JK Allen wrote her first story when she first learned how to write and hasn’t looked back since. Common writing themes that can be found in her work address identity, everyday magic, and the type of strength that can be found in ordinary people. Several of her short stories and four poems are featured in anthologies. Angelborn is her first novel in her debut series with Heavenfire continuing the journey. She is currently working on the trilogy as well as several shorts, while researching for a new series in the works. Her reading tastes are as varied as the genres she enjoys writing, from Jane Austen to J.K. Rowling. When she’s not writing, you can find her painting, drawing, or lost in another world between the pages of a book. Or on Facebook.
Julia, thank you for agreeing to this interview. You are known to express your creativity through several different avenues, including writing, painting, and drawing. Is there a medium you enjoy more than the rest or one that energizes you the most?
Writing is my first love really, and it fuels me in a way that the others don’t. I love being creative, even if it’s just crocheting something new, but writing really does energize me.
Your debut novel, Angelborn, released in 2018 introducing your coming-of-age trilogy. Tell us a bit about the story and characters. What should we expect? When should we expect the next two books in the series, Heavenfire and Demonkind?
Ginny Gracehurst thinks she’s a typical 16-year-old girl when she gets a bruise that won’t fade and starts having strange dreams. It turns out she’s a half-angel, angelborn, and there’s a powerful half-demon hell-bent on bending her to his will. She has to learn to navigate a world she knew nothing about while keeping her loved ones safe and staying out of Jacob’s hands with the help of a new friend, Aiden.
So there’s a lot Ginny has to reconcile herself with in this new world and who she finds out she really is. She’s tested in many ways, but she’s always there for her friends. Check out her adventures, and look forward to Heavenfire April 18th of this year and Demonkind October 10th.
One of my big themes in this series was doing what’s right and not what’s easy. I like to work with themes in YA to explore these sort of life lessons. I try not to preach, which is why I work with themes and not morals, so I hope that comes across on the page.
Coming-of-age stories have existed for centuries from Candide by Voltaire to The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger to The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. Why do you believe readers are captivated by watching the transition of the protagonist from youth to adulthood?
I think that at any age we are figuring out who we are and who we want to be, so we can really relate to characters going through that journey. Characters who grow and evolve often mean more to us, and I think coming to age is a change that is meaningful to us because we’ve all been through it ourselves.
Of course, you have also published several short stories in multiple anthologies, including Mirrors and Thorns, Primal Elements, and Glass and Ashes. Do you have a favorite among the collection? What is it about?
Primal Elements actually featured several of my poems. Poetry was actually what I did my senior thesis in at college, so it’s an old love of mine. I’ve focused more on fiction lately, but it was nice to put my poetry hat back on for this antho.
Mirror and Thorns was really fun to write because it had a dark fairytale theme. I don’t always go dark, so it was really interesting to explore that side. And Glass and Ashes was inspired by Cinderella themes. Both stories in these anthologies features a YA character dealing with issues with siblings and jealousy. It’s hard to pick which one I like more, I guess it depends on whether you are looking for a happy ending or not.
What advice would you give to new authors looking to get published?
There is more than one way up the mountain, and everyone has different goals which make either traditional publishing or self-publishing right for different people. I guess the general advice I can give is to not give up. The difference between amateurs and professionals is that the professionals didn’t stop trying until they achieved their goals. And make sure your story is edited before you submit to agents or before hitting publish. If you want to be a professional, then you need a pro product.
Excellent. What can we expect from you in 2019?
I have a couple ideas for what to write once this trilogy is finished. Including a new series in the Angelborn world, but with new characters, or starting a series using witchcraft mythology. It will be hard to say goodbye to these characters, but it’s always exciting to start a new journey.
It has been a pleasure, Julia! Please tell us where fans can find you online or in the upcoming year at events.
Here’s where you can find me online.
And you can grab a copy of Angelborn, preorder Heavenfire for a discounted price, or snag some great merchandise (you can even pick whether you are Team Angelborn or Team Demonkind and rep your side) at https://ows-ink-llc.myshopify.com/collections/jk-allen-collection! Pick four items for additional discounts!