Seven minutes with Jennifer: Interview of Allison Bruning

S_m_w_JWelcome Allison Bruning. Tell us a something about yourself?

I have had a passion for the literary arts since childhood. When I was in school I was obsessed with reading. I was often in accelerated reading classes because my reading level was two or three grades higher than the grade I was in.

I am originally from Marion, Ohio but live in Louisville, Kentucky with my husband and our Australian Cattle Dog, Lakota Sioux.

I enjoy family stories, history and genealogy. I have traced my mom’s side of the family to the 14th century in Ireland and England. I am also a member of the Peter Foree Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

My educational background includes a BA in Theatre Arts with a minor in Anthropology and a Texas Elementary Teaching certificate. Both acquired at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas. I received National Honor Society memberships in both Theatre Arts and Communication. I was also honored my sophomore year with admission into the All American Scholars register. I hold graduate hours in Cultural Anthropology and Education. In 2007, I was named Who’s Who Among America’s Educators. I am also the recipient of the Girl Scout Silver and Gold Awards. I’m currently working towards a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Full Sail University.

My interests include Ohio Valley history, anthropology, travel, culture, history, camping, hiking, backpacking, spending time with her family, and genealogy

What is or are the genres of your book or books?

Historical Fiction, Paranormal and Romance (Calico: Children of the Shawnee)

Non-fiction, Historical Essays and Inspirational Poems (Reflections: Poems and Essays)

When and why did you begin writing?

I owe my writing career to my Grandmother Betty Carr. One day I came home from Kindergarten and showed her a story I had written. She noticed my passion and writing talent. The next day I came home from school and noticed a pile of art supplies in the living room. She told me she had bought them for me. She wanted me to write my stories, illustrate them and then share my book with her. This continued throughout my childhood.

By the time I was in High School I had a large pile of short stories and poems that I had written. I became interested in studying screenwriting so my mom bought me some writing books. I read them and wrote three Star Trek: The Next Generation spec scripts. My passion for writing never ceased in college. I would take extra English classes just so I could have an excuse to write papers, short stories, poems and what not. My grandmother continued to encourage me to pursue my writing until her death in 2006. I began my professional writing career two years after her death and haven’t looked back since.

Unknown-1When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When my short story “On Site With Kentucky Fox” was published by Dig! Magazine in 2010. Dig! Magazine is a national Archeology magazine for children.

Where do you get ideas for your stories?

I mainly get my ideas from family stories but also pull ideas from history and local legends.

What was the hardest part of writing your books?

Editing and proofreading. I’m horrible at it that’s why I use Beta Readers while and after I’m writing my first draft.

Have you ever had a writer’s block and if yes, how did you make it go away?

Yes, I usually walk away from my writings for a couple of days and do something fun. I have found that when I do this the writing block tends to go away. I also have learned to use an outline when I’m writing. The outline keeps my story on track and my secondary characters have no chance with running away with the story. If my secondary characters are strong enough to carry a story then I will write their experiences in a different notebook and use that to create their own book.

Indie or traditional publishing?

Both. My husband and I own Mountain Springs House publishing. We are a traditional publishing house that specializes in creating a personalized publishing experience for all our authors. All of my books are published through Mountain Springs House.

What is the force behind your writing?

God. I have been called to be a writer.

Do you have any weird writing habits?

Well I hate to have any noise while I’m writing. I need to be alone and in my own little world.

What is your favorite cartoon character?

She-Ra, Princess of Power. (I think I’m showing my age here.)

Your favorite author(s)? Book(s)?Movie(s)? TV-series?

Favorite authors – Laura Ingalls Wilder, Shakespeare, Margaret George, Stephanie Meyers, Christopher Paolini, and J.K. Rowling.

Favorite books – Chronicles of Narnia

Favorite Movies – Princess Bride, Neverending Story, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Favorite TV- Series – Dallas (the new one), Once Upon A Time (seriously addicted to that one), Merlin, Grimm (another serious addiction), and Elementary

What do you do in your spare time?

I like to travel, read and explore the outdoors. I love to spend time with my husband, family and friends.

Any current projects you’d like to share?

I’m working on several projects at the moment.

1) A screenplay that will be filmed by FilmSmith Productions of Indianapolis, Indiana. Field of Grace is a family drama set in 1919 Ohio. Ida McIntyre thought her life couldn’t get any worse until she learned Jeremiah Miller poisoned her family and friends at Grace Farm. Determined to save those dearest to her heart, Ida sets out to contact the doctor with her fiancée, uncle and her friend. What seems like a simple task becomes a life and death struggle for Ida as Jeremiah Miller and his son try to kill them. With all hope lost, Ida has no choice but to confront Jeremiah in a battle to the death or risk the destruction of everyone whom she cares about. Yet Ida may have to give up the one man she cherishes the most to save her family. I plan to convert the film to book format next year.

