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Sunday, April 24, 2022

Interview With Chris Topher


 Today, we have an opportunity to talk to Topher Allen.  Topher has written the book, Geo.  

First, let me thank you for joining me.  I appreciate you giving me your links and I want to share those with our readers.


Website: https://www.topherallenbooks.com/

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09NJBCYJF

That is great.  Can you tell us a little about yourself and what led you to start writing?

I first started to seriously consider creative writing a few years ago. The undiluted expression it provides just seemed so refreshing. But at the time, my only real writing experience was authoring maintenance manuals for aircraft components. It was all pretty dry, but introduced me to sentence structure and economy of words and things of that nature. I had always enjoyed storytelling, as well as the creative moments of the engineering classes I was taking at the time. The impetus for this specific project was honestly nothing more than me challenging myself to create a legitimate story that could get people to care about and emphasize with the least interesting, least likely thing I could think of. As a child I was always doodling, carrying a sketchpad with me everywhere. One night while my family and I were out to dinner I got pretty bored and sketched this square little rock-crystal guy. It was one of a few hundred doodles I had done up to that point, but for whatever reason that specific figure just kind of stuck with me. That sketch, combined with the challenge I’d given myself, eventually came together to produce Geo. From there it was just a matter of getting the pen to the paper, so to speak, on any night or weekend I could manage.

Fairly early on in the process I got some less-than-enthusiastic feedback from a professional editor: “Do everything you just did in this story, but rewrite all the rock people as humans instead”. That one sentence gave me so much confidence. 


Getting a pen to paper is hard. Perhaps the effort is the greatest step an author takes. Any advice for a new writer out there struggling to make that move?

Actually following through on writing a book is a great accomplishment all on its own. It requires so much thought and effort over a long period of time (especially if you’re not full-time yet). For tips to get through it, I would say to learn how remind yourself of the parts you like most about writing, even if that’s not the exact part you’re working on that day. That always helped my get through some of the downswings. There’s a lot to do, and the parts you love doing will have a much higher chance of success if you’re working just as hard on the less-fun things too. I would also say to not worry so much if you have to cut out a huge chunk of story that you really loved. Even if it’s the best page you’ve ever written, if you keep getting feedback that it’s a problem, hanging onto it could jeopardize the entire rest of the story. There are lots of other parts of your story that are great, don’t hold them back out of stubbornness.

What is the best advice you have ever been given as a writer?

Fairly early on in the process I got some less-than-enthusiastic feedback from a professional editor: “Do everything you just did in this story, but rewrite all the rock people as humans instead”. That one sentence gave me so much confidence. I knew I was on the right track, with my own unique flair on the formula. I didn’t take the advice, but sometimes negative feedback can be a good thing if it’s directed at something you intended to do differently than most others. 

Website: https://www.topherallenbooks.com/

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09NJBCYJF

Do you write full-time or around another job? How do you schedule your time to write?

Still working around another job. Scheduling time was one of the biggest things I struggled with throughout the whole process. You’re creating a new world in your head, so it’s easy to get lost in that realm. Which is great! But, it can also take a heavy toll on those around you. Definitely focus on communicating with your family/those around you, BEFOREHAND and stick to the plan you both established for writing time.

How many hours a day do you write?

Weekday: 0-3hr (usually about 45min), Weekend: 0-16hr (usually 1 or 2hr). Really any time I can have to myself AND if I’m feeling well enough mentally to not destroy my brain with another marathon session.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Noise-cancelling headphones.

What is your writer’s kryptonite?

Wasting time doing nothing of interest on the internet.

What is your favorite part about writing?

Worldbuilding and dialogue. You get to create an entirely new and unique culture. As long as your characters are acting appropriately, you can do some pretty wacky traditions and make it believable. As far as dialogue goes, there are so many times we have to watch our tongues in real life, which is good because of the actual people with actual feelings. But, when it’s two fake people ripping each other apart in a book, readers love it. It’s pretty liberating.

What does literary success look like to you?

Knowing that I got to slip a little bit of physics and biology into a book that might be entertaining to kids is pretty cool. Besides that, if I can get a few people to feel for a bunch of rocks I’ll be happy.

Please tell us about your current release.

My current book, Geo, follows a rock and his friends trying to survive a world unlike anything they’ve ever seen. I don’t want to give too much away, but there is a sort of hidden longer-form narrative going on in the background that gradually takes center stage by the end of things. Geo’s always dreamed of something more. He’s always had questions about some strange things he’s seen around his home town, but he’s never asked them out loud for fear of being labelled different. By the time his journey is nearly done he’s a changed person in a lot of ways, having found out some of the long-held secrets regarding the forces controlling his home town. The whole thing ends up in a place I don’t think many will predict, but hope most will enjoy.

What part of writing and publishing was most difficult for you?

Knowing when to move on to the next phase. There’s always that little voice in the back of your head telling you how much better you can make your writing if you just work on it a little more. I think there’s diminishing returns to that each time though, unless there’s some specific part of your story that you have very specific concerns about.

Thanks again for joining me. Let's throw out those links again:

Website: https://www.topherallenbooks.com/

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09NJBCYJF

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