Interview with Allison Bruning, author of ‘Calico’

Hi everyone! Today, I welcome to the blog author Allison Bruning. We talk about her writing career as well as her books. As a special treat she also gives us a sample of her writing, which you can read here.

Alright then, let’s get started!

Interview with Allison Bruning

Describe your series? What genre would you classify it into?

The Children of the Shawnee follows twin sisters, Calico and Rose Turner Dubious before, during and just after the Unites States Revolutionary War. Like a Tale of Twin Cities, while the twins do not live in the same area they will meet up in the end. My series starts with the girls together but after their parents deaths they decide to follow different paths. Calico stays with the Shawnee while Rose is sent to live with her father’s family in France.
My series is historical fiction with a taste of suspense, paranormal, and romance.

How did you come up with the idea for the series?

My background is in cultural anthropology especially in the area of Native American cultures. In research for a report I had learned in some cases after the enslaved white women were rescued from the Shawnee by the British military some women would return to the Shawnee. I wanted to know why those women would do that. I also learned the British would rescue any woman or child who was white or mixed. Some of these women and children weren’t British but the daughters of the French fur trappers. I wanted Calico to be one of these women. I wanted her to show the beauty of the Shawnee culture and ask the readers to rethink about these wonderful people treated the women.

When and why did you begin writing?

I owe my love of writing to my grandmother and several teachers who saw my potential. I began writing in Kindergarten. One day I had brought a tiny book home that we had made in school.  My grandmother saw my love for writing. She bought writing and art supplies then asked me to write her story. For years I would write her a story then I would read it to her. By the time I was in High School I had made my own books.

How has your journey from writing to getting published been?

It has been a rough journey for me. When I started the publication process I didn’t understand the three different types of publishing companies; subsidy, POD, and traditional houses. I didn’t know that authors should never pay to publish their works. The publishing houses are supposed to pay you an advance. Calico first ended up  in a subsidy house that promised to teach me the ins and out of the trade. I ended up losing over $3,000 with my novel never seeing publication. A year and a half later I changed houses to Tate Publishing but then a well seasoned author taught me the ins and outs of the publication world. I soon learned I had traded one subsidy house for another. I lost $80 with Tate. Finally I found a traditional small publishing house, Page Turners Publishing House that took my book and ran with it. After three and half years Calico was finally released on August 11, 2011.

Who is your favourite character? Is there a character in the series you think the readers will hate?

My favourite character is Lord Alexander James McGillpatrick Turner. Although he’s a secondary character, he’s very complex. Alexander is the brother of Calico and Rose’s mother. As a child, he endured physical abuse at the hands of his father and was forced to do many things against his will. He was trained as a master killer, con-artist, torturer, kidnapper and robber for the king of England. Alexander is trapped by his family’s past and expectations. His internal battle is between what he is trained to do and what his heart tells him to do.
I wouldn’t say I wanted my readers to hate them but I do ask my readers to see the British as the bad guys.

What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?

Some of the emotional issues Calico had to face were my own. I had to deal with my own emotions through her experience. It was therapeutic. Research on the Shawnee was hard as well. Most of the research was from documentation from the British and colonist about them. I had to take any reports or books written by the white author of that time with scepticism. In the 18th and 19th centuries, most of the reports written about the Shawnee were done with bias. They white man was at war with the Shawnee. The reports were written to spread propaganda against the Shawnee to make colonists side with the whites and not the natives. I had to dig into the reports, books, etc and speak to Native Americans with the mindset of a cultural anthropologist.

What was the hardest part of writing the series?

The hardest part was putting aside my own cultural believes and background. In order to make Calico believable I had to detach from my own world and embrace the native ways. I also had to make certain I had accurate historical facts.

Who designed the covers of the books?
Page Turners Publishing House.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned a lot about the Shawnee culture.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your books?

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Was there somewhere in the books you felt stuck?

I was stuck with my antagonist, Hunting Bear. It took a lot of thought and research to make his motivation to harm Calico plausible.

What are your current projects?  When is the next book in the series coming out?

