Interview with Australian Author Renay Allen. Read Breath of Sirius – Online Serial Urban Fantasy

This is an opportunity to go behind the scenes, get into the nitty-gritty of the many paranormal worlds and enter into the fertile imaginations of authors I love. Bring a flashlight. It’s sometimes dark in here, but so worth the trip. Remember, monsters need love too. Otherwise, how would we ever have baby monsters?

Think on THAT a while…

Welcome, Renay Allen! You’ve just released another instalment of your online serial Breath of Sirius.  Tell us a little bit about your story.

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Ophelia Wynn (or Fia as she prefers) is a woman completely out of her depth. She inherits a bookshoppe from Cecelia Wynn –a great-grandmother she never knew– and on impulse moves halfway across the world to take on the shop’s management. She’s not sure what she was thinking. What does a part-time librarian/ part-time tutor know about running a business?

Unexpectedly Fia makes new friends; those in her adopted town treat her like royalty come home after a long exile. It’s enough to make a girl edgy. What’s more, something is at work in the Bookshoppe. Or rather … someone else. Fia might dream of one-day love, and seek to focus on work, but what she discovers is a perplexing litany of clues and a fight which will test whether she has the strength to take on the other role Cecelia has planned for her.

Breath of Sirius is an online serial in three parts – Empath, Priestess and Maakheru. Right now, we’re onto Part 2 – Priestess.  I post each week with an instalment of approximately 1200 words.

Do you consider Breath of Sirius urban fantasy, paranormal romance or something else? What attracted you to the genre?

I think of Breath of Sirius as urban fantasy romance. The thing I love about urban fantasy is the vague edges. When I ask people to define urban fantasy, I receive answers like, ‘it’s set in a city, and has some magic stuff going on’. Even now I hear the question mark at the end of their sentence. I love that other genres can slip into UF through those blurred borders. The unexpected appears on the page before you know it.

Technically I guess BOS could be called – ‘Small-walled-market-town-somewhere-in-Kent fantasy romance’. Now there’s a sub-genre title. Mmm? Maybe not.

Let’s talk beasties. Do any monsters make appearances in your novels? If so, tell us about a few of them. Do you have a favorite? Don’t lie. Every parent…erm…author…does. Spill it. If not, what makes your book paranormal, urban fantasy or science fiction?

Well, that would be telling. The clues are there. You’ll just have to read future instalments.

Is this a series? Stand-alone book? If it is a series, what does the future look like for this series? How many more books to come? What can we expect and more importantly…WHEN!

I’ve really been enjoying writing an online serial. It’s very different to writing a novel. Think micro-novel every week. Online serials come with a unique set of challenges I didn’t think much about when I started. (Aren’t those the famous last words of any DIY project?) For instance, writing Ebenos Moon (a YA novel I’m currently subbing) was fun, but if I didn’t like the direction a character or storyline took, or a decision I made, I made changes during the editing process. There was no rush. No exposure. Not so online fiction. BOS is all about pantsing. I have some vague ideas regarding direction, but I write the week’s draft, and then go over it the night before posting. The process is turbulent, like standing in front of an aircraft engine gearing up! Saying that, the challenges have also been much of the fun. The characters are in control – for better or for worse!

As to whether there will be a second serial? Ideas are flitting about in my peripheral vision like shadows. I guess we’ll see.  I will say all the shadows are shaped like scorpions…

What else are you working on?

There’s a list. There’s always a list.

There’s my YA ‘Ebenos Moon’, which, as I mentioned, is complete and being subbed. This is the first in a trilogy, so please cross all your digits someone likes it. 😀 Especially as the protagonist DehLia Rossa continues to gab in my ear day and night – mostly at night. As a result, I’m writing the follow up to EM – Brightwood.

And because I can never just have one project on the go, I’m doing my Masters degree and writing first drafts for two other WIPs:

  • Charybdis (working title) – [fantasy]
  • Hope before hope (working title) – [contemporary adult romance]

Fitting multiple WIPs around work and home is part of what I love about writing, however I am seriously considering insomnia as a viable time management tool. 😉

Of all the characters in your fictional word, which one or couple would you most like to hang out with over a long weekend? What would you do together? What actor or actress would play him/her in a movie?

