Alison L. McLennan

Alison L. McLennan (Fiction) | Ogden, UT

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Alison L. McLennan is a native of Quincy, Massachusetts where she was born and raised until she moved to Utah in 1989. Her second novel, Ophelia’s War The Secret Story of a Mormon Turned Madam will be released June 22, 2016. One of the main characters in her debut novel, Falling for Johnny, was inspired by the infamous James “Whitey” Bulger depicted by Johnny Depp in the movie Black Mass. She has appeared on radio, TV and print as an expert commentator on the Bulger trial. Falling for Johnny won an honorable mention in the 2012 Utah Original Writing Competition and the first Inkubate Literary Blockbuster Competition. She earned a Bachelor of University Studies Degree in Expressive Therapy with a minor in Creative Writing from the University of Utah and an MFA from The Solstice Program of Pine Manor College where she was awarded the Dennis Lehane Fellowship for Fiction. She is a licensed teacher and has worked extensively in social services, education and nonprofit management. Through extensive research while working on Ophelia’s War she has gained specialized knowledge of American Western history with an emphasis on Ogden, Utah.


Ophelia’s War: The Secret Story of a Mormon Turned Madam (Five Star/Gale-Cengage,2016). Fiction.
Falling for Johnny (Twisted Roots Publishing, 2012). Fiction.

Press & Reviews

“Ophelia’s War The Secret Story of a Mormon Turned Madam is more than a historical novel. It is a beautifully written character study of a young woman’s struggle for survival in frontier Utah. Readers will be transported to a meticulously researched American West where raw vulnerability and unfailing stoicism go hand in hand.”
—James Anderson, author The Never-Open Desert Diner

“McLennan ably handles her characters and their crises, though her skill as a writer is most evident in the novel’s third part, when the plot keenly unfurls. With moral ambiguity and questionable intentions, the cast lends a disconcerting air to McLennan’s solid debut. A dark, violent story with a heart.”
Kirkus Rview

“Told in lyric yet economical prose, Falling for Johnny is the story of the unlikely friendship between Johnny, a vicious gangster, and Riley, an abandoned young woman whose life has been thrown into chaos by her mother’s materialism and her father’s prideful refusal to pay mob patronage. As Johnny and Riley’s lives become increasingly entwined, they begin to draw out each other’s best and worst qualities, leaving the reader to wonder if either of them can truly be saved.”
—Sterling Watson, author of Fighting in the Shade, Sweet Dream Baby, and Blind Tongues

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