Made It Moment: Chris Allen
Wow! Have you ever read a Moment where you felt as if the author was writing expressly for you? I hope you have–that’s one of the purposes of this forum, to make us all feel a little less alone in our journeys and struggles as writers. Another purpose is to lead readers to great new books. Chris Allen’s Made It Moment, or rather, his perspective on the phenomenon of “moment-ing,” hit both nails for me. I found solace in his words as I work toward the release of my own third novel. And I found a new book to try in Defender. I hope the following words do as much for you. Enjoy your Moments, every one.
Where do you start on a topic like this?
I think many authors understand and often share the soul destroying frustration of rejection. Writing is such a deeply personal thing, you are literally sharing yourself, your thoughts, your imagination – committing it all to the page and then laying it bare for all the world to see – and criticize. The hardest thing, I think, is accepting that not everybody is going to like what you do. But that’s OK. That’s life. We’ll never all agree on everything. So, you dust yourself off, remind yourself about what made you decide to become a writer in the first place and step off the cliff again.
Like many of us, I’ve been through the rejection phase, but I’m a pretty impatient person so there’s only so much of it that I was prepared to put up with. I had confidence that there was a market for what I was writing and so I focused on that: the reader (what a concept!) Besides, I have an innate disregard for gatekeepers. So, when I finally managed to put the finishing touches on my first novel, my wife Sarah and I decided to take control and self-publish. We’d done all the research, including our own market research on my writing, and one day (after having received an offer from an independent publisher to publish my book) we stepped off the cliff and we’ve never looked back.
My ‘made it moment’ has so far lasted about four years.
It began with the successful launch of the first book of my INTREPID series Defender of the Faith in late 2011. With a solid commitment to engaging with reading communities online, we built a groundswell of support from hundreds of people we’d never met all across Australia. Every one of them was incredibly supportive and encouraging and have remained loyal fans (Defenders!) to this day. On the strength of Defender of the Faith’s success, I was subsequently signed by Pan Macmillan’s new (at the time) digital imprint Momentum, which led to a redrafted version of the first book, released as Defender, and a second novel, Hunter. It was at this time that my INTREPID series came to the attention of a US film producer who read my self-published version and subsequently optioned the entire series.
Over the past two years I’ve done the writers circuit of festivals and writing groups, attended film and TV production meetings in the UK and US, and completed the third book in the INTREPID series Avenger, which will be released by Momentum on the 22 of January. Right now I’m working on the fourth book, Helldiver, and planning a new crime series.
I guess my point is that the moment hasn’t just flashed by. It’s been steadily building up steam over a number of years with the odd explosion of heightened activity here at there. I feel like I’ve lit the end of a very long fuse and I’m happily watching it burn.
A former paratrooper, Chris Allen served in three Commonwealth armies across two decades and four continents. He left the military due to injuries, retiring at the rank of Major. In addition to his military career, Chris has served with three law enforcement agencies in Australia, led security operations for an international aid agency in East Timor during the emergency in 1999, and was headhunted to take over the protection of Sydney’s most iconic landmark, the Sydney Opera House. In 2008 Chris was appointed Sheriff of New South Wales, one of Australia’s most historic law enforcement appointments. Today, he continues his career as a writer and government senior executive. Chris and his wife, Sarah, live in Sydney. They have two small boys, Morgan and Rhett.