Friday, February 5, 2016

What Was Your First "Grown-Up" Book? Anne R. Allen talks with Carmen Amato

I've given many interviews in the past five years, and they're over the 'Net. I'm sure most of my readers haven't seen them. So I'm going to be posting some here on the new blog. This one is from November 14, 2013. 

Carmen Amato
My interviewer is international mystery author Carmen Amato, who writes the Emilia Cruz mysteries set in Acapulco. Check them out! She asked some great questions. 

Carmen Amato: What was the first book you read that marked the transition from reading kids’ books to grown-up fare?

Anne R. Allen:
I remember when I was in fifth grade I picked up a new book my dad left on the coffee table. (He was a professor of Classics at Yale.)

It was a thin volume and had pictures and lots of white space, so it looked like books I was used to. I sat down and read it cover to cover. One of the most exciting stories I'd ever read. When my dad saw I'd read it, he freaked. "That's not for children!" he said. "Did it upset you?" I said it didn't but I thought the hero was pretty much of a creep.

The book was a new translation of Euripides' Medea. Kids aren't as shocked by bad behavior in adults as we think they will be.

CA: You are shipwrecked with a crate labeled “Books.” What 3 books do you hope are in it?

ARA: That's hard because I have so many favorites. But maybe I'd rather find something I haven't read: some of those long, dense ones I've never had time to read, like Spenser's Faerie Queen, Don DeLillo's Underworld, or War and Peace.

CA: What book would you give as a housewarming gift and why?

ARA: Maybe the New Yorker Book of Cat Cartoons. The best kind of book to keep on the coffee table to keep guests occupied while you're hostessing. And most people find cats funny. I don't know exactly why that is, but nothing gets my Facebook page active like a Grumpy Cat picture

CA: You can invite any author, living or dead, to dinner at your home. What are you serving and what will the conversation be about?

ARA: Dorothy Parker, and the conversation could be about anything she wants. LOL. I'd just sit back and take notes. I'd probably serve martinis.

CA: Can you leave us with a quote, a place, or a concept from a book that inspired you?

ARA: Probably one of the most inspiring books, quotes & concepts ever is Pay it Forward. The book is so much more inspiring than the movie and I am blessed to call the author, Catherine Ryan Hyde, a close friend. She has inspired me—and the entire world—in so many ways.

CA: Tell us about yourself in 3 sentences or less.

ARA: I'm a novelist, blogger and actress who believes that laughter is the best medicine. The biggest compliment I ever got was from an old Borscht Belt comic who came backstage after seeing me in Auntie Mame and said, "I didn't see you act funny once in that whole performance" (pause) "you don't act funny—you THINK funny—the secret to great comedy." I feel so blessed to be able to write funny books and have people buy them!

What was your first "grown-up" book? What about desert island books? 

And in case you're planning a shipwreck, here are three hilarious ebooks to take to your desert island or wherever you want, and they are only 99c for all three. This sale is at Amazon only and ends on February 14th.


Ghostwriters in the Sky, Sherwood, Ltd. and The Best Revenge in one convenient box set. for only 99c for ALL THREE (until February 14th, 2016)

Downwardly mobile former socialite Camilla Randall (aka The Manners Doctor) is a magnet for murder, mayhem and Mr. Wrong, but she always solves the case in her loopy, but oh-so-polite way.

The Camilla Randall Mysteries Box set is 99c (or the equivalent) for one week at all the Amazons,

Also available at KoboiTunesSmashwordsGoogle PlayInkteraNOOK, and Scribd

Ghostwriters In The Sky: When a young writer is found dead in her gay best friend's bed at a writer's conference in California wine country, Camilla must enlist the help of a cross-dressing dominatrix to clear Plant's name. Unfortunately, she suspects the hot LA cop who has stolen her heart may be the murderer.

In Sherwood Ltd. a homeless Camilla lands in Robin Hood country, where some not-so-merry men may be trying to kill her, and of course Camilla once again ends up in the most improbable, but always believable, circumstances.

The Best Revenge
is a prequel to the series, and takes us back to Camilla Randall's teen years, when she first meets Plantagenet Smith—and is accused of murder herself!


  1. Great interview! And I can attest to Anne thinking funny :) Ditto, for the three books.
    My first adult book...Agatha Christie. Dumb Witness, I think, but might have been Crooked House. I was eleven. Still think they rock.

  2. Melodie--Agatha Christie! What a great author to start with. That's why you grew up to be a mystery writer! When I'm sick or really stressed, I find one of the best things to get me through is to re-read Agatha Christie. Thanks for stopping by.

    We're looking forward to your visit to our big blog on February 14th!

  3. Hey you funny-thinker, you,
    My first grown-up book was a somewhat obscure biography of Alexander Dumas called The King of Paris. Pretty funny, given my 90:1 fiction to non-fiction reading habits these days.

    1. Charlie--That's hilarious. Maybe it put you off nonfiction for all time? Ha!

  4. I certainly can't remember the title of the first adult book I found on my parent's bookshelf, but it left me with delightfully dreadful images that have stayed with me ever since. I must have been around ten years old when I read (in secret) this Depression Era literary fiction about a starving caretaker who murdered someone, stuffed the body into the furnace, then tasted a piece of the grilled skin and loved it; a wonderfully beautiful femme fatale who became hugely fat and ugly and vile. Phooey on all the prudes who want to protect kids from reading about such things, but let them sit in front of television screens absorbing commercial gore.

    1. Arlene--I agree! I learned so much in my stealthy reading of "adult" books when I was a kid. I did a lot of babysitting--in those days a 12 year old was considered grown-up enough to "sit" for younger kids. And I always hit the bookshelves after the kids went to sleep. I remember reading a passage from Tropic of Cancer that went on and on about the size of a whale's penis. Interesting and not at all upsetting.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and weighing in!

  5. Anne, you had such interesting things to say. I really enjoyed working with you on this. I'll be doing more interviews with mystery authors this year and I hope they are all as charming as you.

    1. Carmen--Thanks for stopping by. I really enjoyed your questions. I'm glad to hear you're going to continue your interview series!

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.