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[BRIEF WORDS] INTERVIEW OF Julie ‘JK’ Allen

She is a writer, an editor, and over all great human being. She has managed to find a balance with her busy schedule and even managed to give me some of her time. Thanks to her finding the time I then took this to prod and ask her several questions. Some about her daily life and some about her work, this was definitely an interesting experience for myself.


As the head editor for Three Furies Press, how do you manage your day-to-day schedule?

It is a bit of a struggle for me to be super organized. I get hyper-focused and fixated on things, and sometimes my brain is a bit of a jumble. I do have a planner that I try to use, but it’s often more times than not pushed to the side. So at the beginning of each Sunday, I figure out what I need to work on for the week. And sort of what I will be working on each day of that week. I often work on two or more projects at once, so I can jump between editing different stories and/or writing (since I’m an author as well), and then my mind stays a little fresher while I’m working, and I feel I can work for longer. I also employ the pomodoro technique for writing especially. Where you work for twenty minutes hard and fast, then take a 5 or 10 minute break, then work again. After working for an hour, you can take a thirty minute to a 45 minute break. Repeat as much as you need to. 

I find it so interesting to learn how people get started in the publishing industry, how did you get started?

Well here I will tell you the full story. I have been writing since the day after I learned how to write. I learned and thought to myself, “what’s next?” And then I realized I could write a story. I never stopped after that. When I got to college and realized I could major in Creative Writing, I knew then that I wanted to be an author. So my writing career began.

As far as editing there were a couple of factors that came together. One was being the daughter of immigrants, specifically being second generation Asian American. English was very important and it had to be perfect, no matter what. It was instilled in me every time someone made fun of my mother’s accent or my sister forgot a comma. I had to have perfect English at school, there was no getting around that. And I got especially good at grammar. Then when I was in college, I started to tutor International students. Teaching them grammar only made my own understanding of it stronger and stronger. Then I got my dream job as a Writing Consultant at the Michigan State University Writing Center. And I began my love affair with helping others polish up and perfect their writing. Or learn what to write in the first place. So began also my editing career.

Out of college, I had one major goal, and that was to get published. But I started working with a small publisher doing a column for them. More and more responsibilities got handed to me or I took on until I was on the board of that publishing house. When it was time for it to come to an end, two of my colleagues and I decided to form a new partnership, taking what we had learned and done, and started our own small publishing house, Three Furies Press. And so another dream came true. One I didn’t even know I had until it was possible.

You’re not just an editor, but you also do marketing, what would you prefer marketing or editing?

I definitely prefer editing (as long as it’s not my own stories) for a couple of reasons. One, is that I get to work with other people in editing their stories, even though I get the peace of doing the actual work on my own. I get to have conversations with people about their stories and their choices versus what I would choose. It’s fascinating and oh so satisfying to polish up a story and make it shine for the author. Two, I am not a natural born marketer. So it is not something that makes me jump for joy. But it is important, so I learn about marketing, and I do my best.

With so much going on work-wise, what do you do in your downtime?

I need to unwind, so daily baths are a thing. But I usually spend a couple of hours watching something interesting on Netflix or a movie, it’s a way to consume media to feed the idea making machine in the brain. I also sometimes crochet while I consume media as a way to unwind but keep my hands busy and work out some of the restlessness. These days I am trying to finish a novel, so I don’t have a ton of free time. Otherwise, I read or play my ukelele.

Career-wise, what’s something you’ve not done, but would love to?

I would love to learn how to make good graphics. I think it is sadly not in the cards, however.

So many in the industry struggle with family not supporting them, is this something you have to deal with as well?

My family, especially my sissy, is very supportive of my writing. Sissy reads everything I write, even the bad short stories, and then goes to every event with me as my handler and helps me with scheduling. She’s my cheerleader and is always finding opportunities for me to promote. It’s amazing to have her support.

Tell us more about your books, please.

I usually write YA urban fantasy. So my Angelborn series are about the warrior descendants of the angel Grace, given a mandate to father children so that he and his descendants can protect humans from demonkind. Ginny thinks she’s just a normal teen until she gets a strange bruise that just won’t heal and starts having bizarre dreams. Turns out she’s not just angelborn, she is half-angel, and she’s the target of a powerful half-demon. She has to learn to keep herself and her loved ones safe while dealing with this new secret world she’s expected to be a part of.

What was your favorite part of the process? Character development? World building?

My favorite thing is characters. I love developing them, getting to know them, showing them off in my stories. and writing their adventures, and then it kills me to say goodbye to them. So definitely characters are my favorite part of the whole process.

Are you a planner or pantser?

I’m a plantser, a little bit of both. I started out as a pure pantser, and I never finished anything, since I never knew what was happening next. So I changed my method and started loose outlining. And then I turned to scene lists. And now I change my method each time to do as much, or as little, plotting as I need to to get started on my book and keep going. I highly recommend scene lists, as you can make them as loose or as detailed as necessary. So to write a scene you need to do a couple things. One, write the action that happens. Tom meets Daisy. Two, write the reaction that action causes. Jenny gets jealous and bullies Daisy. Three is optional, write down your goals for the scene (introduce weapon, plot device, foreshadow ending, etc.).

Do you plan on publishing any more books?

Yes, I am working on a new series in the same universe as Angelborn, but with a new generation of characters. So look forward to meeting Bree and her friends and her not friends, starting September 2020 with the Half Blood Alliance.

What’s something readers may not know about you?

The Half Blood Alliance is actually an own voices story as I am Korean (technically a halfie like Bree is).

Quick Bio and Links

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. She is the author of the Angelborn series and is currently working on a new series in the same universe, but with a new generation of characters. 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.

Instagram: www.instagram.com/hijinkswriter

Facebook: www.facebook.com/hijinkswriter

Twitter: www.twitter.com/hijinkswriter

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/juliakyong 

Website: amazon.com/author/jkallen



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