I first discovered Allie Carstens’ book, The Alpha’s Pen Pal on Dreame. It was one roller coaster ride of a story, but I’ll let her tell our reader’s about it. I am very happy that she agreed to be interviewed. Here’s what she shared with me:
What has influenced you the most as a writer?
I think my love for reading has influenced me the most as a writer. I love getting sucked into a well-written book, and I love when a book makes you feel something — sad, angry, happy — anything, as long as the emotional attachment to the characters and their lives is there.
Also, I think my experience as an actor influences me a lot as well. My bachelor’s degree is actually in acting, and I like to think that it helps me when drawing out emotions and writing out interactions between characters.
I’ll often think, “If I was performing this as a scene in front of an audience, how would I indicate I was frustrated to the audience with my body language?”
Tell us about Alpha’s Pen Pal and the inspiration behind the book.
The Alpha’s Pen Pal is about an alpha, Wesley Stone, and a human female, Haven Kenway. They meet as children through an elementary school pen pal assignment and become close friends after a few short months. However, life happens, and they lose contact with each other.
When they meet 12 years later, they are in their 20s, and there is an undeniable mutual attraction that blossoms as they reconnect after so many years apart.
I got the idea while driving to work one day almost a year ago. I am a teacher, and I was thinking about different plans for the upcoming school year and remembering having a pen pal in school, and I thought, “What if…” and that’s how I developed the main idea for the plot.
But I also wanted to put my own spin on the whole “alpha with a human mate” plot line. So often, in werewolf novels, it seems that the alpha male mated to a human female has no desire to have a human mate, and a lot of times, he tries to reject her or treats her poorly at first.
I didn’t want that in this story. I wanted to create a world of family and acceptance, and love.
The other inspiration for the book is also taken from my own childhood. I did ballet from the age of 4 all the way through college, and I now teach extracurricular dance classes at the school I work at.
Haven, the female lead, is a professional ballet dancer, so a lot of my own experiences and my love for dance are injected into her character.
What part of the book was the most fun to write?
Oh, this is so hard because there were so many fun parts to write! But my favorite two scenes, I think, would have to be the chapter when Wesley and his friends go to the ballet premier to watch Haven. Their banter is hysterical and a perfect snapshot of their relationships with each other.
The other part that was fun to write was the whole section of chapters where they go to the beach. I’d had that section planned out in my head for months before I finally wrote it all out, so seeing it come to life on the page was very exciting.
If I were a Hollywood producer about to put your book on the big screen, who would you want me to cast in the lead roles?
Nick Bateman for Wesley. He is the original inspiration for Wesley, and exactly how I picture Wes in my head when I’m writing his character.
And for Haven… I think my first choice would be Sadie Sink, the actress who plays Max in Stranger Things. I’m not sure if she can dance ballet, but her acting is phenomenal, and I think she could really bring the emotional depth needed for Haven’s character.
Do you have any other projects in the works at this time?
I do! I am currently working on writing the sequel to Pen Pal. The title is “The Beta’s Blind Date”; it will focus on Reid, Wesley’s beta and best friend, and Reid’s mate.
I am also working on a standalone fantasy Cinderella retelling with magic and dragons, as well as a short story for an anthology.
What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?
The best advice I saw was from another author, and that was to just write. You can’t do anything with a blank page, so getting the words out is the first step. Also, it doesn’t matter if you write 3000 words one day and only 300 the next. 300 words are still 300 more than you started the day with!
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
This is a bit complicated to answer. With my very first book, A Prophecy of Crowns and Harmony, I actually started three times. I have two early drafts of it that I scrapped after 15-20 chapters. But I did still finish the book; it just changed a lot from those early versions, although the overall themes and the ending never changed.
I also got back into writing through writing fan fiction before I started writing my own completely original work. I wrote three fan fiction pieces, and none of them are “complete”, but all of them have over 20k words. One actually has over 100k, which is basically a full-length novel.
What was your hardest scene to write?
Technically, the hardest scene to write was the scene where Wesley fights another alpha. Really, any scenes with fighting in them I find difficult. Battle scenes, duels, etc. — are my least favorite type of scenes to write.
But the hardest scene emotionally… would have to be either Chapter 10 or Chapter 12. I’m not saying what happens in those because I don’t want to spoil the readers, but both are scenes with some big emotions from our main characters when they’re still kids, and I’ll be honest, I got teary-eyed while writing them.
How can readers keep in touch with you?