Please introduce yourself.
My name is Allan Krummenacker, and for the record “I am not a number, I am a FREE MAN!” Anyone who gets that reference please give yourself a Gold Star. Also the first 5 people who post where that quote comes from down in the comments section can get a free copy of “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” which is being released October 1st.
Okay now that I got that out of my system, let’s get down to business. As you already suspect I’m rather silly and full of nonsense, which are great qualities in writing. I was born and raised on Long Island, NY and moved to California in 1985. Here I met my wife, a great set of friends, got into sci-fi and fantasy fandom (including costuming and fanfic writing). I currently reside along the west coast and am working for the county which gives me and my wife the security to pursue writing.
When did you start writing?
I’d done a lot of silly Marx-Brothers style of short fanfics, back when I belonged to a Doctor Who Fan club, and a Star Trek club. But I only really got serious around 2008 when my real estate career started a serious decline thanks to the bubble that led to the Recession. At the time my wife and I were binge-watching the original 1960s Dark Shadows series, which I learned had been partly written “On the fly”. Originally series was slated to end after 6 months but after the vampire Barnabas Collins got introduced the ratings shot through the roof and they were ordered to keep it going. So some of the continuity got messed up along the way. So I started amusing myself with re-writing and correcting some of the issues, but also came up with some original concepts as well. Soon the original ideas got so fleshed out, I realized I’d strayed so from Dark Shadows that I could easily re-populate these original ideas into something new. And thus, the Para-Earths concept was born.
What motivates you to write?
That is a very good question, and I guess the best answer is that I’ve always been writing stories in my head. I wasn’t the most popular kid at school, usually the target for bullies and others who just didn’t understand me. I wasn’t great at sports, which I found out was linked to the fact that I already had Fibromyalgia which meant I got hurt very easily physically and tears were often involved. So I spent a lot of time on my own with my GI Joes and other action figures and created storylines for their adventures. Plus I spent a lot of time inside my own head keeping myself amused as music and tv shows inspired more ideas in my head. I became a very thoughtful child as a result and found I had a better rapport with adults than I did kids my own age because I asked a lot of “grown-up” questions.
What genre do you write in and what made you chose this particular genre?
Tough question here, I basically write a strange blend of paranormal/science fiction with touches of horror and mystery thrown into the mix. I suspect this comes from my younger years of being fascinated with the classic Universal Studios Horror Monsters and the original Dark Shadows which were my earliest paranormal influences. As for my science fiction fascination I have to credit Dr. Who, the original Twilight Zone, and the original Outer Limits. I found the stories and the worlds they introduced the audience to so fascinating and wondrous. I kept finding myself asking “What if?” questions after each episode, which in turn would get me thinking about story ideas to play with the few friends I had as well as with my toys.
What is your goal in writing? Do you have dreams where your writing should take you?
This is going to sound weird but I don’t know if I ever really think seriously about where I’d like all this to go. I mean I just love writing stories and hearing people tell me how much they enjoyed them. Of course I’d love to see some (if not all of them) make to the big screen and be brought to life for millions to see. But then I also tell myself if Hollywood ever comes knocking because they’ve run out of re-makes and re-boots (which I despise immensely) and want original new material, I think I would say “Yes”. Then I’d take the money and go write more stories and try not to pay attention to however they mangle my creation, because I’m not J K Rowling so I’m not going to get creative authority in what they do.
Of course people ask me if I want to be the next J K Rowling or Stephen King, to which I answer “No, because they already exist. I want to be Allan Krummenacker, the guy who gets as popular as they are and make the kind of money they do. Mostly so I can keep telling more stories to fascinate and hopefully inspire others.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if yes, how do you deal with it?
Oh yeah! Me and writer’s block are old acquaintances. And more than once I’ve gone search of a jackhammer when he shows up. I even have an idea for a short silent film I may make for YouTube one of these days about dealing with writer’s block. Think along the lines of an old black and white Charlie Chaplin movie.
Anyway, how I deal with it… I’ll take long walks along the beach, into the woods, or just go out and have fun. I know part of my brain will still be mulling over the issue and I might spot something that suddenly gives me a breakthrough. If not, then I’ll start working on another writing project entirely. You have to keep writing, that’s my motto. And sooner or later I’ll either watch or movie or be talking with my wife Helen (another author) who might suggest something I never thought of and then… BAM! Writer’s block is gone and the story is moving on again.
What advice would you like to give new, hopeful authors?
Two words “KEEP WRITING”!
Never stop. Take a rest if you need to, but keep the ideas flowing. Brush up on your grammar skills, take a class in creative writing at a local community college and keep doing it. They say practice makes perfect and its true. Also be ready for criticisms from friends, family and of course others. The words may hurt at first, but don’t let that stop you. Once you put the hurt aside, think about what was said and look over your work. Is there any validity to some of the critiques? Perhaps you need to rework some of the phrasing or how you present the characters or situations. Or, they may all be way off and just weren’t the right audience for your work.
There is so much to writing. Not just creating the story but also finding the right audience for your work is just as important as creating the tale. Learning what criticisms to take on board to improve your work versus those who just didn’t get the idea you were aiming for.
I’d also recommend doing lots of reading of other works in the same genre you’re working in. Study how other authors construct their stories. How did they build tension? How did their characters come across to you? Did they grow or evolve in the course of the story? Do the same thing with shows and movies you watch. Really see what worked or didn’t for you as an audience member and take those lessons on board as you work on your writing. For me, my stories play out as a movie inside my head and I try to basically transfer all the details onto my computer in words to paint the images I’m seeing.
Please, tell us about your work.
With my wife Helen’s help, I’ve created the Para-Earth Series (which is up to 4 books). These tales are reminiscent of the old Twilight Zone and Outer Limits shows. In each book the readers and the characters encounter beings or actually get to visit alternate versions of Earth where evolution took a very different turn because of changes in how those other Earths formed. You might encounter an Earth with 2 moons, or none at all. There’s even been one Earth where the planet has rings like Saturn. But with these changes in the planet’s early development, different life forms evolve. Some can be hostile, some friendly. Others may simply be lost in this reality and want to go home. You never know.
In fact, we’ve had life-forms that readers compared to the creations of HP Lovecraft, Dean Koontz and Stephen King. And there are many more on the way, as well as recurring characters readers have come to adore and are eager to see more of. Which is all to the good in my opinion because this is an open-ended series, not a trilogy or something with a definite end. I much prefer things that can be built upon for years to come.
But the doors between realities don’t just open one way. Occasionally a person from this reality might land up in one of those alternate worlds and come back altered in some way. One of your favorite characters from our series, a certain Union soldier name Nathaniel Eoghan Steward, got blown into one of those alternate Earths. And as you know, he came back to his world just a few days looking the same but is now to all intent and purposes a vampyre, only he’s not undead.
He’s one of my favorite characters to write about because he’s like Doctor Who, living for over 150 years and just experiencing history, making friends, and helping people along the way. With such a long lived character, I get to have him interacting with all kinds of people, both famous and just regular, so there’s an endless supply of stories to write around him. Your readers here can meet him in “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” which will be released October 1st of this year. Technically it’s being re-released as it’s been re-classified as the first Young Adult installment of our Para-Earth Series. (Links can be found beneath this interview).
The reason for the re-branding is because many readers felt that it belonged in that genre as most of the story is told by two teenage girls whose lives are deeply affected by Nathan’s presence, and both them and their families become very dear to him.
Thank you for being my guest. It was such a pleasure to have you here!!
Thanks so much for having me. I really enjoyed it. And to everyone reading this interview I’d going to close it with the words I use at the end of every entry at my blog about writing, keep writing!
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