Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Author Interview: Allison Winn Scotch

I am pleased to welcome Allison Winn Scotch, whose new book, The One That I Want comes out in stores today, June 1st.  You can read my review of this book here.

About the author: Allison Winn Scotch is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels The One That I Want, Time of My Life and The Department of Lost and Found. She is also a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in dozens of national consumer magazines. She lives in New York with her husband, son, and daughter, and their dog.

Thanks to Allison for answering a few questions.

What was your inspiration for The One That I Want?
I wanted to take the themes I explored in my last book, Time of My Life, and flip everything on its head, while still delving into the concept of how we – and my characters – can create more fulfilling, fleshed-out lives. So it was this whole concept of, “What happens when you think you have a perfect life, and it totally gets shattered to pieces?” In this day and age, not an entirely uncommon – unfortunately – scenario.

Did you know how the novel was going to end when you started writing it?
No...I wish I did, that would probably make the process a lot easier! But I write where my characters take me, which sounds kind of silly, I know, but it’s true. As the author, I do throw obstacles and whatnot in their way, but mostly, I feel like I just let them lead...I have an understanding of who they are, and then they make organic choices that suit the situations I’ve put them in. I think if I knew how everything was going to end, their journeys would likely be pretty different over the course of the book, and, I think, likely less honest. 

Is there any chance that you might write a sequel to The One That I Want, or maybe see some of the characters in future novels?
That’s an interesting idea... to be honest, it’s never something that I’ve considered too much. But there are definitely a few folks in this book, namely Darcy, whose journeys aren’t finished. That said, generally, when I’m done with a novel, I’m DONE WITH THE NOVEL. I think there’s something to be said for leaving the characters’ futures up to the reader, and truthfully, I’m always a little sick of them after spending nearly a year with them! My novels are about heroines coming into their own, so I don’t know how interesting sequels would be. I like to think that by the end, they’ve figured themselves out and go off and tackle better lives.

If you could be given a gift from a fortune teller, like Tilly in The One That I Want, what would it be?
As a mom, the single thing I worry about (and I’m not a worrier) is that something could happen to one of my kids. If I could be assured that my family be shielded from harm’s way, there’s probably not a lot I wouldn’t sacrifice for that gift.

When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
I think I always wanted to be a writer but realistically didn’t think – or realize – that it was possible until my mid-20s. I’d grown up writing, in journals, for my school paper, and later in college, a fairly prestigious op-ed column in the campus paper, but...I mean..really? Getting paid for it? It just seemed outlandish even though a lot of people suggested I pursue it! It wasn’t until I was, I think, 26, and started to take on freelance PR clients that I realized it might be feasible – I started doing a lot of web copy and eventually magazine articles, and one thing led to another and I tried my hand at fiction. Three books later, I sincerely still can’t believe how fortunate I am. 

What types of books do you like to read? What are you currently reading?
I gravitate toward books that are similar to what I write: engaging, fun, fast but still not too flighty – something with a bit of meat behind it but that doesn’t take me more than a week or so to read. Right now, I have so many books in my TBR pile! I’m halfway through Leah Stewart’s Husband and Wife, which I’m really enjoying. I have The Swimming Pool by Holly LeCraw, Saving CeeCee Honeycut by Beth Hoffman, and The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris on my nightstand, along with about 10 ARCs for potential blurbs! I’m looking forward to my long plane rides out to Seattle and California for my book tour, when I can hopefully catch up!  

What are you currently working on? Can you give us any hints?
I’m almost done with the initial draft of my fourth book, The Memory of Us, which focuses on a woman who survives a plane crash but loses her memory in the process, and is forced to tape together the pieces of her life by the stories that other people relay back to her. I think it’s a nice companion to Time of My Life and The One  That I Want—somewhere in between the two of them in terms of voice and gravity, and hope that readers agree when it comes out in June 2011!  

If you had a young writing protégé, what one piece of advice would you offer?
I always say that aspiring authors need to listen to criticism and take their egos out of the equation. Too many folks – myself including – think that their early/first work is untouchable, when, in fact, it’s far from it. The only way to improve is to figure out where your weaknesses are, and in order to do that, you need to be open to constructive advice. I can sincerely say that if I hadn’t taken criticism early in my career, I never would have been published. Sometimes, you think you know what you’re doing when, if fact, you have no idea.

For more information on Allison, you can visit the following:
Allison's website: www.allisonwinn.com
Allison on Twitter: www.twitter.com/aswinn
Order The One That I Want: http://www.allisonwinn.com/order-hdoml/

***Exciting news: Allison has a contest on her blog that is running from June 1st to June 4th. Order her book during this time, email your receipt Allison and you will be entered to win some fun prizes (Oakley sunglasses, a FLIP video recorder, a bag full of summer reads to name a few).  More information can be found at: www.allisonwinn.com/ask-allison

1 comment

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