Using her writing-marketing skill set, Carol Allen is writing a three-book science fiction series for teens with the goal of giving readers a can-do attitude about addressing environmental problems.
Carol Bendix Allen, as a University of Michigan graduating senior in the 1970s, found her first dream job writing marketing materials for Vogue magazine. Before marrying and raising two sons, she focused on fashion.
Allen, now a grandmother of four and a real estate marketing consultant in New York state and Massachusetts, wants to help young women find their dream jobs but with a different and more timely focus — opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
Using her writing-marketing skill set, Allen is writing a three-book science fiction series for teens with the goal of giving readers a can-do attitude about addressing environmental problems. Three recurring characters, in a time warp, get whisked away to another planet and together use their brain power to help establish solutions.
“I’m working on the third book, and I hope it will be out in the spring,” said Allen, living in upstate New York with husband Michael Allen. “The first two books — One If: A Virago Fantasy and If Then: A Virago Fantasy — are available on Amazon and have won bestseller awards.”
Motivation for the series came from family and professional experiences — a granddaughter losing enthusiasm for STEM fields and business outreach associates introduced through the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research at Northwell Health in Manhasset, N.Y.
“I was shocked that professional women I was meeting, researchers and doctors, struggled with the same things I did — the imbalance that happens with gender,” said Allen, whose Northwell connections led to her service on the Advisory Board for Advancing Women in Science and Medicine (AWSM).
“I wanted to reach teens in a way that would get them excited about sciences, and I thought a fun way to do that would be through fantasy novels. It is clear that STEM is going to be the future bedrock of jobs and careers. At this point, women make up half of the college-educated workforce, but only 28 percent of women are in STEM.
“We have to engage young women, get them excited about the opportunities and make them aware they are capable of contributing to making the world a better place. That was the key to the direction I chose for the books.”
Allen, who enjoys the outdoors and holds environmental concerns, is a disciplined morning writer. Her first book was recognized as a Kindle Daily Nation Young Adult Book of the Week in 2020. The second book won a gold medal in the Global Book Awards for Teen & Young Adult Fantasy in 2021.
The first book sets the stage for the problems of climate change and puts the three characters in a new world where they can stay as Earth time freezes until their return. The second book develops the characters as they solve problems amid political drama and romantic attention.
“I put ‘Virago Fantasy’ into title extensions because virago has to do with women having strength and spirit equal to men,” she said.
Allen, who grew up in the metro area, saluted her hometown by including a Detroiter as a main character. With longtime family membership ties to Temple Israel, recently attended digitally, the author is recognizing religious attachment through a Jewish character in the third book.
“If I can engage one person to follow a path to STEM to help make the world a better place — whether in climate, virology, infrastructure engineering or anything else — I’ve reached a goal,” said Allen, whose books are being marketed through Metropolitan Publishing.
Allen, who has served as an adviser for STEM programming encouraged by local Girl Scout groups, has been disappointed that the pandemic interfered with projected speaking engagements. She offers to travel for programs that will promote STEM and her books, which are being sold with promises for partial proceeds donated to STEM initiatives.
“I love my characters and developed them to be inspirational and diverse in ethnicity,” said Allen.
“Each has a different personality and struggles. Although they get off to a rocky start, they learn to collaborate. They lean on each other to show people can come together and solve problems no matter what background each brings.”