If you're looking for a fresh and funny Urban Fantasy, the Abby Sinclair books fit the bill. Abby isn't an ass-kicker, but she finds her strengths elsewhere. Author Allison Pang joins us for today's AAD Author Spotlight. Please help me welcome her to the blog!
Jen: Please tell new readers about the Abby Sinclair series.
Allison: When we first meet Abby in A BRUSH OF DARKNESS, she’s a former prima ballerina, still recovering from a terrible car accident that took the life of her mother and left her body crippled. With her dreams of dancing shattered, she ends up in the town of Portsmyth and stumbles into the world of the OtherFolk. When she becomes the TouchStone to the Faery Protectorate, her fate is forever changed and she’s forced to come to grips with her past as well as take a more deliberate role in her own future.
In A Sliver of Shadow, we find Abby coming a bit more into her own, as well as finding out more about her own past and family history. (And how entwined her family really is with that of the OtherFolk.)
Along the way she’s assisted by friends in the form of a magical violinist, an incubus, an elven prince and a pervy little unicorn.
Jen: The world-building is revealed slowly in the course of Abby's story. Talk to me about the decision to approach it that way.
Allison: I don’t think it was technically a cognizant decision. I tend to read a lot more standard fantasy/sci-fi books than PNR or UF – when I started writing BoD, that was the approach I was used to. (Let’s toss the reader into the world, whee!) I’m not fond of spoon-feeding details to the readers and while I will admit there is a LOT going on from a world-building perspective, the fact that it’s mostly set in the real world helps a little bit.
But I think a lot of it comes from the deep 1st person PoV. Abby knows what she knows (or doesn’t know). She’s not going to rehash her thoughts with things that are considered basic knowledge until there’s a reason to do so.
When Abby goes to the Fae world in A SLIVER OF SHADOW, I realized that what I "knew" from the first book was just the tip of the iceberg.
Jen: How much of this world do you have floating around in your head that hasn't made its way into the books? Or do the details come to you as you go along?
Allison: Eh. There’s quite a bit floating up there at the moment, but I only tend to pick out the pieces I need for a particular story arc as they are required. So, for example – I’ve got an idea of what the Hell Path is like, but until there’s a specific reason to head down there, I don’t worry about it. Otherwise, much of the detail does get fleshed out as I go.
Jen: The latest book introduces a love triangle with Abby, Brystion and Talivar. Did you always plan to give Brystion a rival?
Allison: Actually, no. The original ending to BoD did have Brystion staying with Abby, but for various editorial reasons, things ended up changing. I know there’s a love/hate thing with triangles among many readers, but it isn’t my intent to jerk readers around. A little competition isn’t always a bad thing and from a character perspective it’s actually pretty good for Brystion to realize things aren’t always going to be handed to him on a silver platter, so to speak.
Jen: And speaking of Brystion... so much about him is murky and mysterious. Tell us one thing about him that is true without question. And tell us one thing we don't know about him.
Allison: *laughs* He’s a rather nebulous character, even for me – it’s very hard for me to sometimes figure out what he’s thinking. He plays things very close to his vest, even when I’m writing him. True without question? Despite whatever his actions may or may not be, he truly is in love with Abby. Even if he would sometimes rather not be.
As far as what you don’t know? There’s a lot, but he is rather fond of poetry. (Probably has something to do with his mom. ;-) )
Jen: I never really "got" the reason he left at the end of book one. Help me.
Allison: Well, the short answer is like I mentioned above: Editorial reasons. The long answer is that it does actually work out better in the long run. BoD took place in the span of a few weeks – and while Abby and Ion are certainly massively attracted to each other, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be “true love.” Yes, Abby would have preferred for him to stay and try to work things out, no question.
However, Brystion is scared out of his wits in a lot of ways, if you dig deep enough. He’s not particularly proud at some of his behavior in BoD, though he’ll never admit it directly. Given the circumstances of how he met Abby and his own past relationships turning out badly, I don’t think it’s unrealistic that he might bolt for a while. There’s also an element of “too good to be true” going on. Abby represents an awful lot to him – her Dreaming power, for example – there’s a certain jaded outlook that he possesses that he’s trying to break through.
Jen: As for Talivar, I feel like I do know him. But you're probably giving me a false sense of security. Tell us one thing about him that would be surprising.
Allison: Heh. He really does like playing DDR, even if he thinks it’s a bit undignified.
Jen: You ended the last book on a cliffhanger. ^$%$#^^**! Let's talk about that.
Allison: I did. But it was a good place to end it. I don’t want to spoil readers, but that last page did create a new set of issues for Abby and not ones I could realistically work through in the span of a few more chapters. Besides, that would have completely cheapened her actions.
Jen: As a reader, how do you feel about cliffhangers?
Allison: I don’t mind them, as long as I know there’s more coming. What *is* irritating is when the cliffhanger doesn’t pay off. If everything is resolved right off the bat then there is a certain WTF moment when I pick up the next book.
Jen: Book three is also coming out this year. What can you tell us about A TRACE OF MOONLIGHT?
Allison: Well, obviously it picks up fairly quickly after the end of SoS. The stakes are much higher than before, and there’s some rather interesting twists and turns coming up for some of the characters. Maybe a death or two. Or not.
Jen: Can you give us a little snippet?
Allison: Actually, I’m right smack in the middle of revisions for A TRACE OF MOONLIGHT so I wouldn’t feel completely right tossing up something I’m trying to edit. But I’ll see if I can get an excerpt up on my website at some point in the next few months.
Jen: What is the future for the series beyond that point? I read somewhere that you may choose to tell the stories of some secondary characters. Could you expand on that-- and does that mean Abby's story will be over? There are such great secondary characters in the series. I love Phin and I am so interested in Melanie's backstory. (And Nobu...)
Allison: Yes, the secondary characters are definitely some of my favorites. As far as the end of Abby’s story goes, I’m not sure. I’m doing the best I can to wrap up this particular story arc in the 3 books – it’s up to the publisher if they want more, and depending on how that goes, it could very well be a Melanie story that’s written.
There’s also a pretty good chance of a Melanie short story appearing in an upcoming anthology, but I can’t give you any more details than that. (Although if it does happen, I’ll be writing about how she got her violin.)
Jen: Do you get to make it to many fan events? What are you looking forward to most from AAD in NOLA?
Allison: I did 3 or 4 cons last year. I had to cut back this year due to a number of reasons, so no RT or RWA for one. AAD and WFC are the two main ones I’ll be attending, though I also hope to be at NYCC if I can swing it. As far as what I’m looking forward to most? Just being able to hang out in a smaller, more intimate venue with the readers and other authors. Sometimes the larger cons can be overwhelming.
A big thanks to Allison for chatting with me today. To learn more about Allison Pang, you can visit her website or follow her on Twitter.
Labels: AAD Author, Allison Pang, by Jen, Interview