I always love having authors come stop by this blog, and am so grateful for JPC Allen for making an appearance here.
For those of you who don't know, she recently had her story published in a Christmas anthology. I can't wait for you all to learn more about her and her story.
Without further ado, let's introduce our author.
Now, tell me about the short story.
In “A Rose from the Ashes”, nineteen-year-old Rae Riley knows she needs to fulfill her late mother’s dying wish. But she needs even more to find her father. And the man who attacked her pregnant mother on Christmas Eve twenty years before and left her to burn in an abandoned building. And if her father and the attacker are one and the same.
Five other Christmas short stories are in the anthology, and they range from contemporary to steampunk to Biblical. Like the title says, it’s Christmas fiction that’s off the beaten path.
I love it already. You really dive into some hard topics in your story. What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?
For this story, it was making sure the mystery and how Rae solves it made sense. I had to write out the twenty-year-old attack on Rae and her mother like it was a book report, so I could see clearly what happened. Then with this report to refer to, I kept track of what Rae already knew about the mystery and what she had to uncover to solve it.
Wow! How cool is that? I don't think I've heard of a writing process like that. Now, what part were you most excited to write?
Discovering so many wonderful new characters! I’m a character writer, so when I find characters who inspire me, I’m excited to create stories for them. I’m already working on a novel that describes what happens a few weeks after the events in “A Rose from the Ashes.”
Speaking of, who is your favorite character and why?
Oooh, this is tough because I don’t want to give away anything that will spoil the mystery. I’ve enjoyed discovering who Rae is. She’s an amateur photographer, so that affects how she sees settings and the people around her. Such as she hates overhead lighting because it’s too harsh, and she thinks the sheriff could pass as Thor if he grew out his blond crew-cut.
I love that! Huge super hero fan right here. Now, speaking of fans, I'm sure we have some readers who'd love to become writers some day. What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Keep yourself open to different writing opportunities. I thought I was only a novelist, but the two pieces I’ve published are short stories, and I love the challenges of this art form. I didn’t think I’d be any good at blogging, and then I found out I love to offer writing tips and prompts.
I follow the advice given by the late writer and producer Stephen J. Cannell. In an interview, he said that when he was given a tough writing assignment, he learned not to turn it down immediately. He’d ask for time to think about it. Often the assignments he first thought were impossible turned out to be rewarding.
Anything else you want to add?
I can’t wait to introduce readers to Rae and the people who live in Marlin County, Ohio. It’s been the most exciting journey of my writing life, and I hope readers will find this mystery a great read for the holiday season.
Thank you so much for joining us! Readers, check out the links to the anthology below, and give our author a follow!
JPC Allen started her writing career in second grade with an homage to Scooby Doo. She’s been tracking down mysteries ever since. A former children’s librarian, she is a member of ACFW and has written mystery short stories for Mt. Zion Ridge Press. Online, she offers writing tips and prompts to beginning writers. She also leads writing workshops for tweens, teens, and adults, encouraging them to discover the adventure of writing. A lifelong Buckeye, she has deep roots in the Mountain State. Join the adventure on her blog, Facebook, Instagram, or Goodreads.
Christmas fiction off the beaten path
Not your Granny’s Christmas stories …
Step off the beaten path and enjoy six stories that look beyond the expected, the traditional, the tried-and-true.
Inspired by the song, “Mary Did You Know?” – a mother’s memories of events leading up to and following that one holy night. MARY DID YOU KNOW? By Patricia Meredith
A young woman seeking her own identity searches for the man who tried to kill her and her mother on Christmas Eve twenty years before. A ROSE FROM THE ASHES. By JPC Allen
Princess, tower, sorceress, dragon, brave knight, clever peasant – combine these ingredients into a Christmas-time story that isn’t quite what you’d expect. RETURN TO CALLIDORA. By Laurie Lucking
Anticipating tough financial times, the decision not to buy or exchanged presents leads to some painful and surprising revelations for a hardworking man and his family. NOT THIS YEAR. By Sandra Merville Hart
Years ago, a gunman and a store full of hostages learned some important lessons about faith and pain and what really matters in life – and the echoes from that day continued to the present. THOSE WHO STAYED. By Ronnell Kay Gibson
A community of refugees, a brutal winter, a doorway to another world – a touch of magic creating holiday joy for others leads to a Christmas wish fulfilled. CRYSTAL CHRISTMAS. By Michelle L. Levigne