Be glad in the Lord and rejoice! Psalm 32:11

Monday, March 26, 2012

Five Questions With ... Allison Winn Scotch, author of "The Song Remains The Same"

Today, I'm so pleased to introduce you to Allison Winn Scotch, author of the amazing new novel, "The Song Remains The Same."

Allison was kind enough to take some time out of her busy day to answer a few questions about her writing and upcoming projects.

Sharon: At what age did you know that you wanted to be a writer?

Allison:  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! I wasn’t until I was, I think, 26, and was 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. Four books later, I sincerely still can’t believe how fortunate I am.

Sharon:  What three important facts do you want readers to know about your books?

Allison:  Oh gosh. That's a hard question! Hmmm, okay (I don't know if these qualify as "facts," but here goes):

I try to write from a very personal place. This doesn't mean that my books are autobiographical. (After all, I've never survived a plane crash only to lose my memory!) But I do feel like it's my responsibility to open up my emotional reservoir and write honest characters. So that means that at times, the characters' choices might be the same as my own, if I found myself in their shoes. I suppose in that way, that all of my protagonists give you a little bit of insight into who I am.

 I also weave my love of pop culture and music into almost all of my books. For SONG REMAINS THE SAME, this meant that I really researched music from the decades in which my protagonist, Nell, was a child, as well as really considered what the pop culture influences were at the time. Like, if you lost your memory of the 90s, you'd get to watch Friends all over again. Because, like it or not, that really was a cultural icon from the time when I (and my heroine) came of age.

I hope that when you read the very last page, you feel like you're a little wiser for it. NOT because I am teaching you anything!! But because I think that the best books take the reader on a journey and hopefully shift their perspective just a teeny, tiny bit. Even if only for a day. I love nothing more than finishing a book and having the characters or the story or even the message behind the story linger on in my mind. As both a reader and a writer, I think you WANT that sort of connection, and I hope that my books provide it

Sharon:  Who are some of your favorite authors? Who inspires you?

Allison:  Gosh, I have so many favorite authors that it's hard to pinpoint just a few. The authors who inspire me are those who continue to push themselves every time they get up to the plate (or, I guess, more literally, come out with another book). For example, I just read Joshilyn Jackson's A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty, and just fell in love with it. This is, I think, her fourth book, and sometimes, you see writers rest on their laurels at this point in their careers, but not her. The book is so beautiful and well-crafted, and I read it in awe of her. I know how easy it can be to stop working as hard or to not challenge yourself, and I give real props to authors who keep pushing.

Sharon:  What do you have coming up in the future?

 Allison:  I've taken a break from novels for the past year to focus on screenplays, so I have on in the works and a few out with my agent and producers. This sort of goes hand-in-hand with the whole "challenging yourself" idea. Maybe it's the Gemini in me, but I can't do the same thing over and over again without getting bored! So I dipped my toe into a different well and discovered that I really enjoyed it. That said, I'm hoping to get started on another book later this spring, and if not by then, the summer!

Sharon:  What advice would you have for anyone wanting to break into writing today?

Allison:  Read. A lot. You'll see how you can raise the bar of your own work by learning from others. Also, take your ego out of the equation and never stop trying to get better. I've written four books, and honestly, I'm still learning. I think it's really easy to say, "Oh, well, I'm good at this now," or "This manuscript doesn't need further revisions," but when you fall into that sort of mentality, I think you also fall short. Constructive criticism is so important if you're going to get better and/or get published. Embrace those critiques and learn from them.

About The Author:

(In her own words!)

After dabbling my toe in the PR, marketing and internet worlds, I discovered that there's nothing finer than a) working for yourself, b) working from home and c) getting paid to write full-time. To that end, I earned my keep for eight years as a freelance magazine scribe for every title you could think of, from Glamour to Self to Shape to Redbook to Men's Health to Women's Health to Family Circle to InStyle Weddings to Bride's to Cooking Light to Parents to American Baby. You get the idea. These days, I primarily focus on celebrity interviews and profiles, which indulges my pop culture obsession and gives me an excuse to read junky magazines and watch lots of tv.

Of course, while all of the above is wonderful and fabulous and allowed my heart to swell each time I walked by a newsstand, what I'm really most proud of is the publication of my novels, The One That I Want, Time of My Life, and The Department of Lost and Found.

Be sure to check out Allison's website at www.allisonwinn.com

About The Book:

One of only two survivors of a plane crash, Nell Slattery wakes in the hospital with no memory of the horrific experience-or who she is, or was. Now she must piece together both body and mind, with the help of family and friends, who have their own agendas. She filters through photos, art, music, and stories, hoping something will jog her memory, and soon, in tiny bits and pieces, Nell starts remembering. . .

It isn't long before she learns to question the stories presented by her mother, her sister and business partner, and her husband. In the end, she will discover that forgiving betrayals small and large will be the only true path to healing herself-and to finding happiness.

My thanks to Allison for participating in this question and answer interview, and to BookSparks PR for helping to coordinate it.


Mary (Bookfan) said...

Great interview. I'm really looking forward to reading The Song Remains the Same (won a copy through LT).

Sharon's Garden of Book Reviews said...

Thanks Mary!