Saturday, January 23, 2016

Writers4Higher features author Deborah A. Allen

Hi, Deborah. Welcome to Writers4Higher.

1.    Tell me about yourself. Your book(s), your life, your inspiration.
I think I came into this world with my imagination fully in gear.  Upon arrival, I found two great sources of inspiration.  My parents were both born story-tellers, though they’d deny it.  Mom spun tales of fantasy and realism, cleverly intertwined, to entertain me.  Dad was a natural raconteur.  His fact-based stories and narrations kept us all on the edges of our seats, even though we’d heard the tales a hundred times.
As a youngster, I attended a “STEM” school (before anyone called it STEM) and unbelievably, this math ignoramus and science neophyte landed in the classrooms of many teachers who were gifted, not in science and math, but in the written word.  I think it was fate.
My books grew out of this background.  Most of my writing is realistic, with an occasional twist of fantasy.  I write from my own experiences, my own dreams, and my own imagination.  I write for both kids and adults because, at heart, we are interchangeable.

2.    Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?
Honestly, it doesn’t really matter because, to be trite, the journey is the thing.  I’m simply enjoying the exploration and discovery part.  (On second thought, maybe the STEM thing did kick in.)  If I get brave, I would like to explore different genres, but I have lots of stories already stacked in my virtual “to-do” basket.  Sometimes, I even think about quitting and just becoming a reader.  So far, that hasn’t worked out.

3.    How do you use your talents/time to help others?
I taught elementary school for nearly a quarter century and my favorite time of the school day was when I got to (yes, got to) read aloud to the kids.  As one of my education professors once said, “I loved teaching literature.  I figured they’d get math from some other teacher.”  If given a choice, I would have read aloud to those kids all day.  (Okay, some days I suppose I almost did.)  I like to think that my enthusiasm for a good story hooked at least some of them into a love of reading and the development of their own imaginations.  If I only reached one, that’s not such a bad legacy.

Would you like to find Deborah Allen?

Thank you, Deborah. I wish you the very best!

Rhett DeVane
southern fiction author and blogmaster

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Writers4Higher features Rocky Porch Moore

Welcome to Writers4Higher

This issue, Writers4Higher features

Rocky Porch Moore

Hi, Rocky. Welcome to the Writers4Higher family!

Tell me about yourself.  Your book(s), your life, your inspiration.

I am a 46 year old English teacher who’s been married to the same fellow for almost 25 years, has 4 kids, a farm, and a passel of animals. On the surface, that sounds pretty mundane, like I’m in good need of  ticking off a few items on the proverbial bucket list.  Hardly! The way I see it, why worry about a one-shot list when you have the whole bucket? 

I am a firm believer in looking ahead. I’ve always found inherent sadness in folks who talk of the best days of their lives as if they are delivering a history lecture. My best days are yet to come! Oh, I don’t have a problem with savoring the moment, and I definitely have an affinity for the past, but that’s not where my spirit dwells. 

In Clemenceau’s Daughters, Little Debbie Ballard isn’t afforded such luxury. The story traces the intricate ways in which family ties can bind the past to the present. I wanted to take the beginning of a family line and tangle it with the end of the family line to show that blood, love, and greed can be passed along just as surely as a strong jawline. The primary setting of the story is my childhood home, which lends itself to some mighty flighty conclusion-jumping.

I read voraciously and not nearly enough. Right now, I’m splitting my reading time between the Dalai Lama’s The Universe in a Single Atom and a domestic terrorism military thriller. I’m just as likely to be reading Dickens as Didion. Contemporary writers who inspire me include John Irving, Sena Jeter Naslund, and Mark Childress.  My literary soul, though, belongs to another century. In fact, I have children named for Jane Austen, Joseph Addison, and Mary Shelley. That sounds pretty high-falutin’ until I throw in the child named for a famous college football coach. 

 Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?

I see my writing taking me home, both in a literal and figurative sense. The two things that make me feel the most “me” are running and writing. I can be a wife, a mom, a teacher, a cook…and I’m pretty darn good at all of these, but it’s working plots that thrills my heart of hearts. When I run, I find clarity. When I write, I find home. It’s not a place, like an address, and it’s not an emotion, like love or nostalgia. It’s a state of being that can be quite uncomfortable at times. This is why I think I link running and writing so closely together.  Both are painful; both are dependent on process; and both are utterly exhilarating.

With 4 children and a teaching career, I’ve squeezed in writing  between ball practices, dryer cycles, and grading research papers for many a year. I built a little red writing cottage out back on our family farm with the proceeds from penning curriculum materials and a children’s book, all the while dreaming of turning myself loose on fiction. Well, I’ve gotten a mighty fine taste of it with Clemenceau’s Daughters and, at the risk of sounding hokey, I feel like I’ve come home.

So, where do I see my writing taking me in the future? Right out my back door and into a whole new world!

    How do you use your talents/time to help others?

I married into a family of educators.  My husband is currently a high school principal and I teach high school English.  We strive to motivate young people to be their best and to invest in their community. Our civic involvement reaches well beyond the classroom. We regularly support youth athletics, arts, and academic endeavors as well as serve at various civic events. We are the kind of people who roll up our sleeves and subtly help get the job done.

I was recently elected by the membership of our church to serve on the vestry, an honor, and regularly serve in a variety of roles during worship services. 

Really, as a teacher, I’m a professional helper. My goal is to be a positive influence on every student I encounter. I am a leader among my professional peers and constantly pursue excellence in myself and in those I teach. 

Would you like to find Rocky?

Check out the links to this talented author:


The purpose of the Writers4Higher blog: to feature authors in a new light, a fresh look at the way writers use their talents and life energies to uplift humankind. Writers4Higher doesn’t promote religious or political views. Authors are asked to answer three simple questions: simple, yet complex.
Be sure to visit the Writers4Higher Market! We have gear for the writer in you.

Rhett DeVane
Fiction with a Southern Twist

Writers4Higher congratulates Pat Stanford

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