Welcome back for Day 2 of our time with Allison Pittman, author of 9 novels. She lives in San Antonio where she heads up a multi-genre writing group and serves as an officer in her local ACFW chapter. She is the mother of three handsome boys and married to the world’s greatest guy, Mike.
Allison will be giving away one copy of her newest release, All for a Song, to one lucky winner this week (U.S. resident). All you have to do is answer this question from Allison in the comments: All for a Song tells the story of a young woman who worships through her music. What is your favorite worship song?
Allison, historical fiction requires so much research. What’s the most interesting (or unusual, or funny) thing you’ve done in the name of research for a book?
I spent a week in Salt Lake City doing research for the Sister Wife series. Just me in a tacky motel with a suitcase full of microwaveable food. I loved going to the museums and visitors centers alone—looking at every little thing. Not worrying about anybody else’s schedule. That was a lovely time.
Only a writer or researcher could understand the beauty of that! It does sound great. If you could be any character from another historical novel, who would it be and why?
Oh, my… so many choices! But I think I’d have to go with Cathy Earnshaw, but if I broke my foot climbing over a wall, I’d just make Heathcliff carry me back home. And then I would marry him.
Smart woman! Some writers love plotting, some like writing that first draft, and others enjoying researching or digging into the revisions. What's your favorite part about writing a book, and why do you think it is?
The revisions. I enjoy the actual writing about 90% of the time, but it’s such an emotional, frustrating experience. There’s nothing worse than being bogged down and then wondering who was foolish enough to green-light this mess… But revisions are so clinical. You just do what you have to do. It’s perfecting and crafting, and there’s an immediate sense of accomplishment.
What are one or two of the most interesting things you’ve learned while researching a novel?
One was in researching the Keeley Institute for Stealing Home. It was the original celebrity rehab center, and they injected their patients with gold. But they also encouraged long, quiet, meditative walks. Lovely!
The other (and there are a ton of things so it’s hard to stick to two…) is a factor in my next novel, All for a Story. In the 1920’s, there was this woman who wrote a column for the newspaper chronicling her life going to parties and speakeasies and such. Where she went, what she wore, who she saw. She went by the name of “Lipstick.” She was like the first blogger. Or a Jazz Age Carrie Bradshaw.
Love that! And what a gold mine of research treasures I’m sure Lipstick’s column was. When starting a new project, do you tend to begin with a time period or event and create the characters to live it, or do you start with characters and then find their story?
Characters first. Always. I’m working on a proposal for a story now about a character I’ve been carrying around in my head for about 10 years. I just figured out his story!
You’ve also written a nonfiction book about your dog, Stella. Tell us more about that, please.
When I realized that my dog Stella and I simply did not get along, that we had an unhealthy, unbalanced relationship, I enrolled us in an obedience class. The first thing the instructor said was, “A dog who does not trust you will not obey you. Trust, and obey.” Then, our homework was to have a 15-minute “quiet time” with our dogs every day. I kinda figured out that God was trying to tell me something. Saturdays with Stella tells the story of how I learned to trust God the way Stella trusts me, and how He loves me the way I love her—unconditionally.
That’s a lesson we all need to hear sometimes – and God can send it to us in some unexpected ways. What would you like readers to gain from reading your books?
First—and this might seem wrong coming from a Christian author—but I hope they come away feeling like they’ve experienced a good story. That’s crucial to me. But then, I want them to realize that we are all flawed, broken, wayward sinners. All of us. But God’s grace is boundless, and His love is perfect. Restoration to Him is healing, and we all have to love each other enough to let that happen.
Any final words?
Thank you so, so much for reading my books—for reading ALL of our books, if I may speak for other authors featured here. And, please, if you have a book-book, and you’ve read it, and you loved it, give it away. Donate it to your church library to share with others who might not be able to otherwise read it; donate it to your local library to get a little more of God’s love on the shelves there, or donate it to a prison library where hope is so desperately needed.
Allison, thanks so much for joining us at Novel PASTimes! And, visitors, remember to leave your answer to Allison’s question for your chance to win a copy of All for a Song (U.S. residents only, please). The winner will be announced Friday morning.
All for a Song tells the story of a young woman who worships through her music. What is your favorite worship song?
Come back tomorrow for another great book review and on Friday to learn who this week’s winner is! You can also learn more about Allison and her books online:
- Website: www.allisonpittman.com
- Twitter: @allisonkpittman
- Facebook: Allison Pittman Author Page