Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Interview with Allan Leverone, author of Parallax View


Allan Leverone is the author of five novels, including the Amazon Top 25 overall paid bestselling thriller, THE LONELY MILE. He is a 2012 Derringer Award winner for excellence in short mystery fiction, as well as a 2011 Pushcart Prize nominee. Allan lives in Londonderry, NH with his wife and family, and a cat who has used up eight lives. Visit his website at
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The Interview

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I suppose it would be impossible for anyone to write a book and not have it be colored by the outlook of the author. And like everyone else, I have certain political and social viewpoints I hold dear. But my goal when I sit down to write is not to try to persuade you to see the world the way I see it, or to convince you to vote for my candidate in the next presidential election. My goal is to entertain you; it’s no simpler or more complicated than that for me. If you sit down with one of my books and two hours later look up at the clock, unable to believe so much time has gone by and unwilling to put my novel down for the night, then by my way of thinking I’ve done my job. I’m a genre writer through and through, and I’ll leave the job of lecturing to the writers of literary fiction.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Wow, that’s a tough question. There’ve been many. I consider anyone who has supported himself or herself through writing fiction to be a mentor, because it’s definitely not an easy thing to do. Someone like Lawrence Block, who has made a living through novel-writing since roughly the time I was born, is worthy of the admiration of any author. Closer to home, there are a few writers I consider mentors, though they may or may not not realize it. Noir/thriller author Vincent Zandri has been extremely supportive of me and of my work, as has mystery/thriller author J. Carson Black and mystery/thriller author Robert Gregory Browne. I have in the past asked advice of all of these outstanding writers, and they’ve been unbelievably gracious with their time and assistance. I fully expect I’ll continue to do so in the future. At least until they all get new email addresses and refuse to share them with me.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve loved to read for as long as I can remember, and was always fascinated by the people called authors, who had the ability to entertain me with nothing more than words. I wrote my first short story somewhere around the age of eight, but never seriously considered writing fiction until I was well into my forties. It all seemed so mystical, I was quite sure there was no way I could ever do it. Then, about seven years ago, I caught the writing bug again in a big way, and those decades of reading genre fiction – mostly thrillers, mystery and horror – paid off in a big way. I’ve never taken any kind of creative writing course, but feel that I’ve benefited more than I ever could have imagined by those thousands of hours spent with my nose in a book.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Of course! My new thriller is titled PARALLAX VIEW, and is a traditional-type spy thriller set at the end of the Cold War, in 1987. Here’s an excerpt: The car sped around a corner, and a couple of hundred yards away Tracie could see the control tower and FAA base building. She slowed slightly, trying to come up with some kind of action plan, when a side window in the base building shattered. The glass exploded outward as a metal folding chair flew through the window, followed a heartbeat later by a tumbling body. It looked like Shane Rowley. He dived through the window and landed on top of the chair, then rolled onto his back and looked up at the window. A second man appeared. The man was older, and as he tried to climb out, his body began to stutter as bullets ripped into him from behind, and then he slumped across the frame. Shane scrambled to his feet and ran along the narrow alleyway between the base building and the control tower. He burst into the parking lot and ran straight into a man holding a silenced handgun. The man was facing away from Tracie, but she could see him raise the gun and shove the barrel into Shane’s forehead. And she didn’t hesitate. She drove her foot to the floor and aimed the Datsun straight at the pair. The gunman didn’t seem to have heard the sound of the little car’s engine, or perhaps didn’t comprehend the significance. Shane was facing the vehicle and Tracie hoped he would understand her intent. The car leapt forward and the two men grew steadily larger in the windshield. The gunman seemed to be talking, asking Shane a question or maybe threatening him. Nothing in Shane’s demeanor gave away the fact that a speeding car was hurtling toward them. At the last moment Shane dived to the side, just as it seemed to occur to the man in the suit that something was wrong. Shane hit the pavement and rolled. He disappeared from sight as the Datsun plowed into the man with the gun, catching him in the side with a sickening thud. His body flew up and over the hood. He crashed into the windshield and then tumbled over the roof in an ungainly somersault. Tracie watched in the rearview mirror as the man dropped onto the pavement and lay still. She slammed on the brakes and skidded to a stop just shy of a big vehicle with U.S. Government plates. Then she jammed the car into reverse and began backing up, one eye on the gunman, still crumpled in an unmoving heap in the middle of the parking lot, one eye searching for Shane. She spotted him crouched between two parked cars just as the base building’s front door crashed open and two more men exited the building at a dead run. The men wore suits similar to the downed gunman and each was holding a gun. They turned right and ran toward Tracie and their injured conspirator. And Shane. Tracie leaned across the front seat and shoved the passenger door open. “Get in here, now!” she screamed. She reached down and unsnapped her gun. The men were closing fast, shouting something unidentifiable.
Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Honestly, I don’t believe in writer’s block. I treat being an author like a job, which means I have to sit down in a chair six days a week and write. Sometimes the inspiration is there and the words flow like melted butter. Sometimes it’s not, and I have to pretend I’m a dentist and pull the words, kicking and screaming, from my head before slapping them onto the page. If I waited for the mythical muse to strike and for everything to be perfect, with all the writing stars aligned, I would only write once in a while, which is not enough to get the job done. The fact of the matter is, once I sit down and get my butt in gear, more often than not, the words start coming easier and before I know it I’m moving along just fine, even if I had no idea what I was going to say when I started. So, to me, the term “writer’s block” represents nothing more than an easy excuse, and the opportunity to slack off for a day, which is something I try to avoid at all cost. There’s a saying that goes something like, “You can’t edit a blank page,” and there’s a lot of truth to that. Even if the writing isn’t going particularly well on any given day, I can always go back and rewrite and improve on what I’ve written. I can’t do that if I don’t get anything written in the first place.
How did you develop your plot and characters?
As far as plotting goes, I start out with a premise: my sexy, tough CIA operative must deliver a Top Secret document to the President of the United States. She doesn’t know what’s in it, all she knows is there are people willing to stop at nothing to prevent her from doing her job. Once I’ve established the premise, I start throwing obstacles in her way. My goal is to make her job as difficult as possible. If she makes it past my obstacles, she can expect more. Basically, I know where I’m starting and more or less where I’m going to finish when I begin writing the novel. Everything in-between is mostly unknown until I write it. I do that on purpose. My feeling is, if I don’t know how Tracie Tanner is going to get out of her predicament, how could the reader possibly figure it out? Developing characters is a little different. My goal when writing a book is to make every single character human and believable, no matter how evil or how insignificant to the plot. As a writer of genre fiction, I recognize that the action drives the story, BUT it’s critical that the reader identify with the characters, otherwise why should she care what happens to them? The last thing I want is for my characters to come off as wooden or not believable.
What are your goals as a writer?
I’m not going to sit here and tell you I wouldn’t love to write a New York Times bestselling book, or better yet, a series of them. But there are so many outstanding writers out there putting out so much outstanding work that the odds of that ever happening are pretty slim. I’m in this for the long haul (or as long as possible for a fifty-three year old writer), so my goal from Day One has been to build a solid and growing fan base, and hopefully provide readers with stories that entertain and keep them turning the pages. If I can do that, I’ll be more than satisfied, although making some money along the way would be perfectly fine with me.
What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
Every so often I’ll get an email or a Facebook message from a reader telling me how much he or she enjoyed one of my books. I’ve heard from readers as far away as Russia and Sweden, as well as from all corners of the United States and Canada, and I can’t begin to describe the feeling I get from knowing I’ve provided hours of entertainment to people I don’t even know. As I said in my answer to the previous question, the odds of writing a New York Times bestseller are dauntingly slim, but the knowledge that I’ve positively affected readers is very gratifying. It makes the solitary hours of writing, rewriting and self-editing worth every minute.
If you could leave readers with one bit of wisdom, what would you want it to be?
I’m not sure anything I say should be classified as “wisdom,” because I’m still learning and hopefully growing as a writer every single day. But as a reader, you are so important. You’re someone prized by every author. They say that book sales are driven – for those of us not named Lee Child or Lawrence Block – by word of mouth more than anything else. So if you find a book or a new author you really love, share the information with your friends who are readers. Introduce your new find to others who share your literary interests. You might just help propel a career to the next level!


