Jeffrey Allen studied art at Bloomsburg University for two years before attending Boston University where he majored in history and minored in set design and fine arts. A one year hiatus, in the form a hitchhiking trip, served only to heighten his restless and inquisitive nature. Allen attributes those early journeys to laying the foundations for his views about politics and religion and the relationship they share with historical perspective.
Later, he traveled through Europe and Mexico where his compulsive curiosity with historical myth and legend intensified, especially for the interpretations that obscure the truths underlying foreign and American cultures. Allen was fascinated by the way events are twisted and misconstrued within historical writings because of religious beliefs or political power brokering. Those years of learning, searching, and questioning have contributed greatly to the philosophical depth of his writing. Allen continues to this day to study, research, and philosophize about the positive and negative effects on our culture due to an over abundance of historical and religious misconceptions.
Jeffrey Allen graduated from Millersville State University in architectural design and taught for two years while also working toward his Masters degree at Temple University in Philadelphia. After a brief teaching career, he created his own architectural woodworking firm in 1980.
By 1982, Allen was owner and president of Artistic Furnishings Incorporated, a design house and manufacturer of custom architectural millwork. The company employed designers, artisans and support staff. His work can be seen throughout eastern Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey in private residences and businesses. Today, Allen resides in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania where he still works in the field of interior space planning, although most of his time is devoted to writing.
For more information about this author and his work visit: http://www.jeffreyballen.com/.
Welcome to Beyond the Books, Jeffrey. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?
GoneAway Into the Land is my first Novel.
What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was
published or not and, if not published, why?
GoneAway Into the Land was my first published novel. It was published
by a traditional publisher.
For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through
before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or
paid a vanity press to publish it?
As I said, GoneAway Into the Land was published by a traditional
publisher. Prior to it being picked up by Sage Publishing I was
rejected by publishers and agents at least one hundred times.
How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?
I expected the rejections. What I didn’t like were the form letters
or cards I received indicating that the person or persons in charge of
reviewing manuscripts or even reading query letters never read a word
before sending out the rejection notice.
When your first book was published, who published it and why did you
There were two who agreed to publish GoneAway. Sage Publishing was
the most responsive and they offered a higher commission and seemed a
bit more first-author friendly.
How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and
how did you celebrate?
I felt elated. I couldn’t believe I had actually done it. It took
three and a half years to write GoneAway. And that is no less than 4
to 6 hours a day. My wife and I celebrated by….kidding. We jumped up
and down for I don’t know how long. She is my greatest supporter.
What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were
published for the first time?
I read a few books on how to promote your book. They helped a little.
What really helped was joining the social sites like FaceBook and
Authors Den, and putting my book on every site that came along that
had anything to do with selling or promoting books.
If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to
No – I have no regrets. Although I have recently been picked up by a
larger publisher, Sage did a very good job for the small independent
press that they are.
Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?
I am working on the sequel to GoneAway and I will have another novel
out in the spring of 2010 called Beneath the Quarry Waters. I am much
wiser about the use of my time.
Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get
published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed
things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?
My first book would have been no more than one hundred thousand words.
Many publishers will not even consider a new author with a manuscript
larger than one hundred thousand words. It is sad but true.
What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since
Being accepted by a larger publisher who will put me into hardback and
promote my book with me. I know I have to work just as hard at
promoting, but at least this time I have a team of people behind me
who will also be promoting the novel and advising me along the way.
If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?
Writing is my second profession, so I am still trying to make it my
next full time profession. I will get there soon – I can feel it.
Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you
combined the best of both worlds?
I have no desire to give up writing.
How do you see yourself in ten years?
I hope I will still be able to write. The thing I fear most is losing
My father suffered from dementia. It is a horrible thing to see your
father lose his mental faculties. I am still young, but not too young
that I cannot feel the pull of my own mortality.
Thank you for the opportunity to interview with you.