Mother’s death leads to a series of books
By Denise Baran-Unland For The Herald-News August 23, 2012 1:12PM
"The Touch," by Allison Rios of Joliet is the story of two groups of people -- the healers and the grims-- who control the delicate balance of life and death. | submitted photo
Updated: September 25, 2012 6:03AM
Why do bad things happen to good people?
It’s a question many people often ask and one that Allison Rios, 32, of Joliet, a public relations specialist, asked herself when her mother, Dawn Bailey of Joliet, died in 2005 from brain cancer.
Those ponderings led to a story idea about two groups of people — the healers and the grims — who control the delicate balance of life and death. Rios recently self-published the first book in the series, “The Touch,” about a healer, AJ McCallister, who cannot protect the ones he loves and how he struggles with returning a woman’s love.
“I started writing it and finished it in about a week and a half,” Rios said.
Next, Rios, a hobbyist fiction and poetry writer for much of her life (“It’s how I unwind and relax,” Rios said), received feedback from her friends and polished her work. When one of those friends, an editor at McGraw-Hill in Burr Ridge said, “This is good. Why don’t you put it out there?” Rios decided, “Why not?”
Rios queried a few literary agents, but the few nibbles she received entailed more rewriting of the story than Rios desired. She wanted people to read her concept, not that of another. The option of self-publishing became an attractive way to share her story.
“AJ has been given an extra talent, but he sees it as a curse because he can’t heal everybody,” Rios said. “He’s just trying to find his way in life on top of his great destiny.”
Rios asked two friends to model for the cover, which Rios herself created. She also did all the formatting for “The Touch,” which is available in print and electronically.
The target audience for the book is teens through people in their mid-30s, but Rios is concerned less about hard sales and more with leaving a few readers satisfied.
“I’m not expecting this to be the next ‘Twilight,’” Rios said.
As a child, Rios enjoyed chronicling her daydreams and reporting on neighborhood activities, which she distributed in a homemade newspaper. She’s written two stories about her mother; one is purely biographical, the other is a fictionalized account of Bailey’s life.
Rio also has four books in “The Touch” series outlined. She hopes to release the second book, which continues AJ McCallister’s life and introduces new characters, next year.
She’s uncertain at this point just how far she will carry the storyline.
“I read a lot of series and sometimes, they’re stretching,” Rios said. “By the fifth book, the story has gotten too thin. You can wear out your characters when you push them too far.
Buy “The Touch” at www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com.