Gone Away Into The Land by Jeffrey Allen

Join Jeffrey Allen, author of the philisophical inspirational novel Gone Away Into the Land (Sage Publishing, LLC, July 2008), as he virtually tours the blogosphere in June on his first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion!

Allen studied art at Bloomsburg University for two years before attending Boston University where he majored in history and minored in set design and fine arts. A one year hiatus, in the form a hitchhiking trip, served only to heighten his restless and inquisitive nature. Allen attributes those early journeys to laying the foundations for his views about politics and religion and the relationship they share with historical perspective.

Later, he traveled through Europe and Mexico where his compulsive curiosity with historical myth and legend intensified, especially for the interpretations that obscure the truths underlying foreign and American cultures. Allen was fascinated by the way events are twisted and misconstrued within historical writings because of religious beliefs or political power brokering. Those years of learning, searching, and questioning have contributed greatly to the philosophical depth of his writing. Allen continues to this day to study, research, and philosophize about the positive and negative effects on our culture due to an over abundance of historical and religious misconceptions.

Jeffrey Allen graduated from Millersville State University in architectural design and taught for two years while also working toward his Masters degree at Temple University in Philadelphia. After a brief teaching career, he created his own architectural woodworking firm in 1980.

By 1982, Allen was owner and president of Artistic Furnishings Incorporated, a design house and manufacturer of custom architectural millwork. The company employed designers, artisans and support staff. His work can be seen throughout eastern Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey in private residences and businesses. Today, Allen resides in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania where he still works in the field of interior space planning, although most of his time is devoted to writing.

For more information about this author and his work visit: http://www.jeffreyballen.com/

This ambitious yarn follows twelve-year old John Greber who, along with his mother Ellie, is the object of abuse at the hands of John’s father whom he names “The Beast.”

One day, “The Beast” abandons John and his mother while at the same time snatching away John’s six-year old sister Marny. John vows to seek revenge, confront his repulsive father, and rescue his sister Marny. As we discover, all of this transpires during a time where John and his mother will be indirectly involved in a Civil War that has far reaching repercussions that may lead to the destruction of the world.Tagging along with John and his mother, Allen cleverly uses his mind-boggling world as a vehicle in understanding what life is all about and the human condition. This is particularly in evidence as we witness John’s challenge of making the transition from childhood to adulthood as he self-examines the big questions in life as well as the nature of good and evil, the meaning of life and the quest to understand himself.

What I found quite striking about Gone Away Into the Land is Allen’s skillful narrative pacing in revealing bit-by-bit the various themes to the reader and permitting him or her to slowly discover it. Another plus is that Allen does not resort to some kind of magic wherein here lies on the fantasy aspect in order to enable John to break out of a thorny situation by manufacturing a super-duper miraculous spell that the reader never even knew about.

With its deftly constructed plot, episodic structure, a lovable hero,interesting secondary characters, and a dash of suspense, Allen’s fascinating debut novel is a haunting tale that jolts along at its own pace. Moreover, Allen’s writing is extremely powerful particularly his imagery and masterful descriptions such as when John meets up with“The Beast.” And when all is said and done, we have a novel that is not only amazingly fitting for our times, but one that is rich and rewarding for anyone, young or old, wishing to ponder over insightful questions pertaining to our existence and journey through life.
Jeff agreed to some interview questions - here's what he had to say:
Who or what was the inspiration behind GoneAway?

GoneAway Into the Land has been floating around in my mind for a long time. In its simple format it is a story about a boy who travels into a Land of sensory delight, but finds himself embroiled in a terrible battle waging between the people of the Land and a slovenly beast that is eating the Land, and all its goodness, one bite at a time. The strange people the boy meets are shaped like familiar candies. The boy sets out to try and help the people of the Land. Soon he devises a plan to trap the beast by causing it to fall into a deep pit that has been filled with hot coals and burning fires. The heat from the fires bakes the beast into a gigantic cake that later is enjoyed by all the strange but wonderful people during a feast of celebration. The boy is a hero, and everyone lives happily ever after.

I could not imagine myself writing a children’s story. But there was something about the skeleton of the story that kept me thinking about it. So, four and a half years ago I suddenly awoke around 4:00 o’clock in the morning. I rushed to my computer and began pounding out the first few chapters. The question. Why did the boy venture into The Land, and who was the Beast? From that point forward the story took on a whole new meaning, and soon it found its intellectual footing. I believe I achieved something special with the writing of GoneAway. The novel strikes a chord with readers from many different angles. It touches on troubling social issues, religious fanaticism, child and spousal abuse, rape and murder. Sounds horrible doesn’t it? Not really. The story takes those issues and carefully winds them around the colorful, wonderful characters who carry them, deal with them and spill them onto the pages without the least provocation. Readers love GoneAway because of the epic adventure and deep seated meaning behind it. When they reach the end they smile, because the journey is life’s journey, the human condition, the bounding up of countless emotions that stir deep within us, making us who we are, making us react, and causing us to make good and bad decisions.

We all battle our way through life, searching for fulfillment, contentment, success, everlasting good health. Yet we watch ourselves from a distance as we go like a speeding locomotive toward our final journey. I have heard it said that one second before we die our whole life flashes before us, but I believe it is not a second at all, but rather the beginning of eternity. The second never ends. It stretches on forever and ever.

The Inuit and American Indian cultures have no word in their language for death. The Inuit peoples call death “Gone-a-Walking”. The American Indians call it Gone away.

GoneAway into the Land is a journey of the senses, and a reminder of the innocence of childhood that transcends into the diverse, sometimes amazing and sometimes sinister nature of adulthood.

The reviews for my novel have given me reason to think that, with GoneAway Into the Land, I have achieved the linking of fantasy with reality in a way both enjoyable and enlightening. Only time will tell.

In the last year have you learned to improve your skills as a writer?

I will never think for one second that I have mastered writing. Writing is like painting with words. It will constantly test you with descriptive challenges where you may ponder for days, maybe weeks about just the right way to phrase a sentence, or just the best way to organize your chapters, or whether to write in first person or third, or…well you understand what I’m saying. Writing is difficult. It is hard work, and it takes patience, study, and practice in order to come close to getting it right. I strive to constantly improve, and I do it by constantly reading, listening, observing, and then writing.

Biggest weakness?

Simple. Dividing my time between writing and marketing. Oh – and chocolate.

Is there anything you regret not doing, or doing?

There are three words in the English language I would relegate to the garbage heap. One is retirement, the other is failure, and the third is regret. I will never retire. I have fallen flat on my face many a time, yet I always get back up, and I regret nothing.

You know the scenario. You are stuck on a desert Island. What book would you bring with you and why?

I guess you would think me pretty shallow if I said Emeril Lagassi’s One Thousand and One Recipes for Coconut. I don’t think he wrote that. Nevertheless, I know you would think I was being ridiculous if I said the Encyclopedia Britannica, and I think some would surely scoff at me for being of a low moral standard if I failed to say The Bible.

My answer is this; I would take one of my books, one that I had written, and at this very moment I would take GoneAway, because I never tire of reading it. I love the characters as if they were my best friends. We would be alright on that island.
What is the most important thing in you life right now?

No matter what, my family will always be the most important thing in my life.

Thank you for reading.
Jeffrey B. Allen



Cheryl said...

This sounds like a good read. Not what I would usually pick up, but your review and that neat cover have piqued my interest.


Storyheart said...

Sounds like a really interesting book and one to follow during the book tour, thank you so much for sharing.


Cheryl S. said...

This looks like a good read. I also love the cover!