Janice M. Allen is visiting today to continue the conversation about the Kings of the Castle series.
Tell me about your latest book.
King of Lawndale is part of the Kings of the Castle series. Dwayne Harper’s passion is giving disadvantaged boys the tools to transform themselves into successful men. Unfortunately, the minute he steps up to take his place among the men he considers brothers, two things stand in his way: a political office that does not want the competition Dwayne’s new education system will bring, and a well-connected former member of The Castle who will use everything—even those who Dwayne mentors—to shut him down.
Tiffany Mason is harboring a dark secret that can shatter Dwayne’s dream, not to mention his heart. While he is everything she could want in a handsome, intelligent, and driven man, her past is all the reason she needs to second guess her acceptance of his recent proposal. But while she’s searching for a way to disengage a relationship that promises to be the best she’s ever had, a mutual female friend goes full throttle in an undercover mission to help Dwayne fight those opposed to his education center. Things become complicated for everyone involved when this woman dives into Tiffany’s past and blackmails her, with the ultimate goal of having Dwayne all to herself. Now Tiffany wishes she had been honest with Dwayne from day one so she wouldn’t become a weapon that could be used against him.
One of these women holds the key to Dwayne’s success. The other can cause his downfall. Dwayne must choose the right queen, fend off his powerful enemies and forge toward the success that’s due him as a King of the Castle.
The first book in the series is one that nine authors collaborated on. USA Today, New York Times, and national bestselling authors work together to create a world the reader will never want to leave: The Castle. Powerful men unexpectedly brought together by their pasts and current circumstances will become a force to be reckoned with. Their combined efforts to find the people responsible for the attempt on their mentor’s life is the beginning of dangerous challenges that will alter the path of their lives forever. They will also draw the ire and deadly intent of current Castle members who wield major influence across the globe.
Why did you decide to write it?
I am honored to be part of a phenomenal group of writers headed by Naleighna Kai. She put before us the idea to co-write a novel about nine black men, all of them strong, successful, and destined for greatness if they can overcome the obstacles set before them.
What do you want readers to learn from the story?
I am learning that in life, each of us needs to be in position—meaning that each of us needs to give our all to be what God called us to be and do what He called us to do. There are lives waiting to be touched by us, but we can’t be effective if we’re not in position. I’ve had to face this in my own life. It calls for a willingness to live up to a greater accountability. This is what Dwayne faces in the story. He has to step up to the throne offered to him in order to be of the greatest service to those he is dedicated to mentoring and rescuing.
If you could pick another profession, what would it be and why?
Believe it or not, I would love to be a do voiceovers (be the unseen voice in commercials and/or animated movies). I went to Arkansas State University. When I graduated, my first full-time job was as a radio personality—well, that was back in the days when we were called disc jockeys or DJs. When I relocated, I became a legal secretary. I love it because I love doing administrative work. But I don’t want to leave this earth without trying my hand at doing voiceovers. I get a kick out of seeing people lean forward in their seats to catch the next word out of my mouth when I have occasion to read aloud. I believe I’d enjoy doing voiceovers and using my voice to bring life to an inanimate character.
What’s the best part of being an author?
The absolute best is when someone gets so engaged in something you’ve written that they can’t wait to call, text, message, post, or do something to let you know how much they’ve inserted themselves into the imaginary situations and characters you’ve created. I’m always amazed, yet thankful, whenever someone shares these types of feelings. Another great part of being an author is when someone says, “Girl, I need another good book to read. How long do I have to wait for your next book comes out?” A great thing ,which took me by surprise, was having my debut novel hit best seller status in AALBC. It’s one thing to think your book is good. It’s a totally different thing to have that affirmed by readers and your peers.
What’s the worst part of being an author?
For me, it’s the actual writing process. Getting a story out of my head and onto the page is an ordeal. I tend to overthink it, and I wind up with a constipated brain because I process my thoughts over and over and over before putting pen to paper. I know that I should just let the thoughts flow freely, then perfect them. But knowing that I should do that and knowing how to get out of my own way to do that is a challenge each time. When I first started writing, I fretted a lot over this. But I’m learning to honor my process. While it makes writing somewhat stressful to me, in the end, I always love the finished product.
Another difficult part of being an author is promoting yourself. I’m a “stand in the background and don’t be seen” kind of girl, and that makes it difficult to want to make it a priority to market and promote myself/my product. But just like my writing process, this is an area of growth for me.
What’s next for you?
I entered the world of literary fiction as an editor—Naleighna Kai’s editor in fact. I have her to thank for grooming me as an editor. Rarely do you meet people like her, who are so iconic in their field, but who devotes so much of herself to ushering others down the road of success. Due to some major life difficulties, I stepped away from editing a few years back. I am now embarking on the adventure of re-establishing myself as an editor, as well as offering consulting services for those who need help as they begin their writing/publishing journey.
Do you have anything you would like to add?
Anyone who is thinking about writing, please pick up a copy of Baring it All: The Ins and Outs of Publishing. This is the book that I wish I had when I first started in the industry.
Use my affiliate link to purchase your copy of King of Lawndale.
About the Author
Janice M. Allen was a sought-after editor for several National Bestselling Authors and Independently-published authors before she began writing. Some of her editing projects sold to traditional publishers such as Brown Girls Books and Harlequin/Kimani Press. Five of her edited works hit the Top 10 in AALBC’s 2014 National Bestseller List.
She made her writing debut as a co-contributor to Baring It All: The Ins and Outs of Publishing, which she and a group of author friends called M-LAS (Macro Literary All Stars) released in 2014. Her first work of fiction titled No Right Way to do a Wrong Thing was released in April 2018 and hit the list of Top 10 sellers on AALBC. She co-authored the fiction anthology Spice in October 2018, and released her short story Cayenne in 2019.
Janice is a proud member of Naleighna Kai’s Tribe Called Success. She is employed as a legal secretary in downtown Chicago and is an active member in the children’s ministry at her church.
A newlywed recently married to Pastor Sammie Allen, Janice is currently working on two Christian inspirational books and her next novel. Visit her online at janicemallen.com.