I love DehLia and Carr (Ebenos Moon), but I’m also really enjoying getting to know Calley (Charybdis) and Kile (Calley’s resident beastie). Calley is nothing like I thought she’d be when the story started kicking around in my head. Her moral pivot-point is more ambiguous than I first imagined.  Were I to hang out with them, I think I’d want to watch Calley draw in the sand. I’m interested in learning more about how her mind works. I’m a bit odd that way.

Let’s talk about craft. Are you a plotter or pantser? What are the first steps you take before diving into the writing of the next book?

Although Breath of Sirius is all about pantsing, I’ve actually become a hybrid over the years. I document character drivers, chapter outlines, and background info. I know where my characters have been, where they’re going and why. The route (how they’ll get where they’re going) is usually vagued up some. Planned, but not screwed down to the blow-by-blow.

100% pansting can be fun. Those three parts I mentioned –Empath, Priestess and Maakheru– was all the planning done for BOS. It keeps things fresh and can be terribly exciting, but whenever I leave my notes unwritten, pull on the pantaloons and slip in behind the wheel without consulting my author GPS, it does leave me with the impression that I may be moonlighting as a crash test dummy.

How long does it typically take for you to write a novel?  Best case scenario? How about editing? How long will you pick at it before setting it free to the world?

The first novel I wrote took one week. Let me say, that work will NEVER see the light of day. I wrote Ebenos Moon in four months. Revisions and editing took longer.

Do you have any advice to new authors or anyone considering writing fiction?

Get stuck in. Read. Learn. Be resilient. That is all.

Can you give us a taste of what to expect? 

Breath of Sirius Blurb:

Fia Wynn inherits her great grandmother’s estate. Having opened the door to her new life, she doesn’t realise she’s also awakened Lucius Kennerley, a man – if he is a man – who will challenge her to come to terms with her own past, uncover the secret of her magical lineage, and embrace the mysterious source of her power.

Breath of Sirius Excerpt:

Here’s an extract from Instalment 38 – Aftermath (published 16 July 2014). This particular one is written from Lucius Kennerley’s perspective.

Lucius heard the tinkle of the charms at her wrist, but couldn’t tear his eyes from the splatters of dark, dried crimson, which stood out in sharp contrast to the bergere chair’s neutral linen tones, the white cupboards and oak floor boards. He imagined her fright, heard in his mind her cry out; saw again her head hit the table at the base of the stairs. His gaze dragged across to the furniture, to the black stone of the kitchen island. Blood and glass littered the surface.

He might not have been able to kill Thomas before, but Lucius swore silently he would find a way to punish the boy for his crime. He cursed himself for ever giving Sophia that diamond, her father for creating the chain to hold three daughter’s charms and for Sophia’s vain obsessions. At least Christian Thomas would be hurting. For now, he would have to content himself with that small comfort. The rest could be taken care of at a more convenient time when Ophelia was less vulnerable. “Come.” Lucius swung her slight form into his arms once more and stalked the final steps to the first-floor landing, depositing her in the bathroom.

Where can we find you and your books online? 

Read Breath of Sirius at:

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Renay has always loved a good book. Somewhere along the way reading became writing and an obsession was born. Renay is the author of online Urban fantasy serial Breath of Sirius, and is now trying her hand at YA. She lives in south-east Queensland with her husband and son.

Renay can be found at, on twitter @renayallencom (come chat!) or on fb at 

Passion. Writing. Resilience. What more can a girl ask for?


Comments for Breath of Sirius.

“more please tomorrow?”

“I like the thickening plot; when’s the next installment? Don’t keep us waiting too long. CONGRATS!”

“Wondered what was coming! Wonderful ending. Very evocative and the imagery was vivid.”






One Response to Interview with Australian Author Renay Allen. Read Breath of Sirius – Online Serial Urban Fantasy

  1. Avatar aderynwood
    aderynwood says:

    The blurb for BoS sounds fascinating. I’ve got to get reading it!