Author C. A. A. Allen lives in San Diego with his wife and six children. He is a freelance writer, local hip-hop mogul, and fantasy e-book author. He writes for many online entities, and has been published in the San Diego Reader, and CityBeat magazines. He has provided back up vocals, and performed as a “Humpty Dancer” for the multi-platinum hip-hop group Digital Underground. When he isn’t writing or spending time with the children, Mr. Allen enjoys horse racing, fine cognac, funk music, and Southern cooking.
When did you first start writing fiction?
In 2010 I was managing a hip-hop artist named Young Mass out of San Diego, California. I was tasked to come up with a concept for a digital single he had lined up. What came out of it was a short story and theme song for Blizzard Entertainment’s infamous vaporware title, Starcraft: Ghost, and the games sexy Terran psychic espionage operative star, November Annabella ‘Nova’ Terra. The tale behind the single was about how the rapper meets Nova in a bar and uses his best moves to gain her interest.
A blurt about the song and concept ran in the San Diego Reader Weekly during Comic-Con, and a lot of people reached out to me that they liked the story. The positive reaction sparked my interest in switching from non-fiction artist bios to fantasy fiction epic-quests. You can check out Young Mass’s ode to Nova, “Stop Playin” on iTunes. The cover art will blow your mind if nothing else.
What kind of books do you enjoy reading? Paper or eBook?
I’m still into paper, eBooks just don’t do the D&D Monster Manual any justice.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
I think Dungeons & Dragons modules are under-appreciated reading.
Of your books, which is your personal favorite? Why?
My newest release, Into The Game: Dungeon Crawl Quest is my favorite. It combines my passion for Fantasy, Sci-fi, illustration, and stat sheets. It has all the things I love about writing fiction rolled up in its pages.
You can make one LitRPG book (not your own) a movie. Which is it and why?
Survival Quest: The Way of the Shaman by Vasily Mahanenko. He was the first to put out LitRPG, so I think he would deserve the first movie. The story is also awesome.
It would also be interesting to see The Land: Founding by Aleron Kong be the first, just to watch the whole situation cheese everyone off. I think Aleron set LitRPG back at least five years with his trademark attempt.
Originally, everyone would search LitRPG to find these books, now, you need to search GameLit, LitFPS, Cyberpunk, Portal, and Dungeon Core amongst others to find the best books in the genre. He missed a great opportunity to expand what we create through embracing the whole community, but I guess being a Dr. he is to busy for such a large scope.
If I had to put money on it, I would say something from Dakota Krout’s catalog will be the first true LitRPG to bless the big screen. Dakota’s books sell a lot, he has a mind for business, vision, and the right aptitude. Good things come to cats like that.
On a side note, I would like to see Cherry Blossom Girls by Harmon Cooper be the first LitRPG made into a porno flick. It would be something to the girls on those most excellent book covers come to life.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Writers block for me comes in the form of my regular people job, spending time with the greatest family on earth, car problems, my favorite jam, movie, drink, sporting event, betting opportunity, etc, etc, etc. It can be hard to stay focused.
Are you an outliner or pantser?
Pantser, but I am transitioning to outliner.
What is your writing process like?
Weekday morning writing with a cup of java works best for me.
How many hours a day do you write?
Six hours on Tuesday plus another five to ten the rest of the week, that I get in where I fit in. (See writers’ block.)
Share a photo of your workspace and tell us about it?
Hanging out with Sans and Papyrus fills me with determination.
Who are some of your favorite authors of all time?
- J. R. R. Tolkien
- Gary Gygax
- Suzanne Collins
- Iceberg Slim
- Steven Ivory
- Nadine Brandes
- Ripley Patton
- Nikolai P. Chekhov
- Dan Piepenbring
If you could have any super power, what would it be?
To have the Midas touch.
Where do you get your ideas?
A few of my favorite ideas came from a stroll down the wine and spirits aisle at my local Target. The rooster pictured on a bottle of Rex Goliath wine became a feared cockatrice in a fight scene. The enchanting Gabbiano Knight adorning a bottle of Gabbiano Chianti became the inspiration for an accomplished adventuring captain named Castillo Gabbiano. Opening your eyes and exploring unlikely circumstances in the world directly around you can lead to amazing ideas
What are your thoughts on how VR will affect the future of humanity?
It will partially be a medical procedure at first. General anesthesia will pay just as big a part of the dive in as computers. The same people that produce, promote, and profit from opioids will be behind the best VR, so it is sure to be a scandalous ride of addiction, greed, and corruption. Once the technology gets tested and regulated properly it will be a great outlet for all, and I believe it is coming sooner than later. I can’t wait.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Mostly I research through the internet, and my own library. I need to do more pre-beginning researching in the future. (See transitioning to outliner.)
First video game memory?
All-nighters playing the groundbreaking RPG, Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord, on the amber-monochrome PC screen. It meant a lot to me then and still floats around in my head now. I drop quite a few Wizardry references in my books, hidden and in plain sight.
What can fans expect from you next?
A prequel to Into The Game clandestinely called, Out Of Pocket. In it, the protagonist from Into The Game is enrolled in a charter High School, Clarence Sims Seasoning School for Hustlers, an institution where pimping and academics meet to educate the next generation of street smart business tycoons. It will be a cool look into his backstory and what leads him to his dilemma in Into The Game. You can read the beginnings of Out Of Pocket on Wattpad by OGChrisAllen right now for free.
Anything else you would like to add?
Into The Game: Dungeon Crawl Quest will be on sale for .99 from June 24st to June 30th on Amazon.
“Not All Who Wander Are Lost.” – J. R. R. Tolkien