Writers Off Task With Friends: Dan Alatorre, Allison Maruska, and J.A. Allen

Interview with Dan Alatorre, Co-host of the YouTube Show, “Writers Off Task With Friends” & GIVEAWAY!!

Writers Off Task With Friends: Dan Alatorre, Allison Maruska, and J.A. Allen

What comes after writing a book? How do people find time to write? What goes into getting published? Is it better to self publish or traditionally publish? Is social media necessary as a writer?

Author Dan Alatorre
Author Dan Alatorre

I see these questions come up a lot. So many fledgling writers want to know what to expect.

The hosts of Writers Off Task With Friends, authors Dan Alatorre, Allison Maruska, and J.A. Allen, address these questions and more, on their weekly video show.

What I like most about this show, is that it feels like friends casually talking about the business of writing, and sharing their experiences.

I sat down with Dan recently to discuss the new show’s unique appeal to writers.

You guys have certainly answered some of the “new author” questions, or touched on them in the videos you have already. One of my favorite interviews was with the three authors of, “Follow the Goose Butt, Camelia Airheart!” Hearing about the process of collaborating on book writing, and how they each added their individual strengths to the mix, was very inspiring. Wanting to illustrate my own book, I found everything they had to say very interesting.

Those ladies are amazing. I met Colleen through her blog, and when she said she was working on a children’s book with her friends, I wanted them on the show. They’re hilarious, but they are doing the things we all want to be doing—getting a book published and promoting it.

I also liked hearing about how you all research subjects in your books and what the weirdest things you’ve had to look up were. It’s good to see a light-hearted approach to talking about writing.

Author J.A. Allen
Author J.A. Allen “Jenny”

Jenny, Allison, and I have all had to do some wacky research, that’s for sure. Our browser history is going to be embarrassing.

Becoming a writer can be intimidating and you all give off the air of wanting to be supportive instead of discouraging to those who are just starting out.

100% bullseye. That’s exactly what I wanted to do. Here’s how it happened.

I was watching a presentation on some writer-oriented topic, and a former editor for Time Life books made the comment that video was the future. I’d seen and subscribed to several video blogs that were pretty good, done by fledgling authors who were trying to build a base. An author friend said YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. Authors were doing book trailers.

I kept wondering about the connections, you know? Wanting to find a way to be heard and seen but also be unique.

Trailers… meh. I’d seen some good ones but even the best didn’t do much for me. But like anything else, I wanted to do something I would want to watch.

Hmm. Like what?

I liked late night shows, and they’re basically glorified infomercials for famous actors to promote movies and stuff. What if we did that for authors?

I think that’s important. It’s a tough business, but there are a lot of resources out there that can be very discouraging before newbie writers have even gotten their feet wet.

So I wanted to address that. Comedians talk about how Johnny Carson, famous for his late night show, gave so many people their big break. He could spot talent. His show ran for a long time, but it wasn’t the first of its kind. He took a medium and ran with it.

Author Allison Maruska
Author Allison Maruska

I figured I could do something like that. A few years ago, I did a few online videos as a way to get people with a rare heart condition to be able to communicate with others with the condition, so they didn’t feel so alone. That didn’t catch on, but from doing those I knew we could do something similar—a show, maybe.

I asked two people I find hilarious on Facebook, Jenny and Allison, both of whom have cracked me up in Facebook chats, to think about doing a video show with me that would promote new authors, explain the stuff ALL authors go through, and have fun doing it. These ladies are hilarious, and I can be funny, and since we all came to know each other through writing and critiquing each other’s work, it made a lot of sense. And by promoting other authors, we’d be promoting ourselves, too. By explaining challenges to new writers, we’d have to find solutions. It was a win-win-win, potentially.

So that’s how it all started?

Pretty much. The first few shows, we were finding our way. On the very first show, I couldn’t even get it to record! Great introduction to my would-be co-hosts! We had never actually spoken to each other before, only chatted on Facebook, so it was fun and new but also very stressful for me. If I messed it up, they might bail. Then, no show.

They hung in there, though, and by the third or fourth show we found a rhythm, with each of us bringing to the table our own ideas about writing, and discussing them. A few shows later, we decided to add a “game show” element, preceded by discussion topics and a chance for the future guests to talk about their books and writing process. Then, when we felt we had it down, we added guests.

Overall, though it was always about having fun. Showing our personalities—the hosts and the guests. Writers get a bad rap—sometimes self-imposed—that they are nerdy types huddled in a corner typing away and not interacting with the world. Here, we see their humor and insights, relaxing and joking around, and displaying a side of themselves that probably wouldn’t come through in a bio or written interview.

The three of you seem to have a lot of fun together. That’s part of what I really enjoy about the show.

We really do. It’s like three friends getting together over coffee each week (or happy hour) when we sit down to do the show. And while I’m the host, I’m not being falsely modest when I say I couldn’t do the show without Jenny and Allison. First of all, they each know more about the craft of writing than I do, but they are funny and smart, and they carry more of the load than is obvious at times. I couldn’t do it without them and I wouldn’t want to.

What does the future hold for WOTWF?

03032015 villa (131)As we move forward, we’ll get better known guests, but we’ll always have an open door for new writers starting out because we weren’t there that long ago and there’s no reason to not help new talent. My goal is to help as many writers become famous as possible. Knowing hundreds of famous authors can’t hurt my writing career!

The show will plod along as is for awhile and then one day it’ll be everywhere and people will call us an overnight success. I hope so, but we’ll know the months and months—and maybe years—of constant efforts that were required to get it there.

But if we are having fun (and we are) and helping folks (and we seem to be), then we’ll be able to get it there!


I want to thank Dan Alatorre for taking time out of his schedule to sit down with me, here at Ink & Stitches. As I said before, I am a huge fan of his show, Writers Off Task With Friends. To show support for the show and to say thank you to my now 1,000 followers on Twitter, I wanted to host another GIVEAWAY! This one is for a crocheted Floppy Cat amigurumi!

Floppy Cat Photo Credit: J.H. Winter
Floppy Cat Photo Credit: J.H. Winter

There are several new ways to earn points this time including subscribing to the Writers Off Task With Friends YouTube Channel! See below to enter in to win! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway goes for two weeks, ending on June 29. The winner will be announced on July 1, during my ‘What I am Working On’ post that week.

Floppy Cat Photo Credit: J.H. Winter
Floppy Cat Photo Credit: J.H. Winter


10 thoughts on “Interview with Dan Alatorre, Co-host of the YouTube Show, “Writers Off Task With Friends” & GIVEAWAY!!”

  1. It’s really a nice and helpful piece of information. I am glad that you shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

    1. You are very welcome! “Writers Off Task With Friends” is such a great show, I just wanted to share it with my readers here. The giveaway is just an added bonus!

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    1. You can follow by entering your email address in the “Follow Blog Via Email” box on the left hand sidebar. Please let me know if you are still having trouble finding it! :)

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