It’s late in the Cold War, and the Soviet Union is slowly disintegrating. In the midst of this uncertainty and upheaval, a mysterious group of KGB officials has concocted a desperate plan in an attempt to maintain power. And one beautiful young CIA operative is all that stands between this shadowy cabal and the outbreak of World War Three. Spring, 1987. CIA Special Operations agent Tracie Tanner is tasked with what should be a relatively straightforward mission: deliver a secret communique from Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev to U.S. President Ronald Reagan. After smuggling the document out of East Germany, Tracie believes she is in the clear. She's wrong. There are shadowy forces at work, influential people who will stop at nothing to prevent the explosive information contained in the letter from reaching the White House. Soon, Tanner is knee-deep in airplane crashes and murder, paired up with a young Maine air traffic controller and on the run for their lives, unsure who she can trust at CIA, but committed to completing her mission, no matter the cost.


Parallax View Virtual Book Publicity Tour Schedule

Monday, May 6 - Book reviewed at Author Rebecca Graf
Wednesday, May 8 - Interviewed at Examiner
Thursday, May 9 -Book featured at Authors and Readers Book Corner
Monday, May 13 - Interviewed at Literal Exposure
Wednesday, May 15 - Guest blogging at Janna Shay
Thursday, May 16 - Guest blogging at The Book Connection
Monday, May 20 - Book reviewed at Vic's Media Room
Tuesday, May 21 - Guest blogging at My Cozie Corner
Wednesday, May 22 - Interviewed at Digital Journal
Thursday, May 23 - Book reviewed at Miki's Hope
Monday, May 27 - Guest blogging at Rainy Day Reviews
Wednesday, May 29 - Book feature at Book Lover Stop
Friday, May 31 - Interviewed at Review From Here
Wednesday, June 5 - Interviewed at I'm Shelfish
Monday, June 10 - Book reviewed at Celtic Lady's Reviews
Monday, June 10 - Book featured at Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews
Tuesday, June 11 -Book reviewed at Mary's Cup of Tea
Thursday, June 13 - Interviewed at Broowaha
Monday, June 17 - Book trailer revealed at Book Lover Stop
Tuesday, June 18 - Guest blogging at Allvoices
Wednesday, June 19 - Guest blogging at The Writer's Life
Thursday, June 20 - 1st Chapter Reveal at Gina's Library
Friday, June 21 - First Chapter revealed at Rainy Day Reviews
Monday, June 24 - Book reviewed at Create with Joy
Tuesday, June 25 - Book reviewed at Queen of All She Reads
Wednesday, June 26 - Book reviewed at Review From Here
Wednesday, June 26 - Book featured at Confessions of a Reader
Thursday, June 27 - Book featured at My Cozie Corner
Thursday, June 27 - Book reviewed at My Reading Table
Friday, June 28 - Book reviewed at My Book Retreat
Friday, June 28 - Book reviewed at Must Read Faster
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