2) I am writing a high fantasy erotica titled Passions Awakening. Passions Awakening is book 1 of the Draconian Hearts series. This is a secret project. More information will come out soon.

3) I am working on a short story called Blood Red, Blood Dread that is based on the local legend of a gypsy queen’s ghost who haunts St. Mary’s Cemetery in Marion, Ohio.

Tell us something unique about yourself you’d like the readers to know…

Ok this may sound weird but I love to visit cemeteries. I find cemeteries are a great place to stir my imagination.

Oh, I’m a big fan of cemeteries, too! I just dragged my friends to Highgate Cemetery (London) with me and even though they were a bit skeptical  they actually thanked me afterwards…Yay, us! Okay, let’s get back to the questions…If you could meet one ‘celebrity’ author who would it be?

Dead – Laura Ingalls Wilder

Alive – Margaret George

Do you have any words of wisdom for the other writers?

Never pay to have your books published, beta read to reviewed.

I agree! Favorite quote?

Keep chasing your dreams and never stop until you have achieved them.

– Allison Bruning

Where can people find out more about you and your books:

Reflections: Poems and Essays can be found at http://amzn.to/XGyiog

Calico: Children of the Shawnee series can be found at http://amzn.to/ZfL1z8

imagesDo you want to tell us something about your book? Short synopsis? Excerpt? 

The waters of time never lie. Wisdom drifts down through the ages for all who dare to listen. History teaches us through honesty. Are you bold enough to hear the truth? Reflections: Poems and Essays wraps you in the untold stories of the past. Sit next to the waters of time and listen to the wisdom of the past. What if John Wilkes Booth hadn’t been killed at Garret’s barn? Who are the Shawnee? Why did the Cherokee accuse Sequoyah of witchcraft? These stories and more await you within this inspiring book.

Here’s my favorite poem:

A Writer’s Recipe

A pinch of inspiration

A heaping of encouraging friends

A touch of writing groups

A dash of your own blood, sweat, and tears

1 teaspoon endurance

1 teaspoon perseverance

2 cups of imaginary friends who talk to you

1 cup of captivating plot lines

1/4 cup of beta readers

1/4 cup of editors

1/4 cup of reviewers

Mix together inspiration, encouraging friends, and writing groups until you have a pleasant, creamy liquid mixture. Set aside until needed. Stir your blood, sweat, and tears with perseverance, endurance, your imaginary friends, and plot lines until smooth. Periodically add a tablespoon of the creamy mixture you had set aside to ensure your batter is light and smooth. Do this several times through the process until your batter is consistent and breathes with the aroma of freshness. If there is reserve left over do not throw it away, but set it aside for another day. Bake it in the oven at 350 degrees until it is refined.

Take it out and let it cool while you make the frosting. Mix together the beta readers, editors, and reviewers until you have a frosting that is creamy and delicious! Place the frosting on top of the writer’s “cake.” It only makes the “cake” taste better. Enjoy!

UnknownIn the harsh northwestern frontier of Ohio and Kentucky, a prophecy has been told. A man whose heart appears pure shall deceive her. The power he holds over her will lead her to evil. She shall denounce the ways of Our Grandmother. Another man comes, whose pure heart beats for her alone, and who has a pure spirit devoted to the goddess, Our Grandmother. He shall defeat the evil and set her free.

Calico Marie Turner, a white woman raised by the Shawnee and destined to become a great medicine woman, must trust the one man who hates her the most. How can she trust Chief Little Owl Quick as the Wind to save her from his best friend and village shaman, Hunting Bear?

My favorite part of the book takes place towards the back in chapter 54 between Calico and her husband, War Chief Little Owl.

“Happy Birthday.” Calico opened her eyes and turned her head to the right. On the ground lay a blanket with a new Kentucky Rifle with owl feathers hanging in a row down the side, Calico carved in silver on the hilt; a hunting knife with a white antler hilt with the name Calico carved in cursive; a matching power horn; a pair of silver earrings; and a small leather bag. Little Owl sat beside the bundle. He took the plate from her and laid it to the side.

“What is all this?” she said, taking the white powder horn in her hand. She traced the elegant design of an owl and dove together in a tree. Within the trunk of the tree, carved in cursive, were their names, Snow and Little Owl.

“I carved them myself and made the earrings.”

“When did…”

“I made them while we were apart. I couldn’t stop thinking about you. When I returned to Chief Big Deer’s village, I had planned to give them to you as a peace offering. You would not hear my words.”

