Veronica Scott for AMAZING STORIES: Welcome to my periodic series of author profiles. Today I’ve chosen Kayelle Allen, a prolific author of science fiction and science fiction romance. Ms. Allen is also well known for her staunch support of other authors, from running a book blog to creating and running the Marketing For Romance Writers group, which has an emphasis on peer mentoring and outreach on many major social media platforms.
VS for ASM.: What was the first scifi romance or science fiction book you ever read and what did you like about it?
KA: I don’t remember the first one. My parents always had these books sitting around, and I was born reading, I think. I remember covers from my early childhood but have no idea what the titles were, or who the authors might have been. The first one I remember was The Languages of Pao by Jack Vance. I was eight, and that was heavy reading for a young kid. But it inspired me to write. When I grew up, I wanted to be able to tell stories that talked about people. When I was about six, I told my mother I wanted to write a story about cats. As it happened, my first published book was At the Mercy of Her Pleasure, which featured a half-human half-Kin (a feline-type race). So I did, in fact, grow up to write that book.
ASM.: I like the symmetry of that arc! What was the 2-3 sentence logline?
KA: …its simple tagline was, “She’s addictive. He can’t touch her. But what if he kissed her just once?”
ASM.: Which of your SFR books is the bestselling?
KA: A Stolen Heart. It’s book one in my Thieves’ Guild Academy. The hero is in multiple books, and if you want to find a place to start in my story universe, that book is ideal. It introduces a host of characters who appear in other books and series. I write in a single story universe, so if you like characters in one book, you’re likely to find them in another.
ASM.: None of us can ever pick a favorite book or character but if you had to go live in one of your own books, which would you choose and why?
KA: Any book set in the Tarthian Empire. There are several series set there, and twenty-two planets make it up. There would always be something to see. Subscribers to my newsletter can download various maps, including an overall look at the galaxy and its empires, Tarth City, and even the planet Sempervia, from the Bringer of Chaos series. I’m visual, so I sketch things, or hire artists to create concept drawings. When you sign up for my newsletter, you get the first story in the Chaos series, as well as an illustrated behind-the-scenes book. I have several of those. Once you’re a member, you have access to a dozen free books with all sorts of background, inside stories, and expanded epilogues. I know the Empire well, and it would be a great place to see.
ASM. Perfect lead-in to the next question which is how do you go about world building? Do you do elaborate planning, keep a big file, use post its, wing it – what method works for you?
KA: All the above. I learned early on that with a big series set on more than one world, I needed to keep good records. My readers catch details that I miss. I once wrote that 101 people followed the immortal king, Pietas, when he left Sempervia, where he’d been exiled. A few books later I mentioned there were hundreds. I had to produce a reason. I decided that once he left the planet, others who had followed him pre-exile returned to his side. The idea led to the concept of fealty—a test to prove loyalty and immortality. It’s been part of more than one book, and plays huge roles in Surrender Love, Forever Love, and Ring of the Dragon.
ASM.: Which character in your books is either most like you or who you’d like to be and why?
KA: I’d love to say I’m most like Pietas, as he’s my favorite character, but I’m probably more like his twin sister, Dessy (aka Rheyn). She’s smart, powerful, detail-oriented, and doesn’t put up with nonsense. She’s also usually on the wrong side of almost any situation and far too blunt.
ASM.: What was your most recent book and what was the story spark or inspiration for that story?
KA: The latest is A Divided Heart: Thieves’ Guild Academy. In A Stolen Heart, the character Brinn had a big part, and I always wanted to explore his story. He was instrumental in bringing about the adoption of Senth (who was in my first book), and I thought… What if he adopted a little HalfKin of his own, thinking he would get this sweet little child like his foster brother? But the little girl he fosters is four, going on forty, and has a mind like a steel trap. She’s far more advanced than others and can already read, write, and has hacking skills. Brinn has both hands full dealing with her, all while reuniting with the handsome headmaster at the Academy. Fun story to write, and I am ready to take on more in that series. It consists of A Stolen Heart, A Broken Heart, and A Divided Heart, and they are available at all retailers. A Divided Heart releases May 27, 2023.
