Q&A with Troy Allan

We are thrilled to feature Troy Allan’s Holy Fools as part of our weekly feature series. As part of our weekly features, we are interested in learning more about our authors, and hope that their experiences will help to empower other writers. Please enjoy this brief Q&A with Troy!

What is your favorite childhood book?
To be honest, I was not a “book worm," as a child. My brothers and I spent a great amount of time outdoors exploring craggy creek bottoms and hitting the baseball with my dad. However, although books were not high on my priority list, the theatre was. I cannot recall a time in my childhood I was not sitting at the feet of my father while he directed. Above everything, it was the theatre that caught and held my attention as a child. My first time on stage, and I am digging as deep as I can, I played the role of a child in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s, The King and I. It must have been 1977 or ‘78, I was in preschool. Like many artists, writers, actors, or poets, I can trace every moment of my first experience with the art. I smell the metal-like stage make-up, the heat of the stage lights on the top of my blonde head, and the singing of the company combined with the crisp applaud of the audience. I see the bright costumes that flow as if sprinkled with fairy dust. But, more than anything, I recall thinking: this is magical! I spent most of my adolescent years reading plays and memorizing lines. So, perhaps the question should be, what was your favorite childhood art memory and I would answer: it was playing the role of the courier in Sherman Edward’s, 1776, and singing, “Mama, Look Sharp.” I was twelve-years-old. 

What is the first book that made you cry?
When I think of books that have stirred strong emotion, I think of books like Richard Adams’s, Watership Down. There is something special about the way Adams illustrates the struggle of the human condition with the group of wild rabbits searching for a home. This resonated in my soul as a young boy. Books that anthropomorphize creatures have a special place in my heart, and I believe it is because of the connection I have to nature. Maybe this explains why Annie Dillard’s, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, is so moving. 

How many hours a day do you write?
I don’t have a set number of hours I write. When I find the muse, I go to work! But, I hardly ever write more than two hours at a time. Most of my writing comes in the afternoon or early evening after a full day of teaching, thinking, and engaging with the world. I write as much as I can every day. 

If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?
That is easy. Read. Read. Read.

Anything else you would like to share?
My son is a visual artist, and we work together in his studio. I see the joy art brings to us. I would encourage everyone to support the arts—literature, visual, music, theatre- the world needs more artists and programs that support the arts. I believe we all struggle with the human condition and through art, we can come to understand the journey and perhaps even find God. 

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