“I was hurting,” she sighed lowering the powder horn to the blanket.

“I am sorry for everything. I do not know what you expect me to say or do for you to ever believe me.”

“It’s not you. It was I. We are husband and wife, now. Nothing will ever change that, will it?”

“No. I love you. I cannot live a day of my life without you.”

“Nor can I.”

Little Owl moved closer to her. He grabbed the side of her face with his right hand, tilted his head, and gently kissed her on the lips. “I love you, nie-wah. Don’t ever forget that,” he whispered as he pulled his lips away. Little Owl rose from over her and walked away. Calico watched her husband return to the fire. She glanced at the items. He had worked so hard to be with her and all she ever did was turn him away. Why? Why was she so stupid?! Calico removed the long silver-stranded earrings that Creek had given her when she had become a woman, then placed them on the blanket. She picked up Little Owl’s earrings. Beads of white and brown randomly lay on the silver strands. An owl feather and a dove feather sat nestled behind the stands on each earring. She smiled, tracing her hand down the feathers. An owl and dove joined together, side by side. It was their story. She placed the earrings in her ears. Calico pressed her hand on the blanket over her chest and leaned over the blanket. “What’s in the bag?” she asked, reaching for it.

“Chocolate.”

Calico gasped as she jerked her head upright. “You’re joking.”

“No. I traded all the alcohol I had left for that bag. You love French hot chocolate.”

“You remember?”

“How could I forget, nie-wah. You say you are Shawnee but there are some parts of your white life, such as the white man’s chocolate, you will never give up. ”

“Little Owl, have you ever tasted this stuff?”

“No, but I know it cost me a lot.”

“It is the most delicious drink you will ever taste in your life! Do you have a pot to make it in? Do you even know how to make it?”

Little Owl chuckled. He rose from beside the fire and walked to a basket. Little Owl pulled out a copper pot and two porcelain cups decorated with delicate blue flowers. “Oh, French cups too,” she proclaimed with excitement. “What else do you have in there? Pastries?”

“Humph,” he grunted laying them to the side. He pulled out a plate of French pastries. “Where did you get those?” she squealed with excitement.

“I didn’t. They were in the basket.”

Calico rose from the ground, dropped the blanket, and ran to his side. “I haven’t had French pastries since I was a child,” she grinned, taking a piece of the delicious dessert then placing it in her mouth. She closed her eyes, enjoying the sweet morsel. “Hmm,” she moaned, with a large smile.

He whispered in her ear, “As much as I enjoy this view of your body, perhaps you should bathe, dress, then join me? I will have your hot chocolate ready when you are finished.”

Calico opened her eyes as she swallowed. “Don’t eat all those cakes.”

“Snow, they are for you.”

“Promise me?”

“I promise, go. White man’s food doesn’t sound good to me.”

“Oh, you’re missing out on the best things in life with that attitude,” she beamed then walked towards the lake. Little Owl huffed, walked to the blanket, laid the pastries down, then went back to the fire. Calico grabbed a bar of soap from a basket then walked into the river. She began to wash as she watched her husband prepare her hot chocolate as she bathed. He tended the fire with efficiency. She wondered when he had learned to cook and tend a fire. That was women’s work. She never thought she would ever see him do any of that.

“Breakfast was good. I’m surprised,” she said to him

“Why?” he asked, turning his gaze towards her as the water began to boil in the pot.

“I didn’t think you knew how to cook.”

“There are many things you do not know about me.”

Thank you, Allison. It’s been a pleasure having you here. I hope we can do this again sometimes 🙂 

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About jenniferloiske

Jennifer Loiske lives in Finland in Naantali, which is a small sunny town on the southwest coast. She is a pre-school teacher by profession but she stayed at home when her youngest daughter suffered brain fever, which developed severe epilepsy in 2004. She is a workaholic Teen/Young Adult author, who loves dark fantasy, teen movies, chips and candies and warm sunny days. She’s also very keen on charity work and a big part of her royalties goes to the charity; mainly to help families with epileptic children but also to the epilepsy units in the hospitals. As a huge fan of dark novels Jennifer's bookshelf is full of books from L.J. Smith, Alyson Noel, Stephanie Meyer, Chloe Neill, Michelle Rowen, Jennifer L. Armentrout, Amanda Hocking and Lauren Kate. She’s also a huge fan of music from Evanescence, Linkin Park, Within Temptation, OneRepublic and Disturbed. But her hunger for music is endless and depend on what mood she’s in or what kind of book she’s working on. She can be pretty much an omnivore when it comes to music.
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