I’m working on two more books. The first one, Rose, is book two of the Children of the Shawnee series. That is supposed to be released the spring or summer of 2012. I am also working on a new series, called The Heritage. Heritage traces the life of my great great grandmother at the beginning of the 20th century Ohio.

Could you describe what happens in the next book in the series? Can we get an excerpt?
Rose takes places the first year after Calico and Rose’s parents are killed. It traces Rose’s life as she struggles to find her place in French society.

Ritesh: You can read a great excerpt from Calico here.

What book are you reading now? Which are your all-time favourite authors / books?
I’m reading “Inheritance” by Christopher Paolini. I love to read his stories. I also like to read J.K. Rowling and Stephanie Meyers

Give us three “Good to Know” facts about you, something you could not read just about anywhere.

  1. I love to cook and bake.
  2. I rarely buy anything at full price. I use coupons and can find a deal anywhere.
  3.  I used to dream of being an Egyptologist.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to readers?
Keep chasing your dreams and never let go once you have achieved them.

Quick-fire questions:

ebooks, paperbacks or hardcover?

Cats or dogs?

Coffee or tea?

Favourite food?

Vanilla or chocolate ice-cream?

What are 4 things you never leave home without?
My coupons, animals, wallet, laptop

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
I love to write on the weekends and mornings.

If you were deserted on an island, who are 3 famous people you would want with you any why?

  1. Dog – he’d be strong enough to keep all the dangers away
  2. My husband – he’s my best friend.
  3. Doctor Oz – who doesn’t need a doctor when you’re on a deserted island?

List 3 of your all-time favourite movies?

  1. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
  2. Shakespeare in Love
  3. Last of the Mohican

What is a movie or TV show that you watched recently and really enjoyed?
I love the TV series, Merlin, on sci-fi.

Getting in touch with Allison

Author Website    |    Amazon    |    Goodreads

Facebook Page    |    Twitter

About Allison’s books

Calico by Allison Bruning

“A man whose heart appears pure shall deceive you. The power he holds over you leads you to evil. You shall denounce the ways of Our Grandmother. Another man comes, whose pure heart beats for you alone, and who has a pure spirit devoted to Our Grandmother. He shall defeat the evil and set you free.” A prophecy has been cast against her. In a harsh world deep within the western frontier of Ohio and Kentucky, Calico Marie Turner must learn to survive among the Shawnee and trust the one man who hates her the most, Chief Little Owl Quick as the Wind.

About author Allison Bruning

The Executive Director of the Kentucky Young Writers Connection, a non-profit agency of writers who promote young authors throughout the state of Kentucky, Allison originally hails from Marion, Ohio. Her father, Roland Irving Bruning, was the son of German immigrants who came to the United States at the turn of the 20th century. Her mother’s family had been in the United States since the 17th century. Allison is a member of the Daughter of American Revolution, tracing her lineage to Rueben Messenger of Connecticut. She enjoys family stories, history and genealogy. Her 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. She received National Honor Society memberships in both Theatre Arts and Communication. Allison was also honored her sophomore year with admission into the All American Scholars register. She holds graduate hours in Cultural Anthropology and Education. In 2007 she was named Who’s Who Among America’s Educators. She is also the recipient of the Girl Scout Silver and Gold Awards.

Allison lives with her husband in an 1882 Victorian home located in Carrollton, Kentucky. She is renovating it then plans to turn it into a Bed and Breakfast.  Her first novel, Calico, is published through Page Turners from Evansville, Indiana. Calico is book one from the series, Children of the Shawnee. She is currently working on the sequel, Rose.  She is also working on another series, Heritage, which traces the life of her great great grandmother at the turn of the 20th century in Ohio. Allison’s interest includes Ohio Valley history, anthropology, travel, culture, history, camping, hiking, backpacking, farm life, and genealogy. Her genres include historical fiction, paranormal, romance, and suspense.


2 responses to “Interview with Allison Bruning, author of ‘Calico’

  1. Pingback: Excerpt from ‘Calico’ by Allison Bruning | Ritesh Kala's Book Reviews

  2. Great interview, Native American culture totally is fascinating. Also wow what an experience in getting published, I’m glad it worked out well in the end Allison.

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