ASM.: Which book was the most fun to write and why? The most challenging and why?
KA: Ring of the Dragon was the most fun to write. It was all from the point of view of Pietas, and I love writing about him. The cosplayer Nik Nitsvetov has portrayed him in three different cosplays, and I have thousands of pictures of him. When I need inspiration, I open one of the photo folders and look. In this book, things about Pietas that I never knew (or even thought of) came to the surface. It answered questions I’d had about his character and personality, and opened the door wide for a new series. Although Ring of the Dragon is the first book I’ve written in the Heart of the Immortal King series, it is not the first chronologically. If it goes according to plan, I’ll have half a dozen books by the time I’m through.
ASM.: I always love it when a character reveals more about themselves to the author. Also, how cool to have a cosplayer so invested in one of your key characters. Which of your characters do your readers love to hate? Why?
KA: Easily, it’s Mahikos. He’s the father of Pietas, and he’s a thoroughly disagreeable person. One reviewer referred to him as a man who “needs killing.” He’s interesting to write because he rarely lets a chance pass to needle his son. Even the rare compliment is voiced in a snide manner. But he’s immortal, and he is not going to be easy to dispatch… even though fans want to see him gone.
ASM.: Do you have a ‘writing buddy’ pet?
KA: I don’t have living pets, but I do keep two adorable baby dragons on my desktop. Their names are Stormsinger (white) and Fireshade (red). They can be found in Ring of the Dragon as well as a few other books. I had them custom made by a company I discovered on Instagram.
ASM.: Truly adorable. What’s next for you?
KA: I’m a plotter, so for me, the next book is in the details. I’m simultaneously making notes on two series and have ideas for several more. I plan to finish my science fiction series Bringer of Chaos, and add a few books to my new MM Romance series Thieves’ Guild Academy, and I’m eager to write another book in the series Heart of the Immortal King. Readers who want to know when a book is released can join my newsletter as “new releases only” and get one email when a book comes out. https://kayelleallen.com/immortality
ASM.: What’s on your To Be Read List?
KA: Multiple books in various genres. Because I have a book blog (Romance Lives Forever) I’m exposed to new books every day, and often see what’s coming before it’s released. I’m never at a disadvantage when it comes to having books to read. I love all genres of MM Romance, most Historical Romance as well as Sci-Fi Romance, but anything that holds still long enough for me to focus on it is going to be read.
ASM.: Give us your short author bio and where you can be found on social media.
Kayelle Allen—Writer of misbehaving robots, role-playing immortal gamers, warriors who purrrrr, and romance that lives forever. Sign up for her newsletter and get Sci-Fi stories, book recommendations, and other reader exclusives. https://kayelleallen.com/immortality
Kayelle’s latest book (releases May 27):
In a school filled with hackers and thieves, how do you trust your heart?
The Thieves’ Guild Academy teaches three things. Honor above profit. Skill above chance. Family above all.
So when the Academy decides to turn away an alien child who’s too unruly to train, Professor Brinn Halin intercedes. Despite the warnings of his handsome ex, the Headmaster, he fosters the precocious four-year-old girl.
Academy Headmaster Kam Zavala oversees a school full of trainee thieves and hackers, and he’s used to their tricks. This latest student, a headstrong but brilliant little girl, has gone beyond a simple hack. Her work threatens to implode the ancient Academy itself. As a disaster of epic proportions unfurls, Kam must take action.
But when the child’s breach uncovers a deeper, more insidious hack, the two master thieves must work together. Is there truly honor among thieves? These two have a second chance to prove it, save the child, the Academy, and restore their newfound love.
The question is, will they trust their well-honed instincts, or follow their long-divided hearts…
◆An MM second chance sci-fi romance set in the Thieves’ Guild Academy
LINKS TO OTHER PROFILES IN SFR INTERVIEWS (listed alphabetically by authors’ first names):