Sometimes people are just so darn smart and interesting. Author Allen Boyer is all that and more. He's a family man, a teacher and author. He has written the popular (Bess Bullock Retirement Home Series) plus a few non-fiction books, and he is a fellow Cozy Catter! Here is my conversation with this talented gentleman.
Allen, is there someone, something or an event in your life that set you on the road to being an author?
The character of Bess Bullock was born from two very special ladies that I had the pleasure of knowing.
The first was a dear aunt, Mae Gruber, who could charm the socks off of anyone. When I visited Mae at her retirement home, I watched how she used her wit and smile around nurses and residents to motivate people to do things for her.
My wife’s grandmother, Ruth Moore, was the second person who inspired me. Ruth had a sharp mind right up to the end of her life. She lived to be one hundred. She took computer classes at a local college when she was ninety-three years old. She read a few books a week. She had lots of tricks to keep herself thinking throughout her time in a retirement home.
These were the two ladies that really helped me form the character of Bess Bullock.
What do you like about writing and what bugs you about it?
I love tinkering with words. Once I have a completed manuscript, the tinkering begins. It’s the part of the writing process that I could spend months on. I read James Joyce in college and the way he used language has a big influence on my writing. I love listening to how words sound and combining them in a way that is poetic to listen to.
What bugs me about writing? Well, my only qualm would lie in how fast a reader wants a new book. I’ll spend nine months to a year on a book, then a reader will tell me they read the book in a matter of days and ask me when the next one is coming out. Wouldn't it be equitable to take nine months in reading a book, since it took nine months to write it? Ha-ha.
Good point but it aint gonna happen, especially when it's a GOOD book.
Allen, how long have you been writing books and what other writing do you do?
My first book was published ten years ago by a national publisher. Arthur Ashe and Me was the name of the book. It was a Young Adult novel that was part mystery and part biography. The book was sold on the grounds of the U.S. Open Tennis Championships in New York for a few years. That was kind of neat. I wrote a second book about Roberto Clemente and then a nonfiction book about the West Point Academy and some of its famous graduates. Terribly challenging to write nonfiction. A bit more tedious in how researching facts set the pace for how fast I could complete the manuscript.
Please tell us about your protagonist. Is she--he a lot like you? What are his--her assets and weaknesses?
I thought it would be interesting to take a character with a heightened sense for observation and put them in a place where there is an abundance of time to watch other residents. What secrets would be uncovered? What mysteries would be discovered? For a writer, it simply made for a situation that was begging to be explored.
What is the most amazing thing that has happened to you or that you have done?
After I had my first three books published, my wife and I had three children. That led to a long break from writing, but the experience of parenthood really is an incredible ride. If I have to choose between writing or playing blocks with my kids, I’ll pick blocks every time.
Where can we find your books, Allen---and is there anything else you would like to say--such as a website or blog?
All of my books are available where books are sold online. I also have a blog at allenboyer.weebly.com It is always such a privilege to write a story that readers can enjoy. When I wrote my first book, I was working at a private school and it was quite exciting to see students carrying my book in the hallways or reading my book in classrooms. One day, I do remember two young boys walking down the hall in front of me. One of them was carrying a copy of my book. Before I knew it he pulled the book up and cracked the other boy on the back of the head with my book. Both boys giggled and I knew right then that one man’s success can be another person’s headache. I’m pleased that the Bess Bullock series has found so many devoted readers and look forward to continuing her adventures. You can read more about the series at my blog: allenboyer.weebly.com
Thank you, Allen, for writing wonderful books for us to read, and for taking the time to share the inspiring story of your life as a writer, teacher and father.