Author Features

MEET: Jayne Allen

October 15, 2021

Jayne Allen is the pen name of a graduate of Duke University and Harvard Law School.

What was the last book that you read that you’d now recommend? 

In Every Mirror She’s Black by Lola Akinmade Akerstrom

Have you read any classics lately that you were reading for the first time?

I decided that I’d like to read Little Women.   

Do you re-read books? And if yes, what was your last re-read? 
Yes!  I have some favorites.  I recently re-read The Alchemist for probably the tenth time.

What are your go-to genres? 
Contemporary fiction featuring complex characters and underrepresented protagonists.  Also, inspirational non-fiction usually relating to the topic of mindset.

What is your favorite childhood book? 
A Wrinkle In Time.

What books are on your bedside table right now?
Oprah Winfrey’s book, The Path Made Clear and an advanced reading copy of Yinka, Where is Your Huzband?

Do you bookmark or dogear your page in a book? 

I usually dogear my page in books because my bookmarks always manage to fall out!

What is your ideal reading setting? 

Snuggled into the corner of my sofa or at the beach.

Tell us about your favorite indie bookstore? 

I don’t have a favorite indie bookstore because so many have become a special place for me! But, one of my favorite experiences was the first time I had the opportunity to meet with readers of my book Black Girls Must Die Exhausted and to see it on a bookshelf for sale. That was at Mahogany Books in DC.

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

My mom is an attorney, so as a young girl, I was able to see in court how words and how they were used could literally determine your future.

What literary pilgrimages have you gone on? 

I tried to go to all of the famous writers’ haunts in Paris when I was writing Black Girls Must Die Exhausted hoping for inspiration.  In fact, I had a drink at Bar Hemmingway the night that I actually finished the outline of my book.

Where do you get most of your writing and editing done? 

I work out plots at the beach or walking on hiking trails.  I do my outlines and writing usually on my couch or sitting in my kitchen.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

When the writing is flowing, there is nothing more energizing.  

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? 

I have one printed but unpublished book, and one half-finished book.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

I do read my book reviews.  I am mostly looking for how readers are experiencing the book and love it when I see reviews that incorporate tidbits of the reader’s own life experience.  I celebrate the good reviews and just allow for the bad reviews with grace.  

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be? 

Don’t give up on that idea!  Just finish it!  Once you have something finished, you’ll have a world of options in front of you.

When you’re not reading or writing, what are you doing? 

Spending as much time as I can with friends and family.

What are your three favorite things right now? 

1) My Peloton bike  

2) My dog 

3)  My calendar of scheduled “dates” with friends

Your favorite travel destination and why? 

Bologna, Italy just for the pasta dishes.

What’s your favorite meal and go-to drink order?

Spicy margarita and fish tacos (fried not grilled!).

What six people, living or dead, would you invite to dinner a party? 

I like my dinner parties lively, so I would say: Prince, Miles Davis, Richard Pryor, Tina Turner, James Baldwin, Taraji P. Henson

If a movie was made of your life, what genre would it be, who would play you?

I think it would be a contemporary comedy, maybe even an unconventional romantic comedy and I think I’d cast Maya Rudolph or Issa Rae for my role. 

What’s the last TV show or movie you watched that was really good?

I really enjoyed Masaba Masaba on Netflix and I’m excited there will be a second season! 

You have to sing karaoke; what song do you pick?

I’m Every Woman – the Whitney Houston version. 

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