(s) do you write in, is there a favorite and which do you feel have had the most important impact on the black community? Traditionally, in mainstream media, blacks have been vastly marginalized in Speculative Fiction and fiction in general, how do you see that changing and what impact will your work have on making those changes?
I write in a variety of genres; sword and soul, Steamfunk, Cyberfunk and space opera. Of all of them, Sword and Soul is my favorite. I think they all have an effect, but I feel science fiction has the most impact on black readers because it puts us in the future under our own terms. As far as the mainstream, times are changing. Readers are demanding diversity, and the powers that be must conform.
Who are some of the major writing influences who most inspired you?
My biggest writing influences are Charles R. Saunders, James Baldwin, Frank Herbert and Phillip Jose Farmer.
Do you listen to music when you’re creating? If so, what type?
Music is an essential part of my writing. I listen to jazz mostly, but I’ll throw a little reggae in every now and then.
How long does it usually take you to complete work on a book?
It usually takes me about three months to finish a book.
What does your writing schedule look like and how many hours a day do you write?
I write probably an hour a day, two hours on weekends. I write in the morning; that’s when I’m the most creative and focused.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I hate outlines.
How many books have you written?
I’ve written 21 books.
As a black author, do you feel a personal responsibility to the black community to create content which not only entertains, but also uplifts and educates?
Yes and No. I write for myself first and foremost. However, I do make sure that what I write is of the highest quality I can produce. I do want my books to leave people with a positive sense of self, and I want them to be a temporary escape from this world.
What type of research do you conduct and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
The level of research depends on the subject matter. I’ve done extensive research into African/African Diaspora history in order to write Sword and Soul and Steamfunk. The time I spend researching for a particular book will vary based on the subject matter.
What are some of the best resources you’ve found for research?
The internet is your friend. I also have an extensive history book collection I’ve built over the years that is very helpful.
How important is it that black creators work together to encourage, empower and educate the black community through their work?
I think its vitally important that Black creators work together. We operate under this notion that there’s only so much our there for us, and even less for Black creators. I don’t believe that. I think there’s plenty for all of us, especially if we work together. We might not get rich, but we can be comfortable and provide the content our people want and need.
What does literary success look like to you?
Literary success to me is two-fold. I want readers to like my work, and I want to be able to pay my bills. Awards and all the other stuff isn’t significant to me. If it happens I’ll happily accept it, but it’s not something I crave.
What legacy do you want your work to represent and resonate in the black community and the world?
I’m not concerned about a legacy. If anyone says anything about my work, I hope it’s that they enjoyed it and that it made them happy.
What are some of the upcoming projects you’re working on?
I’m currently working on the sequel to Amber and The Hidden City, Amber and the Enchanted Sword. I also plan on completing my From Here To Timbuktu series, as well as a few anthologies.
How can the readers learn more about your work and follow your career?
I’m a Black Speculative fiction writer and owner of MVmedia, LLC, a small publishing company specializing in Science Fiction, Fantasy and Sword and Soul. MVmedia’s mission is to provide speculative fiction books that represent people of color in a positive manner. I’ve written seventeen novels; my most recent is the Sword and Soul adventure Son of Mfumu. I’m the editor and co-editor of seven anthologies; The City, Dark Universe with Gene Peterson; Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology and Griot: Sisters of the Spear, with Charles R. Saunders; The Ki Khanga Anthology, the Steamfunk! Anthology, and the Dieselfunk anthology with Balogun Ojetade. MVmedia has also published Once Upon A Time in Afrika by Balogun Ojetade and Abegoni: First Calling and Nyumbani Tales by Sword and Soul creator and icon Charles R. Saunders. My work has also been featured in Black Power: The Superhero Anthology; Skelos 2: The Journal of Weird Fiction and Dark Fantasy Volume 2, Steampunk Writes Around the World published by Luna Press and Bass Reeves Frontier Marshal Volume Two.
We’re already into the 3rd month of 2018 and you may find it odd that I’m talking about resolutions.
I’m not referring to the hollow New Year’s traditions which most people make with earnest intentions, but usually fall short and say, “Well, there’s always next year!” No, I’m talking about PERSONAL RENEWAL. It’s about real, attainable and determined change.
