• Mae Heller

Interview with Allison Tebo

Can you tell me a little about your author journey and how you arrived at this point in your career?

I’ve been writing for nearly twenty years, but my real author journey started around the fall of 2016. I had just completed a novella that I felt was ready for publication. That novella was The Reluctant Godfather, a humorous retelling of Cinderella, and what ended up being the first book in a series.

The next five years were spent working hard at my craft and learning everything I could from the indie publishing community. In that time I published more books, got numerous short stories accepted by various magazines and anthologies, and started a Patreon community.

What led you to write a fairy tale retelling?

I’ve loved fairy tales for as long as I can remember. Allegories and symbolism are my favorite part of storytelling, and fairy stories (which are, by and large, morality tales) really lend themselves to that kind of writing. I enjoy smuggling powerful themes and bits of truth into my stories, and you can wrap some pretty bitter pills in the sweetness of fairy tales. The Goblin and the Dancer has a lot of painful themes, but when its wrapped up in a fairy tale it makes it not only palatable but, hopefully, fun to read!

What inspired you to choose to retell The Steadfast Tin Soldier, specifically?

I’ve had an infatuation with goblins (or any ugly little creature) for some time. I had also watched a YouTube video where a Lego orc had a crush on Arwen that, alas, didn’t work out. I found myself thinking that the ugly guy should have had a fair shot at winning the girl’s heart. I was determined to do an elf and goblin love story and was on the lookout for an opportunity to present itself. When I joined the Villains Ever After collaboration shortly thereafter, I began looking through fairy tales to retell and discovered, with delight, a reference to a villainous goblin in the story of The Steadfast Tin Soldier. Here, at last, was my opportunity to write the goblin and elf romance. The rest is history!

What was the most challenging aspect of writing from a villain's perspective?

I personally didn’t find Grik challenging to write, at all, because he struggles with the things that all people struggle with. He feels insecure, he wrestles with jealousy, and he is filled with fear. They’re all things each of us can find within ourselves easily. He’s more of an anti-hero than a villain, which was much easier to write. I think the trickiest part was the fact that I wanted him to feel all of these things while still having a rather childlike personality. It’s a mature story, but Grik is childlike, so striking the right tone was a tightrope.

How did working in a collaborative capacity with the other authors of the A Villain's Ever After series shape your approach to writing this book?

There was definitely a lot more group discussion on just about every topic! There were some perimeters in place for the actual writing of our stories (the villain had to either be misunderstood, or have a change of heart to fit within the theme, and they had to be the main love interest). There was also a lot more discussion on marketing, and book design, as well. I personally adore collaboration, so this wasn’t a challenge from me, but an outright treat! I learned a lot from these amazing ladies.

Do you have any advice for writers who are considering writing retellings?

Yes, I do. Pick a setting other than Germanic woods! It’s highly overused. I also recommend creating a strong theme for your story. Romance is nice, but I believe it’s the moral lessons that fairy tales relate that have made them so timeless. Even sweet treats need a little salt, and thematic resonance will lend that to your story. Themes are one of the most powerful and memorable aspect of stories, and I think fairy tales are the better for them.

Where can my readers find The Goblin and the Dancer?

You can purchase ebooks and paperbacks of The Goblin and the Dancer on Amazon. You can also contact me directly on my website for signed copies.

Where can my readers learn more about you?

You can find out more about me on my author website and blog. The best way to stay in regular contact with me is to sign up to my monthly author newsletter or follow me on Instagram. I’m always partying over there! For people who really want a front row seat to my writing, you can also join my street team, the awesome gang that gets behind-the-scenes stories, excerpts, and more!

Want to join in the fun and read Allison's book? Sign up for a chance to win a SIGNED copy of The Goblin and the Dancer! Sign ups close tomorrow so be sure to enter ASAP!


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