Thursday, September 17, 2020

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome back, Allison Wells

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome back, Allison Wells

  Welcome back! It’s such a pleasure to have you visit again. Congratulations on your latest release, Bell of the Night.  What was your inspiration for this story?

Allison: Thank you so much for having me back. It’s always a pleasure. Bell of the Night was inspired by the photos of Mr. EJ Bellocq, who photographed many of the girls in Storyville, New Orleans’ legal red-light district, over 100 years ago. One photograph simply captured my attention and I knew I had to tell her story. (But I will give a warning, many of the photos do depict the ladies in stages of undress, so proceed with caution.)

LM: Research is an important part of writing any book. How did you go about doing research for your story?

Allison: There is a good bit of information about Storyville out there, which was very handy. But there wasn’t much on daily life, so much of that was made up. I looked up the names of actual madams and lawmen of Storyville, incorporating them where I could. I used maps from 1915 to show me the layout of the town and how easy it was for people to come and go to New Orleans. It was a lot of fun, research is always one of my favorite parts of writing a book.

LM: You write fiction and nonfiction. How is your process different for the two genres? The same?

Allison: The only non-fiction I write is in the form of magazine and news articles, so the process is

totally different. For those, I’m usually interviewing people for their expertise or experience, getting direct quotes, and I’m on a much tighter deadline. The hardest part is trying to condense my writing down to under 500 words because I have a space limit. I guess the similarity is that I write better under pressure, so knowing I need to get something done helps me buckle down and finish.

LM: How do you decide what to write about next?

Allison: I get inspired by so many things. A photograph, scripture, a song, a colorful family tall tale. Something will strike me as a story worth telling. I was watching a YouTube video the other day and someone was telling the story of a family member who refused to go west with her husband during the westward expansion - and she shot herself instead of getting in the wagon. I was floored, and I thought it would make a wonderful novel. Maybe one day!

LM: Have you ever struggled with writer’s block? What did you do to overcome it?

Allison: All the time. There are six people in my house and I work from home, so I’m constantly thinking I need to fold laundry or sweep the floor or something else instead of writing. Then I do sit down and nothing happens. The best way to overcome writer’s block, for me, is to spend time in prayer, focus on the story at hand, and just struggle through it. It may come out terrible, but at least I got through it and I can always go back and edit later.

LM: Here are some quickies:


Ocean or lake? Lake, all the way.   

Walk, bicycle, or drive? Drive, I need the AC.

Sweet or salty snacks? Ooo, can I mix the two?

What is your next project?

Allison: I’m currently working on a series of books set in the mid-1800s in South Carolina. The idea was a complete God-send, and He has really been directing my steps with it. I also have been working on a contemporary fiction novel loosely based on the Woman at the Well from John 4.

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?

Allison: All over the place!
Instagram: @orangealli


About Bell of the Night:

Bluebell was sold to Victoria Knight, a well-known Storyville madam, at the tender age of eleven. Now at nineteen, Bell is numbed to her life—until an optimistic preacher named Teddy Sullivan comes to New Orleans, intent on saving the sinful souls of the South.

Teddy is instantly drawn to the petite brunette with sad eyes and longs to rescue her. Bell, however, decides that saving her friends from selling themselves in the Storyville cribs is more important than saving herself. In a fit of selfless desperation, Bell convinces Teddy to marry her best friend, which Teddy agrees to do while cooking up plans of his own.

When a handsome and rich client offers to take Bell from the brothel, Bell thinks all her prayers are finally answered, until she is forced onto the street with nowhere to go.

If Bell isn’t able to see that God loves her regardless of the path her life has taken, and Teddy can’t help Bell get even more of her friends out of Storyville, both risk not only losing sight of God’s plan...but each other.

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1 comment:

  1. Oh, Allison, this does sound good. I've always been fascinated by New Orleans, it is like no other city in the U.S., for good and for bad. Kudos to you for tackling a tough topic and bringing Christ to Storyville.
    Kathy Bailey