It’s taken me years to come to this point in the road of my journey and I can’t afford to turn back, backslide or waste another moment or squander any opportunities I’ve been blessed with. At nearly a half century in age, time is of the essence.
So, starting yesterday, almost a week before you’re reading this, I came to recognize that there will be some extensive changes in what I do and how I do it.
This not only applies to my writing career, but also to every facet of my life. In fact, the changes started much earlier, but I am now starting to take stock of them regarding my writing.
To my loyal readers, expect more from me, expect better from me and expect more of me.
To those who may be joining me at this point in my journey…stay tuned, TBIYTC (The Best Is Yet To Come)!!!
Tomorrow Comes Media invites you to return to the world John F. Allen introduced in The God Killers, in a week-long celebration of his latest urban fantasy release, the Urban Fantasy/Spy-Fi novella Codename: Knight Ranger! The tour runs from November 2, 2015 through November 8, 2015, and you can sign up by clicking HERE!
Synopsis: Captain Alexandre Cornelius “Neal” Du Bois is a US Army Ranger and decorated war hero. When his unit is ambushed by supernatural hostile forces while in Afghanistan, only Neal survives. When he wakes up in a secret government facility, Neal discovers that his whole life has changed forever.
A shadowy government agent named Elijah Bishop arranges for Neal’s brain to be transplanted, without his permission, into a bio-engineered body capable of amazing feats. Armed with advanced body armor and weaponry, he becomes the epitome of the Ultra Soldier.
To protect his family and those closest to him, he must let the world and everyone he loves believe he is dead. With assistance from Dr. Avery Clarkson–the scientist responsible for his new body–Neal reluctantly utilizes his superhuman abilities to work for Bishop and his organization called G.E.N.E.S.I.S. (Global Espionage Network of Elite Supernatural Intelligence and Surveillance), in order to track down those responsible for the slaughter of his unit and keep the world safe from supernatural terrorist forces.
About the Author: John F. Allen is an American writer born in Indianapolis, IN. He is a member of the Speculative Fiction Guild and the Indiana Writers Center. He began writing stories as early as the second grade and pursued all forms of writing at some point, throughout his career. John studied Liberal Arts at IUPUI with a focus in Creative Writing, received an honorable discharge from the United States Air Force and is a current member of the American Legion. John’s debut novel, The God Killers was published in 2013 by Seventh Star Press. John currently resides in Indianapolis, Indiana with his wife and son.
Here’s the latest review for Codename: Knight Ranger! “There are enemies that exist beyond general human awareness and comprehension; enemies thought to be products of lore and nightmares. The premise of Codename: Knight Ranger, an exciting science fiction thriller written by John F. Allen, is that monsters are real. Werewolves, vampires and a variety of creatures thought to be frightful products of human imaginings are indeed substantive…and lethal. A select group of humans are at war with these monsters. Ranger Captain Alexandre Du Bois becomes an unwilling participant in this invisible war when his unit in Afghanistan is ambushed. The captain suffers catastrophic injuries. In fact ‘catastrophic’ drastically understates his condition. Du Bois dies but is brought back to life by means that becomes key to his subsequent alteration. Thanks to an enigmatic organization led by a mysterious mastermind named Bishop, Du Bois is outfitted with a new body complete with enhanced capabilities, a kind of six million man on mega doses of steroids. To top it off, he’s provided with a super durable armored suit, packed with enough fire power to shred an army. But the transition from ordinary man to ultra-soldier becomes a jarring shock to Du Bois’ senses. Not to mention the costs that his commitment as an ultra soldier entails, a cost that deeply embitters him. Having never consented to this transformation, Du Bois bears enmity toward the person responsible for his condition: Bishop. Nevertheless, Du Bois is a soldier, and he will do his duty, because if he doesn’t, the monsters win. Knight Ranger is a short but delightfully satisfying read. The build-up leading to Du Bois’ demonstration of his abilities gives the reader a rich insight into his state of mind. There is a lot of flashy hi tech in this book which I enthusiastically imbibed like literary crack. When Du Bois finally goes into the field, the action is hyper fast, hard hitting and explosive. I’ll expect no less of the sequel.”
~ Ronald Jones