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I am bringing you a continuing series that I publish on another blog for Reviews4reviews.com where a different author is interviewed every two weeks. If you are interested in being featured please leave a comment below and if you would more information on this author see his entire profile at http://reviews4reviews.com/authors/dallenjenkins/index.html

And now – D. Allen Jenkins

A little background information to start with –

A brief bio please:

D. Allen Jenkins, Doug to all who know him (which you now do), hails from the heart of Buckeye Nation in Columbus, Ohio. Raised in Ohio’s first capital city, Chillicothe, he writes from the prospective of a husband of 29-years, the father of one son, of being an ordained minister, and of one living with the debilitating effects of Multiple Sclerosis.

 His debut novel, The Making of Tibias Ivory: Freedom’s Quest, was a Gold Seal Award winner from Faithwriters.com. The sequel effort, The Making of Tibias Ivory: Through the Eyes of Innocence, was released in October, 2009, and continues the saga series. Doug has also seen publication in several poetic journals, such as Illuminations (2005), The Private Lantern (2004), and Shadows of the Season: The Members Collection (2004). His poetry has been featured in many online venues, including JBStillwater.com, PoemTrain.com, and Faithwriters.com.

Doug is a graduate of Ohio Christian University, which has also fostered the writing career of multiple New York Times best selling leadership author, John C. Maxwell.

{An interesting side note: My father was one of John Maxwell’s early Sunday School teachers, and John in turn had a profound influence on me a boy growing up, and later as a pastor.}  

How long have you been writing?

 I have always loved writing. My first real attempts at writing, though small, began in my sophomore year of high school, when my English teacher would write a limerick of the day on the chalkboard. I started to pen my own efforts in response to this, a was thrilled when he placed one of them as the daily offering. I was hooked!

In college, writing took a much more formal tone, though I always tried to add my own sense of flair to the tedium of term papers and essays. Numerous professors commented positively on my writing style, and I eventually won a couple of sermon writing awards both in college and afterward.

Life interrupted the flow of ink, however, until 1998, when I was devastated by the onset of my MS.  During a two-year period of being unable to work, I, at the inspiration of a pastoral friend, began reviving a latent longing to write creatively of the things held most important: my faith in Christ and my love for my family. My efforts seek to honor them in both spirit and truth.

WHY do you write?

There are several layers to this question:

 I write because I believe that I am held responsible for using the gifts that God has given me to the best of my ability. That may or may not be of best selling quality in the end, but that is not the ultimate goal. I want to offer the best that I can muster at any given point of time to honor Him who gave me this gift.

 I also write for the pleasure and challenge of telling a story of old things in a new and fresh way. As Solomon had written, “there is nothing new under the sun,” but trying to find a non-cliché way of reintroducing the old hat very motivating to me. I hope my voice has a distinct enough tone to draw attention to my stories.

 Lastly, I write because I am trying to express a point of view that I believe will benefit the reader’s life beyond the pages of the book itself. C.S. Lewis is one of my favorite authors because he, like Tolkien, Dostoyevsky, Hugo, and Dickens, to name but a few, was trying to draw a bigger picture with his stories. The ideas, or, dare I say, truths, that Lewis communicated were bigger than the stories themselves, and they are what have made to stories so enduring through the generations.   

 Books you have written with brief synopsis of each:

 My two novels are a part of the series The Making of Tibias Ivory, with each book having it’s own subtitle. It is the saga of an interracial boy, named Tibias Ivory (a deliberate misspelling of Tobias) growing up in a small southern town call Principle. The first book was subtitled Freedom’s Quest, and deals with the story of Tibias’ high school parents, Mahognus “Hog” Worthington, the black star of their championship football team, and Bethany Ivory, the school’s head cheerleader, and the daughter of Principle’s leading pastor. It chronicles their relationship and how Tibias was eventually born.

The second book, subtitled Through the Eyes of Innocence, picks the story up five years later, and tells how the young Tibias learns to deal with the harsh realities of bigotry and hatred as they are passed down from father to son into his generation.   

What do you find to be the most challenging part of writing?

Being distinct and unique. I try to do this through developing characters that are at once relatable, yet interestingly independent and singular. It is hard work to avoid character wallflowers on the one hand, and those to over-the-top to be believed. I like to call it imaginative reality, and it is a difficult balance to achieve.     

What do you find to be the most rewarding part of writing?

Hearing from readers about how my writing has encouraged them, and/or caused them to think about life differently. It lets me know the “bigger picture” is coming through.

 

Do you edit as you write?

Well now, that’s a bit of a trick question. I do edit as a write, but then my editors go through and correct my edits.

How do you develop your characters?

I ask the question “what have they learned?” from the situation they have just gone through and “how does that change them going forward?” Tibias is a young boy, so his learning curve is huge, and he has the most change. But the adult characters have their watershed moments too, and they must be seen as shifting to one side or the other. Life is never stagnant, we are ever moving in one direction or another, and I try to be ever conscious of that need in my characters throughout the story.

What do you do for fun?

With my MS, physical activities are limited in their scope. Besides reading, I love my sports, especially the Cincinnati Reds/Bengals, and The Ohio State Buckeyes. I like to play the piano, and write the occasional song. I love to debate the unanswerable questions of life. And my wife and I love watching shows like Criminal Minds, together.

Who are your favorite authors? Why?

 See above comments on C.S. Lewis.

 What’s the one thing you’ve learned about yourself since you’ve been writing?

 Unfortunately, how undisciplined I am. My tendency is to think that writing should just happen effortlessly. I find it difficult to develop a consistent routine/habit of writing. My physical issues certainly play into that, because I don’t always have the energy levels or concentration to focus for long periods, but I fear that that is more excuse than reason on the whole. (I should feel “cleansed” with that confession, but somehow, I don’t)

What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a writer?

 Don’t give up on your dreams.

 Seek out trusted people to be forthright about your writing, and be willing to reflect honestly on their observations.

 Do not undervalue editing— it will make or break you. One good editor will save you a thousand doses of Tylenol. Trust me, I know!

 

Do you have any new books coming out soon?

 I am in the early stages of the third installment of Tibias, but I hope to have something ready for next year. Either that, or I will die from the nagging question, “When is the next book coming out?”

Anything you’d like to add?

I am always open to talking with people who might be going through a battle with MS or some other disease. We tend to want to run and hide, but that is the worst thing to do. There is more information about MS on my website www.tibiasivory.com , and anything I can do to help is but an e-mail away.

 

 

 

The Making of Tibias Ivory: Through the Eyes of Innocence

By

D. Allen Jenkins

www.tibiasivory.com