Interview with Crystal Allen

Besides being the corn-shucking and multiplication queen of third grade, now Crystal Allen can add successful author to her resume. With her blockbuster middle grade novel, How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba Sized Trophy, Crystal Allen has burst onto the local and national book scene. Both poignant and hilarious, Crystal’s book is a must read for both adolescents and adults. Recently, Crystal stopped by to chat about inspiration, her favorite writers and the importance of never, ever giving up.
 
Where did you grow-up and where do you live now?
 
My father was in the military so I grew up all over. I was born in Germany, but I've lived most of my life in Virginia, Rhode Island, Indiana and Texas.  I currently reside in Sugar Land, Texas.
 
What is a normal “writing” workday like for you?
 
I'm a morning person, so I try to get my heavy duty "home" work out of the way early so I can begin writing as soon as possible.  Hopefully, I can get in four hours of writing before 2:00.  That's my goal.
 
Where do you get your inspiration?
 
I love to write.  As a child, I was a reluctant reader, so my inspiration comes from trying to make a difference in the lives of other reluctant readers by creating stories they may enjoy.
 
Who are your favorite writers and why?

 
E.B. White changed my life with Charlotte's Web. I love reading books by Neal Shusterman, Donna Gephart and Gordon Korman because of the humor elements they provide for middle-grade readers.  I also love Sharon Draper for her ability to suck me into a story and not let go until it's over.
 
What advice would you give aspiring writers?
 
Never give up.  This race is truly not won by the swift, but by the one who endures.  There will always be a voice that says you can't.  Don't listen to it.
 
What are you working on now?
 
I'm waiting on my editor's notes on a book I just finished entitled, The Laura Line.  While I'm waiting, I'm putting together chapters for a follow-up to How Lamar's Bad Prank Won A Bubba-Sized Trophy.
 
Do you have any upcoming appearances or events you’d like me to publicize?
 
Yes.  I'd like to invite everyone to the Tweens Read Book Festival at Bobby Shaw Middle School in Pasadena, Texas on October 29, 2011. Richard Peck will be the keynote speaker! Be sure to check-out their Facebook page for more information!

This interview orginally appeared in the September 2001 issue of The Houston Banner.