Hello all, and welcome back to Writing Wednesday which means that’s right. It’s time for another Author interview with international breakout star Allison West. I would give you guys some minor teasers here, but I think I’ll let her do all the talking on this one.
1) Please introduce yourself before we begin.
Hi, I’m International break out Author Allie West, aka Messologist. I turn messes into Masterpieces. I own Allie West productions where I write, develop training workshops, and consult. I am currently working on my coaching certification. I’m a Tulsa, OK native I spent most of my adult career in Atlanta, GA working in Early Education. My love for education led me to get my Masters in Adult Education and Training in 2011. I was an education consultant and trainer by profession and in 2018 I started Federal Contracting as a Master Trainer. I met my husband while working on a contract in Germany and we married in 2019. We live in Kusel, Germany. I now am a full-time author.
2) Every writer has an origin story to tell, what’s yours?
In 1992, award winning author, Dr. Julia Hare of the Black Think Tank who is from my hometown of Tulsa, OK visited the University of Oklahoma when I attended there. She had long left OK and live in in California. She was the first author I’d ever seen in person and she looked like me. She was intelligent, poised and beautiful. That experience sparked my interest in writing, but I didn’t start writing until years later when I wrote my first poem- and erotic poem to an boyfriend titled ‘Ebbs and Flow’. I knew I had a knack for vividly expressing myself through writing.
3) What was the first story, poem, or novel you ever worked on?
The first poem I ever wrote was in 1999 it was an erotic poem called Ebbs and Flow. I wrote to my then boyfriend, lol he had turned me out and I was writing about it. funny I haven’t thought about that poem in years. I started many stories and books over the years but never completed any of them. My book ‘A Dressed-Up Mess’ is the first novel I ever finished and it took me seven years off and on to complete it.
4) What’s the hardest thing about writing?
For me, the hardest thing about writing was staying the course, even when life threw me curveballs. Another challenge I face while writing was reliving the difficult experiences that I wrote about. My book was a healing journey so it was truly a labor of love and healing.
5) What Genres do you write in and do you have a favorite?
I write non-fiction memoirs. I have written four books one is published and the second will be published in July 2020. My favorite genre is non-fiction however I am developing my thirst to write non-fiction.
6) Why do you write?
I initially started writing because I was severely depressed and needed to heal. I need to empty all the chaos in my head. So I wrote. Now I write because I like to tell stories in ways that are relatable, engaging, and involves the reader in the story. I write to help others to see that no matter where their life is and what they may be experiencing that they can change their circumstance if they do the work. I let them know it’s ok to be a mess, but it’s not ok to stay a mess. They can change their mess into their masterpiece.
7) Favorite author and/or book series?
My favorite author is Maya Angelou. I loved ‘I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.’ I also like Louise Hay, ‘Heal Your Body.’
8) Okay, the tough question here. It’s no secret that Mental health is important for writers. Seeing that I want to be more of an advocate for it, is there any advice you like to give to people to keep fighting, whether you’re dealing with it personally or know someone that is?
Mental Health is critically important for writers and all of us. As I mentioned in an earlier answer I begin writing because I was severely depressed and needed to heal. Writing is therapeutic, it allows one to deal with unresolved emotions and feelings that we carry or otherwise coverup. Each person response to their mental health and well being is different. Some seek professional help while others cope in other ways. I have seen a therapist and I have practiced self-healing techniques.
My book, ‘A Dressed Up Mess’ explores topics that people frequently avoid. Like mental health issues within families such as your significant other, children, etc. I literally dressed my internal chaos up. I covered with clothes, make-up, hair, attaining degrees, etc. but the issues didn’t go anywhere. When I finally decided to deal with the issues there were areas that I didn’t want to address so those areas remained a mess until I decided to address my mess and turn my mess into my message and now into my masterpiece.
My advice is not to suffer in silence. Get the help you need, do things that bring you peace and joy. Don’t be ashamed of needing help and support. Embrace what you are feeling and dealing with and take the path to get better that works for you. The key to doing the work. Things won’t’ change if you don’t do the work.
9) Before we leave is there anything you’re working on now or anything you have released?
I released my debut novel, a memoir A Dressed Up Mess in November 2019. On the release day, I sold in four countries and am 5 stars rated on Amazon and Goodreads. I and was on the US leg of my international book tour when COVID-19 interrupted my tour and changed the course of life as we know it. The next book in the series Still A Mess will be released in July 2020. I am currently working on my Mess To Masterpiece book and journal that provides practical and actionable steps to transform lives from stagnant to thriving. I have upcoming Life Improvement conferences that I will be speaking at in July 2020 at the University of Delaware (if life returns to normal) and an Empowerment Cruise to the Bahamas that I am one of the guest speakers in July 2021.
10) Finally, anything you want to say to new writers/artists?
Invest in your gift/craft. Ensure you put out quality work, don’t rush to push out subpar work. Research, research, research – learn the business side of Authorship. Networking is golden. Invest in professional services (editor, graphic artist, photographer). Ask to see the person’s work and make sure to get a contract off any services that you are paying for. Stay the course and all the best.
Thank you, Allison, for coming by and thank you all for stopping by again. If you enjoy reading about Allison, you can know more about here on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. But as always everything must come to an end. Please remember to stay safe and healthy, and to read, write, or create whatever is your doing; and have fun doing it.
“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.”