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Author Interview | Allyson Kennedy

Today I am doing something new. We have a Christian author in the midst of our blogging community and she had recently released a book, Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl. She is doing a blog tour to help get the word out, and I was really interested in getting to know her more as an author, novelist, and what she has taken from the whole experience. I like getting to the core of a person, and I was really happy with how open and honest she was with my questions.

So sit back, take a sip from your Friday beverage, and let’s get to know Allyson.

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1.     From your own experience, do you feel it gets any easier writing a novel once you’ve completed your first?  

– Writing Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl came easily to me, as it has taken the shortest amount of time to write out of all my WIPs (work in progress). Back then, I wasn’t worried about what readers would think of it, so it was easier to write without worrying if I’m meeting anyone else’s expectations. Now that I’ve published it, the fear of what readers will think hinders me from writing sometimes.

As far as the next novel goes, it depends on which project it is and how much I have brainstormed through the plot and “connected the dots”, so to speak. My second novel, which will be released in November (Lord willing), Speak Your Mind, has been easier to write than my other three WIPs, though it took seven years to complete due to the added responsibilities of my last two years of high school/college/beginning a new job. Speak Your Mind has been easier because I was able to get a good grip on who the characters are and how the plot would go, while the other three WIPs have been difficult to plot so far.

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2.     What were some of your first stories or poems you wrote that you really enjoyed writing or left an impression that you still think of today?

– From ages seven to about twelve or thirteen, I would write one-page stories in notebooks and draw illustrations at the end. These stories were about a wide range of topics: my stuffed animals living in their own city, fictional stories about my little sister, a spy series, etc. Those stories have always stuck with me, because looking back, they show how much I’ve grown as a writer over the past seventeen years. They also documented my childhood in a unique way, so it’s been fun to go back and read them occasionally! 

3.     What advice would you give someone who is trying to write a novel for the first time? 

 – First things first, do not compare your writing to other authors. Former President Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy”, and comparing your first draft’s writing quality to seasoned authors’ published works will cause you to doubt your own abilities and make writing feel like a competition. Trust that God has given you a unique voice for a reason, and write for Him and yourself, not what you think others will want to read.

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 4.     What suggestions do you have for people to write consistently? 

– *Nervous laughter* Actually, my own writing “schedule” is sporadic, so I don’t really have a set time to sit down and work on my WIPs. I guess my advice is that when you find time/make time to write, don’t procrastinate or make excuses to do other tasks instead.

5.     How do you deal with doubt from other people when it comes to writing? 

 – I’ve always been the type of person that takes criticism personally, so dealing with doubt from other people has been something I’ve had to work on since publishing Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl. The best method to brush off their doubts is to constantly remind myself that God provided me with a unique writing voice for His glory, so I need to utilize this gift instead of yielding to the doubts of others. It also helps to think about all of the family/friends who enjoy my writing instead of the few who criticize it.

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 6.     How do you deal when you doubt yourself and God’s plan?

– I’m glad this question came up, because its actually something I’ve been dealing with the last few months. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve wanted to be able to write full-time as an adult. So far, that plan is nowhere in sight. I work full-time in an office, and truth be told, I’ve struggled because it’s not as enjoyable as writing is for me. But, being an adult means we don’t always get to do things we want to do, and we have to put the need to supply for our families (or for me, saving up for other things since I’m not married or have kids yet) above our desires to dedicate time to our true passions.

All the same, I’ve questioned why God hasn’t allowed my writing career to flourish in this way, but now I understand that just because it isn’t happening right now, that doesn’t mean it never will. We never know what God has in store, and we need to be thankful for where we are in our lives now rather than dwelling on the future. We need to trust His plan over our own.

 7.     What scripture has helped you walk forward in your writing?

 – 2 Corinthians 5:7 has always been my favorite verse, and after publishing Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl last year, I’ve had to rely on the message of this verse when doubt and comparison start rolling through my mind. The verse says, “For we walk by faith, not by sight”. This verse has helped me to trust that God is using what I write as He sees fit (faith) and has reminded me to not dwell on all those sales statistics (sight). Sales stats don’t define your worth or identity as a writer, God does, and anything you write for His glory has worth. Our identities are in Christ, and we are pens in His hand.

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 8.     How has your writing experience of Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl compared with past novel experiences? (Harder, easier, challenging, what made this experience different) 

 – Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl was a lot easier to write than my other WIPs. I think a major part of that had to do with its plot. Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl is a lot “fluffier” content-wise than my other novels, so its plot is simple. The more complex the plot is, the more challenging it is to write.

 9.     Why do you think people should read, Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl?

 – I think people should read Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl, because we’ve all been in a place where we think we have to change ourselves to get other people to like and respect us. The main character, Riley, goes through this in the novel and comes to dislike who she’s become in the process. This novel promotes the message that we should hone who God made us to be and not worry about what others think of us. This message is especially important for teens, as high school pressures them to follow the crowd in order to be liked, which rarely ends up in activities or behavior that honors God.

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10. What has Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl taught you both as an author and reader of the story? 

 – As an author, Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl has taught me that receiving critique feedback from other writers is invaluable. The first draft of the novel was only 150 pages, and a writer friend I went to high school with helped me find ways to beef it up and fill in the plot holes. With her help, the end result was adding about fifty pages. This experience showed me that I need to focus more on descriptive writing to paint a better visual picture for the reader.

As a reader, this novel has made me think more about my word choice. A lot of more conservative Christian readers don’t like the use of euphemisms (replacement words for mainstream curse words), though I use them in my writing. Its made me stop and think when I’m editing/writing now and ask myself whether these words are entirely necessary in certain places in the story.

– Thanks, Allyson!!! I loved your answers! I know as a writer I relate, and as a reader, I’m intrigued by the story! 


If YOU are interested in reading Allyson’s new book here are some helpful links.

Book Cover Front.jpg

Author Pic.jpg

 

Book Trailer

Goodreads Page

Amazon Purchase Link

 

If you would like to find Allyson and learn more about her, you can find her on:

Book Cover FrontAuthor PicAllyson’s Blog – Authoring Arrowheads

Twitter – Authoring Arrows

Pinterest- Authoring Arrowheads

YouTube

Amazon

Good Reads

Author Bio – A native of eastern North Carolina, Allyson Kennedy fell in love with writing at age seven while filling the pages of her Mary-Kate and Ashley notebook. Dozens of notebooks later, Allyson has penned short stories, poems, song lyrics, and two novels. After the second of her three writing contest wins at the University of Mount Olive, God planted a seed in her heart to pursue self-publishing her debut novel, Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl. When she’s not writing, Allyson enjoys reading, blogging on her website, Authoring Arrowheads, reviewing books and movies for Indie Christian authors and filmmakers, and following God’s plans for her life. Her next release, Speak Your Mind, is set to be published in November 2018.


And Remember...Be The Salt Of The earthAnd The Light On The HillWe Are His Branches1

Monthly Scripture- NKJ Psalm 9:10, “And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for Your Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.”

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22 thoughts on “Author Interview | Allyson Kennedy

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the interview. I’m actually thinking about starting a series, and interviewing different bloggers. It’s always great to hear someone else’s perspective. 🙂 Yes, the book definitely sound interesting!

      Liked by 1 person

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