Saturday, August 04, 2007

ONE LITTLE SECRET's author dropped by....

Welcome to Robin's Writing World, Allison! Glad you could stop by and answer a few questions for us.

Are you kidding? I wouldn’t miss it – thanks for inviting me!

What gave you the idea to base ONE LITTLE SECRET on a rock star? What was your inspiration?

I was inspired to write the female character first, after watching a TV interview with Meryl Streep where she told the host she wanted to work on a film where she could sing. I figured I’d write one for her. (Insert a big smile here.) I “think” in movies, I’m a movie-holic, specifically sappy romantic comedies and love stories. I figured the GRAMMY awards would be a fun setting, and then I figured if I really wanted conflict I needed a self-absorbed rock star. For me, developing a book outline is really more like writing a screenplay, I “see” the book in visual scenes first. In fact, I developed a Hollywood Casting Call Contest where readers can visit my web site and vote for the Dream Cast to play the characters in ONE LITTLE SECRET if it every gets adapted into a screenplay. I think it would (will) make a great movie! Readers can vote for actors and actresses here: So far, Catherine Zeta Jones is winning for Ursula, although she’s a tad young to be a mom to college-bound kids.  BTW, I developed ONE LITTLE SECRET first as a screenplay called JUST A HOUSEWIFE. When Bethany House wanted a second novel after A STITCH IN TIME, I immediately thought of this story, realizing that it would make some great Boomer-Lit!

What was your research for this book like?

A whole lot of fun! I spent almost two decades living in southern California, so I had a pretty good feel for the location. During my years on the west coast, I worked as a professional fundraiser for several non-profit organizations and I had the opportunity to spend a great deal of time around women who had a great deal of money. Talk about a wild ride! It amazed me how some of them had it all and yet they were so very unhappy. On the other hand, there were a few philanthropists I admired—and I took bits and pieces of them to develop Ursula.

I’d have to say the music aspect of writing this book was the most fun. I listened to countless CD’s of the classic standard love songs to select the tunes I wanted Ursula and Nick to record. That, and dressing Ursula, oh…and furnishing Nick’s Malibu estate, oh and, maybe deciding on the luxury cars…oh shucks – it was all a blast!

What would you like readers to "take away" from your book?

I write Christian inspirational fiction—and yet I don’t specifically write only for Christians. Yes, I am a Christian, but I have friends who are not. I frequently meet people who do not share my belief or my politics or my serious addiction to stiletto heels, but that doesn’t mean we can’t communicate. I think too many Christians live in a Christian bubble—how can we shed light on the dark places in the world if we don’t mingle with people who live in the world? I first wanted to write a fun fairy-tale…a dream-come-true adventure about a boomer babe who happened to be a Christian—but many of the people in her drama-rama were not. Yet she saw this as an opportunity to share her faith—not make judgment calls. I guess that would be the take-away, that sometimes God calls us to spend time at work or at school or at play to be around folks who don’t share our faith—and it’s times like that we can shine or sink.

I like to ask a couple of "off topic" questions. Here goes...if you could sit down and have lunch with any living fiction author, who and why?

That changes from month to month, but right now I’d have to say that I would love to meet Jodi Piccoult. This amazing writer has a keen ability to capture the very essence of multiple characters in her books, weaving stories that keep you mesmerized from cover to cover. What a brilliant gift.


Okay, at the risk of being dubbed a crazy woman (oh, wait, too late for that) I would love to talk with Edgar Allen Poe. As a little girl, it was the work of Poe that made me first realize the power of words. No kidding. But I didn’t discover him first via the written word—I was drawn to the old black and white movies that starred Vincent Price. Movies like The Fall of the House of Usher and The Mask of the Red Death. My mom explained to me that a man named Edgar Allen Poe wrote the books those movies were based on and I was hooked. Poe had an eloquent grasp of the English language that made words come alive in my brain. I would love to ask him what inspired his work…can you imagine? Plus, as a young girl reading his work helped train me to use a dictionary.

This is a crazy industry. What advice would you offer unpublished authors to give them hope?

I know it sounds so incredibly droll and simple, but never give up and don’t take “no” for an answer! I kept at it and kept at it and kept at it. Recrafting my proposals and rewriting my first book. I got my start in non-fiction, but always in the back of my mind was the dream of one day writing fiction. However, more important would be to not compare yourself to another writer. There is always going to be someone better, someone smarter, someone more literary, someone more photogenic on the back of their book, and yada, yada, yada. But there is only ever going to be one you!

Robin, some of your readers may know this about me, but for those who don’t, the fact I’ve been published at all boggles my mind. I’m a high school drop out with a ninth grade education and a GED. I quit school after the 9th grade to run away from home and get married. I was going to live happily ever after in my fairy tale dream. But that’s NOT what happened.

That said, writing is not about formal education, or who you know, or how long you’ve been at it. It’s about perseverance and risk and belief in yourself—and knowing that inevitably, God will make a way where there seems to be no way.

Thanks so much for dropping by! It's been a pleasure having you!

Likewise, I’m sure. 

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